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How to Save Money on Road Trips

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.

How to Save Money on Road Trips

try to travel mid-week.

If you can't avoid traveling during the summer, or if you're already planning a trip during spring break, don't fret. There are still ways to save money on your road trip by traveling mid-week.

  • Avoid peak travel times. If at all possible, try to avoid traveling on weekends when rates are higher and prices will be higher as well. Similarly, holidays and especially peak holiday periods (think Thanksgiving and Christmas) will see higher costs for lodging as well as gas prices that can make it difficult for even the most frugal traveler to find savings in any other way.
  • Consider buying an RV instead of a car. If you're planning a long-distance road trip with little stopping along the way (or if you have lots of room in your car), consider renting an RV instead of driving yourself or paying for hotels each night along the way! It's worth noting: while this may save money in terms of gas costs and hotel stays over time—and if done right could also increase safety—it does come with its own expenses: insurance; registration fees; maintenance fees for refrigerators/freezers; etc., but overall these additional expenses should be offset by decreased costs elsewhere

travel during the off season.

Traveling during the off season is one of the best ways to save money on a road trip. It's often less expensive because less people are traveling at that time, and it's usually not as hot or cold since most people are staying indoors in the winter and summer months.

Additionally, traveling during the off season means you'll find fewer crowds at popular attractions or restaurants. While this may sound like a terrible thing if you want to experience everything there is to offer in another country or city, it's actually beneficial because it means more time for relaxing and enjoying yourself without worrying about getting stuck behind other tourists while trying to take photos of landmarks or eat your meal.

Finally, traveling during the off season can give you a chance to see some amazing scenery that gets covered up by snow during winter months (or vice versa). You might also be able to enjoy festivals celebrating local traditions that don't happen year-round!

take a bus instead of a plane.

  • Take a bus instead of flying.

Taking the bus on long trips is often cheaper than flying, and it can be more comfortable than driving or taking the train. There are some buses with luxury seats and entertainment options, but even those are usually cheaper than flying. Plus, if you're traveling with other people, you can split the cost. Most buses offer tickets starting at $10 per person (for example), which is less than half of what most airlines charge per seat on short flights within North America.

consider sharing a ride with a service like uber or lyft.

One of the most important factors to consider is whether you'll be traveling alone or with others. If you're traveling alone, consider sharing rides with a service like Uber or Lyft. These services are cheaper than taxis, and they allow passengers to choose their own routes. This can save time and money since not everyone has to take the same route in order to get where they need to go.

If you have a group of people who need rides between locations (and if there isn't enough room for all of you in one car), it's better for everyone involved if each person takes turns paying for his/her own ride instead of renting every car individually.

consider renting a car at your destination and driving it back home.

Renting a car at your destination can be cheaper than flying.

If you're planning on taking a road trip, consider renting a car at your destination and driving it back home. This is especially true if you're going to be renting for more than one week—in most cases, it will cost less to rent for two weeks instead of flying back and forth one way.

consider renting an RV and camping along the way.

If you're traveling with a family, renting an RV may be the best option for you. The space and amenities alone will make it worth it. You can have a kitchen, bathroom and living area all in one place. Also, if you're looking to save money on road trips, RVs are generally cheaper than hotels! That's because they come with beds and showers built-in—so you won't need to pay for those things separately.

However, there are some drawbacks to consider before booking an RV rental:

  • The cost of gas will increase significantly since RVs require more fuel than cars do due to their size and weight. This can often add up quickly since most RVs weigh over 5 tons! So plan ahead if this is something that matters most when deciding whether or not this might work best for your trip.*

look for lodging that offers free breakfast.

This is a quick and easy way to save money when traveling. Look for hotels that offer free breakfast if you can, and make sure to request this when booking the room. Breakfast is often the most important meal of the day, especially when you're on a road trip where you'll be driving a lot and eating in restaurants at night. If you don't have time or energy in your daily schedule to go out for breakfast every morning before hitting the road again, this is an excellent option for saving money as well as getting some good nutrition into your body.

pack your own snacks and skip meals in restaurants.

