ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - It's about that time to hit the road with the family and head out for the holidays. But, if you haven't traveled in a while, here's a potential unplanned cost.
If you don't plan ahead, you could get a ticket while traveling through a toll because many are cash free.
This year when you're mapping out the out-of-the-ordinary trek, look out on the map for toll roads. In days gone by, if you had enough change in the ashtray, you were good. Today, many of these toll roads are, well, cashless. Yeah, it reduces congestion, but it can raise confusion.
Call for Action, our volunteer group that helps manages disputes you can't sort out, this year has a holiday travel warning - map out that ride before you get on the road.
Deidre Johnson with Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority agrees.
"So, the best thing is to prepare. Know before you go."
The tollway authority issues Peach Passes that allow you for a fee to drive in the faster commuter lanes during rush hour. If you're not a commuter, you might want it for vacation driving. And here's why: That Peach Pass works in Florida and North Carolina, too.
"It's free to get a Peach Pass. You just pay a prepaid amount of $20, so when you go to Florida or North Carolina that way you're already covered when you go through the tolls and the money is already there for you," Ms. Johnson added.
This is what happens when you travel to a state with cashless tolls and you don't have a pass; you can pass through but expect a ticket later in the mail. Or, you can get on your smartphone travel app and ask for routes without tolls. If you're in a rental car, you can buy a transponder that will let you go for a fee. I found multiple rental companies with this same billing option: They charge $3.95 a day. But not more than $19.75 per rental period.
So I decided this would be the day I'd get a Peach Pass. Just in case.
All I needed to do was fill out paper work, jot down my license plate number, give them my driver's license number and put $20 down on a credit card. No other fees.
Super easy. I mean, ridiculously easy.
You can also do a little pre-planning if you're headed out on the road for the holidays. About 15 states take something called EZ Pass. You can order that transponder now, get it shipped and you're ready to go.
But here's a Fox 5 viewer tip:
"We have the pre-paid Peach Passes you buy at a CVS, etc. No credit card required so no auto-reload. We just manually check the balance and add funds when needed. However, when traveling in Florida we decided to use it on their toll-road to Orlando since it accepts Peach Passes. So I was surprised when we got a bill in the email from them. I spoke with them and learned that they do not honor the pre-paid passes unless you are registered and it is linked to a credit card."
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