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Off the beaten track

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Introduction
Stopping at motorway service areas is something that most of us feel we have to do rather than something we choose to do.

Accusations of high prices, poor service and dodgy catering are often levelled at Britain's motorway service areas, but, with a little planning, you can avoid them altogether or, at least, find out which are worth pulling into.

If you don't want to leave the motorway, then visit websites such as www.motorwayservices.info or www.msatrivia.co.uk for reviews from other users.

If you'd prefer to stop away from the main road, then visit www.offmotorway.com or www.5minutesaway.co.uk for information on places within easy reach.

To help you decide here's a comparison of motorway service area prices with the high street.

Colgate Regular Toothpaste 50ml
Service station: 1.79
High street: 79p

Ginsters Steak Slice
Service station: 2.19
High street: 1.45

Regular cappuccino
Service station: 2.35
High street: 2.27

Coca Cola 500ml
Service station: 1.39
High street: 92p

Volvic water 1litre
Service station: 1.99
High street: 60p (1.5l)

Big Mac meal
Service station: 3.39
High street: 3.39

Chart CD
Service station: 12.99
High street: 9.77

Chart DVD
Service station: 17.99
High street: 13.97