We’re excited to celebrate — summer starts this weekend!
Well, according to science, we have to wait nearly another month for the official start to the season… but what fun is that?
Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer for many Americans, and we’re ready to enjoy the season!
You might be swimming, soaking up sun, barbecuing or simply enjoying a three-day weekend at home with your family.
Or maybe you’re one of a record number of Americans who will take to the road this holiday weekend.
AAA estimates 38 million Americans will travel over the weekend, 9 out of 10 by car. It’ll be the highest number since 2005 and the second-highest on record, according to Bankrate.
Cheap Gas = Cheap Road Trip
We suspect the falling price of gas is driving our nation’s drive to drive this weekend.
We tend to pessimistically predict a rise in gas prices during holiday travel spikes, but this year travelers are getting a bit of a break.
While this isn’t quite the sub-$2 price tag we saw on a gallon of gas a few months ago, you can still get pretty far without breaking your budget. Check out this map to see how far a $50 road trip can take you with low gas prices.
And before you leave, use this map to find the cheapest gas in your state.
Other Ways to Save Money on a Road Trip
Once you’ve got gas covered, it’s still easy to waste money on small expenses during a road trip.
Follow these additional tips to save money when you travel this Memorial Day weekend:
Skip the tourist traps, and visit national parks instead. An $80 pass will get you into any U.S. national park all year.
If you’re feeling rugged, camp at those parks to save money on hotels.
If you’re not so outdoorsy, try alternative accommodations like couchsurfing or house-sitting to save money.
Find free entertainment. Go on a photo walk or scenic hike, fly a kite or go to a board game cafe. In fact, we have an epic list of 25 budget-friendly, creative ways to have fun anywhere you go.
If you’d really rather stay home? Wow your family or friends by bringing one of these eight budget-friendly treats to the barbecue.
Happy Memorial Day, Penny Hoarders!
Your Turn: What are your favorite tips for saving money on a road trip?
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).