How to Save Money on Your Next Road Trip (2023)

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How to Save Money on Your Next Road Trip (1)

Are you getting ready to hit the road for your next adventure? Don’t let a budget stop you from experiencing the open road—there are plenty of ways to save money on your next road trip.

Road trips are a great way to get out and see the world, but without proper planning they can get costly.

The cost of gas, accommodations, food, and entertainment while on the road can really start to put a strain on your budget.

But there’s no need to put your wanderlust dreams on hold — with a little pre-planning and research, you can save a lot of money on your next road trip.

These money-saving tips will give you the opportunity to enjoy all the joys of a road trip without breaking the bank.

Post Contents

Tips to Save Money on a Road Trip

Road trips are a great way to explore new places and create lasting memories, but they can also put a strain on your wallet. With a few simple tips, you can save money on your next road trip without sacrificing the quality of your adventure.

Plan Ahead

How to Save Money on Your Next Road Trip (2)

Planning ahead is a key strategy for saving money on gas and accommodations during a road trip.

It’s important to plan your route ahead of time to find the most efficient route. By planning out the best route and any potential stops, you’ll save yourself time and gas while on the road. Use a GPS like Google Maps to help you avoid traffic and plan pit stops, that way there aren’t any surprises that will set you back.

Planning ahead will not only save time, but also reduce the amount of gas you’ll need for the trip. You definitely don’t want to stretch your budget by using up all your gas on unexpected detours.

You should also consider planning your trip during off-peak travel times, if possible, to avoid higher gas prices and more expensive accommodations.

Save Money on Gas

How to Save Money on Your Next Road Trip (3)

Gas is one of the biggest expenses on a road trip. Luckily, there are several ways you can save money on gas during your trip and make the most of your travel budget.

Avoid higher priced gas by filling up your tank at stations located away from major highways and interstates. Gas stations by main roads tend to have higher gas prices since they’re convenient to many travelers.

But if you plan ahead, you can find cheaper places to fill up off the main roads. Use price comparison apps like GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas prices along your route.

Driving efficiently will also help you save on gas. This means avoiding aggressive driving habits such as rapid acceleration and hard braking, which can lower your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Instead, drive at a consistent speed and avoid idling for long periods of time.

Having a GPS to help you avoid traffic jams will keep you going at a consistent speed and keep you from idling in traffic. Using cruise control on the highway is another way to maintain a consistent speed. Keeping your tires properly inflated can also improve your vehicle’s fuel economy.

Another way to maximize fuel economy is to reduce your vehicle’s weight. Packing lightly and avoid unnecessary items in your car. Carrying excess weight can decrease fuel efficiency and increase the amount of gas you need to use during your trip. Check out my Road Trip Checklist to help you pack light with only the essentials.

Budget-Friendly Accommodations

How to Save Money on Your Next Road Trip (4)

For multi-day road trips, you’ll need to plan for overnight stays, which can really stretch your budget. Planning ahead to find cheap accommodations along your route will go a long way to saving you money on your road trip.

Camping is one of the most affordable options for road trip accommodations. Both public and private campgrounds offer a range of amenities and facilities, so you can rough it with tent camping or go for some glamping with things like yurts and simple cabins. Traditional camping will be the most budget-friendly option, while glamping options will be more expensive but still very affordable.

There are also tons of cheap hotels and motels located along interstates and highways. For a short, one-night stay on a road trip, you may consider foregoing comfort for cheap accommodations. These hotels and motels don’t have the same amenities as a hotel you might choose for a longer vacation, but they provide an affordable place to rest your head for the night.

When looking for cheap accommodations, it’s important to shop around and compare prices to find the best deals. This is best done when planning ahead rather than on the road.

Online booking sites such as Expedia,, and can be useful tools for finding affordable lodging options. These sites often offer discounts and promotions for bookings made in advance. You can also use price comparison websites like Tripadvisor and Trivago to compare prices across multiple booking sites to find the best deal on your accommodations.

Read next: How to Use to Save Money on Hotels

Dining on a Budget

How to Save Money on Your Next Road Trip (5)

Saving money on food and drinks during your road trip can be easy with a little bit of planning.

