9 Ways To Save Money on Your Road Trip

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A road trip is one of the best ways to get away and take in some of America’s natural beauty. It’s also a great way to travel for less.

If you’re planning to drive to your next vacation destination, here are some tips to make your trip as cost-effective as possible.

9 Ways To Save Money on a Road Trip

1. Rent a Car

You probably planned to drive your own car on vacation, but money expert Clark Howard says you could end up saving money in the long haul if you rent a car:

“If you shop and find a good deal on a rental car, you put those trip miles and the depreciation that goes with it on that rental car instead of your own,” Clark says.

Read our guide on how to save on a car rental.

2. Check Your Tire Pressure

Did you know that your tire pressure can affect your gas mileage? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, keeping your tires at the proper pressure can improve your gas mileage by 0.6% in many cases.

3. Use Credit Cards With Rewards

If you have to swipe your card for expenses, try to get something in return. Use credit cards with cash back and other perks to earn rewards on your purchases on the road.

Check out Team Clark’s best travel credit cards.

4. Pack Food and Drinks

If you’re going to be on the road for a while, it’s a good idea to pack a few snacks and beverages. Nothing too complicated and messy (no barbecue ribs or ginormous tacos that spill into your lap), so as not to distract your driving. Packing a meal can save you both time and money.

5. Download Some Restaurant Apps

If you choose not to pack your own food, you likely will opt to pull over and grab a burger or something similar from a fast-food chain. There’s nothing wrong with that, so why not save money doing it? Here’s a list from Clark Deals with free food deals.

Also, check out Clark’s best fast-food apps for deals.


6. Avoid Toll Roads

If you want to save a pretty penny, plan your route so that you go around toll roads and highways, which can get expensive.

Before your journey, put your destination in your GPS device so that you know what to expect along the way.

7. Download Some Fuel Station-Locator Apps

Don’t waste time and money looking for gas pumps while on the road. Apps like GasBuddy.com can use your location to find cheap gas along your journey. And Upside can help you earn cash back on your gas purchases.

Read up on how to save money on gas.

8. Skip Lodging

If your trip isn’t too long, you can save a bunch of money by not having to secure lodging. Better yet, got family along the way? Pay an overnight visit and catch up.

9. Don’t Speed

The #1 way to save money on a road trip is to obey the traffic laws. Nothing stinks more than being pulled over and hearing those eight frightening words: “Do you know how fast you were going?”

Trust us: The money you save on that ticket could be the difference between the cost of driving vs. flying.


As you’ve read, driving to a destination doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. You can save money with a little preparation.

Want to learn more about how to save when you travel? Read our guide on how to plan a trip.


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