How to Plan Your Family Summer Road Trip on a Budget?

with 46 Comments
Driving Adventure

If your perfect idea of summer fun involves a road trip with your family, then it’s time for some planning. Of course, it’s fairly easy to organize a road trip when you don’t have to think about your budget. However, if you want to stay frugal but still have a blast on this trip, it’s important that you consider several different factors. Budget-friendly road trips don’t have to be less enjoyable if you plan ahead. The following tips may help you get more organized so read on.

Avoid the busiest time

If you want to save money on gas and accommodation, it would be best to avoid the peak of summer holiday season. Even if you don’t want to stay in a hotel, it’s still better to avoid the traffic at this point in the season. When everyone is on the road, the costs shoot up, so scheduling your own family road trip before or after the summer rush will be more budget-friendly and fun for families who just want to relax.

Consider camping


Camping is a really interesting part of road trips. Moreover, it can save you a lot of money on accommodation. Plenty of popular road trip routes have camping sites along the way. What’s more, the kids will absolutely love the chance to spend their nights in a tent, surrounded by nature. Make sure to have your sleeping bags, tents and other camping essentials packed. That way, you’ll also be able to make a stop wherever you think is appropriate.

Prep your vehicle

Before you start your journey, it’s essential that you check the condition of your vehicle. Sudden problems on the road are not only inconvenient but they can cost you a lot of money as well. Therefore, it would be best to have a professional inspect your vehicle. If you want to be on the safe side, research affordable mobile mechanic as an option to replace your air filters and spark plugs. You may also want to consider bringing a tank of gas with you, just in case. 

Bring your own food

Improvised Van

Eating on the road can be really expensive but very bad for your stomach as well. If you don’t want your family to suffer from bowel problems during the trip, make sure to bring your own food with you. Canned, non-perishable goods are the best choice. You can also bring plenty of tasty and healthy snacks for the kids, such as granola bars, nuts, dry fruit and similar. Of course, don’t forget about water. The best way to stay hydrated on a long trip without wasting money is to bring reusable water bottles. Every time you get the opportunity, remember to refill them.

Plan the activities

In order to have a blast, it’s essential that you know your main stops on your road trip. Visiting museums and other historical places is usually pretty affordable. Moreover, research the natural sights along your route so that you can get the chance to enjoy this particular beauty as well. If you’re travelling with kids, it’s important to keep them entertained while on the road. There are plenty of interesting car drive activities for kids so make sure you have some of them prepared in advance.

If you plan your road trip beforehand and create your perfect itinerary on a budget, you won’t have to worry about unforeseen situations and/or costs. Stay safe by inspecting your vehicle before the road trip and make sure that you have enough water between the stops since summer sun can be really unforgiving. Then, all that’s left is to enjoy your family time and make some unforgettable memories together.

About the author

Peter Minkoff

Peter is a lifestyle writer and a recent newly wed living in Brisbane, Australia. After graduating from Australian Institute of Creative Design, he worked as a fashion stylist and also as a freelance writer for few local magazines in Brisbane. Beside writing, he loves shopping, cooking exotic meals and traveling around tropical destinations with his hubby Josh. His future plans are in creating his personal lifestyle blog about everyday life-saving tips. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter.
To read more of Peter's writing, you may visit Voice Boks

Thank You for reading and thanks Peter for writing!





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46 Responses

  1. Sam
    | Reply

    Great, reasonable tips for an affordable weekend!

  2. Pam
    | Reply

    These are all such great recommendations! We just got back from a 30-hour road trip, each way, split into 15 hour trips. It wasn’t easy, but I was surprised at how well the kids did! We saved so much on airfare and I completely agree with you about bringing your own food. Food on the road isn’t cheap OR healthy!

  3. Nelu Mbingu
    | Reply

    I don’t have the personality to enjoy road trips, but this is very useful for those who do.

  4. mydayinlosangeles
    | Reply

    Really great tips! I always enjoy bringing our own food instead of constantly eating out every night.

  5. Shubham Chaudhary
    | Reply

    Great tips. I loved the blog.

  6. The Crocheting Mom
    | Reply

    Great tips! I love taking road trips with my family and I’m the queen of bringing too much. I’ve learned the hard way about eating on the road. I know bring a cooler with drinks and lots of dry foods that won’t melt, or make too much of a mess in the car!

  7. misstalkingfeet
    | Reply

    Great suggestions I love going on road trips with my friends and this is what we do considering that we are all broke,unemployed university students ❤️

  8. Gillian Ong
    | Reply

    These are useful tips 🙂 Road trips in Malaysia are very different and are shorter than touring Aus/NZ, so these will definitely come in handy.

  9. jasminekeclipse
    | Reply

    These are all awesome tips! I loved going on family trips growing up, because we always made the best memories! But one thing I never considered was what those family trips cost. Now that I’m older, I appreciate budgeting haha!

    Jasmine /

  10. janellerendon
    | Reply

    Thanks for sharing! Bringing food is such a good way to save money!

  11. Cheryl Whitt
    | Reply

    These are really great tips!! Road trips are usually when I gain the most wait. Haha. Totally agree you need to bring your own food and drinks. Great article.

