Travel Hacks - Road-Tripping for Less

Nothing gives that sense of freedom and adventure like a road trip. Swallowing up miles of open road, passing dozens of scenic views and exploring new places are just some of the experiences that make a road trip so enjoyable. The best part about turning a vacation into a road trip is that you can have your epic getaway without breaking the budget. Here are seven ways to road-trip for less. 

1. Establish a budget

Like any vacation, a road trip needs a budget. This should include expenses like fuel, accommodations, food and activities. Leave some room for unexpected costs that may crop up but set a fixed amount for each of your planned expenses to help keep your spending in check. 

2. Optimize your route

Saving money on your road trip starts with careful route planning. Plot your destinations in advance, consider the most efficient routes and try to minimize backtracking and/or unnecessary detours. Online mapping tools and navigation apps can be super-helpful when planning a cost-effective route.

3. Save on fuel 

Gas will be one of the biggest costs of your road trip, so it’s important to plan right for maximum savings. First, if you have options, choose a vehicle that is more fuel efficient for your road trip, such as a smaller car or a hybrid. Next, download a gas app to find the cheapest fuel during your trip. You may have to spring for a subscription, but you’ll be saving money on every gallon you pump. It’s also a good idea to ensure your vehicle is in proper working condition before you set out on your trip as this can improve its fuel efficiency. Finally, consider traveling during off-peak times, such as autumn, so you aren’t paying a premium for gas just because most of the country is vacationing the same week as you. 

4. Consider purchasing a National Park pass

It may be worthwhile to buy a National Park pass, which will grant you access to all 63 national parks, as well as some additional recreation areas administered by the National Park Service. Passes are priced at $80, and with single-admission tickets to these parks priced at $20-$35 per visit, you’ll quickly get your money’s worth and probably more! 

5. Bring your own food

Save on food costs by packing smart before you leave on your trip. A portable grill or camping stove can be more than enough for cooking and heating your meals while on the go. Bring along some bread, a few proteins and cheeses, fruits and veggies and lots of drinks. It’s also a good idea to take along a complete set of eating utensils for each traveler. You’ll likely need to restock on food supplies at some point while on the road, but the more you bring from home, the more you’ll save. 

6. Look for free museums and events

Don’t pay for an outing if you haven’t first looked for something that’s free to do nearby. There are dozens of free museums across the country and lots of no-cost events, too. Search through community websites at your destination to find free attractions you may have missed or ask a local to help you out. 

7. Stay with family and friends

The cheapest accommodations on a road trip don’t cost anything at all. If you have relatives and friends living far from your hometown, ask about staying in their homes during your trip.

You can plan your route around these locations, and you’ll enjoy a comfortable, cost-free stay that may even feature a warm meal and good conversation. When your guests take their own road trip sometime down the line, you can return the favor. 

Road-tripping is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a vacation, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot at all. Use these tips to road-trip for less. 


Learn More
48 Money-Saving Tips for a Cheap Road Trip - Two Wandering Soles
31 Way to Take a Cheap Roadtrip on a Budget - Take The Truck
How to Save Money on a Road Trip - The Local Tourist