Money Saving Tips for an American Road Trip


The great American road trip is undertaken by many different types of people from US families to young people seeing the USA as part of a round the world trip. For everyone that undertakes one of these amazing road trips, finances will always be a big consideration.

With the price of petrol all the time, savings need to be made in other ways, without compromising the adventure and free spirited nature of an exciting road trip. The more money you save with these simple tips, the more it leaves available to spend on the excursions, trips and attraction entry fees that will create the American road trip memories you cherish forever.

1. Use coupons from free magazines

At most petrol stations in the US, there are free magazines which have adverts and coupons in them. The coupons offer anything from half price rooms in motels to ‘stay one night, get the 2nd night free’ promotions. They are usually for motels that are slightly outside the major cities but allow for big savings. Compare a half price motel to a city centre hotel!

Normally the parking at these motels is free and it is only a short car journey to the main museums, galleries and attractions that the big cities offer. Most of the motels in question are part of a large chain so whilst standards vary, you are usually guaranteed the comfort of a major hotel brand. A lot of the time, staying in these smaller motels allows you to see the ‘real America’ too, surely a major part of embarking on a road trip.


2. Shop for food wisely

The best investment you can make if you are embarking on a road trip in America is to buy a cool box. This allows you to store food that you can buy from supermarkets like Walmart as you travel. Stocking up this cool box with fruit, salad, meat and cheese means you can make your own meals on the go, instead of stopping at cafes, restaurants and fast food chains. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you if you adopt this tactic. Most motels have small fridges where you can store food overnight and most have ice machines also, which allows you to fill up your cool box in the morning before you start the next stage on your road trip.

3. Drive sensibly to save fuel

There are a few things you can do whilst driving to help save money:

Turn the air conditioning off! It uses up fuel a lot quicker than most think.

  • Inflate your tyres very close to the maximum.
  • Be careful when speeding up and slowing down. Take it easy and you will not burn as much fuel.
  • Don’t drive too fast! This will help save fuel but will also mean that you stay free of speeding tickets, which are a sure fire way to ruin a road trip and drain your wallet.

4. National Park Passes

No American road trip would be complete without exploring the fantastic and diverse national parks. People over the age of 62 can get a Lifetime Senior Pass for $10 and if you plan to visit a few parks, it would be worth getting an annual pass for $80 which allows 3 adults plus the pass holder into the park each time.

5. Make use of technology

Use your laptop or tablet device to plan your road trip route each day. Whilst you want to retain the air of adventure, nothing causes a day to go sour and fuel to be wasted like getting lost over and over! Signing up to a cheap service like Netflix and watching the movies available on their service using the free wifi in a motel or hotel will help to keep children entertained in the evenings.
So there are some money saving tips for your American road trip. It’s a beautiful and fantastically diverse country, so go and explore and enjoy your trip!