Road Trip! How to Save Money Along the Way

Road trips are the perfect way to discover America’s landscapes and experience some of the finest attractions the country has to offer. With the music on, windows down and the sharing of stories from close friends and family, road trips are certainly a fan-favorite and integral to the quintessential American family experience. However, the rising cost of road trips can definitely put a damper on the excitement. Luckily, with the help of technology, it’s easier than ever to make your road travel less costly and more efficient.

Plan your trip based on a prepaid credit card.

Prepaid credit cards are great for personal spending while on vacations and road trips. These cards allow you to spend money without racking up debt since there is no credit behind them and you’ll never spend more money than you put on the card. Unlike a debit card, you do not need a bank account to set one up. This is an ideal concept for road trips as it provides an invisible budget for your spending. A handy option for teens who need some independence, prepaid credit cards allow you to give them a means of buying things and managing a budget at the same time.

Track the cheapest gas and best travel routes.

With increased volatility in gas prices, refilling the tank can get expensive quickly. Instead of searching aimlessly for the cheapest gas, the Gas Buddy app will provide you with nearby options that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. In addition, the app provides useful information such as the address of the station and if the cost of gas is different for cash and credit. Whether you are looking to avoid traffic or take the scenic route, a useful app for your road trip is Waze. This app is a community of drivers who share traffic and road information, as well as the best places to get gas and directions.

Using the web to find inexpensive eats.

If you’re tired of snacking in the car and want to get the group together for a nice, yet inexpensive meal, provides great deals on nearby places to eat. By putting in your zip code or city, this website delivers numerous gift certificate options for a fraction of the sticker price. For example, a $25 gift certificate costs $10 and a $15 gift certificate costs $6. This website is a great tool to avoid the drive thru while cutting the costs of a dine-in meal.

Seek deals for your destination.

Before arriving at your final destination, surf the Internet for coupons and discounts for the attractions you plan on visiting. Utilizing Groupon can provide several discounts for some of the most famous attractions, especially while traveling in a group. While on your way, use theRoadside America app to discover the most unique attractions and oddities that have little to no cost. Locating the largest fire hydrant or the office shaped like a bulldozer can add a little spice to your trip while saving money.

Road trips are the classic American traveling method, which offers big cost-savings over air travel. While road trips can be costly, clever apps and advancements in technology will make saving money on a road trip easier than ever.


Heidi Raker, mother of three tech-obsessed teens, has written about lifestyle products and parenting for over 30 years. She has a no-cellphone-at-meals policy, which remains one of her biggest family challenges.