Many Americans will travel by car to cut costs on their summer vacation this year. Here are some trips for stretching your travel dollars:
Avoid ATM add-ons. To dodge paying out-of-network fees for cash withdrawals, ask your bank for a map of its ATM locations along your route.
Map it. Use one of these free online road-trip planners to build a custom map and itinerary: AAA TripTik (www.aaa.com, chose “Online Trip Tiks” in the left corner; Yahoo trip planner (travel.yahoo.com/trip); or Rand McNally TripMaker Planning Tool (www.randmcnally.com).
Prep your car. Before you leave, have your mechanic check the level of all fluids, inspect belts and hoses, check the battery and tires, and inspect the air-conditioning system.
Conserve gas. Avoid hard acceleration and braking. Keep tires properly inflated.
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Look for lodging deals. Take advantage of membership discounts and perks from hotel loyalty programs or groups like AARP or AAA.
Get smart. Smart phone applications can be useful on the road and some are free. Navigation apps like those from Navigon and TomTom let your phone function like a stand-alone GPS. Aloqua, Urbanspoon, and Yelp find nearby attractions and restaurants in your price range.