ATLANTA, July 29, 2014 — A new survey from digital offers destination RetailMeNot.com shows nearly four in 10 Americans plan to hit the road this summer.
For many, the family or friends road trip can be a warm, or horrific, memory.
“Road trips are certainly the most flexible way to travel,” Trae Bodge, senior editor for RetailMeNot.com, said in an interview. “It’s hard to really quantify, simply because individual trips vary widely, but I will say that the generally perception is that road trips can be very economical if travelers avoid the common pitfalls, namely overpaying on gas, food and lodging.”
The survey of 1,023 travelers 18 years and older, conducted in conjunction with The Omnibus Company, found that 95 percent of road trippers believe people spend more money than planned during road trips.
Common pitfalls on a road trip: Spending too much on food (72 percent), gas (62 percent), hotels (40 percent) and entertainment (40 percent).
“Travelers should weigh their options by determining where they want to go, how many days they have available and the cost of flying vs. driving, factoring in the number of nights they might need a hotel,” Bodge said. “Gas prices are fairly high at the moment, so it’s important to research where the best gas prices are and fill up accordingly.”
While 50 percent cite staying within budget as a hard to accomplish goal, 38 percent say finding affordable gas is a challenge. Travelers in the South (42 percent) and Midwest (42 percent) are more likely than their fellow gadabouts in the West (35 percent) and Northeast (32 percent) to fear not tracking down reasonably priced gas while on a road trip.
Bodge suggests an app such as the Road Ninja smartphone app to help locate the nearest gas stations and also shows the prices at each one.
The survey also revealed 41 percent of people are likely to dine at local restaurants instead of chain restaurants whenever possible. Additionally, 39 percent of travelers would stop for a meal at a famous restaurant, while 29 percent would pull off for a fun or interesting activity.
“Travelers should pack a cooler with drinks and snacks, preventing expensive snacking stops and unnecessary indulgences,” Bodge said. “Also, hotels should ideally be booked in advance so you can look for deals and not be at the mercy of roadside motels.”
Bodge suggested checking in advance on whether hotels offer money saving amenities such as free Wi-Fi, free breakfast and free parking.