Heading out on a family road trip this summer? Here are a few money saving tips for your trip.

1. Pack a cooler with sandwiches and drinks, instead of spending your hard earned cash on expensive fast food and junk food. 2. Stop at convenience stores for hotdogs and drinks. They are so much cheaper than stopping at a fast-food restaurant for a “value” meal. 3. Heck, while you’re at the convenience store (Quick Trip, Flying J, TA or Travel America, and Race Track are my favorites) purchase a sandwich or sometimes even fresh fruit. Might as well use the restroom while you’re there too. 4. Stock up on the free mayonnaise, ketchup, honey, and mustard packets the next time you’re at a fast food restaurant. Don’t forget the napkins. Even if you get weird looks and someone gets ticked off at me for telling you to do this. 5. Don’t drive around from station to station to save gas. For example, on a 15 gallon tank, saving 2 cents per gallon will only save you about 30 cents. To save a full ten cents per gallon will save you $1.50. Is it really worth your time, convenience, and sanity after you get lost or go out of your way to have saved that little? Personally, I’d rather go without the hotdog. 6. Learn how to check and fill your oil/radiator/brake fluid/steering fluid/washer fluid yourself. A lot of places will do this for free or at a minimal cost, but it’s better if you know how in case one of these needs attention and you’re in an unfamiliar place.. 7. Never travel with less than 1/4 tank of gas…you don’t need to pay anyone to tow you to civilization because you thought you could make it another 45 miles. 8. Don’t get gas in tourist towns. 9. Wear your seatbelt and don’t speed through small towns. Well really, you shouldn’t be speeding at all, but I’m just warning you that there’s a reason my husband and I call Dumas, Texas what we do. 10. Rest stops/travel centers are your bathroom, snacks, travel information, picnicking, playground friend. Many even offer free WiFi access. 11. Be realistic on hotel prices. When you have to pay later with either a doctor’s visit for bedbugs or an insurance adjuster for stolen property you’ll be thanking me later. Try coupons and online deals instead and watch out for any room regularly advertised at less than $50 per night. Better yet, just go camping.

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