Eight Tips For Your Upcoming Thanksgiving Road Trip

Andrea Woroch, shopping expert for Kinoli Inc.,  has eight tips for your upcoming Thanksgiving road trip.




1. Start Early



 According to AAA spokesperson Cynthia Brough, getting on the road early reduces the likelihood of running into heavy holiday traffic. It also helps travelers avoid drowsy drivers who are often on the road late into the evening. The highest-traffic days are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (starting at noon) and the Sunday after Thanksgiving. If possible, try to avoid driving on these days; if you must, get an early start!




2. Plan Ahead



 Even if you're familiar with the specific directions, having alternative routes ready will reduce the stress of changing course if weather or heavy traffic slows you down. Depending on your timeline, check the Roadtrippers App for interesting landmarks and notable stops to make the drive memorable. Download the Coupon Sherpa mobile app and use the "nearby" function to map out restaurants near you that offer coupons, or purchase discount restaurant gift cards from sites like Gift Card Granny to save on roadside dining. For instance, you can save 13 percent on gift cards to Baja Fresh and over 14 percent on gift cards to California Pizza Kitchen.




3. Reduce Fuel Costs



 Properly inflated tires provide better fuel efficiency so check the pressure before heading out. You should consider filling up at your local warehouse club where gas prices are 10 to 30-percent cheaper. If you've racked up a bunch of grocery rewards, find out if the supermarket has partnered up with a gas station as many allow you to redeem those points for money off your fuel purchase. For example, Safeway provides shoppers with the opportunity to save up to $1 off the price per gallon at Exxon or Mobil.




4. Prep Your Vehicle



 Schedule a routine vehicle inspection to avoid any potential issues or breakdown. You don't want to deal with roadside assistance or emergency mechanical repair which can be especially pricey during holiday weekends. Keep a spare tire, jack, jumper cables and other maintenance essentials in your vehicle. If you're traveling in a cooler part of the country, pack blankets, flashlights, candles and matches just in case you find yourself stuck on the road during a storm. Top off windshield wiper fluid, and also be sure your windshield wipers are in good condition.




5. Save the Turkey for the Table



 Packing your own snacks is a great cost-cutting measure, especially with all those Thanksgiving leftovers, right? It's an economical choice to be sure, but carb-heavy road trip snacks can lead to drowsiness, which you definitely don't want. Balance leftovers with such energizing snacks as tangerines, beef jerky, baby carrots, assorted nuts and maybe even pumpkin seeds (keepin' it festive!). These snacks will keep you satisfied and alert for your trip home.




6. Don't Overuse Your Data



 Accessing maps, reading reviews and sharing photos on social media can drain your data plan and battery life. Download maps from your home or hotel WiFi so you have them on the road, and enable your WiFi locator so you can find free connections en route. Also, don't forget your charger -- this should be on the top of your packing list!




7. Find Last-Minute Lodging for Less



 Finding a reasonably-priced room during the busy holiday weekend will be a challenge, but there are a few tricks to getting last-minute lodging for less. Download the HotelTonight app for a listing of luxury accommodations at up to 70-percent off. RoomerTravel.com connects you with other travelers who are stuck with a hotel reservation they can't change, and facilitates your purchase of that reservation for up to 25 percent below market price. Enter the city or zip code where you're visiting to look for available reservations.




8. Call Your Bank and Credit Card Company



 Last year's infamous data breach at Target caused banks and credit card companies to lose millions of dollars. With hacking at an all-time high, these organizations have ramped up fraud protection services to keep your personal data safe and ensure your money stays put. This means they're watching for irregular activity, so make sure you give your bank and credit card companies a heads up about your travel plans. Otherwise, a fraud alert may limit access to your funds and leave you in a precarious position while traveling. Keep cash handy, too, in case of emergencies.



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