Trip tips

By Kathryn O'Shields

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1 Look for deals on wheels.
Mint (drivemint.com) offers on-demand fuel-efficient cars by the hour la Zipcar, but after the $25 application fee, rates are only $2 per hour—or if you're going out of town, $65 per day. Best part: Gas is free. And don't forget that it's cheaper to pick up your car outside the city. Enterprise has partnered with Metro-North (mta.info/mnr/html/enterprise.htm) to provide rentals at more than 20 train stations for around $40 a day, as compared with $70 within the five boroughs.

2 Fill up for cheap.
As of late April, these spots offered some of the cheapest prices for a gallon of regular gas in and around NYC. Check newyorkgasprices.com for updates.
* $2.59 at Mobil, 290 West St at Canal St
* $2.29 at BP, 466 Tenth Ave at 36th St
* $2.25 at Sunoco, 5914 Riverdale Ave at 259th St, Bronx
* $1.89 at BP, 2800 NJ-3 West at Paterson Plank Rd, North Bergen, NJ
* $1.86 at Valero, 193 14th St at Grove St, Jersey City

3 Make some money while you're away.
Rent out your little slice of NYC real estate at nyhabitat.com or sublet.com. If you'll be gone for at least three nights, New York Habitat allows you to list your pad as a "vacation rental" for free. Sublet.com helps you offer up your place for as short as one day, also for free.

4 Don't stress about the dog.
Instead of taking your chances with Craigslist pet sitters, try petaholics.com (646-723-1282), whose experienced employees are trained in animal first aid. Rates start at $15 for a 15-minute visit. Comparable services include Paws Are Us (pawsareuspetcare.com), City Pet Care (citypetcare.com) and Alitia's Animals (alitiasanimals.com).

5 Know the rules—on the road and otherwise.
The rest of the country is different from us in so many ways. For one thing, those cars are honking at you because, according to the Federal Highway Administration, you can turn right on red anywhere in the U.S. outside of NYC unless there's a sign prohibiting it. Another important law to keep in mind: In Pennsylvania, it's illegal to sleep on top of a refrigerator outdoors. For more tips, check out Erin McHugh's newly published The Little Road Trip Handbook (Sterling).

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