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How to Avoid Breaking the Bank on Your Next Road Trip

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So you’ve booked the best hotel deals, scoped out the cheapest gas prices, and even packed a few sandwiches to save money on lunch and dinner. But here’s the kicker – you’re still probably going to break your budget.

According to a recent survey conducted by RetailMeNot.com, 95 percent of Americans end up spending more money than they had planned during road trips.

The survey also found that 38 percent are planning to take a road trip this summer and that one-in-three plan to purchase souvenirs along the way.

Okay, I get it, it’s vacation! How can you not spend more money than you normally would?

When you’re high on the smell of sunscreen and saltwater, it can be hard not to validate extra purchases because they’re “once in a lifetime” or swipe your card at an expensive burger joint because it’s “an experience.”

You’ve worked hard this year to get yourself on this vacation, so you might as well not throw all your hard-earned money out the window just because you have a little extra sunshine on your shoulders.

The best first step is to set a budget and make it almost impossible to break. Try a prepaid credit card (beware of excessive fees!) and some back-up cash just in case you can’t use your card.

You should also make sure that you’re packing smart. Make a detailed list of items that you’ll need for your trip and stick to it – that way you won’t end up having to spend extra money on forgotten car chargers or bottles of aspirin.

Choosing your restaurants and attractions beforehand can also keep your trip wallet-friendly. You can make sure you don’t run into any unexpected costs when you decide to hit a theme park or take an impromptu stop at a local must-see if you do your research beforehand, and when it comes to saving money at restaurants, this is the time to bust out those rewards cards!

The gas pump could be your biggest enemy on vacation this year, especially since the price per gallon is up a whopping $1.03 from last year. Practice thrifty driving by avoiding unnecessary acceleration and using a map or GPS to avoid getting lost, and when you have to stop to fuel up, use an app on your phone or a website like GasBuddy.com to find the cheapest rates near you.

Taking a holiday from your hometown doesn’t mean taking a holiday from the reality of paying your bills (sad, I know), so when you’re vacationing this summer, play it smart and budget like a pro.

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