Road trips are fun and allow you to see some amazing places or visit family at a low cost. Even though you will save on airfare, there are still some expenses that will set you back if you don’t know the tricks. These expenses are gas, food, and lodging. Read on to find out the tips and tricks I have learned to save money while traveling the US by car.
Gas: The best way to save money on gas is to download the app GasBuddy. It is available for IPhones, Androids, Windows phones, and Blackberrys. This app will use your location and will bring up all of the gas stations around you and their prices. It looks like your navigation system when you use it and will even give you directions to the gas station you choose to use.
Food: My number one tip on how to save money on food while road tripping is to pack a cooler! Load it up with ice, fruit, pre-made sandwiches, and whatever else you like to snack on before you leave. Once the cooler is in your car, all you will have to do is stop to replenish along the way. This will save you TONS of $$$! Another tip for saving on meals is to remember that you are not too good for fast food. Although, I do not recommend eating every meal at McDonald’s while on your trip, a few stops here and there could save you hundreds!
My last and most super secret tip on how to save money on food will only work if you are planning on staying in a hotel or motel along the way. If you are, call ahead to see if the lodging facility you are looking at offers a continental breakfast. By staying somewhere that offers you a free breakfast you will save money and can even take a banana or two for the road later.
Lodging: Whether you are planning on staying in a hotel, motel, or bed & breakfast, you are going to spend money. I learned a great trick while traveling with my Mom early on. If you are on a road trip you will most likely be on an interstate where there are rest stops. STOP! Go inside and look for a rack of book that look like these ones shown to the right. They really are hotel coupon books. You will find that they are separated by state and that they will have coupons for 1 or 2 night stays for as little as $40 to $60 a night! Many of the coupons will not allow you to make a reservation in advance, but that is okay because my advice is to always wait to book a room until you see where the hotel is located. You do not want to be staying in a scary area.
Another tip I have about lodging while on a road trip is that when you go into the hotel with your hotel coupon ask them if they a full. If they are not, ask them if they can upgrade your room for free. I used to work in a hotel, and we would do this for guests who would ask if we had vacant rooms.
These are all the secrets I have when it comes to saving money on a road trip so far. Each one of these has come in extremely useful and has saved me hundreds. I am sure someone else knows some more tips, and if that someone is you, please leave a comment below.
Safe travels, and happy savings!