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.
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
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.
4. Research free parking
If your road trip is over a few weeks you may end up spending quite a lot on parking spaces.
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.
How about driving from Vegas to Yosemite?
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.
IDEAS FOR ROAD TRIPS in the USA
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.
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.
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
Scotland Road Trip: Edinburgh to Dumfries and Galloway