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How to Avoid Tolls and Save Money With This Google Maps Feature

Dan Price 23-08-2017

Saving money while traveling is like the holy grail. If you haven’t already, check out our tricks for finding cheap flights 5 Traveler Secrets to Find the Best and Cheapest Flights The only thing better than travelling is travelling on a fantastic deal. Save money and have a great trip with the help of these travel planning apps. Read More and our list of the best hotel search engines The Best Hotel Search Engines to Grab Great Deals When You Travel We sat down to look for the best hotel booking experience online. The ones who are making it cheaper, easier and safer to get a room. Here are our definitive top 10. Read More .


But what about driving?

Being behind the wheel is already expensive enough. With the cost of gas marching upwards and road tax and car insurance eating into our monthly budgets, it’s more expensive than ever to put your vehicle on the road.

Google Maps can help cut a tiny fraction of that cost by making sure you never accidentally end up on a toll road.

Google Maps GPS

While there are lots of excellent GPS apps 8 Best Free Offline GPS Navigation Apps for Android Need directions on your phone but don't have an internet connection? These offline GPS apps for Android will help you navigate. Read More on the market, for most people Google Maps is more than good enough. If you use Google Maps as your primary navigation tool, why not make this quick tweak to prevent you from wasting unnecessary dollars?

You need to make the changes to your route on a trip-by-trip basis, so fire up the app and enter the details of your journey. Once you’ve successfully logged your start-point and end-point, you need to tap the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.


How to Avoid Tolls and Save Money With This Google Maps Feature google maps toll 571x500

On the menu, choose Route Options. You’ll see three new options. Mark the checkbox next to Avoid toll roads. Click Done when you’re ready.

As you can see from my example below, sometimes the changes can add a significant amount of distance to your journey. To truly save money, you need to establish whether the increased costs in gas are offset by the savings you make on the toll roads.

How to Avoid Tolls and Save Money With This Google Maps Feature toll road compare 571x500

How do you use Google Maps to save money when you’re driving? Let us know in the comments below.

Related topics: Google Maps, Save Money.

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  1. fcd76218
    August 23, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Your example illustrates another big problem with avoiding toll roads and that is the added travel time. You may have added only 39 km to the distance but you have added 3hr 26 min to the travel time. That is an increase of over 50%! You may have saved yourself the price of tolls but traveling for an extra 3.5 hours will most probably mean an additional meal. Dollars to doughnuts that the meal is going to cost more than the tolls, especially if you are not traveling alone.

    Avoiding tolls is a good idea if you will be traveling on equivalent quality roads. Swapping a superhighway with tolls for free secondary roads may save you money but how will it take out of you in aggravation over the traffic, lights and careless pedestrians? For example, one can travel from Boston, Mass to Buffalo, NY on Interstate 90 or US 20. The distance is pretty much the same but I 90 is a toll road. The speed limit on I90 is 65 mph for the entire 8-9 hour trip. The speed limit on the free US 20 varies between 25 mph in urban areas to 55 mph between towns. I would not be surprised that the travel time between Boston and Buffalo on US 20 was at least 16 hours. But you would save about $15 in tolls! Is the 8 hrs of extra travel time worth the $15 savings?

    • Alan
      August 24, 2017 at 11:50 am

      I would really like more flexibility in this feature. Avoid tolls should not mean never take toll roads unless it is the only option (which could be an additional checkbox). We should be able to set a threshold for how much time, or a percentage of total trip time we are willing to add to avoid tolls. Personally, I would be willing to add 10 minutes to a trip across my county that has multiple routes, one of which is a toll road. Traveling from Maryland to NY, I happily pay all of the tolls because the alternatives double the trip time.

      • fcd76218
        August 24, 2017 at 12:04 pm

        IIRC, there are pay-for lanes on the Beltway around Washington D.C. Do you think they are the money?

        • Alan
          August 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm

          I was actually referring to the Inter County Connector, which I will use if I am in a hurry, but skip if I am not. Cuts maybe 10 minutes off a trip all the way across the county. I don't usually use the "pay to use the HOV lanes without high occupancy" lanes, but that is because I do avoid driving on the beltway whenever possible, not because of the tolls, but because of the crazy traffic. However, if I had to go to Virginia on a bad traffic day, paying to use the HOV if it would save more than 20% of the trip time is something I would do. I always use the toll road if I need to go to the Reston, VA area or further because route 7 takes almost twice as long except in the middle of the night.

      • fcd76218
        August 24, 2017 at 12:53 pm

        Thanks, Alan.
        I just wanted a local resident's opinion of the HOV lanes. I go down to Alexandria occasionally and only regretted taking the Beltway once. That was when they were still working on both sides of the Wilson Bridge.