Travel Tips

5 Tips for Saving Money & Hassle on Road Trips

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If you’ll be spending some time in the car on your vacations this year, here are the tips that have helped me minimize the many inconveniences that can pop up.

  • Saving money on hotels through AAA membershipHave a break down or flat tire? You don’t have to sign up for AAA roadside assistance in advance.  Call and start your membership from the side of the road! Better yet, if you receive a trial membership card in the mail, put it in your car and call to activate if you get stranded. Though I will say I’ve found my membership useful just for hotel discounts.
  • Save money on last minute oil changes or auto services. Check for coupons and discounts on companies’ mobile sites. On my recent trip to Atlantic City I wound up shredding a tire on the way home and making an unplanned stop at Mr. Tire. My tire was not cheap, but pulling up their website in the parking lot I found a coupon for $25 off any service over $100 (which sadly I qualified for). Still an instant $25 savings wasn’t shabby!A week later when I discovered a nail picked up from the same trip I found another coupon for a free tire patch while in the waiting room. Same thing with Jiffy Lube — $5 off oil change is on their site, $8 off through email!
  • Roadside Emergency KitKeep a portable air compressor & jumper cables in your trunk. A portable air compressor can successfully combat slow leaks until you get to a more convenient location. Jumper cables make it easy to get to the nearest service station without having to wait on AAA or a kind Samaritan who has their own.
  • Avoid traffic, cops, and objects in the road with Waze —I was first introduced to Waze on my trip to Israel when we were sent down random side streets in Jerusalem to avoid traffic jams. Since then I’ve found it useful in anticipating state troopers and finding the fastest route through DC. Google maps has started incorporating parts of Waze, but Waze is still better.
  • Have a cell phone & USB car charger handy — Apps like Waze that use GPS services drain batteries quickly, as does driving mountain roads with poor reception. Even if you’re renting a car, make sure you’ve packed a USB car charger if you have a more modern make, so you can stay connected.


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