How to Enjoy a Road Trip on a Budget

Wondermom Wannabe
by Wondermom Wannabe

A road trip is wonderful, but a road trip on a budget is even better! Today, you are going to enjoy your future family road trip even better when you learn about these frugal tips that will save you money!

We know that when it comes to family road trips, we were pretty good at bringing never thought of road trip essentials; but those essentials aren’t meant to help reduce the cost of our road trip in some way.

There were other things we needed to do to make our road trip an affordable one, and avoid wasting money on things. Family road trips can add up, and if you are not careful, it might bust your budget.

So, what are good ways to help you enjoy your road trip without breaking your wallet? Here are my favorite tips to take a road trip on a budget.

How to Enjoy a Road Trip on a Budget

Get Planning

It is proven that with great early planning, you can save money on a road trip. Start planning your road trip the minute it becomes official!

We start planning by writing it down. You see, writing things down puts things into perspective. Start writing and creating a checklist of what you are going to need.

Use this Road Trip Checklist to take care of important things before you leave.

Once you create a plan using a planner, start following your plans because this is going to help you with the next tip!

Start the budget

Yes, you need a budget for this road trip! How do you expect to keep track of your money if you don’t have a budget?

Plan how much money can you afford to spend for this road trip, and how much can you cut down. Once you have completed your budget, start looking for ways to stay within, or below, your road trip budget.

Find the perfect route

When you are on a road trip, make sure you find a route that has banks, restaurants, and it’s a great one to travel. This doesn’t mean that the shorter route will be the better one if you take into consideration traffic.

For example, driving to Virginia took me 6 hours because I decided to take the shorter route that was supposed to get me to my destination in 4 hours. Traffic was crazy, and I ended up paying more in gas and stopping to get something to eat because I didn’t anticipate how long it was going to take. Also, a GPS can send you on a crazy path too, so just look it over in advance to make sure it makes sense.

Always do your research when it comes to traffic and avoid major cities when possible!

A great way to check for gas is to head over to AAA Gas Prices and compare gas prices by states. When we drove to Florida, the state of South Carolina was the cheapest state on our route when it came to gas prices.

Use Money Saving Apps

There are tons of apps for the road that will help you save money. Apps such as:

There are plenty of apps out there; make sure you take advantage of them because the savings you get from them will add up. Check out my list of the Best Apps for Road Trips for ones to consider.

Save on Food

Depending on how long you are driving, having road trip snacks and beverages around is great. Instead of stopping and buying food, try to bring as much of your food and drinks as possible.

Bring a cooler and stock it up with items you already have at home. Instead of buying water, use reusable bottles with filters and refill them with tap water to help bring the cost of water down and reduce waste.

If you need to buy food, check your money saving apps and take advantage of any deals they are offering on restaurants.

Maintenance your Car

Before heading out on your road trip, make sure your car is running well and maintained regularly. To help keep cost down, try doing some simple DIY car maintenance. A car that is well maintained will help you save money on gas and repairs.


I hope you find these tips for a great road trip on a budget helpful. The money saving tips above are very easy to do and follow, and your savings will prove it.

Your turn: What other tips do you have for an awesome road trip on a budget? Share it with us!

Wondermom Wannabe
Want more details about this and other budgeting & minimalist living ideas? Check out more here!
Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Carol Carol on Oct 22, 2023

    My road trips for myself only are very efficient.Car total preparation,food made from home,rest areas for sleeping.Roas side interests are always renewing experiences.Gas is an expense but when high get $20 until you are constantly finding cheaper gas down the road.Mark them for your return trip.Picnic areas are worth the visitor center nice and clean safe and scenic.