8 Ways to Save on Your Next Road Trip

Next Road Trip

Next Road Trip

8 Ways to Save on Your Next Road Trip

Road trips can be a blast, windows down, tunes up and it’s cheaper than plane tickets, right? Not always. With rising gas prices, finding places to sleep along the way and the cost of food, road trip expenses can add up. But, there are insider tricks that we’ve gathered from our years of traveling that we’ve condensed into 8 must-know tips before you hit the road for your next adventure:

1. Save on Your Next Road Trip by Planning your stay

Next Road Trip

Always, ALWAYS plan ahead. It’s great to be spontaneous, but it will end up costing you in the end. Know where you’re sleeping ahead of time, whether it’s a hotel, an Airbnb, a friend’s couch, or a tent. Trust us, waiting until you’re on the road will leave you with limited options and when you’re tired, hungry and have heard “are we there yet” from the back seat for the 100th time in the last hour, you’ll pay just about anything to find a place with a bed.

2. Save on Your Next Road Trip by packing some food

Next Road Trip

Have a cooler packed with drinks, snacks and food that will actually sustain you. Pretzels and chips are tempting and always fun to chomp on as you’re cruising along, but eating out for every single meal is not only costly, but also time-consuming. Make a bunch of easy-to-grab food ahead of time. We’re big on sandwiches, quick make ahead of time and pack great in a cooler.

3. Save on Your Next Road Trip by buying Gas at best price

Next Road Trip

Gas is always a big expense on road trips. It’s so worth it to take the time before you leave to plan your route to ensure you’re getting the cheapest gas possible. It might sound crazy, but when you’re filling up for the umpteenth time and then 5 minutes AFTER you got gas, you see a station that is 10 cents cheaper PER GALLON, you’ll be thanking us for this tip. If you want to take it one step further, try becoming a member at a Wholesale club. There’s a bunch, but we’re BJ’s members. Not only do they have one of the best gas prices in the country (BJ’s was recently ranked among  the leading low-price fuel retailers in the United States,) but they always have great ways to save even more. For instance, now through July 5, 2017, members can save 25 cents per gallon at one of the 132 BJ’s Gas® location after purchasing two qualifying P&G items at a BJ’s Wholesale Club location on the same day. As an added benefit, those who have a My BJ’s Perks Mastercard can save an additional 10 cents off a gallon. It may not seem like much, but a few cents here and there add up.

4. Save on Your Next Road Trip by servicing your Car


Next Road Trip

Before you hit the gas pedal, have your car get tuned up. It may cost a little bit up front, but there’s nothing worse (or more expensive) than breaking down halfway to your destination. It puts quite the damper on your adventure. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

5. Save on Your Next Road Trip by checking Deal sites

Next Road Trip

While planning (see tip number 1) is key, things always pop up and plans change. When that happens and you need to grab dinner somewhere or find a new place to stay, check deal sites for major savings before booking ANYTHING. I can’t tell you how much money we’ve saved by checking Groupon quickly when we’re traveling. Thirty seconds and you’ve found a new, cool place to eat for half off or a cute bed and breakfast for way cheaper than that hotel you saw down the street.

6. Save on Your Next Road Trip by carrying first-aid kit and medicines

Next Road Trip

Plan for the worst, expect the best. This is especially important if you’re traveling with kiddos. Make sure to pack a health kit that has a first-aid kit and any necessary medications like inhalers or precautionary medications like Tylenol. Emergency room bills can add up and those highway pharmacies charge an arm and a leg for simple medications. If you come prepared, you can avoid some medical emergencies by having the right equipment on hand.

7. Save on Your Next Road Trip by Packing efficiently

Next Road Trip

Pack efficiently. It might seem silly, but extra weight means more gas which means more money. Leave those extra beach chairs that you never end up actually using. Bring only the essentials. You’ll spend less in the long run and your life will be a lost easier when you simplify.

8. Save on Your Next Road Trip by prepping the car tires

Next Road Trip

Last, but definitely NOT least, get those tires prepped. All tires should be properly filled just before you take off and check for any possible areas that might need to be patched. Plus, that spare tire you forgot about in your trunk? Make sure that’s all up to speed too. If it’s a longer trip, replace your donut with a full-sized tire. It might be a little more upfront, but it will absolutely be cheaper (and less exhausting) than breaking down on the side of the random road and having to call a tow.