One of the best ways to save money is by packing your own snacks and drinks. This allows you to avoid costly convenience store stops and ensures that you have healthy and affordable options readily available. Consider packing snacks such as trail mix, granola bars, and fresh fruit, as well as drinks such as water and juice.

Picnics can be a fun and cost-effective way to enjoy a meal while on the road. Look for parks, rest areas, and scenic overlooks where you can stop and enjoy a picnic lunch or dinner.

When dining out on the road, look for restaurants that offer happy hour specials, early bird discounts, or other promotions. If you plan your stops ahead of time, you can even use dining coupon apps or websites to find discounts on meals at local restaurants along your route.

Roadside Stops and Attractions

How to Save Money on Your Next Road Trip (6)

One of the things that makes a road trip fun is making interesting roadside stops. After all, a road trip is all about the journey!

There are plenty of free or low-cost roadside attractions and stops along the way that can help you make the most of your trip without spending a lot of money.

One of the best ways to find these options is to research your route in advance. Look for free museums, parks, and historical sites that you can visit along your drive. If you’re passing through big cities, look for free walking tours, which can be a great way to explore and learn about the area while stretching your legs after a long drive.

In addition to free options, there are also many affordable activities and attractions to consider. Look for discounts and promotions on popular attractions like amusement parks, zoos, and aquariums that you may pass on your road trip. Many attractions offer discounted tickets for advance purchase or for visiting during off-peak hours.

If you’re looking for off-beat and quirky places to stop on your road trip, my favorite site is Their map feature will help you plan in advance any detours you want to take to see some of the most oddball things from giant balls of yarn to interesting restaurants.

Spending some time outdoors is another great affordable activity for a road trip, and it’s a great way to stretch your legs. Look for trails and parks along your route where you can go hiking and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Other Money-Saving Tips

How to Save Money on Your Next Road Trip (7)

If you’re renting a car for your road trip, consider renting from an off-airport location as these rentals tend to be more expensive. Use a car rental comparison website like, Expedia, or Orbitz to find the best deal. And be sure to check with your credit card company to see if they offer any car rental discounts or insurance coverage.

When it comes to packing and shopping, consider packing items that can be used for multiple purposes, such as a multi-purpose tool or a reusable water bottle. This will help you avoid purchasing unnecessary items on the road. Additionally, consider shopping for supplies such as toiletries and snacks at discount stores or in bulk to save money. Remember to pack a cooler to store drinks and snacks.

To avoid unnecessary expenses during your road trip, plan your route carefully to avoid tolls and excessive gas costs. Also, be mindful of speed limits and avoid unnecessary tickets or fines. You should also be cautious when using ATMs to avoid excessive withdrawal fees, and use credit cards with no foreign transaction fees if you’re taking an international road trip.

How to Save Money on Your Next Road Trip (8)

Ready for a Road Trip?

By taking these money-saving steps, you can help ensure that your road trip is a fun and affordable experience. Remember to plan ahead, pack wisely, and be mindful of your expenses along the way.

Looking for more travel tips? Check out these posts:

  • Travel Essentials That Every Traveler Needs For Any Vacation
  • 5 Effortless Packing Hacks for Stress-Free Travel
  • Road Trip Checklist: Packing Tips and Must-Have Items
  • How to Use Tripadvisor to Find Cheap Hotel Stays
  • How to Use to Save Money on Your Travels [Promo Codes Inside]

Ready to take a vacation? Plan your trip with these tips.

  • Find cheap accommodation:Use mytips for finding cheap accommodationfor travel every time.
  • Book your flight:Find the cheapest flights usingSkyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
  • Pack for your vacation: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need by checking out my packing list resources.



How to Save Money on Your Next Road Trip (9)

What are your top tips to save money on a road trip? Let me know in the comments!


How to Save Money on Your Next Road Trip? ›

An easy way to save time on road trips is to minimize the number of times you stop. The best way to do this is to take care of all of your needs in one stop. When you stop for gas, make everyone in the car go to the bathroom and get whatever food and drink you need at the same time.

How can I save money for my next trip? ›

Traveling on a Budget: 10 Tips to Save Cash
  1. Plan ahead. ...
  2. Create a budget before the trip. ...
  3. Travel during off-peak seasons. ...
  4. Check Groupon and LivingSocial for savings. ...
  5. Avoid hotels when possible. ...
  6. Look for discounts before you go. ...
  7. Travel with a friend. ...
  8. Don't be afraid to haggle.

