With the three-day Labor Day weekend coming up, now is the perfect time to plan a road trip. To ensure your trip stays budget-friendly, follow these tips:
Get your car checked
The tires should be checked to make sure they have the right air pressure. And if you're almost due for an oil change, get it done before you leave. Check that all the lights are working properly and take an extra minute to clean dirt off the headlights to make it easier to drive at night. It's best to find out about a problem while you can still fix it before your Labor Day trip.
Find a good gas credit card
Another great step to take before you hit the road is to get a credit card that specifically rewards you when you fill up on gas. Since gas is often one of the main expenses for any road trip, having a card that gives you cash back or other rewards can be an easy way to save money.
Avoid toll booths
There are few things more annoying to pay than highway tolls, especially when they can cost $15 or more over the course of a one-way trip in some areas, according to CostToDrive.com. Your smartphone, GPS or even Google Maps can help you find ways to navigate around the tolls.
Pack your own food
Instead of stopping every few hours to eat at a restaurant, why not pack easy-to-eat items like muffins or cereal bars for breakfast? For lunch, fill a cooler with cold cuts and bring along nuts and granola bars. Not only will you be saving money by not eating out for breakfast and lunch, but you'll also save time by not having to stop as frequently and wait for your food to be prepared.
Find local deals
There are many ways to find coupons for local attractions that are great for the summertime, such as boat rides, Segway tours and fancy restaurants. Browse sites like Groupon and Living Social a few days or weeks before you leave to see what deals are available. Just pay attention to any expiration dates, rules and limitations.