5 Ways to Save on a Summer Road Trip

posted May 15, 2019 in Blog

With summer quickly approaching, we can find ourselves wanting to plan a getaway or two. Even though many dream vacation spots require an expensive flight or are simply just out of budget, don’t be discouraged - there are many places you can drive to and have just as great of an experience!  By turning your summer vacation into a road trip and taking the time to plan in advance, you will not only save money but also save yourself some extra stress. 

Here are a few ways to save some green on your next four-wheeled adventure. Try out these savings tips and let us know what you think!

1. Budget beforehand.
If there’s one rule of financially savvy vacationing, it’s this one: Make a budget before you hit the road. It can be easy to justify an ever-ballooning budget. A few dollars here and there can quickly turn into one big expense. Instead, take control of your spending by giving yourself a realistic goal of how much you’ll spend.  If you end up a few dollars over, you can make up the difference much easier than if you were to later find out you massively overspent. Making a budget also gives you an idea of how much you need to save between now and the start of your grand adventure.

2. Feed your future.
Gas station food might be an attractive option after you’ve spent all day on the road, but it’s not always the best plan. In addition to the cost, the food is generally fried and unhealthy and you probably don’t want to spend the first few days of a great vacation sweating off a pound of fried cheese! Beyond the food, spending money on bottled beverages can do some quick damage to your budget. As much as possible, prepare your snacks before leaving. Even if that means just putting snack sized bags of chips together out of a full sized bag and filling a cooler jug with water...the cost savings are well worth the time. If you’re feeling more on top of things, consider packing bread and sandwich fixings to save on roadside lunches. If you plan on stopping at restaurants for dinner, consider shopping ahead of time at a gift card exchange site where you can grab other people’s Christmas rejects for a fraction of the price, or check Groupon for good restaurant deals in most cities across the US.

3. Vet your vehicle.
Nothing will influence the road trip experience more than your choice of vehicle.  This is where you’ll be for several hours a day, so you’ll want to make sure it’s as comfortable as possible. Beyond a thorough cleaning, consider what maintenance tasks you’ve been putting off. Get a tire rotation and an oil change before you leave to avoid having to pay for expensive repairs on the road. You’ll also want to make sure all the legalities are covered. For example, make sure your insurance is current and you know where your proof of insurance card is located, call your insurance company to make sure you’re covered if someone else is driving your car, confirm your plate tags are current and ensure you know where all your important documents are. Taking these steps can prevent an expensive and time-consuming ticket along the way!

4. Check out BenefitHub in Members-only if you’re a GICU member!
You can log in to Members-Only using your full name and member number. Under membership benefits you’ll find BenefitHub which is an exclusive discounts and rewards marketplace where GICU members can save on thousands of items and search for restaurants, theme parks or other places you may want to visit on your road trip. You’ll find some great savings!

5. Use your GICU Mastercard® Cash Rewards Card.
Don’t pass up cash you could be earning just from your regular purchases! This card gives you no balance transfer fees, no annual fee and FREE Mastercard ID Theft and Protection. Use your card to make any pre-road trip purchases as well as all the purchases you make along the way! You’ll be rewarded with extra cash, so why not?

Greater Iowa wants to help make this your best summer yet.  We encourage you to use these tips to plan a fun-filled road trip while saving money so you are able to do it all again next summer! We would love to hear where your adventures take you while you’re earning cashback with our new cash rewards credit card and saving with BenefitHub!   We are always happy to help!

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