Use credit cards that offer gas rebates

With the rising price of gasoline and the fact that a motorhome doesn't get too far on a gallon of gas, it pays to try to save on fuel in any way you can.

One way we have found is to get a gas rebate by using the Platinum Discover Gas Card. The terms seem to be changing rapidly, but the current deal seems to be a 5% cash rebate on the first $1500 of gas purchased, 3% rebate on the next $1500, and 1% from then on. There is no annual fee for the card, but be sure to pay it fully each month because the interest rates are exorbitant. I've set up an automatic deduction from my bank account to pay this bill when it's due, so I can be on the road and not worry about missing a credit card payment.

If I could do it again I would have gotten one card in Lolo's name and one in my own so that we would have twice the rebate capacity instead of getting one card with both our names on it.

There are other cards with similar offers, so if you use a lot of gas and have a decent credit rating, it might make sense to get some of these cards and just use them until the annual rebate level is reached.

We also have a no annual fee AT&T Visa card that offers 3% cash rebate on groceries and pharmacy purchases, and a Bank One card that gives 1% back on all other purchases. (Update - We were cancelled by the Visa card that gave 3% back on groceries. No reason was given, but since the card was paid by automatic electronic funds transfer, and we only used it for groceries, I assume they realized that it was a money losing proposition for them.)

Like everything, the fine print changes, and some of this may just be teasers to entice you into using their card. Fiscal discipline is required to avoid any nasty surprises.

The Flying J Rewards card is not a credit card, but a membership card that gives you a little off every gallon of gas bought at a Flying J. I believe its discounts are tiered and you would get a greater discount with a greater volume of monthly purchases. Since it's free, and the Flying J's are usually the best gas price anyway, it doesn't hurt to get this card. Flying J's are great for RVers anyway. They have RV islands to gas up, dump, fill up water, fill up the tires - and then they let you sleep in the parking lot if you've got no place better to go.

Frank on August 15, 2010

GREAT! info. I retired a year ago and have an airstream. My wife of 44years isn't doing too great and I want to take her out west.Your trips and info are helping me alot to prepare. May God bless you and your family.

Herb on August 28, 2010

Hi Frank,
Thanks for the comment. It's great to know that someone is actually reading our website, and more importantly, actually using it to help plan trips. Hope your wife is feeling better and that you can have a great trip to enjoy the west! Safe travels!

Bob and Jen on September 26, 2010

I have been all over this site and its the base of my beginning to the RV world! I have tented,travel trailer,pop-up,etc your info is invaluable and appreciate it greatly! From DE and will be doing hunting island on spring 2011 then Grand Canyon July-August run. Thanks and Ill be in touch!!

Herb on September 27, 2010

Hi Bob and Jen,
I'm glad that we're helping you on your way into RV cross-country travels. Hunting Island will be great in the Spring,,, find out when they start to accept reservations for your scheduled dates, and try to be first in line. The beach front sites go fast!! Let us know when you firm up your itinerary for your July - August trip and we will try to help. Safe Travels - Herb

TheRikkiJay on August 5, 2011

Hi there, my name is Rikki. I am hoping to get a lot of advice and so far this has been the best site I have seen for this. I am trying to plan and budget a cross-country trip to see a bit of the world while I am still young. I have never been outside of Missouri but my whole life I have had an urge to see the sites and travel. I am now almost 23 and have yet to even come close. If I had it my way I would sell all my possessions and at least travel to someplace like California and start from scratch, but thats not an option. I have a fiance and an 8 month old child so I have to think reasonably. Well I have recently been talking to a friend who feels the same way as I do about traveling and so me and him have decided that in a year or so we really want to plan a 2 week to 1 month long traveling trip. Our main problem, though, is the budget. I am currently between jobs, and both him and my fiance' work at McDonalds. He is currently in college also but that really doesn't seem like it would be an issue. I have been thinking about opening a bank account and every two weeks putting in 10-20 dollars for the next year and encouraging him to do the same. We are wishing to travel by RV and are honestly just wanting to plan a calm paced relaxing trip, staying a couple nights at each place. If you would please, help to to budget and figure out the costs of everything, such as about how much I would be spending in gas and food for 3 adults and one child. Please help me as much as possible. I hope to hear from you soon.

Lolo on August 6, 2011

Hi Rikki. Seems like you have the wanderlust. There are really so many great places to see in the U.S. Being from Missouri, you are already half way across the U.S. We always have to start in New Jersey and spend several days driving just to get to the good stuff out West. A trip doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive, but if you are on a tight budget, unless you already have an RV, renting one is probably going to be too expensive – well over $1,000 a week. Also, the gas mileage is very poor. My son did a cross country trip with some friends when he graduated from high school. They tent camped along the way. Here is the link: They did it pretty much on the cheap. They bought and cooked their own food, so that part was no more expensive than being home. Just figure out what your normal grocery bill at home is. The major expense will be gas. Once you know how many miles you are traveling and how many mpg your vehicle gets, you can figure out that cost. If you stay in national and state park campgrounds, your lodging will probably average around $20-$30 per night. Good luck on your planning!!

Marion on October 25, 2011

I would like to thank you for a wonderful website. I have been RVing for 15 years now and intend to cross the United States this year. Time has always been our problem, with retirement on the horizon it will be possible now. I have read every thing that you wrote, and we to live in the east coast,Westchester so long trips have been difficult. Again thanks for inspiration and information which is priceless

Herb on October 26, 2011

Hi Marion,
I'm glad we have helped inspire you to take your own trip cross the country. There is a lot to see, and with retirement you should be able to take your time. Safe travels, and please be sure to comment in the future.