Many of you are lucky enough to live close enough to make driving a great (cheap) option to get to Orlando. Even if you have a long road trip to get to Florida you can still save a lot of money, especially if you have a larger family by packing everyone in the van and going.
Gas prices are the largest variable when traveling by car to Disney. Generally gas prices will be higher during the summer months because of travel and gas will also be slightly more expensive along highways because of the convenience. With a longer trip, it is important that the vehicle you are taking is getting the best gas mileage possibly to help save money.
Calculate your estimated gas prices before leaving so you have an idea of how much money to budget for gas. Most cars today have a MPG (miles per gallon) indicator to show you gas mileage. Say for example your car averages 29mpg on the highway and your mileage round trip is 1500 miles.
The national gas price average is $2.70 right now so using that figure we can do the math:
1500miles/29mpg = 51.72 is the number of gallons of gas you’ll need for your trip, we’ll round up to 52.
52 * $2.70 = $140.40 – the cost of gas for the trip. You’ll probably need a bit more than that so I would go with a number around $175 budget for gas. If you find yourself spending a lot more money on gas you may have a gas mileage problem that you’ll want to look into.
How can you make your car more gas efficient?
Optimizing your car to ensure you’re getting the most miles per gallon out of it will help save you money during your road trip. Below are a few tips that you can easily do to help make your car more efficient.
Tips to make your car more fuel efficient
- Properly inflate your tires – possibly the single more important tip, make sure your tires are inflated to their proper air pressure before starting your trip. For most cars that means a PSI of 30-35 but be sure to double check your proper inflation in your car’s manual. Be sure to check even during your trip (on cold tires) to make sure you’re not losing any air.
- Clean the air filter – your engine needs to suck in air to operate, if it’s being restricted by a clogged, dirty air filter you’ll be losing precious MPGs. Before you go on your trip replace your air filter – it’s only a few dollars for a new one and will more than make up for itself in gas savings.
- Put your car on a diet – the harder you engine has to work the less efficient it can be. If you have items if your car that you don’t need to have in there, remove them before your trip. Pack light – you can always do laundry when you are at your resort. A lighter car = a more efficient car
- Drive at night – This has both pros and cons. The cons are that you may be tired driving at night and for some people driving at night is not enjoyable. Benefits of driving at night are less traffic and cooler temperatures which helps your car operate more efficiently.
- Drive at a constant speed – If you are an aggressive driver it’s costing you money in extra gas needed for rapid acceleration and wearing your brakes faster with hard braking. You’ll maximize your fuel efficiency by keeping your speed as consistent as possible, using light acceleration and braking to maintain that speed. Cruise control is a good option to help you maintain a constant speed. The ideal speed to travel on the highway is around 60 to 65 MPH. Going faster than that increases wind drag, hurting your gas mileage.
- Avoid traffic jams – I like to use an app called Waze which can alert you to traffic jams ahead of them and can reroute you around them. Nothing is worse than sitting for hours in traffic!
- Pack food for the car ride – Not only will packing food for the trip save you money but it will also save you time by not needing to stop as often. I always pack snacks along with a cooler of drinks to have in the car.
Before taking long road trips, I always like to take my car to my mechanic for a tune-up and check up. You want to make sure the most important things are in proper working order: brakes, tires, suspension and oil.
Having your car break down or have a mechanical issue half way into your drive down 95 will really put a damper on your vacation.
What are your favorite tips when driving to Disney World? Post in the comments!