Saving Money on a Road Trip

road trip tips, saving money on a road trip, vacation tips

The best way to save money on a road trip is to map out a plan. Since you’re reading this, you’re obviously doing just that. Congratulations on getting organized. The following post gives the many ways you can save big money on your  next adventure. Some of the ways are small but on a multi-day trek, the savings add up. You will have the knowledge to save at least $100 on your next road trip by the time you finish this post. It’ll only take you 3 minutes to read this post so that’s pretty good bang for your buck!

Choose a Fuel-Efficient Vehicle

Add up the total amount of miles you’ll be driving on the road trip. Calculate how many gallons of fuel that will take to drive your vehicle. Next, get a rough idea of what you’ll be paying for fuel during the trip. Remember that fuel next to the interstate is usually more expensive that what you’re used to paying at home. Also, you may be driving into expensive touristy areas. That’ll surely jack up the price of fuel.

How much money will you spend on fuel? If it’s a surprising number, consider renting a more fuel efficient car. You may be able to get a free car rental just on the amount of fuel you’ll save.

Buys Food at Grocery Stores

Simply say ‘no’ to buying food at convenience stores. It’s expensive and unhealthy. Instead, pack food. Before you go, pack dry goods like nuts, dried fruit, crackers, and other easy-to-eat items. Along the way, stop at grocery stores and fill a cooler with ice and meals to eat during the day. Many grocery stores have low-priced pre-made sandwiches, salads, wraps, and more. They are always much cheaper (and fresher) than buying such items at a gas station. Going grocery shopping in a faraway town is also fun. It makes you feel like a local.

Get Coupons for Restaurants Ahead of Time

Eating at grocery stores is okay for travel days but you’ll want to experience local food once you reach your destination(s). For this, use Groupon or other coupon sites. By doing so, you can save 30%+ on all of your meals. Going this route is super easy. It just takes a little foresight.

Oh, and remember to use them! You won’t be driving back to Nevada just to use your coupon for ‘Alien Steak Café’. Set reminders to use them on your phone.

Stay at Camp Sites

Do some camping! You can either bring a tent or just sleep in the car (room/weather/mood permitting). It can be a fun way to really absorb your surroundings. It’s a much more honest way to travel than staying at all the Holiday Inn Express’s from Chicago to LA (I haven’t done that before… I swear).

Sleeping in the car is doable if you have a hatch, wagon, or pickup truck. This is ideal for young couples. Or, you can pack a tent. Consider storing it in a streamlined rooftop container. Camp grounds are only around $20/night!

Do Hotels Right

If you’re going to stay in a hotel, there are still plenty of ways to save. For instance, you can plan your hotel stays ahead of time. This way, you can get the best deal on a room. Or, if you want to be more spontaneous, consider asking for a cheaper rate. I saw a young couple once come into a hotel lobby at midnight. They said they needed a place to sleep but would be gone by 6am. They asked for a discounted price. They got half off. Don’t forget to also use savings apps for last-minute hotel deals.

Remember to take advantage of the breakfast as well. Although most breakfasts aren’t great, they will at least get you through most of the morning. This means you can hit the road early without having to go someplace else for food.

And don’t forget to voice your opinions upon checkout. If you were unsatisfied, say so. My mom once found a half-eaten apple under her bed. She mentioned it upon checkout. She wasn’t mad, she just said it to the clerk in passing. He waived our entire stay! How sweet is that?!

Saving Money on a Road Trip

It Really Does All Come down to Planning

If you dedicate just a few hours to planning, your trip will be much cheaper. The thing with money is there are almost always opportunities to spend less than others. It’s just a matter of being smart. If you have any other tips for saving on road trips, drop us a comment.

Safe travels!