5 Travel Tips to Make Your Next Road Trip a Success

Disclosure: Basic Travel Couple, LLC has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Basic Travel Couple, LLC and CardRatings and MileValue may receive a commission from card issuers. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Note: Some of the offers mentioned below may have changed or are no longer available. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. You can view our current offers here.

There is nothing like piling into the car with family or friends and taking a road trip. Road trips are an amazing way to explore the best parts of what our great country has to offer. Taking flights are not the only way to help gain access to free travel. With the state of the industry, now might be one of the best times to get behind the wheel. If you need extra inspiration, make sure to check out our Top 7 Reasons to Take a Road Trip this Summer. Help make your trip better with these five road trip travel tips.

1. Travel with peace of mind

Let’s face it, things just happen on road trips. You lock your keys in the car, tires can go flat, your car might not start. Cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, offer a $50 credit towards roadside assistance should anything go wrong on the road. Also with this is a number to call if you need any help.

While memberships like AAA are great, you may want to consider what you already have in your wallet. It may save you money and help you in a situation!

tow truck helping a car
Things happen!

2. Consider renting a car

It might seem like renting a car doesn’t make much sense when you own one. If you consider some benefits, like saving wear and tear on your own vehicle, and MPG savings (if you have a big car) it could make sense. Additionally, you might have a leased car with mileage restrictions, and renting a car can sometimes end up being cheaper mile for mile than your own. Check your rates locally with different car rental agencies using sites such Carrentals.com or Kayak.com.

If you happen to have rental car points in your collection, this can also be an opportunity to “test drive” a new car you were considering for your trip.

3. Choose the right card to pay for gas and food

With road trips, come plenty of expenses, the majority of them being gas purchases. Make sure you are using the best card to maximize your point earning potential for your trip. You may be spending a few extra dollars on your road trip to have a great time, however, you are also earning extra points towards your next free travel adventure.

Cards like Chase Freedom sometimes offer a rotating category of up to 5x points for food and gas. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Reserve offer 2x and 3x respectively on all travel purchases.

Even if your friends are chipping in for the trip, use this opportunity to pay on your card and let them pay you back. Before you head out the door, take a quick assessment, and take the cards on the trip that are going to be most beneficial to you.

using a credit card to pay

4. Choose accommodations with bonus perks 

If you have status at some major hotel chains, life on the road can be considerably easier for you and your travel partners. From free breakfast to happy hours in the evenings, depending on the hotel, these perks can be a great way to save money on the road and unwind from a day of driving and exploring. Free breakfast alone, can often save over $40 a day for a family of 4. Check the rate that you booked as well, there may some special perks!

If you’re booking accommodations at a resort, check to see if they have sister properties nearby that you have access to. This road trip travel tip could lead to an additional opportunity to utilize pools, fitness centers, or restaurants. If you are taking the trip in the summer, a dip in the pool can be very refreshing after a long day!

hotel breakfast buffets
Free breakfast can be a huge money saver!

5. Make your life easier (and save money) with apps

While it may seem like a no brainer, when planning a road trip don’t just take into consideration accommodations. Plan your route and use apps like GasBuddy to get accurate pricing for gas. Use Google Maps to plan your food stops along the way. These apps can not only save you time, but they could help you take fewer detours along the way.

Using apps like Spotify for music streaming, or Hulu+ for the other passengers in the car can help pass the time and keep the morale up on what can be long drives. While the driver can’t watch movies anyone with kids and loud friends can appreciate a little bit of quiet throughout the journey. You may be traveling through expansive countryside and you want to have a plan in place for any scenario.

It is worth going through the exercise of seeing what cards you are using to pay for your streaming services. To help save money, cards such as the American Express Blue Preferred card to get 6% back on streaming services like Spotify Premium, Apple Music, Apple TV, Hulu+, and more. While it’s not the best example of free travel, it can show you how the cards you carry anyway, just work a little extra harder for you.

road trip success using google maps
Using apps can help save the day!

Basic Breakdown

While part of the fun of road trips is just hopping in and hitting the road with little agenda in place, a little extra planning can really go a long way in helping make your trip a success.

What do you think of these travel tips for road trips? I’d love to hear your thoughts down in the comments or over in the 4,000 + Member Basic Travel Facebook Group!

More Basic Reading

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

The comments section below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 Basic Travel Strategies

Need-to-know tricks for cheap travel.

Top Credit Card Offers


Chase Freedom Flex℠

5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 19.74% - 28.49%.

We're Dave & Lisa

An easy-going, fun-loving couple who have a passion for adventure and exploring the world! Our strategies have saved us over $100,000 in travel over the last four years, and our goal is to help you do the same.

Keep Exploring