With flights being grounded worldwide, chances are you’ve thought about road tripping and exploring the sights a bit closer to home. One thing we always forget to budget properly is fuel and that can always be a surprise as well as hitting your pocket hard. The savvy road-trippers amongst us are down with the fuel cards…. Here’s why!

– This is a contributed post

Road tripping is awesome. If you are lucky enough to have a rad group of friends to road trip with, or even a supped-up campervan like ours, you’ll want to save on the boring stuff, allowing you to splurge more of food, activities, and experiences along the way. Just like making sure you have optimum tire pressure before you set off so you do more kilometers to the tank, fuel cards are another way to maximise every dollar that you spend, so that you can go further and have more amazing travel stories to share.

Road trip travel photo with sky and dirt road
Photo Morgan Maassen

What is a fuel card?

Fuel cards are credit cards that are restricted to fuel-related payments only. They aren’t pre- paid cards but rather, you get a weekly bill listing all the fuel purchases that have been made on the card.

Not all fuel cards are created equally but they can be really useful for road trips especially if you are doing a lot of highway driving. It pays to do a bit of research to see which one is right for you.

Consider fuel cards from iCompario, a fuel card comparison site developed by industry experts to help buyers find the right deals. Comparison sites like this will list all the benefits of a fuel card, as one that might work for a business operating multiple diesel trucks might not be right for your summer road trip to hunt waves!

So why bother with a fuel card?

Fuel cards save money

Fuel prices fluctuate heavily especially on motorways, service stations, or in the run up to the weekend. There are some great apps you can download to find the cheapest fuel prices on your route (we love FuelCheck for travel in NSW Australia), but a way better way to factor fuel prices into your travel budget is to lock in the price before you leave.

While fuel cards aren’t a different payment method, you’ll often find they give you access to special fuel discounts and lock you into a fixed weekly rate. This gives you a much clearer picture of how much your road trip is going to cost, whether you’re travelling long-distance for a few days, or a couple of weeks. Think of it as a little bit of assurance as you drive out into the unknown.

Sunrise surf trip in The Land of The Rising Sun
Alice & I on a dawn-patrol mission to find waves in the Land Of The Rising Sun.

Travel budgets are easier to manage

Like we said earlier, no one wants to spend their road trip focused on his or her budget and penny pinching. When you’re out on the open road you want to keep your eye on amazing views, get spots to visit and how close you are to your adventure sport destination, not your bank account.

Fuel cards take some of this budgeting responsibility out of your hands. All fuel transactions are recorded when you use a fuel card, stored in an online system that can be accessed to give you a better overview of what has been spent on petrol…. Especially useful if you are splitting the bill with your road-tripping buddies. It won’t make your vacation significantly cheaper, but it’ll give you a great starting point to start cost cutting.

Fuel cards are accepted almost everywhere

While not everyone uses a fuel card, they’re hardly a niche. If you’ve gotten this far and you’re still worried, don’t be. You’re not going to get blank stares from the kid at the cash register.

While there may be some stations that won’t take fuel cards, there is a huge network of places that will accept them and be willing to make your trip a whole lot easier.

It’s not a case of jotting down all fuel card friendly locations on your map before you head out. Drive freely safe in the knowledge there are discounts and offers waiting at almost every pump.

Security assured

The world may be one full of technological marvels, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfectly safe.

Any service that requires access to your bank account should be looked at with caution. There are obviously lots of legitimate services, but it’s important to be careful. Fuel cards are frequently one of the safest ways to pay for fuel on the road and operate a very secure service, largely due to their association with major brands.

If the worst comes to the worst and you lose your fuel card, you can continue on safe in the knowledge they can only be used for fuel payments until you’re able to cancel your service. Many also use a PIN system which can be assigned to your particular vehicle, making them useless to a thief.

Fuel cards can help make your next long-distance trip, whether it’s for work or to let off some steam, cheaper and less stressful. Do a little research, find the card for you, and enjoy another brilliant road trip with more time exploring and less time searching around for change to get you home.

Hiya, I'm Alexa. Always on some sort of adventure! I'm excited to share my stories & introduce you to other rad women, also living the dream. I'm here to inspire you to do the same :-)


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