As millions of Americans hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday, some extra savings could make the trip even sweeter. As you fill up your tank with fuel and grab your map (yes, you should still have a map), you’re going to want to make your trip as cost-effective as possible.
Before you go to the ATM and drain your bank account for travel expenses, there are several ways to trim your budget.
Here are 5 ways to save money while road-tripping
If you plan on hitting the road for the holiday, here are some tips on saving money along the way:
- Pack a lunch: If you’re going for the long haul on a one-day trip (no more than 10 hours on the road, OK?) it’s a good idea to pack a few snacks. Nothing too complicated and messy (no barbecue ribs and no ginormous tacos that spill into your lap), so as not to distract your driving. This will not only save you and your family some pretty nice cash, it will also save you time.
- Download some restaurant apps: If you choose not to pack your own food, you likely will opt to pull over and grab a burger or something similar from a fast-food chain. There’s nothing wrong with that – but why not save money doing it? The BK mobile app has several coupons, including a buy-one-Whopper-get-one-free deal.The McDonald’s app has weekly deals, including a free McCafe with purchase.
- Bring a cooler: Nothing wastes time more than having to pull off the interstate and venture into some strange little town for a $2.99 Dasani. Bringing chilled water is a great idea, especially if there happens to be a traffic jam and you find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere for an hour.
- Skip lodging: If your trip is not too long, generally about 500 miles or eight hours, you can save a bunch of money by not having to secure lodging. No way do we recommend driving more than eight hours safely. Better yet, got family along the way? Pay an overnight visit and catch up.
- Don’t speed: The #1 way to save money on a road trip is to obey the traffic laws. Nothing stinks more than being pulled over and hearing those eight frightening words: “Do you know how fast you were going?” Trust us: The money you save on that ticket could be the difference between the cost of driving vs. flying.
AAA says that up to 45.5 million people — nearly 90% of all travelers — are planning on driving somewhere for Thanksgiving, a 3.2% increase over the previous year.
Don’t want to drive? Travelers who opt for the friendly skies will pay the lowest on average in half a decade for a round-trip flight domestically, according to AAA. The average flight: $157, a 23% drop over last year.