With travel plans over the last two years halted by covid restrictions and the recent airport chaos hindering flights, many people have been looking closer to home for a holiday and taking advantage of what Britain has to offer.
But while a UK-based holiday is usually cheaper than jetting abroad, skyrocketing petrol prices have hiked up the cost of road trips, making saving money where possible key to a smart staycation.
So where can you save some extra cash? One way is to avoid an expensive pitstop. On a long car journey, a quick visit for service station refreshments is often a must. But some spots are much worse than others when it comes to cost.
To help you plan your trip, we’ve revealed the top five most expensive service stations to steer clear of en route, and the cheapest to stop at instead, based on the average price of service station classics: a coffee and bacon butty.
The difference in prices you’ll pay if you stop along the way
The UK’s most expensive service stations:
1. Gloucester (M5), Tebay (M6)
Topping the list of the UK’s most expensive service stations is Gloucester on the M5, and Tebay on the M6 in Cumbria.
At both these service stations, a medium latte and bacon roll will set you back an eye-watering £8.60!
2. Membury (M4)
If you’re travelling through Berkshire, you might want to avoid Membury’s service station on the M4, where the snack and caffeine boost will cost you £8.
3. Rivington (M61)
Rivington’s service station on the M61 comes up third most expensive, where a coffee and bacon roll (or barm to Lancastrians) will cost you £7.80.
4. Maidstone (M20)
Maidstone on the M20 in Kent is marginally less expensive, but will still set you back £7.74.
5. London Gateway (M1)
As fifth most expensive in the UK, you may also wish to avoid making London Gateway your pitstop on the M1 if possible, unless you’re happy to fork out £7.70 for the same service station classics.
The UK’s cheapest service stations:
1. Scotch Corner A1 (M)
On the opposite end of the scale, North Yorkshire’s Scotch Corner comes out on top as the UK’s cheapest service station. A bacon sandwich and medium latte will cost you £4.90 here. That’s £3.70 cheaper than Gloucester!
2. Chester (M56)
Chester on the M56 is the second cheapest you can opt for, with the same order setting you back £5.80.
3. Stirling (M9/M80)
Third cheapest is Stirling in Scotland. If your road trip takes you through this service station, you can expect to pay £6.65 for your refreshments.
4. Doncaster North (M18), Blyth A1 (M)
Joint fourth cheapest are Doncaster North on the M18 and Blyth on the A1 (M). Both these service stations will set you back £6.85 for your coffee and sandwich.
5. Leigh Delamere (M4), Cardiff West (M4), Chieveley (M4), Washington A1(M), Bridgwater (M5) and Trowell (M1)
And bringing up the rear as fifth cheapest are Leigh Delamere, Cardiff West and Chieveley on the M4, alongside Washington on the A1(M), Bridgwater on the M5, Trowell on the M1.
At any of these service stations, tucking into your breakfast butty and coffee will cost you £7.25.
Now you know which service stations are the priciest, you can plan your pitstops accordingly and save yourself some extra cash.
Of course, as well as avoiding the most expensive service stations, saving petrol is the best thing you can do to keep costs down on your travels.
Petrol prices might have soared, but hopefully, that won’t put the brakes on your UK summer staycation. There are a couple of simple things you can do to reduce your fuel consumption and reduce the amount you need to fill up:
1. Don’t overdo it on the accelerator
Accelerating gently and easing off the gas are two of the best things you can do to save fuel. Drive smoothly in a high gear where possible within the speed limit, and try to avoid unnecessary braking, as getting the car back up to speed uses a lot of fuel.
2. Remove extra weight
You might need a couple of suitcases, and perhaps a tent if you’re braving the British weather, but take out any unnecessary items weighing your car down. The heavier a car is, the more fuel it requires.
3. Check your tyre pressure
Ensure your tyres are at the correct pressure stated in the car’s manufacturer’s guide. If your tyres are underinflated, your car’s engine will need to work harder, using more fuel. It’s also important to check that the tread of your tyres is 1.6mm before you set off.
Making sure your car is generally ready for a long road trip is important, so be sure to check your oil level and that your lights are in good working order too.
Road trip car essentials:
There are a couple of car essentials you should keep in your vehicle to ensure you’re prepared for every eventuality on the road.
· Spare car tyre
· Torch (very handy if you break down at night)
· Jump lead
· Phone charger
· First aid kit
· Bottle of water
Preparation is key for any road trip when it comes to safety and saving. Wherever you’re headed this year, check your car is in the best working order, pack the essentials and plan your route accordingly to avoid the worst of the service station prices!
Not sure if your car is up to long journeys? If you want to invest in a new model best suited for regular trips, check out our easy-to-use car finance calculator to find out how much you can borrow, and check out our other blogs for more tips.