How can I save time on a road trip? ›

An easy way to save time on road trips is to minimize the number of times you stop. The best way to do this is to take care of all of your needs in one stop. When you stop for gas, make everyone in the car go to the bathroom and get whatever food and drink you need at the same time.

How can I save money on a road trip for food? ›

How to save money on road trip food
  1. Don't buy bottled water. DON'T DO IT. ...
  2. Do not eat fast food. Seriously. ...
  3. BYO Snacks. If you've ever bought chips at a gas station, you know how pricey they are. ...
  4. Use a good cooler. ...
  5. BYO Lunch. ...
  6. Cook some of your meals. ...
  7. Skip coffee shops. ...
  8. Pack a growler.
Mar 23, 2022

How can I save money driving across the country? ›

11 Top Tips To Save Money On A Road Trip
  1. Plan Your Route And Create A Budget To Prevent Unnecessary Spending.
Jun 14, 2019

How much do you save for a trip? ›

Many people set aside 5-10% of their net yearly income for leisure travel, but this can vary greatly based on the type of vacations they're planning. Another popular budgeting option is the 50/30/20 rule: 50% of net income is spent on things you need. 30% of net income is spent on things you want.

How to save money fast? ›

On This Page
  1. Cancel unnecessary subscription services and memberships.
  2. Automate your savings with an app.
  3. Set up automatic payments for bills if you make a steady salary.
  4. Switch banks.
  5. Open a short-term certificate of deposit (CD)
  6. Sign up for rewards and loyalty programs.
  7. Buy with cash or set a control on your card.
Dec 21, 2022

What is the best way to do a road trip? ›

10 Tips for Planning a Fantastic Road Trip
  1. Start planning sooner rather than later. ...
  2. Take advantage of planning tools. ...
  3. Prep your car. ...
  4. Pack a roadside emergency kit. ...
  5. Add side trips to your itinerary. ...
  6. Consider an epic road trip that's all about the route. ...
  7. Be realistic about your total mileage.
Apr 1, 2022

How can I save money on gas on a road trip? ›

11 simple ways to save gas money on your road trip
  1. Use apps to find less expensive gas. ...
  2. Take advantage of card discounts. ...
  3. Bypass stations just off major highways. ...
  4. Get stingy at expensive gas stations. ...
  5. Keep up with your vehicle maintenance. ...
  6. Develop good driving habits. ...
  7. Drive more slowly and steadily. ...
  8. Consider a 'nearcation'
Jun 20, 2022

How can I save money by not wasting food? ›

5 Tips to Reduce Food Waste and Save Money
  1. Plan meals. Start a routine: Every Sunday sit down with your family, partner, cat (whoever!) and plan meals for the week. ...
  2. Eat your leftovers. ...
  3. Use your produce smarter. ...
  4. Donate food. ...
  5. Understand best before dates.

How does driving less save money? ›

Overall, driving less remains a simple and effective way to reduce how much you have to pay for car insurance. Driving less means you're less likely to have an accident, you'll need fewer repairs and you could potentially land you a cheaper insurance plan.

How much money do you need to travel? ›

How Much Does Traveling the World Cost? Generally, $20,000 is the baseline cost for a trip around the world for one person for one year. This estimation falls in line with popular recommendations that budget travelers can spend an average of $50 a day on the road, and allows additional budget for flights and vaccines.

How much money should I travel with? ›

The general consensus is that you should have $50 to $100 in cash per day for each traveler. However, this amount could vary considerably depending on where you are vacationing. Some destinations are more cash-friendly than others.

How much money should you save to travel the world? ›

So, How Much Does it Cost? In general, you should expect it to cost between $25,000 to $35,000 per person to travel around the world for a year. This rough estimate comes from reading travel budgets of other bloggers, various travel planning resources, and our own experience.

