Summertime tends to be peak road trip season in the U.S., and for good reason. It’s when the weather is warmer, school isn’t in session, and work schedules tend to be calmer, at least in some industries.
According to a recent survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, 69% of Americans are likely to take an overnight trip this summer. But soaring gas prices could put a damper on some of those plans.
In fact, 90% of travelers say they’ll be taking gas prices into consideration when deciding whether to travel at all in the next three months. And 33% are likely to cancel their plans and not reschedule due to soaring gas costs.
If you’re tired of paying up at the pump, you’re in good company. But it pays to take these steps to lower your gas-related spending.
1. Travel when traffic isn’t so heavy
The more time you spend idling in traffic, the less fuel-efficient your next trip is apt to be. And that could cost you. That’s why it’s important to time your driving strategically. Rather than depart at a time when traffic might be heavy — say, a Friday afternoon — see if you can leave on a Friday morning, or on a Thursday night. Avoiding traffic could make your trip cost less — not to mention save you some aggravation.
2. Travel in a group rather than go solo
Thinking of hitting the road alone? While it’s easy to see why that’s appealing, given where gas costs are sitting today, you may instead want to enlist some friends to join you — and split the cost of gas. Plus, if you’re taking a longer trip, it might help to have people to share the driving with.
3. Research gas prices at your destination and along the way
Apps like GasBuddy make it easy to find the cheapest gas in town. So use them. Even if you only end up reaping modest savings, you might as well spend less when you can.
4. Use a credit card with strong gas rewards
Some credit cards offer generous amounts of cash back for gas purchases. And if you use the right one, you could end up shaving a lot of money off the cost of your trip. That said, some gas stations offer a substantial discount for paying for fill-ups in cash, so before you swipe your credit card at the pump, crunch the numbers to make sure using a credit card is your better bet.
Let’s face it — the cost of gas isn’t likely to come down this summer. And while President Biden’s proposed gas tax holiday could save you a little money, it may not make such a big dent in your total gas-related spending. But if you time your travels strategically, travel with others, research local gas prices, and swipe the right credit card, you may find that your summertime road trip is more affordable than expected. That’s something to keep in mind before rushing to call it off.
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