Best Tips for Saving Money on Gas
Packing the car for a road trip might seem like a silly idea, especially with gas prices averaging $3.69 per gallon (up 14 cents in the last two weeks). The good news is, there are easy ways to save big. The key is to approach it from two angles: how you drive, and how you pump.
Did you know that for every 5 mph you drive over 50 mph, you're paying an extra 26 cents per gallon for gas? If you have a 17–gallon tank, that's almost $4.50 a fill–up. Also, be efficient about your pit–stops. It might be tempting to pull over at every quirky roadside attraction, but several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
Those tips may lower the amount of actual fuel you need, but there are also ways to save on gas outright. GasBuddy's Heat Map will help you choose destinations with cheaper gas, while apps like iGasUp point you to stations with the lowest prices in real–time. Clubs like Costco and Sam's Club offer members gas for about 10 cents less on average, though the $50–$100 annual fee has to be considered. Most major grocery store chains have free programs that allow you to earn points towards gas just by picking up milk and other necessities.
If these tips inspire you to hit the road, but you need some inspiration, check out our new Ultimate Road Trips app.
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10 Airports You Might Actually Want to Be Stranded In
For most travelers, there are only two goals when it comes to the airport: get in, and—in as little time as possible—get out. But after a look at Cheapflight.com's list of the top 10 layover airports around the world, you might be tempted to linger for a few extra pre–flight hours. Boasting world–class museums, shops, and even movie theaters and golf courses, these airports are arguably destinations in their own right. Below, some of the coolest offerings at the airports that made the cut. Munich Airport is a kid's paradise, with a mini–golf course, a Christmas market complete with ice rink, and specialty "Kinderterminals" that allow youngsters an inside look at flying. And for the adults? The al fresco Airbrau biergarten gives a traditional (and literal) taste of Germany, with a side of live entertainment. Amsterdam's sleek, modern Schiphol Airport offers travelers a free extension of the Rijksmuseum, displaying works by Dutch master painters, as well as a casino for guests aged 18 and over. You'll also find a museum at San Francisco International Airport—in fact, the 22–year–old SFO Museum, dedicated to aviation and history of the airport itself, is the first fully accredited museum located in an airport. SFO also debuted a yoga room earlier this year, and features an aquarium operated by the California Academy of Sciences. Vancouver International Airport's five–year–old aquarium is home to over 5,000 sea animals, and is paired with a dedicated jellyfish exhibit. But the marine critters aren't the only otherworldly creatures you'll find at YVR. The Airport hosts "Take Off Fridays" during the summer, with an "underground circus" on display in domestic and international terminals. You'll be able to catch acrobats, face painters, live DJs, and local musicians, plus sample free food and score discounts on restaurants and shops. New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport also draws crowds with live performances in JetBlue's airy Terminal 5 (or T5, as it's nicknamed). And amateur hour, this is not: past headliners have included Taylor Swift, Chris Isaak, Robyn, and Raphael Saadiq. The casts of Broadway musicals such as Catch Me If You Can have even dropped by to give a sneak peek of their shows. When it comes to entertainment, however, it's tough to beat Hong Kong International Airport, which just broke ground on the world's first airport IMAX movie theater on July 5. The 350–seat theater shows current movies in English with Chinese subtitles, from HKD 100 (about $13 USD by current exchange rates) per ticket. Pretty impressive—and we haven't even mentioned the iSports simulator (like a giant Wii) and nine–hole golf course also available to passengers at Hong Kong International. Seoul's Incheon Airport reigns supreme as the Best Airport Worldwide according to Airport Council International, so what do they have to offer? How about the world's only Louis Vuitton airport boutique, an 18–hole golf course, an ice rink open every day, and a casino open 24/7? Due to South Korean laws, only those with a foreign (non–South Korean) passport are able to gamble at the casino, but the golf course and ice rink are open to everyone, with fees of KRW 30,000—about $26—and KRW 5,000—about $4.50—respectively. (Or