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Top money-saving tips for a road trip

We all love to get away from home and go travelling – and by going on a road trip you are always in control of the destination.

While it helps to have a rough idea of a route, going on a road trip enables you to take in all the sights and sounds of the journey, seeing a lot more than if you were to simply fly from A to B.

Driving around is a great way to discover new things and return to old haunts, while it is considerably cheaper than a lot of other travel options.

With the UK joined to mainland France via the Channel Tunnel, the whole of Europe is your oyster, should you want it to be.

A road trip is a perfect alternative for a slightly different break, so what can be done to make the experience even better, and less demanding on your wallet?

Smart travel

As with regular driving, the key to cost saving on a road trip is to drive in a sensible and economic fashion.

At all times you should be looking to maximise the fuel economy of your vehicle, so plan ahead and know where you can get fuel at cheap prices.

Checking online is an ideal place to find petrol stations that are slightly off the beaten track, and that might just save you a penny or two per litre – over time these savings quickly build up.

Furthermore, removing excess weight from a vehicle increases the fuel economy, meaning you can go further for less.

Take off the roof rack if it’s not in use and don’t drive with towing mirrors or any extras that just aren’t needed.

Also try and pack light – take only the bare essentials and don’t worry about anything else, that way there’s never too much additional luggage lying around.

Avoid the bad roads

Where possible, avoid peak driving times and notoriously busy roads. This is because there is less stress on the engine on clear roads compared to hitting the road and getting stuck in traffic jams.

On another point, it’s highly likely that a journey will be a lot more enjoyable if you’re not sat nose to tail in a long queue of cars.

Part of planning ahead can involve looking at any events or nearby attractions that may clog up the roads you intend to use – avoiding roads around theme parks at closing time is a must!

Now, without driving at a walking pace, going slowly can improve fuel economy as long as it is not stop-start traffic.

Limiting the amount that the accelerator is used and avoiding heavy breaking saves fuel and may mean you can go that little bit further.

Cruising to traffic lights for longer and driving more carefully can further reduce your fuel consumption.

Ensuring the car is serviced and the tyres are pumped up can also save some valuable pennies for further down the line.

Limiting luxuries

Air conditioning is a major drain on a vehicle’s fuel consumption so the less you can use it the better.

Winding down the windows is advantageous at slower speeds but it increases drag at higher speeds making the air conditioning more viable at these times.

Finding the balance between the two can be the difference between draining your tank and getting a few extra miles under your belt.

It is common that people get hungry on long trips as well so try to stock up before you go, as picking up snacks every time you stop will quickly eat in to your budget.

Don’t feel you have to starve yourself on your trip though, just look for deals on treats in the supermarket and look for alternatives to the fast food chains situated along many major routes.

Finding ways of keeping yourself entertained while travelling can also help to keep your mind off your stomach, which saves money and tends to lead to a more relaxed and enjoyable journey.

Hiring to travel

If you have no wish to add long mileage to a new vehicle, then hiring a car for the trip is an alternative.

Rental costs can add up, but it is important not to forgo buying car hire excess insurance, as this will save you from paying potentially sky-high excess costs in the event of an accident.

In most cases, the challenge comes in weighing up the pros and cons of taking our own vehicle before deciding upon the best option.

One major advantage of hire cars is the likelihood of a replacement should something go wrong meaning the impact of any issues will be limited and your journey can be relatively stress-free.

Preparation in these cases is vital, as you will need insurance and your license, as being legally able to drive when you are going on road trip goes without saying.

If you’re planning on going on a road trip any time soon then plan ahead and be sure you know everything that might crop up along the way.

That way, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your travels.

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