Holiday Road Trip on a Budget: Tips to Lower the Cost of Your Trip

By on December 1, 2014
car tire in snow

By Alison Stanton –

Christmas will be here faster than you can sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and all that you really want Santa to bring you is a trip to see your grandkids. In an effort to help the jolly old elf out with his gift giving, you are willing to pay for the entire trip yourself. But, like many people at this time of year, your Christmas tree and holly wreaths have a lot more green in them than your purse.

Fortunately, planning a road trip to see your beloved grandbabies does not have to break the bank. Thanks to the following tips, you can have an affordable trip that leaves you enough money to buy those kiddos some special gifts from grandma:

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Look into Carpooling

A great way to save money on a road trip is to share the ride and the expense with someone else. If one of your girlfriends is also planning a holiday trip to see her family, and if everyone lives in the same general area, you might be able to drive together. You can share the driving responsibilities and gas expenses and be there to keep each other company during the ride.

Bring your Own Snacks

Depending on how far you have to drive to get to your grandkids’ house, you will probably be stopping for at least one meal. In order to save money, consider bringing your own food, drinks and snacks. Here’s a list of road-trip-friendly snacks. As a bonus, if you can eat a tuna sandwich while you are driving instead of stopping for lunch at a roadside diner, you’ll get to your family’s house that much sooner.

Reduce your Fuel Costs

Road trips inherently involve buying gas, and depending on how far you are going you might have to fill up more than once. While you can’t really avoid paying for gas for your holiday road trip, you can definitely take some steps before heading out to make sure your car will use as little fuel as possible. Cars that are in good running condition and have fully inflated tires and fresh oil tend to use less gas than those that are in serious need of a tune up. The week or so before you leave, take your car in to be serviced; this will also give you peace of mind that your vehicle is in good working order and that nothing will break down along the way. In addition, look into switching to tires that have what is called low rolling resistance, like those made by BF Goodrich. Tires that have less rolling resistance will typically use less fuel than those that need more energy to move.

As U.S. News and World Report suggests when you are paying for gas, use a credit card that offers gas rewards; examples include a TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express.

Finally, downloading an app like GasBuddy will help you find the least expensive places to find gas during your trip.

Alison Stanton 
has been a freelance writer for the past 14 years. Based in the Phoenix, Arizona area, Alison enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, but especially loves meeting interesting people and telling their stories. 

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Holiday Road Trip on a Budget: Tips to Lower the Cost of Your Trip