Sponsored feature: Road trip essentials: Car, music and credit cards

10th Jun 2019 1:52 pm

We tell you how helpful and useful a credit card can be for a road trip.

If you love to drive, road trips are the thing for you. You can travel at your own pace, you can have friends for company, and it generally works out cheaper than flying. But while you might prefer heeding the call of the open road, there are certain costs you need to keep in mind to make sure the trip does not turn your finances upside down.

You must create a budget taking into account costs of fuel, food, car rental, etc. You can put a lot of these expenses on a credit card and get rewarded for the same. For example, you can avail fuel surcharge waiver on HDFC Credit Cards, while a Citibank credit card can offer you cash back on dining, shopping and more.

So, let us talk about how you can budget for your road trip and how a credit card can help you make the most of your budget.

1. Fuel expenses

A road trip will see you stop to refuel the car multiple times. So, you must consider the cost of refueling, while keeping in mind the total distance you plan to cover on a particular trip and the mileage of your car. If you are renting a car, choose one with better mileage as it'll help you save on the cost of fuel.

How a credit card helps?

A lot of credit cards offer a fuel surcharge waiver nowadays. You can put fuel expenses on a credit card to avail such waivers. There are other cards on which you can avail fuel-centric benefits. Some card issuers have tied up with oil companies and offer co-branded credit cards that allow users to earn maximum benefits. IndianOil Citi Platinum Credit Card and ICICI Bank HPCL Credit Cards are among the most preferred fuel credit cards in India.

2. Plan your stay

While plotting your route, you should also plan your lodging. There are a number of websites on which you can find hotels of all tariff ranges. If it is a multi-day and multi-location tour, divide your hotel budget for each day and accordingly search for the right accommodation. Pre-book prevents last-minute hassles.

How a credit card helps?

Paying for your hotel stay with a credit card is better, especially if you're looking for a bit of luxury. Since the cost will be high, you can pay using a credit card and create EMIs for the same. Only a few credit cards offer benefits on hotel stays and they are usually premium cards. So, we do not suggest you to go for a premium card. If you already have one, learn about the benefits you can avail on it and use it accordingly.

3. Prepare a food budget

Determine how much you want to set aside for food expenses on the trip. When on the move, you can buy packed food from convenience stores at fuel stations, but it is better to carry some snacks with you. Also, you will surely want to visit a few good restaurants in the city you are exploring, so plan for the same in advance. Prepare a budget first and then look for restaurants that would fit in the budget.

How a credit card helps?

A lot of credit cards offer dining out benefits. Banks, usually, have dining programmes under which you can enjoy discounts at partner restaurants. HDFC Credit Cards offer benefits under the Good Food Trail Dining Program and Axis Bank has the Dining Delights Program. Do some research on the best restaurants in the city your visiting for the best discounts and deals.

4. Arrange for a car rental

If you do not own a car, plan for getting a rental in advance. The cost of rental is usually in rupees per kilometre. Get in touch with different car rental providers to find the best deal for your budget. You will also find companies offering subscription services, in which one pays a certain ‘subscription fee’ that lets you to keep the car for a certain number of days.

How a credit card helps?

Car rentals and car subscription services have gone online. They accept credit cards, so use them, as you can pay the amount later or turn it into EMIs.

5. Plan for sightseeing and other events

Touring a new location is all about discovering new things. And it helps to prepare a list of all you wish to do in that particular place. Although most heritage spots charge less than Rs 100 as an entry fee, other privately owned areas may charge a higher fee. Most of these bookings can be made with a credit card. Some places also have an online booking facility, and it is better to make an advance booking.

A road trip can be very rejuvenating, but the lack of proper planning can leave you financially stressed. So, it is important to create a proper budget for the trip and find out the best ways to pay for it. A credit card makes sense as long as you can make the payments and convert them into EMIs or enjoy an interest-free period. However, if you can afford to pay for trip up front, that is the option you should go for.

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