Road Trip Tips & 9 Destinations
Road trips can be pricey, but they don't have to be if you're smart about it. That's why we compiled this guide with gas-saving tips and budget-friendly vacation destinations.
Gas Saving Tips
Did you know that taking a few minutes to perform proactive maintenance and checks on vehicles can actually help improve efficiency and enhance engine performance? Here are a few recommendations to save on gas.
Keep Your Vehicle Maintained
- According to the U.S. Department of Energy, getting a tune-up when needed can improve a vehicle's gas mileage by up to 4%, depending on the maintenance needed
- Checking and maintaining the proper levels on all fluids can prevent engines from overheating. These fluids include engine oil, transmission fluids, and coolant
- Improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% or up to $0.12 per gallon by keeping your tires inflated at the proper pressure
- For maximum performance, power and fuel efficiency, replace spark plugs as recommended in the owner's manual. Spark plugs can affect fuel efficiency, emissions and economy. As spark plugs wear, they do not burn fuel as cleanly, which is why it is important to change spark plugs at the proper interval
Be Cautious of Your Driving Style
- Efficient driving practices, such as observing the speed limit and eliminating excess weight, can help get the most out of your tank
- Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.31 per gallon for gas
- An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent. The reduction affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones
- Aggressive idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioning use
- Aggressive driving - speeding, rapid acceleration and braking - can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town
Now that you’ve taken care of your vehicle and prepared for summer driving, where should you head to? Here’s a list of destinations for you to enjoy this summer. We made sure to choose spots in many parts of the country, so no matter where you live (or how far your willing to drive) there's a destination for you.
9 Road Trip Destinations
New Orleans, LA
This beautiful and one-of-a-kind city offers something for everyone! The Central Business District—a three-block walk or fun trolley ride away from the famous French Quarter—has reasonable room rates, complete with many amenities (rooftop pools, delicious and authentic restaurants on site, etc.).
If you're looking for something romantic, there are plenty of couples' rates on room and event packages that won't cost a fortune. Many city/ghost tours and great, and affordable food will surely leave everyone in the family happy. And, don't forget to visit the nearby swamps to see an alligator up close!
For more information, visit neworleans.com.
The city of brotherly love…and great savings! Philadelphia is one of the nation's largest and oldest cities, full of fun things to see and do— especially in the warmer summer months. Independence Park is a good option for kids and history buffs, with the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall right across the street and the Reading Terminal Market and China Town just a short walk away. Hotels in the area offer specials starting at 15% off your entire stay.
Check out visitphilly.com for more ideas and information.
When thinking travel destinations, Portland may not jump to mind, but the city offers a little bit of everything! For the avid biking family or couple, Portland offers 300 miles of bike lanes, trails and special low-traffic streets. Certain hotels even offer special “biking packages,” and there is no shortage of guided biking tours. Pedal your heart out!
Visit travelportland.com for complete listings of attractions and tourist information.
A variety of enjoyable tourist attractions, a simple Southern charm and great rates make Charlotte the ideal destination in the South! Home of Michael Jordan and its own unique brand of barbecue, there is more to Charlotte than meets the eye.
A great deal of Charlotte's exciting entertainment options are free! Plus, a strong live music scene boasts every musical style, and there is a festival for every occasion—try Taste of Charlotte if you like good food (who doesn't?).
Learn about Taste of Charlotte and more by visiting charlottesgotalot.com.
Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, deep dish Chicago-style pizza… what is there not to love about Chicago? Grant Park offers free concerts every week during the summer months and some of the best fireworks displays on holidays. And, there is a new neighborhood festival every weekend—many culturally and nationally inspired.
The perfect place to visit for any family, couple or single with countless attractions and enticing pricing! Hotels can be found right in the heart of Chicago's downtown, no more than a 15-minute walk from most sightseeing, shopping and eating destinations.
Find out what else there is to love about Chicago at choosechicago.com.
San Francisco, CA
You will truly leave your heart in San Francisco after you visit! San Francisco offers many free attractions such as Pier 39, the walk down famous Lombard Street and a stroll through Ghirardelli Square. For those who want a taste of wine country, Napa Valley and Sonoma are only about an hour away. For the foodie, San Francisco also offers a wide variety of cuisine. Make sure you try some clam chowder while you are there!
For hotel and other tourist information, visit sftravel.com.
A family- and wallet-friendly beach vacation everyone will love. With a history as rich as its delectable seafood dishes, Mobile offers gorgeous scenery and a laid-back vibe that are a breath of fresh air.
The famous Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Alabama Battleship Memorial Park and Original Mardi Gras celebration are all at your fingertips in Mobile—and Gulf Shores is a short drive down the road! The multitude of low-ticket attractions and reasonable accommodations make Mobile a memorable getaway that won't break the bank.
For more information about Mobile and other destinations, visit alabama.travel.
San Antonio, TX
One of Texas' and the nation's best-kept travel secrets. Its proximity to Mexico gives it a truly unique flavor, and there is no shortage of enticing activities. The Alamo, River Walk restaurants and cruises, and a string of famous theme and water parks give San Antonio an edge over the competition.
There are many affordable vacation packages built around these attractions—a great way to see the sites without having to take the time and energy to build your own itinerary. Just sit back and rely on the experts to do that! Nearby outlet malls, Six Flags and Sea World make San Antonio the perfect family fun spot!
Get everything you need to plan your vacation at visitsanantonio.com.
The perfect getaway for those of you too far from the beach or the big city to make the trip, but still seeking adventure. In the midst of the glorious Ozark Mountains, outdoorsy folks will be in their element. If nature is not your thing, no problem: there are plenty of live shows, sporting events and shopping destinations for you to enjoy.
Book your trip and check out more attractions at explorebranson.com.
Before You Leave
You can never anticipate everything that could go wrong on the road but some preventative maintenance can go a long way towards keeping you on the road. Do the following:
- Test Your Battery
- Check Headlights and Windshield Wipers
- Replace Worn Brakes
- Change Your Oil
- Check Your Coolant Level
- Check your Rubber: Belts, Hoses, and Tires
- Use a Fuel System Cleaner
- Keep Essential Tools In Car
- Be Sure You Have A Roadside Emergency Kit
Following the road trip checklist above will rule out a lot of potential problems that could come up on the road, because while nothing beats the excitement of a road trip, there’s no fun in trying to track down an auto parts store when you’re miles away from home. Luckily, there are more than 6,000 AutoZone stores across the nation. You can always have peace of mind knowing if something unexpected happens on the road, there is an AutoZone store nearby to help along the way. Whether you’re going 50 miles or 500 miles, we also know road trips are just as much about getting back home as getting to your destination.