If you’ve been a truck driver for any length of time, you probably know that spending money while you’re on the road can get out of control quickly. Any dollar you spend on your route means less money in your bank account. There are a lot of great money-savin g tips out there for truckers and a lot of them include things like prepping meals at home and purchasing your tools and supplies ahead of time. There’s going to be a big markup on these items on the road, so all your savings are going to be found at home or price-shopping online. But what happens when you aren’t able to plan ahead or don’t have an alternative option? These are Carter’s favorite five tips for saving money at truck stops that are sure to help you.

  1. Take your time when getting food

Truck stop food can be pricey and a lot more expensive than packing food from home, but if you need to grab a bite to eat, we recommend taking your time to look at your options. Spend 10 minutes looking at the truck stop’s grab-and-go items, which usually include ready-made sandwiches or salads, hot food choices and other products available. Not only do you want to compare prices, but you also want to take ingredients into account. A tuna salad sandwich, for instance, is packed with protein and will keep you fuller for a longer period of time. You’ll be able to spend less money if you shop smarter.

  1. Plan your stops

Every time you stop, it costs you time. As a truck driver, your time is money, so the fewer stops you have to make the better. Plan your stops so that you can do everything you need to do at the same place. Use a fuel stop to also use the restroom, grab a shower, stretch your legs, have lunch, and do anything else needed before you get back on the road.

  1. Take advantage of rewards programs

Many of the large chain truck stops have rewards programs that will get you lots of discounts or points towards free items. Pilot Flying J, for instance, has the myRewards app that tracks your rewards points and lets you redeem them for free showers, laundry, and coffee. If you fuel over 1,000 gallons per month, you earn a free shower per day for the rest of the month and the following month. TA Petro’s loyalty program allows you to use points towards reserved parking, truck maintenance and tires, as well as showers, dine-in and quick service meals, and merchandise. At Love’s, truck drivers earn free showers and drinks when they fuel 50 gallons, plus they can spend points on fuel, food, and drinks, at Speed and Love’s Truck Care. These reward programs are a great way to save money at truck stops.

  1. Use their WiFi

Skip the unlimited data cell phone plan and save money by relying on free Wi-Fi. Many restaurants and truck stops, including TravelCenters of America, Love’s, and Flying J, have this available for free. While Wi-Fi signals vary and many not always be conducive for video streaming and other activities that require a lot of bandwidth, it should be enough to allow you to scroll through social media.

  1. Stop at locations with extra amenities

Most major truck stops will offer you food, showers and often even laundry, but did you know that some truck stops will offer even more? Some of these truck stops have added inside fitness rooms or walking trails and sports courts outdoors so feel free to skip the expensive gym membership you don’t have time to use and plan time for fitness while you’re on the road. TravelCenters of America, for example, promotes their StayFIT program which has free onsite fitness rooms, outdoor fitness stations and walking trails at some of their TA, Petro and TA Express locations. Some of these locations also offer onsite medical clinics for DOT physicals, chiropractic services and more.

If your route doesn’t go near a truck stop with a fitness center, you can still use your time to walk around or do exercises inside or just outside of your truck. Either way, using your time at truck stops to get in a workout is always a good idea.

Looking for more ways to save money as a truck driver? Here are more savings you might be missing out on. We’d love to have you join the Carter team! Give us a call today to speak to one of our recruiters!