A family on a summer road trip

Road Tripping This Summer

Check Out Our Six Money Saving Tips from America’s Car-Mart

Editor’s Note: This blog was initially published in June 2023 and has been slightly updated in June 2024 with links to additional helpful information.

It’s summertime – time to hit the road. Whether you’ll travel to the next state over, or across the country, planning is key. If you plan your trip – from start to finish – you can make your road trip the best ever without breaking the bank and avoiding any unexpected costs.

Check out our 6 Money-Saving tips for your summer vacation.

  1. Have a budget – set it and stick with it.

Man researching and booking a hotel online
Researching online will help you plan a great trip.

Plan where you’re going, how you will get there, and where you’ll stay. This means you’ll need to plan your route. Some states have numerous toll roads, and tolls can add up. So, know what highways require tolls; perhaps there’s a different route you can take.

Do your homework and research hotels. Know the costs; perhaps there are less expensive options. Also, if you’re going to national parks or theme parks, sometimes paying ahead is cheaper than paying at the gate. Some parks designate one day a week, cheaper than others. Finally, look online for coupons for where you’re going.

Remember parking, some locations charge. Research other parking spots or see if you can pay in advance.

  1. Bring your own food.
Having plenty of water and snacks on a road trip is a MUST
Having plenty of water and snacks on a road trip is a MUST.

Pack snacks and water to enjoy in between meals. Both can be pricey at convenience stores. Pack healthy food that will travel well, such as trail mix, jerky, health bars, crackers, and apples.

Also, be smart about eating out. Lunches are usually cheaper than dinner meals, so go heavy at lunch and lighter at dinner. Order off the dollar menu. Also, stay at hotels that offer a free breakfast.

  1. Visit free attractions.

Many cities have plenty of free things to do, but you must do your homework. Check out what’s free for the city you’re visiting at Freetour.com. See what’s free and fun in 20 top U.S. cities. Or just google ‘free things to do in CITY.’

  1. Maximize your mileage.

Setting the car's cruise control
Setting the car’s cruise control is one way to save gas.

Setting the car’s cruise control is one way to save gas. Drive the speed limit and use cruise control. Reducing highway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can increase fuel economy by 7 to 14 percent, according to the Automobile Association of America (AAA).

Also, make sure your tire pressure is sufficient. When your tires are underinflated, fuel consumption can increase by as much as 3 percent.

  1. Sign up for gas apps.
Person refueling their gas tank
Paying cash for filling up may save a few pennies than using a credit card.

Having a gas app can save a few pennies. Money spent on gas can quickly add up, so having a few gas apps is smart. Some free gas apps include Gas Buddy, Upside, and AAA TripTik Mobile. Just check them for the best prices in your location. These apps also provide road conditions, directions, and more.

Gas is sometimes cheaper at stations a little further off the freeway. Check out our blog for tips on saving money at the pump.

  1. Check out helpful travel apps.

There are many phone apps that can help when traveling, such as finding local restaurants and tourist attractions
Travel apps can help you find local restaurants, tourist attractions, and more.

Many travel apps offer helpful information, including which restaurants are tourist traps, which hotels have the best deals, camping spots, and more. And they can outline your route. Check out Roadtrippers, Google Maps, TripIt, and iExit Interstate Exit Guide.

HotelTonight can identify last-minute deals available in hotel rooms. Roadside America identifies the most unique and quirky attractions along your route. Who doesn’t want to see the world’s largest popcorn ball?

Plus, WifiFinder can identify the nearest free, public WiFi connection to help you use less of your phone’s data.

And here’s a bonus tip: if you visit three or more national parks, the National Park Annual Pass covers the entrance for your vehicle and all of its passengers, saving you money on admission.

While on the road, monitor your spending to stay within your budget. Have fun and enjoy your journey!

Remember – be safe, travel safely! Check out our blogs –

Need a new vehicle for your summer road trip?

Choose the perfect vehicle for your next adventure. Our wide selection has something for everyone. Get pre-qualified and see the amount you’re qualified for – within minutes. Know what you qualify for before you get to the dealership.

Get Pre-Qualified Now

Recent Posts