Driving is often the most convenient way of getting around, but it’s not always the cheapest. If you’re driving around Northern Ireland regularly then these are some of the best ways to reduce road costs:
Check your car before you leave
Whether you’re planning a family staycation or driving for business, a bit of regular car maintenance can end up saving you quite a bit of money. One of the simplest things is to check your tyres are always properly inflated, not only is it safer but it improves your petrol mileage so you use less fuel.
Get your car regularly serviced so that you know about any problems, and follow up on advisories from MOTs. While these things might cost a bit to fix in the short term, if you don’t sort them out they could cause more damage to your car or you might end up breaking down halfway to your destination.
It’s also important to have the right breakdown cover. Again, it might seem like a big expense upfront, but if you do breakdown at the side of the road you’re going to spend a lot more getting someone to come out and fix it, or tow it to a garage if you’re not covered.
It’s always worthwhile spending some time planning out the best route before you head out the door. You might think you know the best way, but with a bit of research you can figure out the fastest route, and the best time of day to go.
You’ll be able to figure out when traffic gets bad in cities and towns, or which routes are closed for roadworks or have temporary traffic lights, which will slow you down. It will also help you to avoid any tolls, although occasionally paying a toll for a quicker route is going to be worth it for the petrol that you save.
It’s also a good idea to check your route again just before you leave. Use an app like Google Maps for real-time traffic updates so you can see if there’s been an accident you need to avoid or some other hold up.
Finding the best route is going to save you petrol and money, and avoid stress when you’re stuck in a queue for hours.
Save money on fuel
Fuel is going to be the biggest expenditure when you’re on the road a lot. If it’s possible to share rides with someone then you can split the petrol costs between you. Otherwise, the best advice is to avoid buying fuel from motorway services and out of town fuel stations as they are usually more expensive.
When you’re travelling for business then using a fuel card like DCI can really help reduce the cost of filling up. The DCI Fuel Card offers highly competitive fuel prices at a large network of filling stations across Northern Ireland. It also gives you a notification via email or text about price changes so you know exactly how much fuel is going to cost.
Plan out your stops
If you’re going to be driving overnight, plan out where you’re going to stop in advance. Whenever possible book your accommodation ahead of time, use a comparison site like Booking.com to find the best possible deal. You’ll save money on the cost of accommodation, and you’ll minimise any detours looking for somewhere to stop overnight.
Wherever possible choose to stay in places where you have access to a kitchen so you can prepare your own meals and save even more money.
Pack food and drink
If you’re driving for any longer than an hour you’re going to want a few snacks or something to eat along the way.
Avoid the temptation of a fast food fix when you’re on the road by packing something to eat and drink. It might not seem like a lot, but service station snacks and sandwiches quickly add up, and they’re not going to be as healthy as something you can make for yourself.
Depending on how long your trip is going to be, pack a couple of sandwiches or a salad, some snacks, and don’t forget a refillable water bottle. It’s going to save you from wasting a lot of money on unhealthy food and drink.
Set yourself a budget
To make sure you really are reducing your road costs, set yourself a budget for each journey or for each month, and track what you spend. Being able to see exactly how much you’ve spent on fuel, food, or accommodation will make it easier to keep costs down and make you more aware of your spending habits. Trying using a budgeting app like Trail Wallet to take the hassle out of budgeting.
Overall the best way to reduce road costs for Northern Ireland travel is to keep your car well maintained, spend a bit of time preparing for your journeys, plan out your routes, and track what you spend.