6 Life Hacks for Saving Money on a Road Trip

Going on road trips are so much fun...but they can QUICKLY add up! For both of my 2 week road trip, I wound up spending WAY TOO MUCH MONEY. But that's because I didn't follow all of these tips. So if you want to have fun but don't want to be broke, follow these 6 Life Hacks that will change the way you travel!

1. Use Venmo to split costs

Have everyone in the car download Venmo, a digital wallet that lets you share funds with others. That way, you can keep it fair and make sure that you really are splitting costs for things like tolls!

2. Use GasBuddy to find cheap gas.

Download the app, GasBuddy, which will help you find the cheapest gas around where you are. (It works in Canada too!) This app has always saved me a ton of money- especially on road trips!

3. Find a cheap place to stay.

You have a few different options, ranging from moderately cheap to free:

  • By now you've heard of AIrbnb and while you can find expensive luxury accommodations, you can also find moderately sketchy but dirt cheap accommodations. Actually, sometimes, it doesn't have to be dirt cheap. We used Airbnb and found an amazing cheap place to stay in San Francisco! Also, try looking outside of the downtown area for cheaper places.
  • Hostels are a great resource if you are looking for a place to crash for the night. They may get a bad rap but hostels are actually super fun and I've never had a bad experience with out. (We stayed in hostels on our Ireland road trip which you can read about HERE!)
  • Camping is totally underrated. I would highly recommend checking out camping grounds while on your road trip. It'll give you a ton of time to get out and stretch your legs, be outside in nature make some memories while saving a TON of money.
  • If you're adventurous, you can check out sites like Couchsurfing or BeWelcome, where people open their homes to you for free. You obviously take a risk doing this, but hey, if it works out, then you've got a free place to stay--and probably a new friend! 
Our Airbnb had a few quirks but turned out to be cheap and a great place to stay!

Our Airbnb had a few quirks but turned out to be cheap and a great place to stay!

4. Get a cheap (or free) ride.

If you're looking to save money on a rental car, you might want to check out Driveaway. It's a vehicle relocation service where you drive the car to wherever it needs to go. This would be great for you if you can find a car in your area, and if you are fairly flexible on where you would like to end up. Sometimes, they even give you a small travel allowance!

If you're feeling slightly more adventurous, you could check out eRideShare, a carpool community where you can find people to carpool with across the country. Does it sound sketchy? Sure. Do people use it and are totally safe? You bet. It's all about your comfort level and how adventurous you are! 

5. Avoid tolls.

Tolls are going to suck up your money....fast. Use Google Maps and click the "Avoid Tolls" option when getting directions!


This is my #1, all time top tip for saving money on a road trip. Eating out is where I consistently spend the most when road tripping, mainly because what else am I expected to do but eat out constantly? (No one likes being hangry in a car full of friends) Also, eating local dishes is part of the experience.

But I would highly suggest that you PACK FOOD before you leave. When you run out of food, stop a grocery store and reload. Pack a cooler in the car. Not only will this save you time with not having to stop at rest areas to grab a snack, but you won't spend as much money. It's really easy to eat breakfast and lunch in the car, so maybe opt for going out to dinner on your road trip and really soaking up the local cuisine!

Avoid having to eat THIS.

Avoid having to eat THIS.

What are your favorite travel hacks?