The best way to save money on road trips is to pack your own snacks. Bring a cooler with ice, pack a lunch and bring a thermos of coffee or tea.

Bring items that don’t need to be refrigerated such as: sandwiches, chips and salsa, trail mix and nuts, granola bars and fresh fruit/veggies/cheese sticks (cut into bite sized pieces). Don't forget the drinks! Pack bottled water in reusable containers if you plan on refilling them at gas stations or buy some drinks already made up in bottles like soda pop or juice boxes if there are younger kids who need something more than just water.

There are many ways to save money on road trips!

  • Travel during the off season.
  • Travel mid-week.
  • Share a ride with a service like Uber or Lyft.
  • Rent a car at your destination and drive it back home.

This is especially useful if you're visiting multiple destinations on your trip, as this will save you from paying for gas and parking again at each stop.

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Road trips are a great way to see the country, but they can also be expensive. There are many ways to save money on road trips!


How to sleep cheap on a road trip


If you're planning a road trip but don't want to spend much money, there are plenty of ways for you to save some cash. Here are some ideas for finding cheap accommodation on a road trip:

Book a hotel room not just for the night, but for the day too.

Book a hotel room not just for the night, but for the day too. Use the room to sleep in after a long drive and take a shower before bed. This will save you money by saving on gas and food costs, as well as giving you a place to freshen up before heading out again at night. You may also be able to get access to other amenities like pools or hot tubs—or even gyms if you're into weightlifting!

Couchsurf with locals

Couchsurfing is a great way to meet locals and experience the local culture. Couchsurfing can be done on a budget, but it's not always easy to find someone willing to host you in your own city or town. To help you make connections even when you're thousands of miles from home, we've got some tips for finding a host when you're traveling abroad:

  • Go into the search field above with an open mind. If there are no hosts in your immediate area or country, try broadening your search by checking out different continents and hemispheres. You may be surprised at what comes up!
  • Use this map tool to see what other people have written about each listing. It can help give you an idea of whether it's worth contacting someone or not (or if they'd be open to hosting).

Camp on your own land.

Dispersed camping is when you camp on your own land. It's also known as boondocking or dry-camping, since you don't have to pay for a campsite. This can be an inexpensive way to sleep cheap on the road trip and offers some great benefits, but there are some drawbacks too.

The good news is that dispersed camping is legal in most states and counties across America. The bad news? There are rules about where you're allowed to set up your tent: You must be at least 100 feet away from any public road or building (including restrooms) AND 100 feet away from any water source used by humans such as lakes, rivers, streams or wells (unless you're using one of these). Remember that even if it's not 100% dry where you park your RV/car/truck/tiny house—there may still be enough moisture around for mosquitoes!

Stay on someone else's land.

In addition to the obvious option of staying with friends or family, there are a number of other ways to get your bedtime accommodations for cheap. Some of these options include:

  • RV parks
  • Campgrounds
  • Hotels and motels
  • Bed and breakfasts (B&Bs)
  • Guesthouses, hostels, or even your own apartment rental.

Take a nap at a rest stop or a park.

  • Rest stops are generally safe, so feel free to pull over and take a nap.
  • Parking lots of restaurants and stores are also generally safe, but watch for signs that indicate they're "no overnight parking." If you're not sure, call ahead before taking a nap at one of these locations.
  • Don't sleep in your car. It's not as safe as you might think! Also, if it's nighttime outside when you doze off behind the wheel somewhere (not recommended), there's no guarantee that someone won't knock on the window and ask why exactly you decided today was a good day for sleeping in your vehicle in an unfamiliar place. Plus there's always the risk that all those creepy noises from last night were real—and were made by something living under your car seat!
  • Don't sleep on beaches or anywhere else outdoors where people might walk by during the night and see you napping away like some sort of lazy bum who doesn't deserve their money because they have jobs while others have the right idea about traveling around America—which involves getting plenty of rest each day by sleeping wherever possible without resorting to public spaces like parks where other people may be present during waking hours too (and thus could potentially spot them).

