If you’re about to embark on a road trip across the U.S., then you’re probably prepared to confront the hefty cost of gas. Driving from New York to California is approximately 3,000 miles. Averaging 300 miles per tank, that’s about $600 in gas alone. But while you’re stressing about gas creeping past $4 a gallon, it is important to remember there are lots of other ways you can start racking up the charges while crossing the country.
Here are some ways to pre-plan and save!
You’re ravenous and cruising on a never ending stretch of highway. Don’t get sucked into eating whatever drive-through or convenience store pops up on the side of the road. You’re going to pay a premium for food in out of the way locations, and most likely, it will be far less nutritious and appetizing than had you given it a little forethought. Stop at a grocery store before you head out each morning and grab ½ lb. of fresh turkey or ham from the deli counter, wheat rolls and an avocado. All you need is a plastic knife to assemble your own sandwiches. Load up on high protein and filling snacks like beef jerky, almonds and assorted nuts, string cheese and apples, all easy to nosh on behind the wheel. It will save your wallet and your waistline, especially since sitting in the car for several days on end is no help to either.
Making conversation for 3,000 miles can be a challenge, and buying CD’s, downloading albums on iTunes (STOCK QUOTE: AAPL) and audio books can get pricey. That’s why the Cracker Barrel’s Books-On-Audio program is a wallet (and relationship) saver. Visit any of the 579 Cracker Barrel (STOCK QUOTE: CBRL) locations and buy an audio book (prices range from $9.99 to $48.00). Listen on the road and return to any of the other locations for a full refund, minus $3.49 for each week you’ve had it. Cracker Barrels are commonly accessible off major highways, with huge billboards marking their locations.