Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Tips for Saving Money on Vacation Part II: Driving
With the prices of airfare climbing and the additions of extra fees, many people can't afford to fly their entire family to a vacation destination. So what's the alternative? A road trip! This is a great option for families who live within a day's drive of Myrtle Beach, but it also presents some cost concerns of its own. We have a few tips that can help get you on vacation and save a few dollars in the process!
What's one of the biggest expenses with driving? Gas. While we can't do anything to change the prices, we can help you get a little more bang for your buck. Here's what to do:
1.) Take it easy on your car! It's best to avoid accelerating and decelerating too quickly. If you keep some distance from the car ahead of you, you won't have to hit the brakes too often, thereby losing inertia. This may seem too insignificant to make a difference, but you'd be surprised; this simple trick can help increase fuel efficiency by 10% - 30%! If you have an iPhone or Android, the My MPG app can help you know when you're wasting gas.
2.) While we're all eager to arrive at our vacation destination, remember that slow and steady wins the race. 55 mph is going to be your sweet spot. For every 5 mph you drive over 55, you lose an additional 10% fuel efficiency.
3.) Be sure to use your GPS or map out your route before you hit the road. The shortest route won't necessarily be the most fuel efficient if you're going to hit stop-and-go traffic. And getting lost certainly won't save you any gas dollars, either. AAA has a great online Travel Planner you'll want to take advantage of- it will even let you know how to avoid construction delays!
4.) Lose that extra weight! The temptation to over-pack is strong, but try to resist. The heavier your car is, the more gas you're going to burn. And while we're on the subject of suitcases, try to use your trunk as opposed to the luggage rack. This will help reduce the drag on your car and increase fuel efficiency.
5.) When you see a gas station with low prices, go ahead and fill up, even if you're tank is still half full. On the other hand, if you're almost out of gas and surrounded by stations with high prices, fill up just enough to get you to a cheaper place. Many truck stop chains (i.e. Flying J, Travel Centers of America and Loves) tend to have lower prices. If you have a Sam's or Costco membership, be sure to take advantage of those gas discounts. And once again for you lucky iPhone and Android owners, there's an app to help you out here, too! The GasBuddy app directs you to the area's lowest prices by entering in the city or zipcode.
6.) If you own more than one vehicle, drive the one that gets better gas mileage if possible. It may not have as much leg room, but your wallet will be a lot happier!
Now that you're armed with advice and tips, let the road trip begin! To save a little extra money, be sure to stop by the Official Myrtle Beach Welcome Center on your way into town for discounts on attraction tickets and hotel stays. Stay tuned for more tips on great vacation savings!