How do I save money daily? ›

Here are 12 ways to save money every day.
  1. Join loyalty programs to reap rewards. ...
  2. Shop with a cash-back credit card. ...
  3. Cancel subscriptions you aren't using. ...
  4. DIY when you can. ...
  5. Set up automatic bill payments. ...
  6. Switch bank accounts. ...
  7. Look for extra cash lying around in your budget. ...
  8. Carefully scrutinize your spending.
Mar 31, 2023

Why road trips are the best? ›

You can't beat the flexibility of a road trip. There are no flight times to worry about or bus schedules to memorize, as you'll have your own set of wheels to get around. Plus, if you spot something cool out the window, it's much easier to pull over when you're driving than if you're flying.

Why should I go on a road trip? ›

A road trip is a stress-buster; it unwinds and broadens the mind and the soul and gives it the courage to face anything in life. A road trip brings in unexpected challenges, which is a part of the charm.

How do you travel and enjoy? ›

5 Great Ways to Enjoy Your Travel
  1. Hold conversations with fellow travelers. Don't be so focused on the destination that you forget to enjoy the journey. ...
  2. Put away your smartphones and tablets. ...
  3. Don't overcrowd your itinerary. ...
  4. Avoid being reliant on reviews. ...
  5. Hire a guide if you have to.
Mar 13, 2019

How do you travel a lot? ›

Here are 20 ways to get more travel in your life.
  1. Take shorter trips more often. ...
  2. Take advantage of long weekends and holidays. ...
  3. Go where—and when—the deals dictate. ...
  4. Prioritize inexpensive destinations. ...
  5. Work remotely when possible. ...
  6. Examine your prioritizes and eliminate expenses. ...
  7. Stay focused on goals.

How does planning a trip ahead of time help you save time and money? ›

Planning ahead saves you multiple trips to the store and money, too. Not to mention you will have more time and avoid last minute trips to the store, which can be stressful. Bonus: you are less likely to overspend on a gift when you shop ahead of time; so planning really helps you stick to a budget.

How can I save a lot of fuel? ›

10 Best Fuel Saving Tips for Motorists
  1. Take it easy on the accelerator. ...
  2. Plan your trips for efficiency. ...
  3. Ditch unnecessary weight. ...
  4. Stick to the speed limit. ...
  5. Check your tyre pressure. ...
  6. Switch off the aircon. ...
  7. Keep your windows closed. ...
  8. Change gear earlier.

How can I spend less on gas? ›

14 easy ways to save money on gas
  1. Pay with cash instead of a card. ...
  2. Use a gas rewards card. ...
  3. Join a grocery store rewards program. ...
  4. Fill up on the cheapest days of the week. ...
  5. Find the best price with a gas app. ...
  6. Drive patiently. ...
  7. Spend less time idling. ...
  8. Plan out your routes.
Jul 1, 2022

How do we save food? ›

Put leftovers in the fridge in shallow containers so they cool down quickly to help extend their shelf life. Store raw foods and cooked foods separately. Raw meat should be sealed and kept on the bottom shelf to avoid any leakage or dripping. Do a quick fridge check.

How can I spend the least amount of food? ›

To spend less money on food, plan out your meals and your grocery trips. Use digital coupons to save on every grocery bill, introduce more vegetables into your diet, buy in bulk, and stock up on dried food for quick, healthy, and cheap meals.

Does driving slower save gas? ›

Going slower theoretically saves fuel, because at high speed your engine needs to work harder to overcome drag from wind resistance, your tyres and transmission – and that drag increases exponentially the faster you go. Reduce your speed, then less power (and thus fuel) needs to be expended to overcome that drag.

How much money do you save by not driving? ›

According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the average American family could save $10,000 by taking public transportation and learning to live with one less car.

What speed is best for gas mileage? ›

7. The Energy Saving Trust says that the most efficient speed you can travel in a car in terms of achieving the best fuel economy is 55-65mph. Any faster, though, and the fuel efficiency decreases rapidly. For example, driving at 85mph uses 40% more fuel than at 70mph (oh, and it's illegal too).

What is the 50 30 20 rule? ›

One of the most common types of percentage-based budgets is the 50/30/20 rule. The idea is to divide your income into three categories, spending 50% on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings. Learn more about the 50/30/20 budget rule and if it's right for you.

What's the 30 day rule with money? ›

What Is the 30-Day Rule? Instead of allowing yourself to make that impulse purchase, wait for 30 days before you buy — that's the 30-day rule. Following this rule means you defer all non-essential purchases for 30 days, which gives you ample time to think about whether you really need to make the purchase.

