June 18, 2015 ·

5 Tips to Save Big on Summer Road Trips

The summer travel season has started and highways are quickly filling up with vacationers. 

Most money savvy travelers know that road trips can be a less expensive type of vacation and usually require fewer upfront costs. Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, even minor expenses can add up to big spending.

Before you hit the road this year, here are five quick tips to keep your summer road trip on budget. With these tips you can keep your costs down and save your vacation money for the things you really want to buy.

Plan Ahead

When getting ready to hit the road, it’s important to not only plan out the route, but also to think about the stops you’re going to make. Do you have friends or family you can visit along the way? Have you considered camping or using a travel website, like Airbnb?

Planning your route ahead of time can help you prioritize the supplies you need to pack and make arrangements for less expensive places to stay.

If you decide to book hotel rooms for your trip, making your reservations in advance can help you secure a lower rate or find a less expensive option in the same area.

Not a planner or feeling adventurous? Websites like kayak.com and hotels.com offer great deals on last minute hotel rooms.

Get a Tune Up

Do you know what’s worse than your car breaking down?

Your car breaking down in the middle of nowhere.

Before you back out of the driveway, make sure to schedule a tune up or maintenance check at your local mechanic’s shop.  If your car is low on fluids or is going to need a major repair in the near future, you want to discover that before your road trip starts.

You also want to make sure your car is running as efficiently as possible to keep you gas costs low.

Investing a little money in your car on the front end of your road trip can help prevent expensive surprise repairs or breakdowns while you’re on the road.

Pack Smart

While it might be tempting to bring extra supplies or clothing on your trip, it’s important to think about fuel efficiency. Extra luggage adds extra weight to your car, which makes your car work harder and burn more fuel.

Be realistic with yourself when packing. If you are only going to wear a pair of shoes or use a piece of athletic equipment once, it may not be necessary to bring on your trip.

Also, if you’re going on a longer trip, consider locating laundry facilities near your destination. It’s more fuel efficient to pack a limited number of outfits and wash them on the road than to cram several weeks’ worth of clothing in your trunk.

Bring a Cooler

Stopping for snacks at convenience stores and gas stations can quickly add up and put your road trip vacation over budget. Save yourself some money by packing a cooler with your favorite snacks and drinks.

Not only can you get a better deal on snacks at a grocery store or warehouse store, you can also save time on your trip by making fewer pit stops.

When packing your cooler, remember that you’re going to be eating on the road. You may not want to pack food that requires a lot of assembly, like sandwiches, or snacks that can spoil easily, like soft cheese.

Also, bring a variety of cold and room temperature food so your snacks can last the whole trip, even if your ice doesn’t.


If you don’t plan your vacation budget ahead of time, it’s easy to overspend. Before you leave on your trip, take some time to evaluate your finances and your bank account. You need to decide how much money you can reasonably spend on vacation without hurting yourself financially.

It’s also important to think about the expenses you will incur on your trip. Be realistic and think about how much money you will need to spend on things like gas, lodgings, food and activities.

Check your budget to see if you have enough money to cover your estimated expenses.

Before you head out this summer, make sure you download the Delta Community Credit Union app to keep up with your finances and to find fee-free ATMs on the road.

No matter where the road takes you this summer, incorporating these tips into your vacation can add up to big savings. Spend less on gas, repairs and minor expenses so you can experience more of America on the open road.