How to Save Money on a Road Trip: 5 Simple Hacks

Hitting the wide-open road with the family on an RV adventure might be the best way to see the country.

You can see the countryside and experience famous tourist attractions while making memories and spending quality time with family. Some of the best adventures happen on the most extended drives, which is why millions of Americans have turned to this style of vacation.

Taking an RV adventure means that travelers avoid those expensive plane tickets and ridiculous baggage fees, but that doesn’t mean that a road trip doesn’t deserve a budget. Things can escalate pretty quickly when all RVing costs are added up, but the good news is anyone can learn how to save money on a road trip. 

5 Ways to Save Money On A Road Trip

This article covers the top ways that RV campers can reel in their spending on their next journey. Already having an RV is a great start, but there are several aspects to this kind of travel that should be considered. After all, it shouldn’t cost a fortune to live your best life.

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Map Your Route and Stick to It

No one but you gets to decide where you go and for how long, but once you’ve chosen the route you want to take, it can save you lots of money to stick to the plan. Having an idea for the general direction of travel ahead of time allows you to plan each step of the way without backtracking and saving on gas and time.

RVers had to rely on folding paper maps and have their co-pilot guide them to their next stop in the old days. Thanks to technology, RV apps like inRoute can be great tools to give you all the details upfront of where you’re going, where to stay, and how much gas prices fluctuate along the way.


Avoid Needless Shopping and Pack Accordingly

It can be tempting to pack your entire life with you on a two-week road trip, but it’s a much better approach to go as light as possible. Not only will you have less to keep track of, but the RV overall will have more room amongst everyone.

Packing smart means just taking the essentials for yourself and the rest of the RV and going without the items you don’t use every day. This simple hack also cuts back on on-the-road expenses. You don’t have to worry about shopping for napkins, board games or wireless speakers—items that you may already have at home—if you planned for them.

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Budget Your RV Fill Up Expenses

Learning to budget your RV fill up expenses is one way to save money on a road trip. Using a free app and website like GasBuddy can help you navigate the best places to top off the tank.

Depending on the model of RV, your expenses may vary, as some vehicles are much more cost-effective than others, and this is something to remember during your budgeting process.

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Look For Overnight Alternatives

Even though there are over 16,000 RV sites in the USA, sometimes you have to make a swift change of course on your trip. If you’re in between camping spots or only staying in a location for one night, it might be smart to find an alternative for free RV parking.

Many experienced RVers know that some retail stores like Walmart allow campers to stay in their parking lot for an evening. But it’s always a good idea to call ahead and ensure that this is permitted. It’s also important to remember RV etiquette if an overnight alternative allows you to stay. Leaving trash or setting up tents is not appropriate for an alternative to a campground. 

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Cook Your Meals Instead of Eating Out

For many people, being on vacation equates to eating out every day, but bringing your food is another popular way to save money on a road trip.

Most RVs come with refrigerators, so shopping in your local grocery store for a week or two before leaving lets you stock up on those discount prices. Cooking your meals on the road allows you to save a lot of money and prepare easy, budget-friendly meals that will carry you from city to city.

Of course, stopping for a bite to eat at a restaurant still might happen on occasion as part of the traveling experience, but bringing your food is the way to go to save money long-term.

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Save Money with an RV Rental

As with any vehicle purchase, deciding to buy an RV is a big one. If you don’t have current plans to either live in or use one several times per year, it might be a smarter financial decision to rent an RV instead.

If you’re in the hunt for a reputable company that knows their travel ins and outs, look no further than Cruise America. Our RVs are equipped with a generator, gas cooktop, fresh water toilet, shower, and more—perfect for making memories with the family.

Finalize your budget and hit the road with Cruise America today!