How to afford to travel often? ›

How to Travel More
  1. Book Cheap Flights.
  2. Extend a Business Trip.
  3. Save, Save, Save.
  4. Use Travel Guidebooks.
  5. Travel on a Budget—Work Remotely.
  6. Home Exchange.
  7. House Sit or Pet Sit.
  8. Eat In on Your Trip.
Feb 26, 2022

How can I save money for a trip in 4 months? ›

How to save money for a trip in 4 months
  1. Cut back on your rent. The biggest fixed cost that most people have is usually rent. ...
  2. Make savings on your utility bills. Finding ways to cut down your utility bills each month will also go a long way to increasing your overall savings. ...
  3. Pick up a side hustle.
Dec 1, 2020

What is the 50 15 5 rule? ›

50 - Consider allocating no more than 50 percent of take-home pay to essential expenses. 15 - Try to save 15 percent of pretax income (including employer contributions) for retirement. 5 - Save for the unexpected by keeping 5 percent of take-home pay in short-term savings for unplanned expenses.

How to budget $5,000 a month? ›

Consider an individual who takes home $5,000 a month. Applying the 50/30/20 rule would give them a monthly budget of: 50% for mandatory expenses = $2,500. 20% to savings and debt repayment = $1,000.

What is the 40 40 20 budget rule? ›

It goes like this: 40% of income should go towards necessities (such as rent/mortgage, utilities, and groceries) 30% should go towards discretionary spending (such as dining out, entertainment, and shopping) - Hubble Spending Money Account is just for this. 20% should go towards savings or paying off debt.

What is the $1000 a month rule? ›

The math behind the $1000-a-month rule is simple. If you take 5% of a $240,000 retirement nest egg each year, that works out to $12,000/year, which, divided into 12 months, gives you $1000 each month.

What is the 50 dollar rule? ›

The rule states that you should spend up to 50% of your after-tax income on needs and obligations that you must-have or must-do.

What is the $400 rule? ›

You usually must pay self-employment tax if you had net earnings from self-employment of $400 or more. Generally, the amount subject to self-employment tax is 92.35% of your net earnings from self-employment.

Is 20% travel a lot? ›

That 20% is an average, and what it represents can vary dramatically by career, so make sure you ask your hiring manager to tell you exactly what the travel percentage means for the position you're applying for.

How much money do I need to travel comfortably? ›

Generally, $20,000 is the baseline cost for a trip around the world for one person for one year. This estimation falls in line with popular recommendations that budget travelers can spend an average of $50 a day on the road, and allows additional budget for flights and vaccines.

How can I travel and not spend a lot of money? ›

Here are some easy ways to save money while traveling.
  1. Buy groceries instead of eating out. Eating at restaurants all the time gets pricey. ...
  2. Stay in hostels. ...
  3. Carry a water bottle. ...
  4. Skip the alcohol when you can. ...
  5. Work for your accommodations. ...
  6. Visit inexpensive destinations. ...
  7. Travel during off-season.
Feb 28, 2018

How to save $5000 in 100 days? ›

How To Save $5,000 in 100 Days
  1. Get 100 empty envelopes. ...
  2. Number each envelope from 1 to 100. ...
  3. Store your envelopes in a container. ...
  4. Shuffle the envelopes in random order. ...
  5. Pick an envelope at random each day. ...
  6. Insert the day's money amount in the envelope. ...
  7. Put the filled envelope aside. ...
  8. Track your savings progress.

How to save $1,000 in 6 months? ›

How to save $1,000 in six months
  1. Open a savings account. My oldest daughter once saved $800. ...
  2. Automate. Does money burn a hole in your pocket? ...
  3. Cut back. You should be able to find areas where you can reduce spending. ...
  4. Cut out. On the other hand, some spending needs to go. ...
  5. Don't give up. ...
  6. Work both ends of your budget.
Jan 5, 2022

How to save $1,000 in 3 months? ›

Make a plan

If you want to save your $1,000 in 3 months, you'd need to be saving $11 a day or about $83 a week. If you wanted to reach your savings goal in 6 months, you could pull it off by saving about $5.50 a day or $42 a week.


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