We spent around $2,000 for two weeks of travel where we traveled around 4,000 miles. This $2,000 included: food, entrance fees to national parks and forests, hotels, camping fees, gas, and more.
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Here are different ways to save money on a road trip:
Have a plan.
If you are going on a road trip, then you should try to have somewhat of a plan of where you are going.
Whether your trip is spontaneous or not, planning out your trip at least one day in advance can be helpful because it may help you find deals (such as looking up hotels in advance and using a coupon).
Also, having a plan can save you money when it comes to gas because you can plan your trip out the most fuel efficient way and not backtrack. We did a lot of backtracking on our trip, and we would have saved around 500 miles if we wouldn’t have done so much backtracking. We did a lot of this because our phones would keep dying on our trip, so we did a lot of driving around until we found what we were looking for. It was a huge waste of time and money, but we still had fun since Colorado is so beautiful.
Drive a fuel efficient vehicle.
If we weren’t driving the Jeep, we probably could have saved at least another $500 on our trip. Our Wrangler receives absolutely horrible gas mileage, at around 15 miles per gallon.
One thing that we did think about doing was renting a better car. I was looking into it and we could have rented a car that receives around 35 to 45 miles per gallon for around $150 per week, which would have saved us around $200 over the cost of gas ($500 extra in gas that we spent because of the Jeep minus $300 for a 2 week rental). We would have also saved wear and tear on the Jeep.
However, we didn’t do that because we love Jeeping and the Jeep was perfect for Colorado and driving in the backcountry.
Have you ever rented a car for a road trip to save on fuel economy and to prevent wear and tear on your car?
Get cash back at gas stations
Upside is an easy app that helps you find gas stations.
You can earn up to $0.25/gallon cash back at gas stations.
You can learn more in my review: Upside Review: Is This App Worth The Cash Back At The Gas Pump?
Use Restaurant.com or other coupon websites.
If you’ve never used Restaurant.com before, then you are really missing out on significant savings. I have bought many $25 gift certificates on their website for $1 or $2.
All you have to do is sign up for their email list, and they often send out coupon codes to discount their already discounted gift certificates.
Using these gift certificates can be an easy way to try out new restaurants for cheap. Usually, the requirements are that you have to spend at least $35 at the restaurant. But, if you only paid $2 for the certificate, then you are really only paying $12 for a $35 meal (before tip). That is a good amount of savings!
Stay in campsites.
We only camped out for a few days on our road trip, but it did save us a decent amount of money. We found many beautiful campsites in Colorado that were 100 times prettier than any of the hotels that we stayed in.
Great thing is that they were only around $20 per night!
Pack simple meals.
To save money on food, I always try to go to the grocery store during the trip and stock up on simple things to make. We always try to bring a cooler as well and pack some meals (check out these great packing items for road trips here).
This isn’t just to save money, you can also eat healthier this way as well because you won’t need to stop at a fast food restaurant for every single meal.
What are your favorite things to pack to eat when on a road trip?
Different things you could pack include:
- Sandwiches. If you have a fridge in your hotel room or a cooler, that’s all you need.
- Chips, dried fruit, fresh fruit, protein bars, granola bars, vegetables and dip, and more.
- If you are camping, then you can make a lot of meals over a portable stove or a campfire such as brats, hot dogs, burgers, chili, and more.
Do you enjoy road trips? Why or why not? How do you save money on road trips?