Planning a Budget-Friendly Road Trip

The ACE Virtual Road Trip is coming to a close! This week we’re in the sunshine state—Florida! Beaches, amusement parks and seafood are the most popular attractions here, but as our trip ends, we’re revisiting our budget to see what’s popular.

Our summer road trip is almost over, and we’ve learned a lot! At the beginning of our trip we set a detailed budget for our travel, and it’s time to reflect on what happened. There are some great lessons to share!

Dos for Your Road Trip Budget

DO fill up the tank on half-full and find the best gas prices available.

When you’re on the road, far from what you know, the last thing you want is to wind up without gas. Filling up when the gas hand hits a half-tank ensures you’ll always have enough gas to make it to the next stop. Use apps like GasBuddy to help find the most affordable stations on your route!

DO bring an emergency kit.

Emergencies strike unexpectedly, and they’re never fun. You never know when you might need a First Aid Kit or other tools on the road.

Prep an emergency kit with:

  • Spare tire and tools
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight + extra batteries
  • Reflectors
  • Blanket
  • Water
  • First Aid Kit
  • Non-perishable food items

DO bring a cooler with filling snacks

Try to avoid gas station foods and fast food on your budget-friendly road trip. Meal bars, granola, and other dried foods will last on the road and help keep you and your travel mates full longer.

Don’ts for Your Road Trip Budget

DON’T stock up on pricey gas station snacks

Sometimes, nothing beats your favorite quick snack when you’re on the road. But those gas station snack prices can add up. The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) found in a 2017 study that food items accounted for 20.8% of gas station sales but were 33.7% of their profits. Those numbers suggest higher markups on foods and drinks to supplement your gas spending.

DON’T leave home without checking your tire pressure

Keeping your tires properly inflated could improve gas mileage by 0.6% on the road, according to Proper tire pressure can also help prevent tire damage and flats on your drive.

DON’T rely on fast food and restaurants for every meal

Fast food and sit-down restaurants can be a nice splurge, but they can add up more than you might think on your road trip budget. Aim to keep food costs down by packing snacks and ingredients to cook while you’re away if applicable.

Summer road trips are a fun adventure for everyone. When you plan and manage your spending, you can take full advantage and still stay within your budget.

There’s still time to win some road trip essentials like a $100 prepaid card for gas and a 20-gallon Yeti Cooler. Enter the ACE Summer Road Trip Sweepstakes!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  To enter and for full rules, go to  Starts 12:01 PM CDST 7/22/19 and ends 11:59 PM CDST 8/18/19.  Open to residents of 50 U.S./D.C. 18 or older, except employees of Sponsor, its immediate families and those living in the same household.  Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received.  Void outside 50 U.S./D.C. and where prohibited.  A.R.V. of prize package not to exceed $550.  Sponsor: Populus Financial Group, Inc., Irving, TX.