There are many ways you can slash costs and save gas for your next family road trip. You need not sacrifice the fun family getaway just because gas prices keep going up.

Take the smaller car.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can be tempting to take the big SUV to have more room. Instead, bring your sedan and pack light for the road trip. This change alone could save hundreds, depending on your car choices and the distance you are traveling.

Travel closer to home

Even if you’ve longed to take the kids cross-country, maybe this year (and the escalating gas prices) isn’t the time. That doesn’t mean you need to miss out.

Get a map and draw a few concentric circles around your home. I’ll bet you’d be surprised how many great destinations there are.

Also, ask your friends and coworkers where they like to go for long weekends. You’ll probably learn about a great destination you never realized was just one gas tank’s distance away.

Maintain your car

It might seem silly to spend to save, but in the case of gas mileage, it does work. Get your oil changed, get that tune-up and be sure your tires are aligned and filled properly with air.

What you don’t need to do is buy a higher grade of gasoline. That does not get you better gas mileage. Higher grades are simply designed for certain types of engines.

Unless your car’s manual recommends premium, you are burning your money by getting higher grades of gasoline.

pump and travel after dark

This does a few things. Pumping at night reduces evaporation, so you get more gas for your fill-up. Traveling at night means a cooler engine, so you get better gas mileage.

There are also fewer cars, so you won’t have as many gas-guzzling stops and starts. You also can avoid using gas-sucking air conditioning.

As a bonus, you will probably get more peace if the children are still asleep. If you don’t want to pull an all-nighter, which might not be safe, I suggest starting your day in the wee hours (say leaving at 3 or 4 a.m.) instead of ending it late at night. You’ll be fresher during the nighttime driving.

Use cruise control

The more consistent your driving speed, the better gas mileage you will get. If you have cruise control (and won’t get too inattentive), use it, and your mileage will improve.

Avoid frequent stops

With kids, it’s just a rule. You’ll have to stop more, even if it’s just for the never-ending potty breaks. Avoid unnecessary ones, however, as stopping and starting uses more gasoline.

Avoid busy weekends

Hey, we all want to spend Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day at the beach, but you will get far better gas mileage if you are not stuck in traffic for hours with the masses.

Other Road Trip Savings Tips

Gas isn’t the only thing getting guzzled on a family road trip. Kids are constantly whining for entertainment and snacks. Save yourself stops (which eat up more gas) and cash on spontaneous purchases by packing your own family travel tote, including your own healthy snacks.