Money-Saving Tips for Your Summer Road Trip

Hitting the road doesn't have to be expensive.

Jul 6, 2014 at 8:00AM

It's summer travel season again. This is a fun time of year for those hitting the road, but it can also be expensive. However, if you take the right steps, you might find that a vacation of your own isn't out reach. Let's look at a few money-saving travel tips to get you on your way to saving some serious cash.

1. Plan ahead

  • Be flexible. If you don't have a destination set yet, you can save a lot of cash by going to a city with less expensive hotels and meals, and it might cost you less to fly there. If you're willing to fly on an off-peak day or time, you can often get even cheaper tickets.
  • Use customer loyalty programs. Sign up for hotel rewards, airline air miles, and other customer loyalty perks, and put them to work saving you money on everything from lodging to plane tickets to your morning breakfast.
  • Investigate off-peak adventures. Some destinations are less expensive at certain times of the year. For example, cruises can be less expensive in the middle of the summer.

2. Don't let transportation take a huge bite out of your travel budget

  • Get online. From Hotwire to Priceline, you can save up to 20% just by using the Web to book a flight, instead of calling or using a travel agent.
  • Rev up your savings. When you rent a car, bundle it with your airfare. Remember, too, that members of AAA and various other clubs can save big on car rental expenses.
  • Don't limit your transportation options to just flying or driving. Depending on the distance, day of the week, and time of the year, it may be more cost-effective to take a train, for example.

3. Be prepared once you get there

  • Take public transportation. Rental cars don't have to be your only option, and cabs are expensive. Public transportation, however, is a steal. For example, in New Orleans a cab ride across town runs about $22, but a streetcar will take you the same distance for $1.25. Major cities will clearly post their transportation routes, so you can easily figure out where you want to go and how to get there.
  • Don't pay for overseas phone service. The hotel will let you use its phones to make calls internationally, but you'll pay a hefty premium for it. Make sure your hotel has Internet access. and set up a Skype or Google Voice account before you leave on vacation. Also, some wireless providers will set you up with the temporary ability to make international calls from your own phone.

4. Save on your food costs

  • You don't always have to eat out. Try to reserve a hotel room with a kitchenette, buy food locally, and cook in your room. Also buy essentials so you don't have to rely on the hotel. For example, hotels charge a lot for bottled water, so buy it in bulk at a local grocery store and keep it in your room. Hitting the local markets even comes with the added benefit of getting to explore your vacation city even more.

Make note of these tips while making your travel plans, and you'll be well on your way to saving money and enjoying your trip.

Warren Buffett: This new technology is a "real threat"
At the recent Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, Warren Buffett said this emerging technology is threatening his biggest cash cow. While Buffett shakes in his billionaire boots, only a few investors are embracing this new market, which experts say will be worth over $2 trillion. Find out how you can cash in on this technology before the crowd catches on, by jumping on to one company that could get you the biggest piece of the action. Click here to access a free investor alert on the company we're calling the brains behind the technology.

Jennifer Streaks is a financial columnist, author, and commentator. Continue the conversation by following her on Twitter: @JStreaks. She has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google (A and C shares), and Priceline Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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