Cheap Road Trips

Who wants to save money?

I know many who would like to know how to go on cheap road trips. Cheap road trips can be a matter of tolerance.

  • How tolerant of cheap lodging are you?
  • How tolerant of fast food are you?
  • How many extra miles will you go off the beaten path?

Usually, to do something cheaper, we must learn to do that thing differently. Sometimes we just need reminders to do things a certain way to save some money. To learn some cheap vacation ideas, let’s see some ways we spend money on a road trip.

NOTE: Have you considered cheap day trips ?

Quote - Susan Heller


How can we buy less fuel? The most effective way is to buy or rent a car that has good gas mileage. After that, make sure your road trip car is serviced and running well. And make sure your tires are at the right pressure. Pack light, and don’t put bulky wind resistant packs on the top of your car.

Another way to save fuel is to ride the major highways, where you can keep a good constant speed. But, I might not suggest that, because I’ve found some of my greatest road trip adventures off the beaten path.

Quote - George Carlin


I have slept in my car before. I’m almost sure that is the cheapest sleep one can have while on a road trip. But that’s a comfort issue for most of us (including me). I was young and a little crazy when I did that.

I’ve stayed at youth hostels before. They are inexpensive and can be really fun if you like to meet people. But sometimes you get little to no privacy.

I love to camp. I try to plan a camp or two along the way if I can. That is usually as cheap as youth hostels, but it’s also a personal preference. Not everyone likes to camp, and sometimes setting up camp after driving for hours is a little bit tedious.

And finally, some hotel and motel chains are well known for being affordable and convenient. Just about every major exit along the highway has several of them.

My greatest preference for overnight accommodations is the bed and breakfast. You get a real flavor of the region you’re in, and you usually get to meet really friendly folks. But you might have a hard time keeping your road trip a cheap road trip if you lodge that way.



My sweetheart always packs the road trip food . When we run out, we stop at a grocery store to get more. It is much cheaper than eating at restaurants, and you don’t need to stop anywhere too long for food. It’s a little more work, but it’s satisfying. Even so, I still like to eat at a restaurant from time to time. But cheap road trips don’t mean we eat at nasty places. Just be selective. Ask some locals. I’ve found a lot of cheap dives that way (and the food was always tasty).

I’m not going to mention fast food as a cheap road trip food. I have never felt well after eating fast food, and I won’t suggest it to anyone else.

Road Trip Activities

My cheap road trips usually don’t include tourist attractions. Tourist attractions often cost a lot of money, and they rarely represent the full reality of the area you’re visiting. There are much better ways to experience the truth of a place. Once I was visiting New York City, USA with a friend. My friend and I went to visit the Empire State Building. Instead of paying over $30 each to go to the top of the building (the tourist attraction), we went for a walk around the bottom of the building. We were invited to a comedy club for free, met some great people, and had a grand time, all without spending a dime.

When you drive into a place that’s new to you, stop at a store and ask for the local paper. Look at the local events calendar. There is a good chance you’ll find something cheap and fun to do. You could even plan ahead. Before you leave, do a search online for local events where you know you’ll be passing through.

You could just explore. Arrive at a place with no agenda. Park your car and just start walking. Whether it’s the downtown sidewalk, a quiet path in the woods, or through a friendly neighborhood, there are always interesting things to discover. It’s a great source of road trip adventure.

Our favorite places to stop while on road trips, are parks. Anyone with children can appreciate that. Parks are a wonderful and free road trip activity. And, if driving is monotonous for you, then parks are the perfect diversion.

Cheap Raod Trips Contribution

Kiara Devine of New Zealand, kindly offered this information about going on a cheap road trip. It’s well worth the read:

New Zealand Family Road Trip on a Budget and in a Rental Car

New Zealand is without a doubt one of the most scenic places in the world. After all, you can’t just film an epic like “Lord of the Rings” on site unless reality looks better than what even the most creative can come up with.

The best way to enjoy the lovely views of New Zealand is to take a drive across the country — It will be a feast for the eyes. But with high gas prices, even road trips can be expensive nowadays, especially for young professionals who want to see more of the world while living from pay check to pay check.

Worry no more; here are a few tips for going on a road trip on a budget:

1)    Find a good car rental service. Being stuck in a cramped space for a long time can make anyone cranky, and the trip less fun, so getting the right car is important: you don’t want to stop and watch the scenic views of New Zealand with an ache in your back or hips, would you? And it’s not just space that you need to check out; you also need a model that won’t guzzle all your gas. Luckily, car rental services such as can offer you models for your road trip needs, and for budget-friendly prices, too.

2)    Know what you need. In car rentals, especially, you’re going to have to pay for the car as well as gas, and most of all you will also have to pay for insurance. Know your  auto insurance and credit card policies to ensure that you’re paying only for what you need at the car-rental counter.

3)    Stock up on supplies while you’re still in the big city. Food to munch on, water, and other road trip necessities get more expensive in New Zealand’s small towns, so it is important to stock up while supermarket chains are aplenty. Sure, you can shrug off the little “extra” amount, but a lot of small extras can sum up to a large one without you realizing it until you start wondering how fast your money has been disappearing.

4)    Don’t blow your budget by eating out. Restaurants in New Zealand are pretty pricey, so if you don’t want to spend all your money on food, remember to bring plastic bowls and utensils, and prepare to self-cater simple meals on the road. It does not have to be gourmet, simple salads and sandwiches are enough. Also remember to bring your own refillable water bottle, because tap water in New Zealand is safe to drink.

5)    Balance out your budget by enjoying the expensive activities with the cheaper (or better yet, free) ones. For adrenaline junkies, activities like bungee jumping can cost hundreds of dollars, so it is important put aside money for the expensive adventures and for adrenaline junkies and experienced trekkers, opt for your own free walk to enjoy the Franz Josef & Fox glaciers instead of shelling out more cash on the heli-hike.

6)    Don’t stay at a hotel. New Zealand is full of rich scenery, and it has a lot of camping grounds and holiday parks that you can go to for modern camping. Why stay in a hotel when holiday parks offer a bit of everything, including pitches for tents, toilets, and even TV rooms and launderettes? Search for your preferred campsite before hand to get the best deals. If you don’t want to rough it out in the wild, choose a hostel, or better yet, look up couchsurfing, some people actually let travellers in their homes to sleep on the couch. Yes, really.

With these tips in mind, be ready to enjoy a cruise down Aotearoa. Just don’t try looking for Mordor, all right?

Realistic Rental Cars


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