Take advantage of free airport parking and sleep in the car there.

If you're planning to drive, pricing may play a major role in your plans. If you want to save money on hotels and motels, consider parking your car at the airport and sleeping in it overnight. Many airports offer free parking lots, which can save you hundreds of dollars if you plan on spending several days away from home. However, be sure that your vehicle is parked in an area where there is security coverage (e.g., not an abandoned lot). This will allow for easier access and security during the night as well as protection against theft or vandalism by others who might try to break into your car while sleeping there.

Sleep at trailheads if dispersed camping is allowed in your area.

If you're looking to save some money, camping at trailheads is a great option. Dispersed camping is generally allowed in national parks as long as you follow park rules and regulations for dispersed camping. You'll need to find out where the trailhead is before you go, since many of them don't allow overnight stays when there are no services at that location.

Dispersed camping can also be an option if you're planning on staying near any of these other areas:

  • National forests (Forest Service)
  • State parks
  • National monuments
  • National recreation areas

There are many ways to cheap accommodation on a road trip

Sleeping on a road trip can be a challenge, but there are plenty of ways to make it affordable. You can sleep in your car, tent, hammock or camper van. If you aren't able to sleep in these options, then consider sleeping in a hostel or B&B.

The most expensive way to get some shut eye is by booking an actual hotel room—but who wants to do that when they're out traveling?


It's important to note that there are lots of things to consider before trying any of the above options. Not all of them will work for you, so make sure you do your research before deciding which one will work best for your trip. And if none of these suggestions seem like a good fit for what you have in mind, don't give up! There are many other ways out there as well—just keep searching until you find something that fits perfectly with your budget and itinerary.

Cheap road trips for couples


Road trips are a great way to get away from it all and spend some time with your significant other. They're also pretty affordable—if you follow this guide and plan ahead. Here are some tips for planning your own cheap road trip (or at least making it cheaper):

Explore a national park.

There’s nothing quite like waking up in the middle of nowhere to see a herd of wild bison grazing near your campsite. Or maybe it’s the piney mountain air that excites you, or maybe it’s just knowing that all those things are free. National parks offer plenty of opportunities for you and your partner to enjoy nature without spending a dime on expensive activities like rafting or zip lining (not that there’s anything wrong with those). You can get up close and personal with wildlife, go hiking or camping with someone who knows how to handle their gear (and their emotions), or just take in some stunning vistas from afar.

What better way to get away from it all than by getting as far away as possible?

See a drive-in movie.

The drive-in movie theater is a uniquely American experience that can be enjoyed by everyone. You can bring your own food and drinks, so you don't have to spend any of your hard-earned money on concession stand snacks. You can also bring a blanket or lawn chairs if you want to get comfy during the movie.

A drive-in movie is an excellent way to make this road trip extra romantic for couples—you'll be able to watch movies under the stars surrounded by loved ones! If you're traveling with kids, they'll enjoy watching a movie from their car window as well (assuming it's not too cold for that). If you want to invite friends along on this road trip adventure, it's easy enough for them not only because they don't have far away from home but also because they won't need tickets either—most drive-ins allow guests without cars into their parking lots at no charge!

Camp out in a tent.

Camping is a cheap way to travel, and it's also really fun! You can either rent a tent or buy one for cheap at a store like Target. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, you could use an actual hammock instead of a tent. Either way, all you need is some sleeping bags and pads (or blankets) so that both of you will be comfortable while sleeping outside without a roof over your heads.

If you want to splurge on something nice for this trip, consider bringing along your own food from home—it'll save money compared to buying snacks at gas stations along the way.

Cook your own meals.

