Plan a road trip with just $50 a day

Many factors go into budgeting for a road trip, but as long as one can control it can be easy to stay at $50 or less per day while traveling.

Road trips have become popular, especially in the last couple of years, as air travel has become problematic. It’s perfect for graduate seniors, longtime friends and getting somewhere without having to fly. All of these things involve spending a lot of time with people in the same car, but the possibilities and the memories are endless – the more the merrier! On the downside, it’s hard to do on a budget, so this article is here to help travelers learn to travel while spending minimal money — like $50 a day, for example.

Note: This budget does not include the cost of accommodation, which is a separate cost from gas, attractions, food, etc.


Make a plan for your travel budget

The very first step is to make a plan. Travelers want to decide where to go, where to stop along the way, and at least start with a rough road map. Let’s say if someone is going from Alabama to Colorado, they want to search for cities and roads between the two states. Some of the most important things to add to the roadmap plan include:

  • Events
  • Attractions
  • Cities
  • Rest stops
  • Packaging

All of these things added together are just the basics of travel. Travelers need to think about what kind of car they have, make sure it’s in working order, and then start thinking about what to pack for their destination. After that, planning how to get to your destination and what to do along the way will save a lot of time and stress in the later parts of the trip. This is an important part of starting to learn how to budget for travel.


Actual trip budgeting

The most important part of this article: how to budget while being on the road all day. It can get a little tricky at times, but with proper planning and determination, travelers can easily stick to their budget on the road. Here are some of the easiest tips for sticking to your budget:

  • Plan events/attractions in advance
  • Economy
  • Additional Expense Tracking
  • Pack food
  • Use of rewards programs

When planning the trip, it is easier to plan ahead in order to save extra money. Keeping a close eye on when money is being spent on something also helps travelers know when they are about to go over budget for the day.


RELATED: How You Can Estimate the Cost of a Road Trip (and Save a Few Bucks in the Process)

The biggest expenses on a road trip

There seems to be a thousand expenses while traveling. Some add up to a lot of money over the course of an entire trip. Some of the biggest expenses travelers have to incur while on the road include:

  • Gas
  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Events/Attractions
  • Maintenance of the car

So many expenses and problems commonly encountered by people who decide to go on a road trip. Whether it’s wanting to eat a lot or having a flat tire, many problems can occur hundreds of miles from home. But the good news is that most of them have easy solutions.


Budget for gas

The gas is going to be the first expense. With today’s high gas prices, this is something travelers should be prepared for a big chunk of their money’s worth. But there are several ways to make this easier. Most important is signing up for a rewards program with a gas station or two, where travelers earn pennies on the gallon. Many of these programs will slowly add up over time, leading to free gas.

Another of the best ways is to use an app that helps travelers find cheap gas near them. One such app is called GasBuddy, where once travelers give it access to their location, they receive lists of gas stations labeled according to their distance and the prices charged at the stations. But no matter what is used, travelers should be prepared to spend big bucks on gas.


RELATED: Why Western States Are the Best in the World for a Road Trip

Budget for food

The next biggest expense for road trip travelers will be food. Since there is no kitchen in the car, travelers have to be prepared for how much money to spend on food. The easiest way to get around this cost is to pack your own food and maybe a small burner to cook with. Spending money on groceries instead of fast food is much cheaper, and also means that over long driving distances someone can just go back and grab a sandwich instead of trying to find a restaurant.

Another way to save money while eating on the go is to sign up for fast food rewards programs. Although there will be days when travelers want to eat at a sit-down restaurant, fast food is a cheaper and easier option most of the time. So signing up for their rewards programs will save travelers money on their purchases, with things like free food or special offers.

Budgeting for events and attractions

On the road, most travelers head for a specific destination. It can be a national park, a monument or an event like a concert. But what travelers need to keep in mind are the expenses that come with these attractions. There are entrance fees for almost all attractions and events, so add them to the budget. There are very few ways around this, mostly through national park passes if you are going to multiple parks or trying to find discounts. It’s just something that needs to be added to the budget.

For any traveler who wants to take a road trip, they have to be careful with their budget. Things get very expensive on the road and they have to be ready for anything. The tips here will help travelers stay on track, but it’s up to each individual to decide what’s best for them and their trip. Travel safely!

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