  12. Emily
    | Reply

    This comes in perfect timing as I plan to take my family on a road trip later this month! There were some great ideas that I needed to be reminded of.

  13. Blair Villanueva
    | Reply

    Awesome tips. Lots of water and foods and also garbage bag (in case they need to throw up) are a must-have for every trip, especially with kids 🙂

  14. Neha
    | Reply

    Great tips! Most of them can be used by people around the world. Sadly, camping hasn’t caught up in India, so that’s ruled out here.

  15. Sondra
    | Reply

    Planning activities is the best part, everyday gets to be different.

  16. Vladimir Covic
    | Reply

    Great recommendations. Thanks.

  17. prettybrownnomad
    | Reply

    I’m always up for a trip and these are excellent suggestions.

  18. chavamazal
    | Reply

    Really fabulous tips. I really love the suggestion to camp because you not only save money but you can enhance the experience!

  19. NeverSayDieBeauty
    | Reply

    Excellent ideas for a family trip or even for a trip with friends. I always think bringing food along, if possible, saves so much money.

  20. Jessica
    | Reply

    This has me itching for another road trip! We used to travel from Miami to Utah in the summers and it was pretty fun.

  21. Rikki Singh
    | Reply

    I think I Need to Plan go somewhere with my Family after Reading your Article…
    Well it’s very Informative thanks to Share.

  22. Sue
    | Reply

    Great tips for a weekend trip !

  23. I must be honest, I hate camping. When I go on holiday, I want comfort and to relax. They are great tips though. I think food is defo the most expensive when you go on holiday! xx corinne

  24. chewoutloud
    | Reply

    We just got back from a camping road trip, and it was super fun except for the darned mosquitos all over. Your packing tips are fantastic.

  25. cosmeticsanctuary
    | Reply

    These are great tips! I know when my family was on a budget when I was younger, we went camping ALL THE TIME! My parents wanted to get us girls out of the house, so that was the easy, affordable weekend option

  26. Marcie Kenny
    | Reply

    Love it!

  27. Heike
    | Reply

    Great tips! Love your blog!

  28. Jo
    | Reply

    Thanks for sharing these tips, some really good ones there. I do ‘t like camping, but could settle for a caravan.

  29. Greta Lamfel
    | Reply

    Lovely tips, but I hate camping lol. I can’t stand the bugs and mosquitoes. Going on a road trip in two days!

  30. NM (@nmdiariesx)
    | Reply

    I can’t stress the bring your own food part! It makes things so much cheaper and you can make it fun as well by getting the kiddies involved! I love summer & I love road trips! My two favourite things!

  31. Sylvester Vanessa
    | Reply

    I love the outdoors but planning is key if you want to survive in the wild! Great post!

  32. Roby H.
    | Reply

    These are EXACTLY the kind of tips I need for my upcoming road trip. Thanks 🙂

  33. zoeyvaluated
    | Reply

    Amazing tips! I love the one about checking ahead for places to get your car fixed! This has happened to me before, and that would have been helpful! Thanks for the tips! ?

  34. Yeu Doi
    | Reply

    Family travels can be pricey, but thanks to your tips we can save a lot. Now we can go on more family trips!

  35. Candy Rachelle
    | Reply

    I’ve never done a road trip before and never really wanted to. The only thing I think I could do (or have ever wanted to do) is drive along the Northeaster Coast during the fall as the leaves are changing colors. I heard it is absolutely breathtaking!

  36. lmochoa488
    | Reply

    I really liked the article. These are amazing tips! I do most of these but I am going to add the others to my list.

  37. Pooja
    | Reply

    packing your food is literally a money saver and it’s safe too

  38. oksummer
    | Reply

    very good tips and advice. i liked the avoid the busiest times. who knew those were busy times. sometimes you just want to go.

  39. Nikki
    | Reply

    In love road trips but rarely get to go on them. We go caravanning for our summer holiday but are missing out this year for the sake of saving. Great tips here, thanks for sharing.

  40. Joy
    | Reply

    Great blog. I’d love to feature it as part of my new blog series.

  41. Tiffany Yong
    | Reply

    I am looking to planning my own roadtrip with my boyfriend, hopefully husband in the near future. It’s not about the budgeting that matters, but the experiences together!

  42. Charlsye Miller
    | Reply

    Great tips! We are headed to San Diego soon and these were great reminders and new ideas to help us have a successful trip!

  43. Kelly
    | Reply

    Great tips! We try to pack lots of snacks and easy to cook meals when we’re camping!

  44. AllGudThings
    | Reply

    You have mentioned quite valid points. We usually take care of all these points except planning the activities. Going in off seasons and camping helps you save a lot.

  45. Eloise
    | Reply

    Great tips I’ll keep in mind! I still haven’t planned anything this summer, I’ve been soooooo extremely busy and overwhelmed… but that is all the more reason to get something planned quick for my kids and I. This single mom life is kicking my butt, but I’ll work through it and make it happen for my kiddos! thanks for the list!

  46. Tiara Wilson
    | Reply

    These are some tips that I was needing. I am always wanting to take a family trip but one we’re on a budget and two, I do not know how my crazy 1 year old will handle the trip! <3

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