As a general rule, cooking your own meals is cheaper than eating out. This is especially true if you can purchase groceries and cook in a campground instead of ordering food from a restaurant or fast-food joint. It also helps to buy food in bulk, which allows you to make things like soups and stews on the spot. If you want to go even further with this idea, consider bringing along a portable stove or grill so that both of you can enjoy making meals together (and eating them too!).

Rent a cabin or beach house instead of staying in a hotel.

Renting a cabin or beach house is a great way to get away from the city. You're likely to be far enough away that you won't hear traffic, and it's likely that there will only be one other house nearby. The hustle and bustle of city life is replaced by a natural beauty that can only be found out in nature. If you want to relax, this is the perfect place for you!

If you're like most people, your daily routine involves interacting with other people: coworkers, family members and friends are just some examples of those whom we see on a regular basis. However, when we're enjoying ourselves on vacation with our significant other, we don't want any distractions; instead we want quiet time together where our attention is focused only on each other! This type of environment allows us both opportunities for conversation while still being away from everything else around us (and our phones).

Bring your own beverages and snacks.

Bring your own beverages and snacks.

You know the score. You've been planning this trip for months, and you're both excited to get out there and explore America. You don't want to spend all your time in gas stations picking at stale snacks or waiting in line at restaurants that are too busy with other people's family members to make sure you're satisfied. So, when it comes to packing up the car, make sure that you're fully prepared for all of your food needs—and don't forget about drinks! Bring a cooler packed with cold water bottles (and maybe some ice cream) so that you can keep hydrated without overspending on plastic bottles of H2O from the vending machine down the road. If possible, consider bringing a picnic basket with utensils so that no matter where you end up dining out on this trip—whether it be in town at a fast-food joint or under an old oak tree on someone's property—you'll always have everything needed for a well-rounded meal experience together as husband and wife (or girlfriend/boyfriend).

Visit places that are cheap or free to enter, like art galleries or beaches.

  • Art galleries
  • Beaches
  • Museums
  • Zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, theme park and water park
  • Hiking trail or park with a picnic table (for lunch)

Road trips don't have to break the bank.

Road trips don't have to break the bank. In fact, there are ways you can save money on your next road trip without sacrificing any of the fun. For starters, if you're traveling with a partner in crime and want to spend some quality time together but not break your budget all at once, there are plenty of free or cheap things for couples to do. Try visiting museums and historical landmarks that offer free admission or checking out local festivals (which often feature live music and food trucks). You could also go for a hike through nature or take advantage of one of those adorable roadside attractions along your route without paying admission fees.

Another way to save money while on vacation is by cooking your own meals instead of eating out every night—you can even bring snacks from home so that neither one of you has to worry about getting hungry during long stretches away from civilization! If cooking isn't really your thing but neither is eating fast food every day, then consider bringing beverages like water bottles so that no matter where they go next week when they leave town again everyone will feel fully hydrated throughout their travels."


We hope this list has given you some ideas for road trips that are fun and affordable.


How to save money on gas on a road trip


You’ve packed your bags and hit the road, ready for some adventure. But one thing you may not have considered is the cost of gas. Road trips are a great way to travel but they can also be expensive if you don’t know how to plan ahead. Here are some tips on how to save money on gas during your next road trip:

Know your route.

  • Know the distance of your trip. If you're traveling from Portland to Seattle, that's about a four-hour drive (assuming no traffic). It's helpful to know how long your trip will take so that you can plan for gas stops accordingly.
  • Know the terrain of your trip: mountainous areas require more gas because they use more energy, so it makes sense that going from sea level to 4,000 feet above sea level would require more gas than driving in a flat area like Kansas or Ohio.
  • Know the number of stops you'll be making and what type (fast food or sit-down). If you stop every hour on the hour for ice cream and coffee, then there's no way around it—you're going to have to spend more money on fuel than if all you do is stop once every few hours for some food or water.
  • And finally—know what time of day it is! This might seem like an obvious tip but sometimes people forget this last part! Don't just assume that when traveling at night costs less than during rush hour in the middle of summertime; check out rates during those times specifically so that when planning budgeting tactics for a road trip does not leave any holes open for unexpected expenses later down the line

Know your MPG.

