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How to save on your family's next road trip

By DealPro(view all posts by SavingByDesign)
at 8:30AM Monday April 29, 2013
under Money Saving Tips

While relaxing on your vacation this year, don't relax that budget too much! It's never fun to come home to the stress of having spent too much while you were away. Thankfully there are lots of easy ways to save while enjoying your trip.

Start racking up the savings before your vacation even begins by taking advantage of gas reward programs. Many grocery stores offer discounts on gas for shopping at their store. Start accumulating those gas points leading up to your trip and then cash them in for a cheap tank of gas. Last year we saved $0.70 per gallon of gas when we filled up for our vacation.

You can also score some FREE spending money by taking advantage of rewards sites such as Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a loyalty program where you can earn free stuff for doing the things you do every day like searching the web, buying daily deals, and answering polls and surveys. You then redeem your points for your choice of thousands of prizes. To score yourself some FREE spending money just rack up the Swag Bucks until it's time to cash them in for a Paypal gift card before your vacation.

When planning your trip, consider traveling in the "off season." While the difference in a few weeks might not make a big difference in the weather, it can make a huge difference in the room and rental rates! Vacationing in the weeks before and after "peak season" can save you up to 50%!

No matter what time of the season you decide to vacation, one way to save is to share the cost. Instead of staying in a hotel or motel, share a rental with friends or family. Not only will you have a full condo or house, you'll save money by being able to cook your own meals instead of dining out all the time.

That brings us to the next way to save - shop the grocery stores just like you would at home…with coupons! Find out which grocery stores are available in the area where you'll be vacationing. Sign up ahead of time for that store's FREE membership card (if they have one) and join their email list so you are in the know on exclusive promotions and coupons. Check for store match-ups online and shop while saving up to 50% on your groceries. If you need a refresher coupon class or are new to couponing you can find a savings workshop in your area!

When looking for some fun things to do on your vacation, don't forget to check the daily deal sites. National deal sites such as Groupon offer deals on restaurants, entertainment, and activities for cities across the country. Take a look and see if they have a fun deal for the location you'll be traveling to…you might be pleasantly surprised at what you find!

Finally, don't wait to get to your destination to stock up on everything. You'll definitely find a better deal on some things at home. For example, if you're headed to the beach for your vacation, buy things like water, sunscreen, and sand toys before you leave. These are hot items at the beach and will often cost you a pretty penny there. At home you can usually find a sale on sunscreen and water, and sand toys can be found in your local dollar store.

Kara Zoeller is founder of SavingByDesign.com and a Savings.com DealPro. She is a stay-at-home mom, couponer, and crafter and loves to share her favorite ways to save on groceries, craft supplies, gifts, and more!

(Source: Savings.com)