NEW YORK (MainStreet) While consumers flock towards road trips to save money on airfare, a new survey sheds light on some of the overlooked costs road trips entail.
According to RetailMeNot, 95% of respondents said people tend to overindulge and spend more than planned on road trips.
"Nearly 4 in 10 surveyed are planning to take a road trip this summer," says Trae Bodge, senior lifestyle editor for The Real Deal by RetailMeNot. "While the cost of traveling by car may seem cheaper compared to the cost of airfare, there are a variety of other factors to consider when budgeting for a road trip, like souvenirs, food costs, fluctuating gas prices and even car maintenance issues that often arise."
Gas prices typically inch higher during the summer months on the heels of higher demand. AAA said the average price for a gallon of gasoline stands at $3.565, compared to $3.671 at this time last year.
Tensions in Iraq and throughout the Middle East are putting upward pressure on energy prices. The price of a barrel of crude oil currently settled to $104.59, despite a 5% spike in prices on the heels of instability in oil rich Iraq.
While traveling, take advantage of the GasBuddy smartphone app to find the cheapest gas stations based on your location.
Should you rent a car on your road trip, you'll be asked to purchase rental car insurance, which can easily approach $20-$30 per day and add up to a steep amount. Check with your insurance company on your own car, as the insurance may apply to rental cars too, per a recent MainStreet report last month. Also ask your credit card company, which may offer rental car insurance, saving you the hefty expense of purchasing it from the rental car company.
Even while driving, there are plenty of opportunities to spend money. The survey said 73% of respondents stop every two to three hours on road trips. Parents with children are twice as likely to make at least one stop every hour along the way than those traveling without kids. Some 39% of respondents said they make stops at famous restaurants and 28% made stops at malls, two culprits of broken budgets.
When it comes to accommodations, which 40% of respondents said was a top expenditure on road trips, there are a few ways to cut costs.
Consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch http://andreaworoch.com points to Hotels.com as a resource to develop rewards points to eventually redeem a free night. "The site will even match the price should you find a cheaper rate elsewhere."
She also recommends the Hotel Tonight smartphone app to score upwards of 70% off on luxury hotel rooms. The app is for last minute reservations in select cities and is available on the iPhone and Android.
Especially if you are traveling out of state, Woroch suggests keeping your bank and credit card company in the loop with your travel plans, since these financial institutions may deem these purchases as fraudulent and freeze your funds.
- Written by Scott Gamm for MainStreet. Gamm is author of MORE MONEY, PLEASE