Make sure to know your MPG.

You can find it on the sticker in the window of your car, or by looking at the dashboard when you turn on the engine. The average person should know their MPG offhand, but if you don't, just look it up! It's important that you know how much gas your vehicle uses so that you can plan accordingly and get more bang for your buck while road tripping.

Calculate the cost of gas.

Calculate cost of gas

Before you leave, calculate how much it will cost to drive your vehicle on your road trip route. If you are in a car, use the miles per gallon (MPG) rating for each car type. If you are in a truck or SUV, use the combined fuel economy rating for all vehicles with similar body types and engine sizes. For example: if an AWD crossover has an MPG rating of 22/32 mpg combined, then its MPG is 28 mpg overall.*

  • Note: You can find this information on most websites that sell new cars or used cars near me online.

Gas up out away from the highway.

When it's time to gas up, get off the highway and head for a station away from the highway.

I know what you're thinking: this seems like a lot of work. But trust me—you'll save money with this tip!

The first thing to consider is how far away from the highway you should be when you stop for gas. The optimal distance will vary by car and driver, but I've found that my own personal sweet spot is about ten miles, or fifteen minutes driving time. (If I'm in a real rush, I'll go as far as twenty.) If your car has been getting around 35 miles per gallon (MPG), then stopping at an off-the-highway station could save you $5 over stopping at one on the road itself!

The other important aspect of this tip is where exactly on said road one should stop: ideally somewhere just outside city limits or not directly adjacent to any major thoroughfares—that way there won't be any traffic headed toward town when they pull in (and vice versa). For example, if we're going through Kansas City on our way back home from Chicago instead of hitting up downtown KCMO first thing after hitting up Chicago's suburbs we might go southbound until we hit Shawnee Mission Parkway/K-7 Highway exit; stop at the Chevron there before heading back onto Interstate 435 Eastbound toward home via Merriam Drive Exit 39A."

Watch for changing prices when you’re on the road.

Gas prices are constantly changing, so it’s important to watch for the best price while you’re on the road.

To find the best gas price in your area:

  • Use an app or website like or Fuelio to search for a gas station nearby—the app will also show you where all of the stations are located and which ones have the cheapest prices. You can also look up fuel prices at a particular location using Google Maps, though this won’t always be 100% accurate because some stations don't update their prices on this platform. However, most apps and websites don't require any sort of login either so they'll save you time and effort when compared to manually searching through various websites or apps in order to find one that works well enough.

Planning ahead can save you some cash in the long run

Planning ahead can save you some cash in the long run. It’s important to plan your route and consider potential pit stops ahead of time so that you don’t get stuck paying higher gas prices than necessary. To start, use the internet to plan your route. A good place to start is Google Maps, which allows users to easily enter a starting point and destination while also offering directions based on traffic conditions (and whether or not they want them). You can also look up gas prices along the way and compare them with those at each of your planned stops, as well as estimate how much gas will cost for each leg of your trip using fuel calculators like this one from AAA Travel Tools:

If it looks like there are cheaper options available in certain cities along your route than others, try planning some pit stops in those areas so that you don't have to pay extra for fuel when stopping by other locations on your journey!


Gas is expensive, but there are ways to save money on it. Just by looking up your route and calculating the gas costs ahead of time, you can keep an eye out for cheaper gas stations or off-the-beaten path spots where prices may be lower. Or if you really want to save some cash, try using public transport instead!


How to save money on a family road trip


If you're looking at saving money on a family road trip but don't want to compromise on having fun, then here are our top tips:

Plan ahead.