Related post: Travel Tips for Road trip across Rajasthan

There’s nothing better than a good road trip! Trust us when we tell you that every cent counts. So, a dollar here and there might not seem like too much, but collectively, those dollars will help you go on even more adventures. Hoping these tips help you minimize your spending and maximize your trip. So what are you waiting for? Save on your Next Road Trip by following the above mentioned tips. Happy road tripping!


This article about 8 Ways to Save on Your Next Road Trip was also published on Huffington Post. Check it out here.


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Next Road Trip

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75 thoughts on “8 Ways to Save on Your Next Road Trip

  1. Nina Zara Reply

    Some great tips here. I definitely agree that being spontaneous is great, but some planning in advance with sleeping arrangements pays off. I always book in advance,

  2. robin rue Reply

    Deal sites are awesome. I always check them when I am home AND when I travel. Some good stuff on there…

  3. Danik Reply

    Great road trip ideas. My next one is from Vancouver to St Johns in canada next year. Can’t really plan ahead of this one because of the distance. 🙁 But I am willing to take a hit on the costs 🙁

  4. Terri Beavers Reply

    I really love your tips. I like to plan ahead and haven’t even thought about taking a cooler. I’m sure that would save me a lot of money because we stop often for snacks and beverages.

  5. Jeanette Reply

    I love hitting up local deal sites when I travel. It’s a great way to save some money. Great advice!

  6. Ellie Augustin Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing these tips. I am trying to work on a little road trip this summer and I’ll keep them in mind.

  7. Staci, The Voyageer Reply

    Great tips! I need to really double check my first aid kit and add allergy pills and different types of painkillers (headache, muscle ache, etc). Those are the things I always seem to be buying when I’m on vacation!

  8. Susan Reply

    These are very handy tips and I love how much you’ve managed to fit into the back of your car! I hadn’t really thought to check for deals on restaurants on my road trips but it’s a great idea. The first aid kit would be helpful too.

  9. Claudia Krusch Reply

    I always get my car serviced before we go on any road trip. It is a great way to avoid roadside surprises.

  10. Sally Reply

    These are all such good tips! I definitely be sure to pack up plenty of food and snacks to avoid constantly eating out. And strategically filling gas is a great tip too – there can be so much variance city by city!

  11. Hallie Reply

    I would LOVE to take a road trip across the States. I drove with a friend when I was in university from Ohio to California but we only stopped in Colorado. I think I’d love to do it again but make way more stops and see way more rather than just getting from point A to B. I’d definitely bring a tent and pack efficiently to get the best trip and cheapest one too.

  12. Carol Cassara Reply

    I miss going on road trips with my husband and our dog, Riley! These are definitely great tips, it’s important that you have your car checked before going on a road trip to avoid issues and the extra costs as well.

  13. Amanda Love Reply

    The kids and I love going on road trips! I never want to go with no plans! It’s important that you know where you’re staying especially if you have kids. It won’t just save you money but give you peace of mind as well.

  14. valmg @ Mom Knows It All Reply

    I always get an oil change before a road trip. I like to fill up before we leave and then top off before we leave the state, then buy before we’re down to about 1/4 tank. I have found the wholesale club lines too long to be worth my time to wait to save a few pennies.

  15. rika Reply

    I love these tips! We’ve been planning our next vacations for months, still counting our budget.

  16. Neha Saini Reply

    I was planning for road trip from Bangalore to Coorg. And its really important that you have your car checked before going on a road trip. These are really great tips, thanks for sharing your experience.

  17. Genie | Gallivanting Bean Reply

    I always pack food for road trips. and then we just end up buying food anyways haha. It’s so hard not to grab something hot from a diner when you’re on the road.

  18. sophie Reply

    Being spontaneous is something freaking amazing. Especially as a traveler you gotta be that. Awesome tips you have shared here I am sure it’s going to be very helpful to many travelers.

  19. Jona Reply

    Planning ahead is the key. I also invite some people to join me whenever I want to do road tripping so that we can save on gas. Plus it is a good way to bond with friends.

  20. Rebecca Swenor Reply

    These are all great tips for saving on your next road trip. It is so important to plan anything we do ahead so things go smooth as well as ways to save money. Checking places for deals is number one saving tip to me. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  21. Catherine Sargent Reply

    These are all great trips. I know we save a lot of money by bringing our own drinks, snacks and lunches.

