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On a summer Friday, all you want to do is hit the road and get out of town. But, gah, once you do the math, you start to seriously second-guess your plans. Here, eight creative ways to save cash on the drive.

gas
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DOWNLOAD GAS BUDDY

The app will help you find the lowest gas prices based on your car’s current location. (Another feature: You can actually use it to plan ahead by checking the average price of gas along your route before you hit the road.)

RELATED: The Only 7 Apps You Need To Get Through The Summer

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PACK LIGHT

Sure, it would be super-fun to bring the bikes--and boogie boards and a grill--but if you’re not definitely going to use them, leave ’em behind. Here’s why: All that extra weight can reduce your car’s fuel efficiency by as much as 17 percent--or a whopping 40 cents per gallon. If you need to haul a ton of extra gear, it’s actually better to attach it to the back of your vehicle in a small trailer to even out the load. 

RELATED: The 27 Things To Always Have In Your Car

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GET A TUNE-UP

Trust us, it’s better to know that your tires are properly inflated and your engine oil is at the right level before you hit the road. If not, it could cost you big--not just due to fuel inefficiency, but due to unexpected (read: pricey) repairs on the road. Just pop by your local gas station and ask the attendant to give your car a once-over.

 

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SKIP THE TOLLS

Back roads are your best friend. And there’s a trick to finding them easily. Just open up Google Maps and click the drop-down menu next to Your Location. Then, select Route Options and toggle on the button that says Avoid Tolls.

 

Signs on the highway
Keya Tolliver/Getty Images

OR INVEST IN AN E-ZPASS

Not only do you get to whiz past fellow motorists who are stuck in traffic, but as an E-ZPass holder you will typically get a 10 to 15 percent savings at toll booths (even bridges!).

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BYO SANDWICHES

Prepping and packing some turkey subs will save you money and taste wayyy better than anything at the rest stop.

roadtrip
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USE YOUR GPS

True story: Getting lost costs you money. Why? You have to double back, which means you’re spending more on fuel (and occasionally, tolls, depending on whether or not you decided to route around them).

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RELY ON LAST-MINUTE APPS LIKE HOTEL TONIGHT

So, your road trip went off course. There’s no need to shell out major money on impromptu accommodations. Use Hotel Tonight to score cheap same-day hotel deals at a moment’s notice. (Say, an overnight stay at a beachy Charleston hotel for $65.) 

RELATED: The 5 Best American Road Trips, Ranked

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