  • Plan ahead.
  • Make a list of things you want to see and do, and where you want to stay.
  • Check the weather forecast for your destination. You don't want to get there only to have rain or bad weather stop you getting out of the car!
  • Book accommodation in advance, especially if it's peak season (for example, around Christmas).

Multi-task your car maintenance.

  • Plan ahead.
  • Multi-task your car maintenance.

A family road trip is a great way to save money, but there are still ways you can end up spending more than necessary if you're not careful. Here's how to plan ahead and make sure your trip goes off without a hitch:

Pack a picnic.

Pack a picnic.

A picnic is a great way to save money during your road trip and will allow you to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Here's everything you need:

  • Make a list of food items that all members of the family will want. Have children pack their own lunches and snacks, too!
  • Pack your cooler bag early so that it has plenty of time to cool before hitting the road (ice packs help).
  • Bring along some blankets or sheets for sitting on, since eating in car can be messy sometimes!
  • Don't forget about first aid kits—they never hurt when accidents happen (even if they're just from spilled cereal)!

Visit local markets and discount stores.

  • Visit local markets and discount stores.
  • Local markets are a great place to buy food that is in season, as well as items like produce and meat. They’re also good for picking up fresh baked goods from the bakery, which can save you money on snacks. Some local markets have deals or discounts on certain items, so it may be worth checking out before buying them at places like Walmart or Target.
  • Discount stores are your best friend when traveling! I love using Target when we’re on road trips because they sell everything from food to toys and games—all at very reasonable prices. Stores like Dollar Tree are also great if you want cheaper toys and games (or even candy).

Check the weather forecast.

Check the weather forecast for your destination before you leave.

If you have a long road trip ahead of you, checking the weather forecast for your destination is essential. Even if this means searching for a local TV station or newspaper website on your smartphone at home before leaving. This way, if it turns out that there's going to be bad weather where you're headed (or if it rains all day), then you can avoid making stops at parks and other attractions along the way. Instead, pack some snacks and plan some indoor activities around town where it's safe from rain or snow—and don't forget to bring an umbrella in case there's any precipitation!

Research those family discounts and passes.

You can get some serious savings on a family road trip if you're willing to do a little research. Most tourist attractions and other places of interest offer free admission for children under 18, so look into what's available at the places you want to visit. Some will let kids in for free while others might have special discounts or passes that could save you quite a bit of money. Some attractions also offer free parking, which can be a big expense when traveling with a large group!

Make sure that any accommodations that are part of your itinerary are affordable as well and—if they aren't already—ask them about any deals they may give families traveling together. You may find that some hotels and motels will offer cheaper rates than others if there are more than two adults staying in the room (or even just one adult and three kids!).

Make fun of your own jokes.

It's OK to make fun of yourself.

Most people don't like to do this because they fear being mocked or humiliated by others, but it's important to remember that the people you're with can be trusted not to laugh at you if they don't find your joke funny. It's also important to know when this might happen and have a back-up plan in case it does. For example, if you're terrible at driving but want to tell a joke about driving anyway, then maybe try something like: "I'm so bad at driving." Then pause for a beat and add "but I'm still better than my brother."

Keep food expenses down with big breakfasts and lunches, light snacking and small dinners.

For the sake of your stomach, it’s worth it to spend some time thinking about what you’re going to eat. Eating cheaply on a road trip requires planning ahead and sticking to a budget.

The best way to save money on food is by making meals at home, but if that isn't possible, try getting creative with snack food instead. Make sure everyone in your family knows what they're eating for breakfast and lunch each day so there's no room for confusion or overspending at the grocery store. Here are some tips for saving money on food:

  • Buy in bulk: If there's one thing most people don't bring enough of when they go on vacation it's snacks! Before leaving home make sure you have plenty of nonperishable items like cereal bars and nuts or dried fruit packed away so you don't need to buy high priced canned goods from gas stations along the way. If possible prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them until needed; this way nothing will go bad before its time has come (though I still recommend eating perishable foods first).

