Skip to main content

How to Save Money on a Road Trip

Ever since I was a kid I was brought up to be frugal and to save and budget money. * Disclaimer: I am not a financial planner.

Road trips are amazing for so many reasons:

There's nothing like being immersed in nature for weeks on end; they force people to slow down and get away from their screens; and they're an excellent way to try new foods (and experiences). But if there's one thing that terrifies me most about a road trip? It's the cost! All those meals at restaurants, gas stations, hotels—they add up fast! Luckily for all of us who dream of taking an epic road trip but don't want to break our bank accounts doing it: there are several ways to save money on your next big adventure.

Pack snacks and water.

  • Pack snacks and water.
  • Eat the snacks you packed, rather than ordering from the gas station's food counter or buying drinks at the convenience store. You'll save a lot of money this way. If you're driving through an area that's about to hit lunchtime, pack some peanut butter sandwiches into your cooler bag; PB&Js are easy-to-eat on the road and they don't require refrigeration until after they've been opened (which you should do while stopped at a rest stop). If you want something more substantial than PB&Js, look up recipes for granola bars or trail mix that call for dry ingredients so they don't spoil in transit—then buy those ingredients once you get where you're going and make them yourself! That way all it takes is adding water!

Do your research ahead of time.

Make a plan ahead of time. The best way to save money on a road trip is to do your research and create an itinerary that does not require you to buy any extra food or fuel. Before you start driving, check the weather forecast, gas prices, and nearby lodgings. If you want to eat out at local restaurants, look up menus in advance so that you can decide ahead of time if they are worth it (and how much they will cost).

You also want to figure out what kind of entertainment options are available at wherever it is that you’re staying—do they have cable? A pool table? How about hiking trails or other outdoor activities? You don't want vacation days spent just sitting around bored when there are tons of things in your area waiting for discovery! And don't forget about local attractions: Are there festivals happening during your visit? Is there something cool going on that week? These kinds of things make traveling more exciting than just sitting around watching TV every night!

Bring a GPS instead of using your phone.

  • GPS. You can save money by investing in a GPS instead of using your phone's navigation software, which is expensive and clunky anyway. A good place to start is with Google Maps, or you can go to your local electronics store and ask them for a recommendation.
  • Phone. Don't use your phone for anything other than emergencies! If there's one thing that can really drain the battery on your trip, it's going through photos and videos of the whole trip during breaks in between driving locations. There's also no reason to pull out the camera when you're spending time with friends—just be present in what they're doing while they live their lives! Your memories will be captured better if you don't have distractions around asking questions like "hold up who was that person again?"

Use gas station rewards cards wherever you can.

One of the easiest ways to save money on a road trip is by using a gas station rewards card. These cards can be found at any gas station, and they're free to sign up for. They offer discounts on gas at many different stations, which means that you'll get more money off per gallon than someone who doesn't have a rewards card.

The best part about these cards is that you can use them at multiple stations—you don't need to worry about whether or not your favorite place has one available! You can find out where the closest location is and then sign up when you get there; it only takes a few minutes and won't take away from your drive time too much.

Create a budget of how much you can spend per day, and stick to it.

You know you should always set a budget. It's extremely important, and it can help you to stay within your means on a road trip.

By setting a budget, you figure out how much money you'll be able to spend each day before leaving home. You also determine what kind of accommodations are available in the area where your next destination is located. This way, when it comes time for booking hotels and motels, if there aren't many options that fit within your designated spending limit then either plan ahead or make some adjustments so that everything works out fine without going over budget!

If possible (and safe), take turns driving with friends or family members along for the ride - which may reduce overall costs by sharing gas expenses among multiple drivers; however keep in mind this would require each driver getting adequate rest periods between shifts behind wheel which might not always work well depending on location/distance traveled per day etc...

Scroll to Continue

Plan out your meals.

  • Plan out your meals.
  • Prepare your food in advance.
  • Make sure you have enough snacks and drinks to get you through the entire trip.
  • Prepare your food in small containers, so it's easy to transport. Also, make sure it's not too messy or greasy! You don't want to end up with a pile of dishes when you arrive at your destination.

Stay at Airbnb's or find campgrounds for overnight stays.

When you're on a road trip, you don't have to stay in hotels every night. You can save money by staying at Airbnb's or finding a campground for overnight stays. Both options are usually cheaper and more fun than staying in a hotel!

Airbnb has a wide variety of options, so if you want something with better amenities (like Wi-Fi), it's easy to find what you're looking for—and if all you want is somewhere clean and safe with good reviews from previous guests, there are plenty of options as well. You could also meet new people who will help make your trip even more memorable!

Campgrounds are another great option if saving money is important to you; it's unlikely that one night at an Airbnb will cost less than five dollars per person per night (unless the host has been very generous). Camp grounds often offer hot showers, clean bathrooms, laundry facilities and sometimes even kitchens where guests can prepare their own meals—which means more savings!

There are several ways to save money on a road trip

There are several ways to save money on a road trip. First, pack snacks and water for the car ride. You'll be spending more time in the car than sleeping, so having plenty of fuel with you is key.

Secondly, do your research ahead of time to find out what attractions are near your route and plan accordingly. This will help you save money by not wasting time at tourist traps that aren't worth it or taking detours on roads that may be less busy but cost more in gas or tolls (the latter being especially true if you're driving from one state or province into another).

Thirdly, bring a GPS instead of using your phone's map app as much as possible because these can drain battery life quickly depending on how often they're used!

Finally: create a budget for how much money per day will go toward things like food/gasoline/tolls/parking fees; try not to exceed this limit so that you don't end up spending more than planned once everything adds up!


Road trips are some of the best adventures you can have in life. They're also a great way to save money and explore the world around us. It's important to remember that planning ahead is key, so make sure you do your research ahead of time so that when it comes time for your trip, all the details are taken care of! That way, when you're out there exploring new places with family or friends


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Shanon Sandquist

Related Articles