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!

Join our newsletter

If you like Critical Financial, subscribe and get our latest content via email.

Powered by ConvertKit

Share this post:

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment


May the 4th Be with You: Star Wars Swag on Amazon

May the 4th Be With You: Star Wars Day Swag

It began as the punniest holiday ever but quickly grew into an earnest (if somewhat random) celebration of the long-running (and still... more →
People count the money to buy a house in future success.

Avoiding Mortgage Scams: Don’t Fall for Unreasonable Promises

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That’s sound advice for almost all aspects of life, including the search for... more →
Eat for free for a whole month via the meal kit companies discounts for new customers.

How To Get a Month of Free Food: 9 Meal Kit Companies Offering Discounts to New Customers

Play your cards right and you might be able to line up a month’s worth of free meals if you were to try out all nine of the meal... more →
Generate extra cashflow -- here are 97 ways.

96 Awesome Ways to Generate Extra Cashflow

Who doesn’t want more money nowadays? We’ve got you covered on that front. Here comes a long list of different ideas on... more →
Valentine's Day gifts that won't destroy your budget

Valentine’s Day Crafts Are Romantic Rescue from Crazy Inflation

Fall for the hype this week and you’re out an average of $143.56 for Valentine’s Day. Crafts and other do-it-yourself tactics... more →

Ultimate Guide to Bitcoin — FREE Ebook!

Have we got something for you: a free ebook about bitcoin! more →
Get a flu vaccine.

Why You Need To Get a Flu Vaccine Right Now

Flu vaccines aren’t just for the elderly  anymore. Here are 25 reasons you should go get vaccinated. more →
Financially successful

Acquire the Trait All Financially Successful People Have

Financially successful people tend to all have a lot of self-discipline. Improving your discipline in one area of your life often spills... more →

What’s the Best Free Recipe App?

The Apple Store and Google Play together offer more digital cookbooks than you probably have room for on your mobile device. So which... more →
New tax law might slow down housing market.

What Will the New Tax Law Do to the Housing Market?

The new tax law will have a profound impact on the housing market, although in ways that go beyond the deductibility of mortgage interest... more →

4 in 5 Households Will Get a Tax Cut in 2018

Four out of five U.S. households will get a tax cut as a result of the legislation that President Donald Trump signed into law today. more →
Will bitcoin reach $100,000?

When Will Bitcoin Reach $100,000?

Bitcoin has accelerated its pace of appreciation in recent months, and if the current levels between $15,000 and $19,000 make you itch... more →
The Dow Jones topped 24,000 -- now what?

The Dow Jones Crossed the 24,000 Threshold. Now What?

Stocks appear to be increasing in volatility, yet the markets closed on Monday, December 4 with the Dow Jones Industrial Average is... more →
Peer mortgage

Should You Get a Peer-to-Peer Mortgage?

If you can’t get approved for a home loan from a bank, you might want to look into applying for a peer-to-peer mortgage. more →
Investment gifting is awesome.

4 Things To Know Before You Donate an Investment

While donations of any kind are appreciated, gifting investments benefits both the giver and the receiver. Here are four key things... more →
Are you wondering: What's the Relationship Between the Stock Market and Federal Debt?

What’s the Relationship Between the Stock Market and Federal Debt?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if gains in the stock market could actually reduce U.S. government indebtedness? If that were true,... more →
Residential Property Inspectors, motives

Residential Property Inspectors, I Question Their Motives?

Oh, the struggles with selling a home!   We listed our house on March 1 and experienced an overwhelming amount of interest, having... more →