Road-Tripping This Spring? 4 Ways to Save as Gas Prices Soar

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  • Road trips are a great way to explore the country and save money on airfare.
  • With gas costs rising, it's important to be strategic about your approach to driving and filling your car's tank.

Here's how to avoid spending a small fortune.

If you're planning to get out and about this spring, you may be in good company. A lot of people are itching to travel after having spent much of 2020 and 2021 stuck at or close to home.

You have choices when it comes to travel. You could board a flight, or you could lower your travel costs by hopping in the car instead and taking a road trip. To be clear, driving won't always cost less than flying, but in many cases, it will -- especially once you account for added expenses like paying for checked bags and getting to and from airports.

At the same time, though, gas has gotten expensive, due in part to general inflation and also due to the Ukraine crisis. While the Biden administration is taking steps to address higher gas costs, you could still end up spending a fair amount of money at the pump this spring.

But rising gas prices don't have to ruin your road-tripping plans. Here are four things you can do to eke out some savings.

1. Don't travel solo

Some people like hitting the road alone. But if you're willing to invite friends or loved ones along for the ride, you'll have people to split the cost of gas with. That alone could be a huge money-saver.

Plus, once you reach your destination, you may need to pay for lodging. Splitting a hotel room with someone else could free up lots of room in your budget.

2. Mind your speed

Zooming down the highway could lead to lower fuel efficiency -- and higher gas costs. As such, it pays to keep your speed to a moderate level. Doing so could also help you avoid an unwanted ticket -- and the headache that could ensue afterward.

3. Use the right credit cards

Some credit cards offer generous levels of cash back at the pump. If your current credit cards don't, be sure to apply for a new one that offers bonus cash for fill-ups.

4. Look out for cash discounts

As convenient as it may be to use a credit card to fill up your car, many gas stations offer a substantial discount when you pay in cash instead. If you're going to be hitting the road, make sure to visit the bank first and take out some cash so you have that option in the course of your travels.

While using cash will mean giving up credit card rewards on your fill-ups, often, it'll be worth forgoing that perk. Or, to put it another way, if you can save $3 in the course of filling up your car and paying cash, that makes more sense than using a credit card to earn $1.50 in cash back.

Now that milder weather is setting in across the country, it's a great time to hop in the car and explore a new city or get off the beaten path. Just be sure to use these tips to make your travels less expensive at a time when gas costs are soaring.

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