Skip to main content
Routing # 307075259

How To Budget for A Road Trip

As we head into the summer months you may be thinking about a much-needed vacation. Road tripping is a great way to travel, you can go at your own pace, stop where you want, and really experience a destination. It's important to map out potential costs before you embark on your journey. Find out ways to budget for your next road trip with these tips.

Decide You Overall Budget

The best way to start is to determine how much money you have available to spend on your road trip. This will help you organize a trip you can afford and prevent you from overcommitting.Friends driving in car

Determine the Length of Your Road Trip

Now that you know how much you want to spend on your road trip adventure, it’s time to figure out how many days that amount could last. As a rule of thumb, you can

  • Estimate spending $100-$200/day (excluding accommodations).
  • Estimate accommodations at $30-$50/day for camping.
  • Estimate accommodations at $100-$200/day for hotels.

Based on these per-day estimates, you can make an educated guess on how many days your predetermined budget will last.

Choose Your Final Destination

With the length of your trip established, you can now plan your destination. Calculate how far you’ll be able to travel by keeping these tips in mind:

  • Estimate driving about 8 hours a day.
  • Include any side trips you want to make.
  • Decide how many days you want to spend at your final destination.

Estimate Your Transportation Costs

The next step is to estimate how much it will cost to get from point A to point B. Plan to include:Happy family in car

  • Gas 
  • Tolls
  • Parking
  • Car rentals
  • Ferry fees

To get a more accurate estimate of your transportation costs, you can use a gas calculator.

Determine the Cost of Your Must-Do’s and See’s

Now that you have your budget and how many days you’ll be on the road, it’s time to start thinking about what you want to do and see while on your trip. Start by making a list of activities/places you definitely want to do/see. Then, begin to research how much it costs to do these things.

Plan Where You Will Stay and Estimate the Cost

Know that you know where you’re going and the path your taking, research places to stay on your trip. Make sure to do your research and compare prices across different sites to find the best pricing on accommodations.Looking out the car window

Estimate Food Cost per Day

Determine what type of meals you want to have on your trip and estimate how much they may cost. Whether you plan on eating out for every meal, and if that is a sit-down restaurant or take out, or if you’re bringing your own food along on the trip. Find what fits your budget.

Allocate Money for Miscellaneous Costs

These can include things like souvenirs, laundry, and incidentals.

Establish Total Cost and Adjust Accordingly

Now that you have an estimate for your road trip costs add them all up and determine if they are above or below the amount you want to spend on your road trip. If you are above the amount you want to spend, you can lower costs by going back through the steps and seeing what you can cut, like going for fewer days or a different destination. Or you can always wait to save up your money so you can go on your dream road trip.

By following these tips, you can budget for a road trip that is affordable and stress-free. Plan ahead and be mindful of your spending, so you can have the trip of a lifetime without breaking the bank.

Check out our savings rates to see how we can help you save for your dream road trip.


Sources and enhancements by Credit Union of Denver

View All Blog Posts