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How to Take a Frugal RoadTrip

Summer’s here, and what better way to kick off your vacay than a budget-friendly road trip? It’s adventurous, easy on the pocket, and perfect for solo trips, family time, or chillin’ with your gang!

It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I want to save money, and when it comes to how to take a road trip cheap, I’m your girl!

I’ll show you how to plan, save money, go on free escapades, pack like a pro, keep safe, and tackle any surprise speedbumps on your frugal, fun-filled journey – let’s hit the road!

How to Take a Frugal RoadTrip

Planning Your Cheap Roadtrip

Alright, let’s get you ready for your next big trip!

Here are three crucial steps to remember when planning your perfect adventure.

Choose Your Destination. Take some time to consider your interests, preferences, and how much time you have. Look for diverse landscapes, attractions, and historical sites that fit your budget.

Set a Budget. It’s no secret that you need money to travel, so determine your overall budget and then allocate funds for gas, accommodation, food, activities, and emergencies.

Create a Flexible Itinerary. Start by outlining your route, including must-visit destinations. But don’t forget to leave some room for spontaneity and meltdowns, I mean detours – that’s where the Frustration, I mean magic, happens!

How to Take a Frugal RoadTrip

Saving Money on Gas

Gas is probably one of the biggest costs besides food when taking a road trip. Luckily there are different ways to plan ahead to find the cheapest gas on your route.

Drive Fuel-Efficiently. Keep your speed steady, steer clear of sudden braking or acceleration, and use cruise control if possible.

Shop Around for Cheap Gas. Make the most of apps like GasBuddy, Upside( This gives you cashback on gas, like Ibotta for groceries) or sites such as AAA Fuel Price Finder to locate the most affordable gas stations en route.

Get Loyalty Points. Signup for gas station loyalty programs or credit cards to enjoy cashback and discounts on fuel purchases.

An easy trick to save some cash on gas is if you have wholesale clubs, Walmart, or Tops in your area, then you’re in luck! These places are a goldmine for gas savings.

ultimate camping planner

Affordable Accommodation

Camping. When I was a kid my parents always chose camping, and as an adult, I thought it was because my parents enjoyed it that much. When I became a mother, I realized it was because of the cost! Now at almost 40 and having two tweens, camping in our tent on the ground is not as appealing.

When you are young and the kids are young it’s such a great option. I know many today have campers who are very comfy.

National and state parks often offer campsites at reasonable rates, allowing you to enjoy nature while saving money. We’ve always stayed at New York State Campgrounds. I always look at the maps in advance to find a spot that is a little more secluded.

If you want the ultimate camping experience grab my camping planner and use code TIKTOK for 50% OFF!

tasia joined aarp

Budget-Friendly Hotels. Look for budget hotel chains or book accommodations in advance to secure the best deals. My favorite way to find a deal on a hotel is using sites like Expedia or cheap tickets.

I recently signed up for AARP ( it’s not just for seniors), and they also offer a discount on hotels.

Alternative Lodging. Explore options like vacation rentals, hostels, or staying with friends or relatives along your route.

How to Take a Frugal RoadTrip

Budget-Friendly Meals

Let’s get real; food is a big part of any trip. Here are my tips for saving money while still chowing down on some tasty grub:

Pack Your Own Snacks. No need to blow your budget on overpriced convenience store munchies. Just bring along some fruit, sandwiches, and trail mix from home.

Cook Your Own Meals. Consider booking accommodation with a kitchenette or packing a camping stove so you can whip up simple and budget-friendly meals.

Here are my must-have frugal items for an epic camping trip.

Local Cuisine and Food Trucks. Sometimes you will find better deals on Food Trucks than on restaurants. If you choose to do a fast food place, always look for the meal deals and check to see if they have any extra discounts in their apps.

Many times when you download one of their apps for the first time, you unlock exclusive savings.


Pre-planning is key, folks! First things first, research free or low-cost activities, festivals or events happening in your destination during your visit.

To discover hidden gems and read reviews, use travel apps and websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp or Roadtrippers.

Pro-tip: Don’t forget to check for city or state attraction passes or online coupons that offer discounts on popular attractions.

How to Take a Frugal RoadTrip

Free Activities & Sightseeing

Hiking and Nature Trails. Get outside and take in the stunning natural beauty of local or national/state parks.

Walking Tours. Uncover hidden gems and learn about a city’s culture and history with a knowledgeable local leading the way.

Community Events. Look at local event listings for farmers’ markets, street festivals, art exhibits, or concerts–for free!

How to Take a Frugal RoadTrip

Smart Packing

Pack only the essentials to avoid a cramped ride. Stick to versatile, mixed, and matched clothing options for maximum style and comfort.

Stay hydrated and do your part for the environment by bringing reusable water bottles. Also, download any directions to your phone in case of loss of wifi. Pack chargers for your devices, crucial documents, and a first aid kit in case of any boo-boo.

The DVD players for cars have come down in price, and I’ve even spotted several at thrift stores.

How to Take a Frugal RoadTrip

Take things that will keep the kids occupied on long stretches of boring roads. Books, crayons, simple crafts, Travel Bingo, and digital devices are all excellent options. There are so many unique gadgets on Amazon for the kids.

For drivers, consider loading some audiobooks on your phone to keep you entertained while driving. 

How to Take a Frugal RoadTrip

I recommend having trash bags for the car too. With kids in the back, you know how quickly snack wrappers and whatnot add up. Keep it nice and tidy with a car trash bag.

Look at how muddy the back is during softball season! Life with kids right?

Amazon doesn’t sell the ones we have anymore.

You can also plan to stop at free parks along the way if you are traveling pretty far and need to help the kiddos get some energy out.

Vehicle Check

Go through and check to ensure you don’t need anything done on your vehicle to prevent any breakdown, and fill up the tank the night before you leave.

If you need new tires- I’ve found Sam’s Club to have the cheapest price.

Have Fun And Enjoy The Journey 

Regarding road trips, remember this: they’re all about the journey, not just the destination. So, if you spot a cool sign, take a detour! Stop to admire the scenery and have some fun. Because, let’s face it, road trips are supposed to be a blast! Happy Traveling!

Want to plan a girl’s trip on a budget? Here’s what I did.

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