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5 Ways to Save Money on a Road Trip

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Person's feet sticking out of the window of a car parked on a country road
Summer road trip
Photo: Avinash Patel via Pexels

Hitting the road to get away from it all can be a cost-effective alternative to taking to the sky. But road trip costs can add up no matter how close you stay to home. In order to save some cash on your summer road trip, consider the following tips.

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Share the cost

Sharing the road and your trip with loved ones will help defray road trip costs, according to The Penny Hoarder staff writer Nicole Dow. Your family members or friends can help pitch in for gas, lodging, maybe even a meal or two. And, while you’re saving money, you’ll be making unforgettable memories.

Travel with a budget in mind

Well before you hit the road, you should have a clear idea of how much your road trip is going to cost. Yes, unexpected expenses can come up, but a thoughtfully planned budget can help keep you on track, money-wise, according to writer Krista Gray.

Be stingy with miles

A cross-country road trip might be your dream vacation, but if you’re trying to stick to a budget, you should probably shrink your mileage aspirations. Dow suggests traveling as far as a full tank of gas will get you.

“The closer your destination, the less money you’ll spend on your road trip. If you’re just itching to get away and aren’t after a cross country journey, select a destination within a day’s drive and hit the road,” she advises.

Bring along filling snacks

Road trips often bring out the hunger pains, meaning you and your crew are constantly stopping to fill your bellies. If you pack healthy snacks like trail mix, crackers, nut butter, jerky, apples, and bars, you won’t need to waste time on a pit stop or money on empty-calorie snacks.

“A reusable, insulated, and stainless-steel water bottle might help you save even more money by keeping your water cold or coffee hot,” Gray adds.

Focus on free entertainment

Sources of entertainment are a must-have on a road trip, especially if you have kids (or antsy adults). There are limitless free apps designed to keep minds engaged as well and free audiobooks you can download from your library, notes Dow.

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These tips can help you save some money on your road trip so you can focus on the fun and less on your dwindling bank account.