Driving Tips For An Economical and Enjoyable Staycation


Whether you’re looking to spend quality time with your family or want to sight-see on your own, a staycation is something many Brits are planning this summer for a much-needed break.

We conducted a study to find out the holiday habits of Brits and found that a third (33%) of drivers are more willing to travel further afield this year due to limits on international travel, and 92% said they won’t be staying local this summer.

With this in mind, we wanted to provide tips on how to drive more economically so that transport doesn’t eat away at your holiday budget and so those of you making long journeys can do so comfortably.

Five Tips On Driving More Efficiently While Travelling On Your Staycation

1. Air Con Dos and Don’ts

Roll the windows down at lower speeds for fresh air and save air con use for on the motorway. Using the air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by up to 10%, however at higher speeds, opening windows will create wind resistance, which isn’t efficient for your car. Before your journey, clean and ventilate your air con using air con cleaner to eliminate odours and kill bacteria for a pleasant drive on warmer days.

Don’t idle with the air conditioning running as this will increase the fuel consumption, but even better, try not to use it at all. Dress for the weather inside and outside the car so that you don’t have to use the climate control settings as much, and park in the shade or use window shades on really sunny days.  

2. Maintain Your Vehicle

Regular maintenance and servicing will improve the efficiency of various aspects of your car, including making sure the tyres are properly inflated to the correct pressure for the amount of passengers and luggage you are taking away on your trip. This will help your car use fuel efficiently as underinflated tyres will increase the vehicle’s drag.

Use a tyre inflator before setting off and carry it with you to use before travelling back home. It may also be a wise idea to carry a tyre repair kit on board for any problems that may occur after long periods of driving.

Senior Man removing Cycle from Bike Rack

3. Transporting Bikes

When you go on long trips, especially with a large family, lots of people attach roof boxes and bars onto their car, however this can create drag and slow down your car making it use more fuel during your journey. Even an empty roof rack can add 16% drag according to the Energy Saving Trust2 and a roof box will add 39% which isn’t ideal especially driving the distance.

If you and your family like biking, another option to transport your bikes would be to use a rear mounted cycle carrier to minimise wind resistance.

4. Manage Your Revs

Keep an eye on your revs when changing gear. The most fuel-efficient RPM to change up a gear is 2,500 for a petrol car and 2,000 for diesel. So, monitor the revs count, stick to that number and the pennies you’ll save will soon stack up.

Additionally, try to avoid dropping your revs too low, as this could cause unnecessary strain on the engine and waste fuel. Staying above 1,500 revs in petrol and 1,300 in diesel cars should comfortably avoid this.

5. Plan Your Route

Taking a longer route or getting stuck in traffic will increase your fuel consumption, as well as making the journey less enjoyable for you and your family.

By planning your route ahead you can ensure that you’re maximising fuel efficiency on your journey, and avoiding roads where you may experience more fuel usage. You can also use your sat nav to stay updating with potential traffic jams and disruptions on your journey.

How To Make Your Long Journey As Enjoyable As Possible

Clean and Freshen Up

Give your car a quick clean before you start your journey, that way you will feel more comfortable, as studies have shown that a clean environment benefits your mental wellbeing1. For longer journeys, make sure you have interior cleaning wipes on board so that the dashboard and glass can be freshened up as well as any spills.

Keep The Car Cabin Clear

Sitting amongst piles of luggage can be uncomfortable on a long journey, so if you can, it’s a good idea to ensure that there’s plenty of room for your passengers. Many families will find that they have too many bags to fit in their boot, so investing in a roof box means you’ll be able to travel in comfort without having to leave much behind.

Stay Hydrated

In warmer weather, it’s extremely important to stay hydrated, so freeze water bottles the night before you set off on your trip. Make sure you freeze one per person, so everyone has a full bottle of cool water to drink throughout the journey.

Two sisters eating in the back seat of a car


Keeping the whole family happy on your journey includes making sure you have enough food and snacks if you are going a long way. Summer journeys can get especially uncomfortable so make sure to have treats on board, which can be kept both in reach and cool using a seat organiser and coolbag.

To find more tips and gadgets for your staycation journeys, check out our Travel & Touring page here.

[1] Study by Indiana University https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-truisms-wellness/201607/the-powerful-psychology-behind-cleanliness

[2] https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/how-to/fuel-saving-tips/