How to Save Money on a Road Trip: Planning a Family Road Trip on a Budget

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Planning a family road trip on a budget used to be a great way to take a family trip without spending a ton of money. But with gas prices lately, even road tripping is getting expensive! Here are a few road trip money saving tips, including some amazing services from Good Sam, on how to save money on a road trip that have been helpful to our family, even with skyrocketing gas prices.

how to save money on a road trip

Consider RV Travel + Good Sam Membership

One of the best things about RV travel is that your vehicle also serves as your accommodations! We really love not needing to move things in and out of hotel rooms, and it saves a lot of money by having our sleeping place already taken care of. Here are some more reasons why we love family RV travel!

Along with RVing, we love having our Good Sam Membership. With it, we get a 10% discount at over 2,000 Good Sam Parks and Campgrounds, retail discounts at Camping World, and 5 cents off gas at a number of Pilot Flying J locations. It’s only $29 for a full year, so it’s a very minimal investment for savings that add up.

You can also save money by boondocking on occasion. If you do need to rent a car, be sure to check a variety of sites to get a good deal – this is our favorite that usually has the best prices. Keep in mind that your existing car insurance (or your credit card) may include insurance already, so be sure to check that before paying for extra insurance with the car rental company.

Get a Credit Card with Good Gas Rewards

Gas is one of the biggest expenses when road tripping! Using a credit card that has higher gas rewards really adds up and it’s worth applying for one before heading out on a road trip. Figuring out how to save gas on long road trips is one of the best ways to minimize overall costs.

We love this card and both Dan and I applied for one before our big road trip to Alaska. It gives 3% back on gas purchases, so it’s a nice chunk of savings, especially with high gas prices.

Speaking of saving money on gas, apps like Gasbuddy can be helpful in finding cheaper fuel and planning how to save money on gas on a road trip. Or if you use a navigation app like Google Maps or Waze, they are pretty accurate with gas pricing, as well.

Here are some of our other favorite credit cards for points travel!

Plan Out Your Route

Nothing adds mileage like backtracking a bunch. And more mileage means higher costs! Try to plan out your route as much as possible in advance to be efficient in your stops. This is also a good way to make sure you maximize your time at each location!

Along with planning your route, check to see if your path includes tolls. If it does, figure out whether avoiding them could save you some money. But beware – if the alternative is super long, you might pay as much in extra gas, so figure out what will work best in the end for how to save money on a road trip.

Pack/Cook Your Own Food

Road tripping means you usually have a bit more room than when flying, and can pack some of your own food. If you’re wondering how to save money on food on a road trip, we always have a bin of snacks and shelf stable foods like bread and peanut butter, as well as a cooler for cold foods. This helps us save a lot of money, especially for breakfasts and lunches that we keep pretty simple. It’s easy to even keep a box of instant oatmeal packets handy! Along with this, make sure you pack reusable water bottles. Not only are they way better for the earth, they’ll save you a lot of money if you fill them for free instead of purchasing plastic water bottles. This is one of our very favorite water bottles that keeps drinks cold for super long.

This is a terrific soft-sided cooler to take along in your vehicle to keep healthy foods cold. We love this soft sided backpack cooler that’s also easy to take out and about with us. This one is great if you have a bit more room available, such as in an RV so you don’t need to keep opening the fridge. We will often freeze water bottles to stick in there to keep food cold. You can also use it to transport meal items that you can use to cook if you’re staying in a place that has a kitchen available.

Here are some of our favorite healthy road trip snacks!

Be Prepared, Including with Good Sam Roadside Assistance

This is one of the biggest ways for how to save money on a road trip. Preparing in advance by getting your vehicle checked out means that hopefully fewer things will go wrong along the way (and you won’t have to pay emergency fix prices or spend extra time in a hotel). If you’re planning an RV trip, make sure to take these steps to get ready for an RV road trip!

Make sure to take these emergency supplies with you so can do simple things like jump start your vehicle (instead of waiting for an expensive tow) and have Good Sam Roadside Assistance in case something bigger goes wrong (this emergency satellite GPS and messaging device has been so helpful to us).

Those are some of the best ways we’ve found to save money on a road trip! If you’re planning a family road trip on a budget, I’d love to hear some of your best tips and tricks, too!



One Response

  • Great Post! This post is very informative & helpful. I got too much information & guidance from this post. thanks for sharing such a helpful post. Keep Posting!!

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