Lower gas prices = vacations

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If you’ve been daydreaming about sliding behind the wheel of your car and taking a road trip this summer, it just might be because gas prices have declined somewhat over the last several weeks in most parts of the country — at least that’s what Discover Financial Services says.

Discover’s most recent U.S. Spending Monitor noted that lower gas prices have increased consumer spending intentions for summer vacations. While in general, consumer confidence in the economy remained flat, fewer consumers indicated that gas prices were affecting their summer vacation plans than in prior months. In the most recent report, 46 percent reported that gas prices were causing them to change spending and vacation plans, a 7 percent drop from the prior month. And 57 percent said that gas prices would affect their discretionary spending, a 2 percent decline.

While traveling by car is almost always cheaper than flying, gas prices are still high enough that savvy road trippers will budget the cost of gas when planning their trip. A handy tool to do the math for you using real-time prices on the roads you’ll be traveling on your route is at Cost2Drive.com. The website, as well as Cost2Drive’s smartphone app, calculates gas costs based on your specific car and also tells you the cheapest places to stop for a fill-up along your route.

For more ideas about finding cheap gas, read 4 Strategies to Save Money on Gas.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.