you can opt for a visit to the driving range instead of a full golf game, from KRW 2,000—about $1.75—for a 30–minute session.) Singapore's Changi Airport took second place in the ACI rankings, but it's pretty spectacular in its own right. It might not offer IMAX movies like Hong Kong, but it does have a 3–D and 4–D theatre with $6 admission, and it shows its 2–D films in two cinemas open 24–hours—with free admission. Plus, Changi features six gardens (with a koi pond and a butterfly garden among them) and a near 20–foot waterfall. Not too shabby. Dubai International Airport offers a gateway suited to the City of Gold, with a whopping 50,000 square feet of duty–free and luxury shopping. You can also take a dip in the pool or work out on state–of–the–art fitness equipment located in the swanky G–Force Health Club. The shopping scene at London's Heathrow Airport doesn't disappoint either, with an 11.000–square–foot Harrod's extension, as well as outposts of Brit fashion staples Burberry, Thomas Pink, and L.K. Bennett. And if all that retail therapy has worn you out, not to worry—you can rent a 75–square–foot personal 'cabin' from trendy hotelier Yotel, outfitted with futuristic purple lighting, a "power shower," refreshments to order, and free wi–fi (from about $50 for the minimum four–hour stay). What do you think of Cheapflight.com's picks? Have you ever traveled through these, or other, posh airports? MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL America's Cheapest Airports The Five Busiest Airports in the U.S. 10 Scenic Airport Landings
America's Cheapest Airports
Looking to save on your next getaway? A new report released by Cheapflights.com ranks the average price of flights to the 101 most popular airports in America from the most to the least expensive. The three airports where prices were the lowest were all in California, with Burbank's Bob Hope Airport coming in as the cheapest with flights averaging $221. Long Beach and Fresno were two and three, with flights averaging $250 and $290 respectively. Rounding out the top five were two Pennsylvania airports—Harrisburg International ($304) and Lehigh Valley ($307). Wondering what the most expensive airports were? New York's JFK came in fifth with flights averaging $678, followed by Kahului in Maui ($712), Charleston, South Carolina ($717), and Honolulu ($854). The top spot went to Anchorage's airport, where flights averaged a whopping $964! The study was based on prices in June 2012, and also compared this year's prices with the averages found in 2011. There were some major fluctuations, including Dallas Love Field, which was the 13th most expensive in 2011 and the 66th in 2012, with flights averaging $544 (flights out of Dallas/Fort Worth averaged $432, ranking the airport 32nd). On the other hand, Albany International got cheaper this year. In 2011, it ranked 82nd. In 2012, it came in at 41st thanks to flights that averaged $463. The moral of the story? Consider smaller, regional airports when booking trips, but remember to shop around. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 11 Surprisingly Lovable Airlines 4 Most Common Reasons Airlines Lose Luggage 8 Common Air-Travel Snafus (And How to Beat Them)
10 Reader Tips For A Stress-Free Beach Vacation
How do you get all that sand off your feet? Fix a broken bikini? Or stay cool during a hot day in the sun? Here are our top ten tips from readers: •Take a container of baby powder along the next time you go to the beach. Before you get back into your car, sprinkle the powder on your feet—the sand falls right off!—Christine DeFrehn, Mercerville, N.J. •When we go to the beach, we put a damp washcloth in a Ziploc bag and keep it in our cooler. It's an instant refresher, and it's great for removing sand and saltwater residue.—Sharon McCormac, Richmond, Ind. •While I was on vacation in the Caribbean, the plastic hook on the back of my bandeau bikini top broke. Most of my friends throw their bathing suits away when this happens, but I didn't want to give up so quickly. Instead, I threaded a key ring through the loops to hold the top together. It turned out to be a great quick fix, and I was able to mend the top as soon as I returned home.—Kaye Powell, Washington, D.C. •My wife and I always bring our own towels to lay across our lounge chairs when we go to a beach resort, to a hotel with a pool, or on a cruise. Because most of the other guests use the white towels supplied by the resort, our chairs are easy to spot. We use the resort's towels to dry off if we go into the water.