How To Road Trip Across The United States On A Budget
May 28, 2023 By Juliana Daniel

Embarking on a road trip across the United States can be an exciting and rewarding experience. The wide array of landscapes, cultures, and eclectic cities to explore make it a fantastic way to see all our country offers. Whether you're planning to drive for days or weeks on end, the topic of budgeting will inevitably come into play when discussing such an endeavor.

That's why we've created this comprehensive guide: how to road trip across the United States on a budget. We'll provide tips and advice about saving money while getting the most out of your experience. From shopping around for affordable accommodation options to scaling back meal costs, plenty of potential savings are available if you know where and how to look.

Research the Best routes for your Journey

Before you even begin your trip, it's important to research and plan out the best route for your Journey. Consider factors such as time, distance, highway tolls, gas prices, and other general costs.

Look at flights and other forms of transportation that may be cheaper or faster than driving. You can often find great deals on airfare if you book in advance or shop around different websites. Also, check out rental car companies; many will offer long-term rental discounts.

Take advantage of free activities

Once you've mapped out your route and found ways to reduce overall travel costs, it's time to think about fun activities along the way. While plenty of tourist attractions and expensive activities are available, there are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy yourself without breaking the bank. Look for free or discounted admission days at local museums, parks, and zoos.

Take advantage of free walking tours in cities you'll be visiting; often, these can provide a great way to get an overview of the area in an entertaining manner. Or, if you prefer more active adventures, look into camping and hiking options that don't require additional costs.

Look for Affordable Accommodations

When finding affordable accommodations during your road trip across the US, there are several creative ways to save money. Try searching online for discount hotels or resorts, or consider staying with friends or family. Another option is to look into camping; many state and national parks offer inexpensive camping sites, and you can often find free spots along the road if you're willing to do some research.

Finally, try using apps like Airbnb or Couchsurfing to find lodging; these services are typically cheaper than hotels and provide an opportunity to meet locals who can provide insight into the city or area you're visiting.

Shop Around for Meals

When taking any long trip, food costs can quickly add up. That's why it's important to plan and shop around for meals. Try looking for grocery stores in cities you plan on visiting that offer discounts and sales.

Look for local restaurants that provide cheaper breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Take advantage of fast food chains with special deals or coupons. And if you're feeling up to it, try cooking your meals in campgrounds or hostels; this is usually much cheaper than eating out.

Following the tips outlined above, you can save money while still getting the most out of your road trip across the United States. With some creativity and research, you can easily create an amazing experience without breaking the bank.

Advantages of Free Camping Spots and Lodging Options Such as Hostels

  • Low Cost: Free camping and lodging options such as hostels or Airbnb are often significantly cheaper than traditional hotels or motels. This allows travelers to save money and still have an enjoyable experience.
  • Unique Experiences: By staying in unique locations, you may get a more authentic view of the area, gaining insight into local culture and customs that you wouldn't find at a standard hotel or motel.
  • Limited Commitment: Unlike hotel reservations, these free camping spots do not require any commitment, allowing flexibility when planning your trip.
  • Easy Accessibility: You can easily find free camping spots by quickly searching online or asking locals for suggestions. Additionally, many lodging options, such as Airbnb, are often within a short drive from popular tourist attractions and destinations.
  • Connect with Nature: Camping allows you to reconnect with nature in an impossible way when staying in a hotel or motel. You may find yourself surrounded by majestic mountains, pristine lakes, and lush forests that will make your trip unforgettable.
  • Make New Friends: Staying at hostels or camping sites is a great opportunity to meet new people with similar interests and experiences. Many travelers often form lasting friendships after meeting fellow campers or lodgers during their Journey.
  • Fun Activities: Camping provides an excuse to partake in fishing, swimming, hiking, biking, and more. These activities often require little to no extra cost and can add a sense of adventure to your trip.

By taking advantage of free camping spots or lodging options such as hostels or Airbnb, you can experience the United States in an entirely new way while saving money. From reconnecting with nature to forming lasting friendships, countless benefits make these options worth considering when planning your next road trip across America.

Bring your Food and Snacks to Save Money at Restaurants

Bringing your food and snacks is one of the easiest ways to save money when eating out. Grocery stores often offer discounts on items like fruits, vegetables, and trail mixes that are easy to transport and bring during your road trip.

You can also look for restaurants offering all-you-can-eat specials or meals with a side dish included in the meal price. Many fast-food restaurants offer discounted combo meals for lunch or dinner, which can help reduce the overall cost of individual meals. Bringing snacks such as chips, candy bars, granola bars, crackers, nuts, or any other type of snack can also help keep costs down by providing an alternative to costly restaurant meals.


How long do you need to road trip across America?

The length of your trip depends on your available time and where you plan to go. A road trip across America can range from a few days to several weeks or months, depending on the number of stops.

How much does a 7-day trip to USA cost?

The cost of a 7-day trip to the USA will vary depending on where you plan to go and what type of accommodation you choose. Generally speaking, an average 7-day road trip across America can range from $750 - $1200 per person depending on the mode of transportation and lodging options chosen.

What is the best time of year to road trip across America?

The best time to take a road trip across America will depend on where you plan to go and what activities you want to partake in during your Journey. Summer is typically the most popular time for road trips due to the warmer weather conditions. However, spring and fall can be just as beautiful with fewer crowds.


Traveling can be a great way to explore and expand your horizons. And, with the right tips, you can travel across the United States on a budget that won't break the bank. So if you want to experience all the beauty of the US while keeping costs low, follow these tips for how to road trip across The United States on a budget. Not only will this help save money, but it will also help provide adventure and excitement along the way.

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