A road trip is an affordable way to travel—but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make it even more economical. Here are seven road trip tips that help you hit the road for less:

Road trip tips for planning your adventure

Use a travel advisor to help with planning

You can make your trip more enjoyable and efficient by carefully planning your route and stops. Do you want the most scenic route or the most direct? What sightseeing spots will you visit, and where will you stay each night?

Save yourself hours of online searching by making an appointment with our experts at your local AAA branch. They can help you plan and even give you free maps and AAA TourBooks for the places you’ll be visiting.

Rather DIY? Explore AAA Road Trips for inspiration, including sample itineraries with driving routes, recommended stops and more.

Get discounts on hotel costs

Having the perfect place to spend the night after a long day of driving and exploring means a lot. Getting a room with a discount is a bonus.

Whether you’re the driver or a passenger, keep roadside assistance in your back pocket (literally) with AAA Mobile.

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AAA Members save up to 20 percent at hotels across the country, including well-known brands like Marriott® and Best Western®. Book online before you go to avoid no-vacancy signs along the way. If you do need to stop unexpectedly, use the AAA Mobile app to find hotels near you—including ones that offer AAA discounts—and book right from your phone.

Earn AAA Dollars on road trip essentials

Check your packing list to ensure you have things like beach towels, swimsuits and sunscreen before you go—they can cost much more to buy at your destination. You can stock up on staples by shopping through the AAA Dollars Online Mall at stores like Target, Kohl’s and Walmart. (You’ll earn AAA Dollars on your purchases that will be deducted from your annual membership dues.)

Need a new bag to tote everything in? AAA Members save 20 percent at Samsonite stores and online.

Tune up the car before you leave

Our road trip tips list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning your car. Getting it examined by a professional mechanic will add peace of mind on your road trips—and reduce the chances of a costly breakdown.

At AAA Approved Auto Repair shops, members get a free maintenance inspection and a 10 percent discount (up to $50) off labor on regular-price services. Members also save 10 percent on parts and accessories, like windshield wipers—a must-have!—at NAPA Auto Parts stores.

Reserve (and save on) a rental car

If you choose to avoid wear and tear on your car, you’ll want to pick a rental car company with great perks.

AAA Members save up to 20 percent at Hertz®. Plus, you get a child, infant or booster seat for free (a savings of $13.99 per day!). It’s especially useful for families who plan to fly to their destination and then drive—in other words, no lugging a child seat onto a plane.

Road trip tips for during your adventure

Find the lowest gas prices

Budgeting for fuel is wise. But how do you know the difference in gas prices along your route? Here are a few road trip tips for your gas tank.

Just enter the make and model of your car, your starting point and your destination—and the AAA Gas Cost Calculator does the rest. Once you’re on the road, use AAA Mobile to find the lowest gas prices near you.

Road trip pro tip: Be on the lookout for Shell stations, where AAA Members save at least 5 cents per gallon on every fill-up throughout 2019 when you join the Fuel Rewards® program. Some restrictions apply.

Eat a great meal at a great price

Food is an important part of any road trip. And given how often you’ll be eating in restaurants, you’ll want to balance a great meal and a great price.

Tap the dining icon on the AAA Mobile app to find nearby restaurants—and look for AAA Diamond and dollar symbols that indicate member discounts. Among them: Hard Rock Cafe, Denny’s (except in North Dakota) and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.

Save on Your Road Trip

From restaurants and hotels to games and attractions, search for AAA discounts online—you can use them now or save them for later.