Watch out for hidden costs like fuel, insurance, tolls and car rental fees when you're booking your flight or train ticket.

When booking your flight or train ticket, don't forget to add in costs like fuel, insurance and tolls. If you're driving yourself, remember that you'll also need to factor in the cost of car hire (and its associated fees), parking and food and drink on the road.

Know what's free! Have a look for free things to do in the cities you're visiting before you get there and make sure to build a visit in. Many state parks and local councils offer free events during summer holidays too

  • Know what's free! Have a look for free things to do in the cities you're visiting before you get there and make sure to build a visit in. Many state parks and local councils offer free events during summer holidays too - this is a great way to spend an afternoon with kids of all ages; they can swim, hike, play games and more. If you're lucky enough to be driving through one of our beautiful national parks (and I bet you are), consider stopping by for a few hours as well.
  • Keep food costs down by packing your own picnic basket full of sandwiches or salads made from fresh ingredients bought at home before leaving on your trip (or even better still - grow some herbs and vegetables). If possible take stock off-site so that no refrigeration is required while travelling (e.g.: bread at home).

It doesn't have to cost a fortune to take the kids on holiday by car!

It doesn't have to cost a fortune to take the kids on holiday by car! In fact, there are plenty of ways you can save money while travelling with your family.

  • Know what's free! Many state parks and local councils offer free events throughout the year - and you don't need to be staying at their hotel to go along. Have a look online for upcoming events in your area, or check out sites like TripAdvisor for recommendations on where you might find some fun activities that won't cost anything.
  • Keep food expenses down by planning ahead: pack snacks and lunches from home instead of stopping every couple hours at fast food joints; this way everyone can eat when they're hungry without spending extra money (or having crumbs in their car). If you prefer eating out occasionally, consider bringing along cards/board games/tablets so everyone can play together as opposed to watching TV screens all night long..
  • Make fun of your own jokes! A lot of people think being funny takes talent - but really it just takes practice! You might think something's hilarious but someone else could find it embarrassing or keep practicing until everyone laughs with YOU instead of AT YOU!!

So there you have it. It doesn't have to cost a fortune to take the kids on holiday by car! With a bit of planning, some smart multi-tasking and a little creativity you can save money while having the time of your life with your family.

How to save money on food on a road trip

Traveling by car is a great way to see the world, but it can be costly. Staying at hotels and eating out at restaurants can add up quickly, but there are ways to save money on food while still enjoying your trip. Here's how:

Take snacks with you to cut down on the expense of eating out.

If you're taking a trip and want to save money on food, the best thing you can do is bring snacks with you. Nuts and seeds are high in protein, granola bars offer energy, fruit provides vitamins, and water is cheap everywhere. If possible, try to avoid processed foods; they're often very expensive and full of chemicals.

Find out where the best local restaurants are ahead of time.

  • Talk to locals. If you're staying in a hotel, the front desk staff are likely to know what's good in the area. They may also be able to give you tips on where to go for cheap food and drinks.
  • Use the internet. Most people have access to phones nowadays, so use them! Searching Google or Yelp will help you find restaurants in your area that are known for being inexpensive and delicious, as well as ones that have menu items under $10 (if that's important).

Eat a large breakfast to save money at lunch.

You know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Well, for your wallet's sake, it should be.

A study in Australia found that eating a large breakfast saved people an average of $1.50 a day on their lunches—not to mention all the money they would've spent on gas if they hadn't packed their lunch!

Saving money on food is doable and tasty.

  • Eat at a local restaurant. This can be more of an option if you're traveling in a state or city with which your group is familiar, but it's worth looking up what's around before settling on any place. You may find a great local diner or restaurant that fits your budget (and the food will likely be better than the national chains).
  • Eat breakfast and then again for lunch—if possible. If you eat breakfast before leaving in the morning and then plan to stop at lunchtime, there will be no need to worry about being hungry until dinner rolls around hours later.
  • Keep snacks on hand so that each passenger can make their own meal as needed without having to purchase something from every single location they come across along the way. This could take some planning ahead of time (e.g., packing granola bars), but it's worth it if it means not spending extra money at every gas station along your route!

