Don’t be afraid to set a budget and then see what deals are out there for places. I love trying out different cities and seeing what they have to offer.
Preparing Your Car for Your Road Trip
The last thing you want to worry about is your car breaking down and costing you an arm and a leg to repair.
We prefer renting a car for our longer trips, but if that’s not your plan then make sure you’re ready.
Make sure your fluids are taken care of. Double check your motor fluid levels, windshield wiper fluid, transmission, and your engine coolant.
Check to see if your tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can increase tire wear, increase your chances of being in an accident, and increase your gasoline costs.
Prepare for emergencies. If you haven’t already, make sure your emergency kit is ready and it’s packed in your trunk. To make it easier to prepare for road problems, there are some pre-made emergency car kits to get you started.
Planning for Stops on the Road
If you plan it correctly, driving to your destination can be a wonderful adventure in itself.
If you need it, get your maps ready. Having a GPS is handy, but I still like having a physical map in my hand. We’re driven through locations where we lost signal and it’s frustrating. If you have a kids it’s a great way for them to get familiar with an area and to learn to read maps.
Find the right spots to grab a bite. Don’t just stop at a fast food chain. Discover new spots by using sites like RoadFood. It’ll break up the long drive and you may discover a new favorite meal.
Be consistent with your driving speed. Don’t have a lead foot when driving. Stop and go driving decreases your fuel efficiency. Try to maintain your speed when you’re driving on the highway. Try to use cruise control when it you can to help you be steady with speed.
Keep your car light. Less weight means better mileage, so remove any junk in your trunk. Having a heavy load can take its toll as you drive around town.
Take advantage of your smartphone. Check apps like GasBuddy and AAA TripTik Mobile can help you find the best gas prices locally. I remember one gas station was ridiculously higher than another station less than a mile away. since it was closer to the exit, most people stopped at the pricier station which was a rip-off.
These tips have saved us some money at the gas pump. I hope they can help you too.
Thoughts on Road Trips
How many of you go on road trips for your getaways? What are some tips that you have for those traveling? If you’re parent, do you have tips on keeping everyone sane?
Are you two dealing with debt? Learn how you can approach it so you’re fighting the debt and not each other.
Note: This is a question I received from a reader and he kindly agreed to let me share his situation along with my response. (some details have been adjusted for privacy).
Which Order Should Debt Be Paid?
I am a 20-something year old small business owner with some uneven financial history.
I am at the stage in my life where I have to buckle down and fix my credit, get out of debt, and build a solid financial future with my fiancee.
My fiancee recently got a job and so we will have a consistent income for the first time in 2 years. We would like to take this opportunity to get out of debt.
We are getting married this summer (small debt free wedding) and I am trying to figure out should we eliminate our debts together? Or should we pick one person to get debt free and raise their credit then attack the other persons debts?
I have a higher credit score (high 500s) but more debts ($12000)
She has a lower credit score (low 500s) but less debts ($9000)
We can put a little over $600/month towards our debts for the next 24 months which will get either of us out of debt, but not both.
If we apply it across the board we will both have less negative accounts on our credit scores but will both still be in debt. We can of course keep paying off the debts.
Paying Off Debt Together
I think it’s great that the two of them have decided to work together on their finances and allocated $600/month to pay it down.
It sounds simple, but family finances can be incredibly hard if the two of you aren’t on the same page.
My response was basically that getting rid of both of their debts is important for financial and relationship reasons.
Financial Reasons for Paying Down Debt as a Couple
When we went to compare mortgage rates, the loan officer told us that they look at the lowest score between the two of us to determine the rates they’ll offer.
If these two are seeking to build their credit scores for a future purchase, like a mortgage, then increasing both of your scores is key.
What’s great with their plan of paying off the debt is that while they lowering the balances, they are in effect raising their credit score in more than one way. How?
Let’s look at how credit scores are calculated:
35% Payment History
30% Amount Owed
15% Length of Credit History
10% New Credit
10% Types of Credit
Being consistent on their debt snowball can help them improve their credit history and reduce the amount they owe. That’s 65% of their credit score.
If you’re looking for some tips on how we cut down on our debts, our system was basically: