- Establish a budget
Like any vacation, a road trip needs a budget. This should include expenses like fuel, accommodations, food and activities. Leave some room for unexpected costs that may crop up, but set a fixed amount for each of your planned expenses to help keep your spending in check.
- Optimize your route
Plot your destinations in advance, consider the most efficient routes and try to minimize backtracking and/or unnecessary detours. Online mapping tools and navigation apps can be super helpful when planning a cost-effective route.
- Save on fuel
If you have options, choose a vehicle that is fuel-efficient for your road trip, such as a smaller car or hybrid. Next, download a gas app to find the cheapest fuel along your route. It's also a good idea to ensure your vehicle is in proper condition before your trip to improve its fuel efficiency. Finally, consider traveling during off-peak times to avoid paying a premium for gas.
- Consider purchasing a National Park pass
It may be worthwhile to buy a National Park pass, which will
grant access to all 63 national parks, as well as some additional recreation areas.
- Bring your own food
Save on food costs by packing smart. A portable grill or camping stove can be sufficient for prepping your meals on the go. Bring some bread, a few proteins and cheeses, fruits and veggies and lots of drinks. The more you bring from home, the more you'll save.
- Look for free attractions
Don't pay for an outing if you haven't first looked for something free to do nearby. Search through community websites at your destination to find free attractions you may have missed, or ask a local to help you out.
- Stay with family and friends
If you have relatives and friends living far from your hometown ask about staying in their homes during your trip. You can plan your route around these locations and you'll enjoy a comfortable, cost-free stay. When your guests take their own road trip someday, you can return the favor.
Use these tips to road-trip for less.