  22. Jessica Prouty Reply

    Love these tips. We also make sure to plan for space in the car when we have a lot of people on the road with us and use gasbuddy to save money on gas.

  23. Divya Reply

    These are great ideas! When my husband and I took a road trip cross country, we packed a lot of snacks which made for less stopping and spending!

  24. Heather Johnson Reply

    I always plan my trips very carefully to get the best deals for my money. I like to find free places to go whenever possible.

  25. Neely Moldovan Reply

    We always pack our own food. NOt only does it save money but you tend to eat a lot healthier too!

  26. Stephanie Pass Reply

    We usually go on road trips for our vacations. These are definitely tips I always incorporate to make it affordable for us.

  27. Candy Reply

    These are amazing tips! I’m guilty of not researching the gas stations ahead of time and not servicing my car. I hate it when I fill up and see another gas station just miles down being cheaper:( Luckily I have never had any breakdowns, but servicing the car is very important!

  28. Tonya Wilhelm Reply

    Great tips. Not only can you save money by packing food, you can also eat better! That’s my downfall when traveling, I eat garbage road food.

  29. Emily Reply

    These are all great ideas! We do a few road trips each summer and I agree that planning ahead is a great way to save some money. Last minute hotel stay usually costs more than planning and looking around for the best deals. Also packing food, there is only so many horrible tasting fast food hamburgers I can take 🙂

  30. Paige W Reply

    These are really great tips for road trips! My favorite tip his packing your own food. It makes a huge difference on a budget to have one, sometimes even two, meal(s) paid for. Plus, who doesn’t love a picnic?!

  31. Tami Reply

    I think one of our biggest expenses are the on-the-road snacks. I agree that it would be wise to pack some instead of stopping at the convenience stores.

  32. Adriana Lopez Reply

    Wonderful tips I really need to save a lot to continue traveling. Biggest expense for us is always the accommodations I guess we need to start looking into other options.

  33. Cat (Not Wanderlust) Reply

    Great tips! On a huge road trip right now and definitely packing food and keeping up on car issues has kept me safe and saving money! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  34. Dannielle Reply

    These are really good, practical tips. I actually don’t have a drivers license yet and my big motivation is being able to road trip around the US, so I’ll come back to this post the day I pass my test!

  35. Annemarie LeBlanc Reply

    You pretty much covered everything to save on a road trip. Keeping the car in tip top shape saves on gas. I agree with packing light/taking only the essentials! So with bringing food and first aid/emergency medicines. I will bookmark this post and use it as reference the next time we go on a road trip. Sharing it with my sister too.

  36. Charles McCool Reply

    I disagree that booking ahead saves money. Instead it inhibits the freedom of the road trip, which is my main purpose. Certainly, if your road trip is a basic point to point, just want to get there, type trip, where you can predict each stop, then go ahead and pre-book.

    So, save money be being spontaneous? Heck yeah. If I find that one town is too expensive, then I move to the next one. If it is dinner time and the price is right, I can choose to stop. Another factor is that by 8pm or so, hotels will have a sense of their capacity. If the load factor is under 70%, then I can bargain a lower rate. Cannot do that if I pre-pay.

  37. Cathy Reply

    Extensive tips! Roadtrips are awesome! Keeping check on tires are must as it’s going to save your life on the road. Also, the medicine kit is your life saviour. Packing foods shouldn’t be missed too! Long roadtrips is one of my bucket lists. Happy road trip and enjoy the journey! x

  38. Suruchi Reply

    A great post with great tips. We usually take road trips every month and take care of most of the things you mentioned apart accommodation as we are never sure about our final destination. Still on reaching we try to compare the prices on booking sites to get the best deal.

  39. Emily Reply

    Some great advice here! I cannot wait to put these into practice in Australia! I never really thought about over packing costing you money!!

  40. Karie Reply

    These are really great tips.Often we are too excited for a road trip that we tend to overlook small details. It’s important to have a great road trip, but more important to save along the way!

  41. Danik Reply

    Great tips here. I am forever doing road trips and planning my next one for 2018, Vancouver to St Johns in Canada, over 10000km! Crazy! Good planning is always the key.

