While planning a surprise road trip for my sister’s birthday, I was amazed at how much prices have risen in the past few years. The budget that I used for previous road trips had to be adapted so we could have the maximum amount of fun on a budget close to what we would have paid several years ago. Fortunately, there are many ways to save money on road trips in every category of spending, from lodging to food to entertainment. Here are some of the best tips I found.
Save Money On Gas
One of the biggest expenses on a road trip is buying gas for your vehicle to get to the places you want to go. Technology has come to the rescue on that front and there are now several apps available that can help you find the best gas prices along your route. The GasBuddy app is a crowd-sourced app that provides real-time prices at gas stations all over. Google Maps can also help you find the cheapest gas stations nearby, giving you a map of station locations and a listing of their current gas prices. However, prices do not always appear for all of the gas stations on the map.
Saving Money On Lodging
To save the most money on lodging during a road trip, the obvious choice is to camp due to the minimal fees associated with it. However if you are like me and you prefer having the four walls of a hotel room around you, then saving money on hotels becomes really important. If you have loyalty cards or credit cards that provide additional benefits for staying at specific hotels, those may be the best deals available to you, so make sure to check them out before making your choice.
The next best thing is to compare rates for hotels in the area using travel websites, deal sites, or Google Maps. These sources will give you all of the information you need including the room rates during your visit, details about the hotel, and reviews from travelers that have stayed before. You may be able to score an even better deal by booking with your chosen hotel directly, avoiding the additional commission fees that booking sites often charge.
Saving Money On Food
Another great way to save money on road trips is to reduce your food expenses. This doesn’t mean that you should have fast food for every meal or try to cook in your hotel room. Strategically planning when and where you will have your meals can cut your costs considerably. For example, choosing a hotel that serves breakfast each morning takes the cost of one daily meal out of the equation. Other tips include going to the more expensive places you want to try at lunchtime instead of dinner — choosing local cuisine and family restaurants for new experiences, carrying snacks with you to avoid impulse food purchases, and searching deal sites for restaurant deals in the area.
Save Money On Entertainment
One of the best things about a road trip is getting to see and try new things. There are many attractions and entertainment options in most major cities, which can make choosing what to do overwhelming. Narrow down your choices by looking for deals on travel websites and the city’s travel and event website. Some websites offer promo codes to help you save money on tickets to shows, amusement parks, zoos, museums, and other attractions that may be nearby. You may also find discounts for attractions in the area on flyers at your hotel or at local travel centers.
These are just some of the many ways to save money on road trips, but these tips can save you to most money with the least amount of effort. What are some other ways you have used to save money on road trips? Tell us in the comments below.
Toi Williams began her writing career in 2003 as a copywriter and editor and has authored hundreds of articles on numerous topics for a wide variety of companies. During her professional experience in the fields of Finance, Real Estate, and Law, she has obtained a broad understanding of these industries and brings this knowledge to her work as a writer.