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Frugal Road Trip Ideas

COVID-19 has made travel difficult, if not impossible to some places. Airports and planes make many people nervous right now, and besides, airline tickets can be expensive. Nobody wants to rack up credit card debt over a trip. What can you do instead for a safe and affordable Labor Day weekend getaway? Take a road trip! Read on for American Consumer Credit Counseling’s frugal road trip ideas. 

Frugal road trip ideas let you have fun without incurring debt.

Frugal road trip ideas let you have fun without incurring debt.

Frugal Road Trip Ideas

  1. Plan your trip in advance. Do your research before you leave. Look for deals in the area you plan to visit, and check sites like Groupon to see if you can get discounts on any restaurants or activities there.
  2. Pack snacks ahead of time. Stopping for fast food or at convenience stores for food can be expensive, especially if you’re traveling with kids. Make sandwiches or bring baggies of fruits/vegetables or nuts for a frugal and healthy alternative.
  3. Avoid rush hour traffic. To save on gas, don’t plan to drive through cities during rush hour. Gas is usually the most expensive part of a road trip, so it makes sense to try to save as much money as possible on this. Additionally, make sure your tires are inflated, since that means less friction and better gas mileage.
  4. Look for affordable accommodations. Hotels can be expensive, and if you’re traveling with family, you may need more than one room. Airbnb is usually a cheaper alternative. You might even be able to rent out a whole house or apartment, meaning you’ll have access to a kitchen. That way, you can cook your own food as well and save money on restaurants. It will be easier to stay on budget, too.
  5. Download money-saving apps. There’s an app for everything nowadays! There are apps that can help you find the cheapest gas stations, restaurants, and hotels. Take advantage of this to help you stick to your travel budget!

Tips to Save for a Trip

The above frugal road trip ideas are great while you’re traveling, but you need to save up first. Even with these frugal road trip ideas, a vacation can still be costly. A vacation shouldn’t cause you to accumulate consumer debt. By saving money before your tip, you won’t have to resort to credit cards. You don’t have to save up a lot every month. You can start small. There are several easy savings plans, such as the savings staircase and the savings ripple.

You can also cut back on entertainment or clothing expenses in the months leading up to your trip. Put the money you would have spent on those items towards your travel expenses. Alternatively, if you can’t cut back on anything in your budget, try bringing in more income. You can pick up a temporary side hustle or sell old items online that you no longer use.

Happy travels!

If you struggle to pay off debt, ACCC may be able to help. Schedule a free credit counseling session today. 


Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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