—Brian Metzler, Fair Lawn, N.J. •I've found yet another use for antibacterial wipes. On a beach vacation in Ixtapa, Mexico, I cut my leg on some coral when I was snorkeling. I used the wipes to first treat the cut so it wouldn't get infected.—Genny Goode-Chase, San Diego, Calif. •When we were in the Dominican Republic, we walked many miles collecting seashells, but someone told us we might not be able to take them home. We looked into it and learned that some Caribbean countries limit the number and type of shells you can take from the islands. Offenders can be delayed at the airport and get slapped with a fine.—Donna Mercier, Stratham, N.H. •My husband and I often vacation in St. Maarten, and a fellow traveler gave us this tip: Get your boarding pass and check your luggage as soon as your airline counter opens. Some companies, like JetBlue and United, will help you at 10 a.m., even if you have a later departure. Once you get your seat, it's back to the beach—a five–minute walk away.—Kathy Baker, Manakin-Sabot, Va. •For family vacations, we pack matching beach towels, which serve as pillows, blankets, or seat cushions on the plane. If we arrive before our hotel room is ready, we can also dive right into the pool or ocean.—Calli Berg, Coloma, Mich. •Scuba divers know how difficult putting on a wet suit can be. My wife and I figured out a solution: Place a Ziploc bag on your hand or foot before you slide it into the suit's sleeve or leg. The smooth surface of the bag helps you slip the wet suit on easily.—Eugene L. Dubay, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. •If you don't have a sunglasses case, store your shades in one of those tube–shaped containers that Crystal Light is sold in. The tubes are just the right size and rigid enough to protect the glasses. Plus, it's no great loss if you misplace one.—Christopher Wolters, Pearland, Tex. Now it’s your turn! Share your tips for a successful beach vacation in the comments!MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 10 Beach Products You Never Knew You Needed 5 Reader Tips to Help Beat the Heat Secret Beaches of North America
Are Premium Economy Seats Worth the Splurge?
A few major airlines have recently expanded their "premium economy" class on international flights. More and more travelers face a tough decision: Would you pay a few hundred dollars more for somewhat comfier seats? Not all premium class seats are created equal. US-based airlines often use the word "premium class" service for international flights to describe what fliers might find on domestic first class: a little bit more legroom. Call it "business minus." That said, many foreign airlines really do mean "premium" when they say premium. Think: lie-back seats and plenty of perks (like early boarding privileges and complimentary alcoholic drinks). Exhibit A: Qantas, announced today as the winner of "best premium economy class" section in the 2012 Skytrax World's Best Airlines Awards. Here's a round-up of the latest news in premium economy seats: Cathay Pacific From May, the Hong Kong-based carrier joins the small number of airlines offering premium economy. Having launched this year, premium economy class is becoming easy to find on Cathay Pacific's flights between the US and London and the US and Asia and Australia. The seats are wider (18-and-a-half-inches), recline further, and have more legroom, with a 38-inch seat pitch. Premium passengers can use faster check-in desks, can board before coach class, and can take advantage of a bigger baggage allowance, and get access to a nicer in-flight amenity kit. Nearly all of the airline's new aircraft feature premium economy for international flights. Delta Since las summer, Delta has been rolling out its new Economy Comfort class on overseas routes, which means greater seat recline, 36 inches of seat pitch to free up your feet, an AC power outlet, early boarding rights, and free alcoholic beverages at a splurge cost of about $160 to $320 one way for international round-trips. United On nonstop 757 flights domestically, United has been steadily adding premium economy seats, which add five to six inches of legroom on non stops and early boarding privileges. Economy Plus can range in price, but a $200 extra cost over coach is typical for an overseas trip. As of this year, all of United's 757-200 jets have premium economy, and many other of its airplanes also do, meaning 1,845 Economy Plus seats have been added since last November. Would you upgrade to premium economy for more legroom? Or would you stick with coach class? SEE MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Air New Zealand Introduces the "Skycouch" Airlines Suspected of Fibbing About Seat Availability for Families One Airline Boards Its Customers Faster Than Most