Road Trip on a Dime

School is out for most, and summer is here. This is the perfect season for a road trip. These excursions do not have to cost a fortune, and in fact, can be tailored for most budgets. This article will outline some of the most essential items and services for you to have an enjoyable time without going broke in the process.

#1 Fuel$$$$$

Gas Buddy

Websites such as can help you find the cheapest fuel in specific cities or around your area. My wife frequently checks the app when we are driving down the Interstate so we know exactly what exit to take and maximize our fuel budget. In addition to websites such as this, stations such as Pilot allow for discounts by the gallon (gas vs. diesel vary).

#2 Accommodations


Locations, such as KOA campgrounds, allow for cabin rentals or sites for tent camping. These are conveniently located throughout the nation and can be a much less expensive alternative to hotel stays. KOAs typically have clean showers and restroom facilities near your cabin. You would need to provide towels, bedding, and any other necessary supplies for your stay.

#3 Food

You are going to have to eat, and eating in restaurants everyday on vacation can “eat up” your entire budget. Plan ahead and grocery shop. Having an ice chest can provide the necessary storage to keep food fresh. Here are a few items I would recommend:

  • Propane or butane stove (pot and a pan)
  • Ice chest
  • Paper plates, bowls, napkins, and utensils (don’t forget a reliable knife for food preparation)
  • Cups and water supply if needed
  • Canned foods (remember the can opener)
  • Oatmeal (makes a quick easy breakfast)
  • Lunch meats and peanut butter and jelly make quick lunches
  • Plastic sandwich bags for transporting food.

#4 Attractions

Now that you are on the road, have a place to stay, and are fed, what are you going to do for fun? The National Park Service offers an annual pass to access any federal property for only $80 per year, called the America the Beautiful. There are also a discounted/free senior and disabled passes available. This pass will allow admission to the national parks, national historic sites, and other federal properties. The pass will not cover camping or other transportation/activities.

I hope that these four items give you a place to start in planning a road trip. I have personally used each of these tips, and they do come in handy.

Happy Travels!

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