Take our recent family trip as a prime example.

We recently drove to Asheville, NC, and then headed south to Orlando and the Florida Keys. Our biggest obstacle on the road ahead was gas. We knew we were going to use gallons up gallons of gas to get there, so that was my first area of focus. How can we be thrifty with gas and not break the bank? Here are two great gas saving tips.

We have an American Express card that we use to purchase construction materials on, so my first order of business was to use my reward points to purchase gas cards. While American Express is not the only credit card company to offer gas cards, it happens to be our favorite! Check to see if your card(s) have any rewards! Throughout our entire two week trip from MD to NC to FL and back, we only paid for one full tank of gas out of pocket!

Another great gas savings tool is the Gasbuddy app. Be sure to download this app prior to your trip! This app will help you locate the cheapest gas based on your current location. It’s very simple to use!

Although eating out while on a road trip can be fun, we decided to save money by bringing a cooler full of food with us. I know, it’s an obvious step to save money, but a lot of people don’t bother doing it. Give it a try! I’m not saying we didn’t dine out during out trip, we definitely did and enjoyed ourselves, but I’d rather save the money (and calories) for the local restaurants we come across when we get to our destinations! I’m all for eating out at a great restaurant, but gas station food, while usually cheap, can sometimes leave you making more stops than necessary if you catch my drift! Also, I didn’t want to leave food at home to go bad while we were gone for two and a half weeks. I HATE wasting groceries! Plus, I got to use my favorite travel cooler (seriously, I use this thing any chance I can…check it out) . It kept us fed and stopped us from wasting food and saved us money!

Hotels can be a huge money sponge. Look for alternative accomodations to keep your wallet fat. We found a great deal on an Air B&B loft in Asheville that turned out to be cheaper than most of the hotels in the area. Not only was it cheaper, it was also gorgeous AND had an amazing kitchen where we could store our food we packed This means we could make at least one of our meals each day! My husband and I wanted to try some locally brewed beer, so instead of ordering out at a restaurant or bar, we bought some local beer at the store and kept them in the fridge at the air B&B.

An unintentional savings occurred when we were out at breakfast the last day of our trip. Our waiter came over to inform us a couple that was sitting near us decided to pick up the bill for “the couple with the adorable baby”. It’s about time he started giving us a return on our investment! 😉

There are so many great hotel rewards programs, too many to list here. Perhaps I will discuss those in a separate post. but I’ve been a big fan of hotels.com for a while now and enjoy the ease of booking through their site. When you collect 10 nights you get 1 free, and you also have access to additional savings and secret prices. La Quinta, Wyndham, and Marriott have popular reward programs as well. Another piece of advice is that I use my Capital One Venture card points to redeem toward our travel. I know some people may be hesitant to sign up for a credit card, but trust me; they can be very beneficial when you use them responsibly! The Chase Sapphire card is another credit card that has fantastic rewards for frequent travelers. Right now with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card you can earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months ($625 toward travel)!

I hope you have found some of these travel savings tips useful! Please feel free to comment below if you have any additional savings techniques to add.