smart spending

7 tips for a frugal, hassle-free road trip

Finance the trip
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Riley says you don't have to be debt-free to take a summer road trip.

"It can take four to five years to pay off credit cards, and not taking a break during that time can be tough on your kids," Riley says.

You'll want to start a savings account prior to your planned escape, and when you have the dollar amount you need, use that first. If you received a tax refund, you can include 10 percent of it but don't dedicate all your refund to travel, Riley says.

A prepaid credit card can help to keep you within your budget. Just make sure it doesn't have excessive fees associated with it.

To avoid going into debt, save money with a detailed budget for what you'll spend on lodging, meals, activities and gas. Include about 10 percent over that estimate for unforeseen expenses like car repairs or medical expenses.

"You should also take some cash in case you run into a place that doesn't take credit cards," Riley says.

Another way to save money is to limit your time away to less than 10 days.




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