We hope that you’ve learned a few tips about how to save money on food when you’re traveling. If anything, we want it to be clear that there are many ways to save money and still eat well. You don’t have to eat fast food every day or become a vegetarian just because it’s cheaper; there are plenty of options out there that can help you stick with your budget while still enjoying all the tasty foods in life!

Road trip budget template

Road trips are great, but they can also be a little stressful if you don't plan properly. It's important to know how much money you'll need for gas, food and other necessities—especially if you're planning on doing a lot of backpacking or camping during your travels.

Figure out your daily budget

To figure out your daily budget, you'll need to take note of a few things:

  • The average hotel room costs X.
  • The average gas per gallon is X.
  • The average cost of food is Y.
  • The average cost of activities is Z.
  • The average souvenir costs W

Divide the day into sections (morning, afternoon, evening)

When you're planning a road trip, it's good to plan your day into sections. You can do this by making a list of the things you want to do, and then breaking them up into morning/afternoon/evening blocks.

The same goes for meals, snacks, drinks and travel costs. For example: Breakfast is at 8am. Then we'll have lunch at 11:30am (a light meal), followed by snacks until dinner time at 4pm (lunch food). We'll buy drinks on the way home as well as on our way out because we'll be drinking in the car. We'll also stop every hour or so for bathroom breaks so that's part of our travel cost budget too!

After dinner there will probably be some more snacks before bedtime around 9pm-10pm depending on how late everyone wants to stay up. Then everyone needs their own bathrooms after that which adds more cost per person so we know how much each person should bring with them! After everyone has gone home it would be best if no one wanted anything else but if they did feel free :)

Add up how much you'll need for each section

Make sure you have enough money for gas and food. To maximize the value of your trip, budget for meals and snacks. You can also factor in souvenirs and fun activities.

Accommodation is another important budget item to consider when planning a road trip. If you're stopping at hotels during your journey, then plan out how much it will cost per night so that you know what to expect in advance. Transportation costs are also a consideration when planning a road trip because they may vary depending on where in the country or world you're traveling from/to and which mode of transportation (car rental vs airplane vs passenger train) will be most cost-effective for your needs.

Add up how much you'll need for each section for each day of your trip

  • Calculate how much you'll spend on gas.

This one is easy. You know how many miles you plan to drive and how much your car gets per gallon, so just multiply the two together to find out how much gas you'll need for each day of your trip.

  • Calculate how much you'll spend on food and drinks while driving—and where those calories are coming from!

There are two parts to this equation: first, figure out what kind of food will be available at rest stops or restaurants along the way; then, based on that information, estimate how many calories each person needs per day during their trip (this can vary wildly depending on age and fitness level). Multiply these numbers together to get an idea of the total amount needed for food throughout the trip—but keep in mind that this number doesn't include any snacks!

  • Add up other costs related specifically to travel along with lodging expenses

Here's a good way to make sure you don't run out of money

  • Make a budget. This is the most important step and the one you'll refer to most often while you're on your trip.
  • Do some research, but be flexible with it. If you hadn't thought of something before leaving town, chances are it's not a pressing issue that needs to be addressed right away—so don't worry about keeping every dollar in your budget accounted for at all times!
  • Consider whether or not you need more than one car rental per person (i.e., if two people are sharing). The savings can add up quickly if both rentals are paid for separately instead of together through one company.

When you're planning your trip, it can be hard to keep track of everything. But we think this template makes it easy to see where your money is going and plan accordingly. Plus, if you’re traveling with friends or family members who are sharing expenses with you, there's no need for awkward conversations about who owes what!

How much would a road trip cost calculator

How much does a 1 week road trip cost?

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

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