Tips for Saving Money on Your Next American Road Trip

Worried that high gas prices and inflation have put the great American tradition of the road trip out of reach? Never fear: We’ve got you covered with some of the most beautiful, exciting, and budget-friendly destinations across the U.S.

From cross-country adventures to short family excursions, a little planning and know-how will help you see the best our country has to offer without breaking the bank.

6 Quick Tips for Saving While Planning a Road Trip
The key to saving money on any road trip is planning ahead. Unexpected expenses — like say, high rates for the only hotel in town or overpriced supplies at a gas station — tend to add up quickly on the road. Here are some of our best tips to avoid these costly surprises:

  1. Plan Your Route and Destinations Ahead of Time
    It can be exciting to go wherever the road takes you. But if your goal is to save money, mapping out your trip ahead of time is the better option. With a little research beforehand, you’ll find the best deals on accommodations, food and fuel — and you’ll likely discover some budget-friendly pit stops along the way.
  2. Use Lots of Apps
    Modern tech has taken almost all of the guesswork out of trip planning. Take advantage of apps like Expedia, Yelp, and GasBuddy to find deals on hotels, food and gas. Airbnb and HipCamp will help you save on alternative accommodations, while TripAdvisor can reveal nearby inexpensive points of interest,
  3. Brown Bag It
    Eating out every meal is a surefire way to rack up bank account damage fast. You don’t have to plan every single thing you eat on the road, but the more homemade, shelf-stable meals and snacks you pack, the more you’ll save.
  4. Consider Camping
    Short of sleeping in your car, camping is the best way to keep accommodation costs down. Again, you don’t have to camp out every night, but sleeping under the stars for a night or two will knock a good amount off your final bottom line.
  5. Weigh RV Road Trips Versus Hotel Stays
    If tent camping is a little rough for your tastes, consider renting an RV. You’ll want to do a little math beforehand — RVs save on accommodation costs but be sure to factor in their rental fees, higher gas consumption and hookup costs into your budget.
  6. Spring for Roadside Insurance
    Let’s face it — all the planning in the world can’t prevent the unexpected. But investing in roadside assistance will mitigate the costs when disasters like lockouts, breakdowns or flat tires strike. If your insurance company doesn’t cover roadside assistance, consider investing in a service like AAA.