7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Road Trip Budget

If you’re on a strict road trip budget, there are ways you can totally make it go further. Save money on the trip, and you can spend all the more on activities and fun while you’re on it. 


Road trips can be one of the most effective ways to travel. I love a good road trip, and have written about them in the USA and the UK on my blog. Unfortunately my big plans for a road trip in Cornwall this spring have been thwarted by the virus, and I think my plans for an Albania road trip have been too.

Sad, but we’ll all be back on the road soon though, and when we do – we’ll be skint! 

So, I thought I’d have a look at how to save money on a road trip, to make it one of the most cost effective travels out there. 

Road trip money saving tips

1. Get a good team together

The best money saving tip for a road trip seems like the most obvious.

Get a good team of friends together to fill the car, not totally fill – 5 is too many – but in any normal car, a group of four is the best option. This way you can share on the rental cars, and most importantly, on the petrol. You can also share on the driving if you’re going a long way. 

2. Use a fuel card

You can pre plan for your trip by using a fuel card and topping up. If you’re going on an odyssey of a road trip, like across Canada or Australia, then a fuel card can really help you save and plan your road trip budget. Take a look at iCompario to compare which one would be best for you. 

Also, fill up at supermarkets in towns rather than service stations on highways – your money will go further. 

3. Take a tent, or a bigger car

save money road trips

One of the best ways to save money on road trips is on accommodation. If you can find a way not to have to pay for hotels or hostels then well done. I’d suggest a nice, big comfy tent with all the essentials for camping, or, if you have the money, then a campervan

This way you can park up wherever’s best and sometimes even camp for free. Of course this has its positives and negatives, but if saving money on your road trip is your main thing, then its ideal. 

More European Road Trips for you, and if you want more advice on what to take on your road trip, click here!

4. Research free parking 

If your road trip is over a few weeks you may end up spending quite a lot on parking spaces.

concentration Medsailors

To save money I’d recommend you looking up the free spaces available nearby, and double, triple check when you’re there. A parking ticket could really damage your road trip budget. 

Use an app like Parkopedia to find the best and cheapest space for you. 

We spent a fortune on parking on our Norfolk road trip, but on our Cotswolds road trip we managed to find places to park for free.


Best Campervan Routes in the UK 

My Jurassic Coast Road Trip 

How about driving from Vegas to Yosemite?

Road trip from Phoenix to Sedona


5. Get road trip snacks 

The road trip snacks are one of my favourite parts of the whole road trip experience.

If you’re in a different country then I’d definitely recommend you going to a newsagent / mini supermarket and picking up some new snacks to try. Food is a great way to see a new country after all! 

If you’re in your own country, then you could challenge your road trip mates to bring some homemade snacks along, to keep the costs down. 


How about going from north to south and driving from Chicago to New Orleans? Or, taking one of the most famous road trips in the world along the Pacific Coast Highway – so good I’ve done it twice! Do it the other way and you could add a road trip from San Francisco to Seattle on the top too. 

Driving from Miami to Key West is pretty epic, or try going from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon by car, that’s pretty sweet too!  

The Best Stops on the Seattle to Vancouver Road Trip

6. Check your car over before you go

If you’re hiring a car you can expect that the car will be in tip top perfect condition, so you can just do the basic checks before you leave the hire car place. 

saving money road trips

If you’re driving your own car though, I’d strongly recommend you give your car a good looking over before you take it off the drive way. You need to check the windscreen fluid, the oil, the tyres and the petrol. If you catch anything now it’ll save you a lot of money in the long run, if you do happen to need repairs. 

Stitch in time saves nine and all that. 

7. Plan a packing list 

So annoying when you go on a road trip, or any kind of travelling, and then a few hours after leaving the house you realise you’ve forgotten something. And then you need it so much you have to BUY IT AGAIN. I have so many phone chargers because of this, and still, I don’t learn. 

Make a list of everything you could possibly need on your road trip, and then double check again. This was you won’t have to pay a premium to pick it up on the fly. 


More on road trips 

3 Best Road Trips in Ireland 

Scotland Road Trip: Edinburgh to Dumfries and Galloway

Planning a Road Trip in the USA 


  1. Great post. It’s fun thinking about the first road trip I plan to take when the restrictions lift. Great way to spend a long weekend! What’s your favorite road trip? I think my favorites are South Island NZ and the Scottish Highlands. My first one after lockdown will be Yosemite, hands down.

  2. Since entering my twenties and passing my driving test I’ve had the oddest desire to go on a road trip. Thinking Scotland but would love to do one round Mid-West of USA. Thanks for the tips!

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