Living in a Van

Eight Ways To Save Money On Your Road Trip

A road trip can be a good alternative to taking a train or catching a flight. After all, being on the road lets you take in all the sights and sounds that no other form of travel can ever do. You get to make multiple stops, catch a break whenever you want, and go on along the way. 


But the secret to a great road trip is knowing how to spend and save money and today, you are going to learn how to do that. 


1. Start Researching and Planning Beforehand 

When you are clear about where you want to spend your money, it gets easier to form a budget that can cover the entire duration of the trip. Your pre-trip research will come in handy at this point. So, ask yourself: 


  • Will you take any extra tours while you’re on the road? 
  • Are you planning to dance the night away or go bungee jumping? 
  • Are you planning to make just one stop at a hotel or multiple stops along the way? 

It gets easier to set the budget once you know about your interests. 


There used to be a time when there was not too much travel info available online. People had to spend their time going through guidebooks and looking for any information about the places and the prices. Thankfully, those days are now gone for good. 


You will not have to assume anything while planning your trip because all the details are available online regarding the prices. You can search for the price of anything that you want.  


When you want to make sure your money lasts, it is important to figure out how much you are going to spend. You would not want to be a traveler who gets completely blindsided by the unexpected costs that break down their budget completely.


2. Set Your Budget and Stick to It 

Creating a budget before hitting the road is important. So, assess how much you are going to spend on entertainment, transportation, emergency funds, and everything else. 


Setting a budget will make sure that you remain on track and don’t go overspending. Besides, you will feel a lot more confident knowing you have assessed your expenditure for every part of the trip.

3. Split All Costs with Fellow Travelers 

If you are on the road with friends, you can cut costs on lodging, food, and gas.  


So, split all purchases with your friends and pay one another back through digital payment apps. The money can be kept in that payment app, transferred back to the bank, or the debit card can be used to get the money that you might need urgently. Splitting costs can help you save considerably on the road.


4. Carry Filling Snacks With You 

A few packets of chips, water bottles, and countless cups of latte tend to add up pretty quickly. So, it is better to do some bulk shopping before you go out. Buy snacks that are going to leave you feeling full and staying well in that specific weather condition, such as apples, nut butter, crackers, bars, jerky, and trail mix. 


Also, bring a stainless-steel, insulated, and reusable water bottle with you. It will help save some money by keeping your coffee hot or water cold.



5. Focus on Making Creative Car Meals 

When you are on the road in your car, making your food can help to save up on some expenses. Instead of dining in big restaurants – that can be expensive when it’s a family traveling together – think of creative, no-ice ideas. What about chicken nachos, tacos, stuffed avocados, or tortilla pizzas? 


There are plenty of options, and you won’t even need a stovetop for some dishes. 


6. Consider All Accommodation Options 

Hotels are a good option to get some rest while on a long road trip, though they are not the only option. However, if you prefer hotels, look for promo codes and discount offers to save some money.  


Now, if you are willing to look for other options, book your room on Airbnb to cut down on accommodation costs. There are couch-surfing options to connect hosts and travelers to let the latter get a place to rest for free. 


7. Pay in Advance To Park in the City 

Parking can be pretty expensive in the big cities, whether you pay by the hour or swipe your card at an expensive downtown garage near a restaurant or hotel. 


However, there is a chance to score major discounts by paying for parking online in advance. Moreover, this will help you in saving the stress of looking for a parking spot in popular places. 


8. Keep Tracking Your Expenses 

You might have created a realistic budget before heading out, but the work doesn’t end there, it is important to track all the expenses. You would not want to cut the trip short and go home because you overstepped your budget. 


So, try to track all your expenses, right from that cup of coffee you bought to hotel rooms. It will help you see whether you are on track or you are overspending. If the latter happens, you can quickly correct your expenses to be on track. 


Keep a journal or use an app to track all of your expenses on the road. It would be a good idea to start tracking the expenses for a couple of weeks at home before the trip to make it a habit. This way, it will not feel like some chore you need to remember while being on the road. It will become a habit. 


The Bottom Line

As you can see, there is no big secret to saving money on the road. It’s just a few tweaks to your budget and expenditure patterns, and you’re set. 


Have you got any other money-saving tips for road trips? Share with us and we’ll be happy to listen!

Terms of Use