  42. Lois Alter Mark Reply

    These are all great tips, especially because so many people take road trips to save money and end up spending more than they wanted to. I will definitely keep these in mind this summer when I get on the road!

  43. Pilar Reply

    Super useful information! My friends and I are always a mess and end up spending more money than we should every time we go on a road trip! But your tips are really useful and I’ll send this post to my friends so we can all start following your advice and travel even more with the money we’re gonna save! 😀

  44. Claudia Reply

    You really nailed it with all these tips! We follow some of them but are learning new ones too! I thing bringing food along is a must, some places especially in small towns can have crazy prices. We always pack protein powder, granola bars and almond butter.

  45. Anda Reply

    Great tips. We always bring food on our road trips. It saves us some money and it insures we eat what we like.

  46. Becky Reply

    I had to smile a little when I saw your first tip. I’ve had my lack of planning be a problem before when I didn’t realize that every hotel in the area we expected to stay in was sold out because of a concert in town. Not the end of the world, but enough for us to realize to plan in the future!

  47. Adelina Reply

    All great tips! Especially the food idea. After a couple days on the road, food becomes repetitive so it’s really nice to be able to enjoy some healthier and more affordable option right in your car!

  48. neha Reply

    Great tips. Having food along the way as well as water helps a lot. For us, when we travel with our little daughter, it’s even more important to be prepared as we embark on our road trips

  49. Anna @ shenANNAgans Reply

    I absolutely and totally agree that packing food for a road trip is an essential, don’t know how many trips I have arrived at my destination feeling gross from eating greasy heavy foods at roadside restaurants.

    Also… excellent packing!

  50. Ambuj Saxena Reply

    Brilliant tips on offer! I guess only an avid traveler with a big heart can let out such travel tips! Thanks for the share.

  51. Katja Reply

    Great tips! It’s so true that being organised and planning ahead can save big $$$. We travel with three kids so always (always!) travel with snacks.

  52. Jenn Mitchell Reply

    Packing food definitely is the best way to save some money when you are away from home. We have learned that time and time again!

  53. Ami Reply

    Well captured guys. Road trips are just amazing, best way to explore a place. The unexpected stops and the places along the way make it even more fun. Of all of it has to be planned well as you have suggested. Not just from an economical perspective but also, from a quality journey perspective.

  54. Siddhartha Joshi Reply

    These were some cool tips guys! I love road-trips and it’s always so important to be prepared for them, and saving money is an essential part of it. I wonder if there is a road-trip-planning app…seems like a cool idea 🙂

  55. Saakshi Reply

    I am a huge fan of road trips. I think I keep in my mind most of the points you have mentioned here. All in all , a very informative post on road trip 🙂

  56. Urska (from Sliva) Reply

    You put together some great tips for a road trip. Fully agree with number 4. and 7. preparing car/van for the road can save you a lot of inconvenience later on the trip.

  57. Nina Danielle Reply

    That’s some hard core packing you’ve done there haha! These are great tips, I like that you preach planning ahead. Spontaneity is fun, but on a budget it’s definitely not the best option.

  58. Iza Abao Reply

    These are very helpful tips. I have been to a couple of road trips before. It is always important to double check everything too especially the first aid kit. We have been to places where we could not find a pharmacy. It is terrible when you suddenly feel unwell on a road trip but forgotten to bring the correct medicines. I would definitely keep this in mind for future road trips.

  59. Carmen Edelson Reply

    Road trips are one of my favorite ways to travel! I just love the freedom. These are all great money saving tips, especially the one about prepping the tires. I often forget that! Thanks for sharing and happy travels 🙂

  60. neha Reply

    Great tips. We have been following some of these like packing food and getting fuel at the best possible rate along the way. Will try out the rest as well on our next road trip.

  61. Kate Reply

    These are some great tips, especially about keeping up your car. I always make sure my mechanic once overs my car to lessen the chances of a break down. Nothing like a blown engine to ruin your trip.

  62. Marion Halliday (Red Nomad OZ) Reply

    I was interested to see how these tips would translate to an Aussie road trip where often the distances are HUGE! But apart from saving by buying cheap fuel (in the Outback you have to take what you can get), the tips would work here too!! Although some of my best road trip experiences have happened when I HAVEN’T planned ahead 😀

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