How To Road Trip The USA On A Shoestring Budget

Ever wanted to go on a road trip but don’t have the funds? Here’s how you can live your dreams while only spending a little. The beauty of a road trip vacation versus a trip abroad is that you will have the freedom to go where you like. By using our tips and tricks you will be able to go for longer, seeing all the big sights.

Getting Your Car Road Trip Ready

You are about to put on a ton of miles on your car so making sure it is ready will save you huge down the road. This biggest things to check are your oil, coolant and tires.


This is the one thing that can affect your car horribly. Make sure that you are adding synthetic oil to your car. This will ensure that it stays young for longer. Synthetic oil is a higher quality that will not only last longer but also prolong your car’s life.

When getting oil changes make sure that the oil filter is rated for synthetic. For example, a regular oil filter may last 3 000 km / 5 000 miles while a higher quality one will last upwards of 10 000 km / 6 500 miles.

Air Filter

Did you know that if your air filter is clogged you will get far worse gas mileage than otherwise? Air flow plays a very large role in the efficiency of your car’s engine. If it isn’t getting enough oxygen it could be working harder than it needs to ultimately using more gasoline. Try replacing your old air filter to get the most out of your gas money.  


Depending on the time of year that you are planning your road trip for it is important to check the roads for potential hazards. The biggest concern is if traveling between October 1st and May 30th, many roads in colder states require winter tires or chains. Chains are inexpensive and a great safety must have.


Before you go, decide how you are going to be sleeping every night. If you are going to tent, do you have a plan for when it rains? If you are going to sleep in your car, is it properly outfitted for the most comfortable car camping?

Bring along along some car sun shades for your windshield, a tarp and a steering wheel lock. This way, your road trip vessel will stay safe.

Find A Campsite

Sure, you could spend your trip jumping from one state park to the next but at around $30 a night the cost can add up fast. Luckily, America is blessed with some of the best campsites that are completely free.

While lots of these are a google search or Walmart away, the best way is to take the plunge on a $12 download of Allstays app. It is available in the Apple and Android app store. Located in your app store, this little beauty is well worth the download and will help you get the most out of your trip.

Shop Like A Pro

While it may be tempting to grab snacks while stopped at the gas station, it will cost you much more. Instead, be sure to look up where the closest Walmart is for the best prices on cheap snacks.

Try downloading apps that will pay you to shop such as Checkout51.

Fuel Up

Gas is about to be your most expensive expenditure. For this reason, try taking advantage of the many rewards gas stations offer. Sign up for a few different rewards programs at the most popular gas stations including Love’s, Shell and Sinclair.

Also, instead of just selecting the lowest grade take a look. If it is below 87 octane do not use it. Even though it is cheaper, it can leave contaminants in your car’s gas tank. This can clog your fuel filter, or even cause your fuel pump to fail costing you loads of money. Even though it costs a bit more it will save you money in the long run.


Every road trip requires many pit stops and opportunities to see the sights. Unfortunately, the sights can often add up to be quite expensive. The best way to do this is by visiting the visitor center of every place you go.

The people who work here will have the best knowledge on the sights in the area as well as any ways to get discounted rates on these.

For all other entertainment needs, try downloading free apps that save you money such as Groupon and Mobile Bandit.

Let us know your favorite places to road trip in the comment section below.

Comments are closed.