Top 10 Ways to Save Money While Traveling



We spend anywhere from three to seven days in TRAVEL MODE on the road hitting the pavement to our next destination! This can sometimes be taxing on the wallet if we are not careful. We do our best to save money while traveling and this is how! Most of these suggestions are geared toward RV travel, but A few of these can even apply to road trips, boat trips and plane trips!! Do YOU have some money-saving travel tips? I would love to hear them! Leave me a comment!


1) Snacks: Always bring our own snacks! We pack snack baggies with vegetables, fruit, crackers and other easy, healthy snack foods.


2) Meals: Make lunch ahead of time! Before we pack the RV up and move it I always make lunches and dinners that don’t require electricity to heat or that can be eaten cold! This helps because by time you get hungry you just want something easy and FAST to eat… which often leads to eating at a restaurant! Our Summer Pasta Salad is GREAT for this!


3) Sleep: If the weather is nice. If it isn’t too hot or too cold you can look for FREE or cheap overnight parking! Our personal favorite is Wal-Mart parking lot, but the list is endless! All you have to do is call ahead and ask the manager! We have had great luck with Home Depot parking lots as well! When you are in the western part of the country BLM land is available to use! If for some reason the weather is not suitable for boondocking then look for local cities that offer CHEAP overnight RV sites with full hook-ups! We have seen these sites in Nebraska, Kansas, and Armor, South Dakota. They are usually fairgrounds or city parks. Boondockers Welcome is a great site for boondocking!


4) Fuel: We use apps such as GasBuddy to show us the cheapest gas and diesel in the area! Three cents doesn’t sound like much, but when you put thousands of miles in over a year it adds up quickly! Check out this ProTip! If you’re below half a tank, and you’re getting close to a state line, use GasBuddy to see what the prices are like on both sides of the state line. Because of state taxes, one will usually be a much better deal.


5) Entertainment: While traveling from one destination to the next we look for free entertainment in the cities we are passing through! This could be a museum, train depot, or live music. The possibilities are endless! Check local Chamber of Commerce websites and city websites to see what is going on! Another useful app is Trip Advisor and Yelp!


6) Entertainment: We rent Redbox movies in one town and drop them off in another town along the trip! The boys watch movies while we are traveling and love to add new movies! Bonus: I don’t have to hear it or see the same movie 5 million times in a row! If you are thrifty you can often find codes online for free rentals, especially if you have the RedBox app.


7) Toys: We often rotate toys out before a road trip. We buy them second-hand or at a garage sale and then donate them when the kids tire of them. This cuts costs AND clutter and the kids feel like it is Christmas every time we get new toys!


8) Fuel: Maintain your speed to conserve fuel! Studies show that the faster and more erratic you drive the more fuel you burn! Fuel isn’t cheap so keep your foot off the pedal and use cruise control when possible!


9) Maintenance: Always check your tires, tire pressure, oil, and DEF if you have it before hitting the road! These simple things can save you from having to pay a tow truck driver and from having costly repairs on the road!


10) Season: If at all possible travel in off-peak season! For us this is impossible because we follow the work, but for others who are location independent this could save a ton of money! BONUS: local attractions will be less crowded!

**How do YOU like to save money while traveling whether it be in an RV, boat, plane or car?? **



  • Misty

    That is my ultimate goal. To buy an RV and hit the open roads with my kid in tow. I would love to do that for a year. My husband thinks I am crazy, but I think it is the best idea ever.

  • Vita @ EcceVita

    Great tips! I always make our own cold lunches and take some nuts and extra dark chocolate for snacks. Getting petrol in smaller towns off the motorway also always proves to be much cheaper. For accommodation – is a fantastic community where you can find a sofa to surf for free.

  • Tristan

    Wow, love your ideas. We don’t do much travelling but have a LOT of medical appointments in the big city an hour away for my 7th child (I have eight children). So to save money I:
    – set multiple appointments for one day.
    – pack meals, snacks, and water to drink.
    – keep a box in the van with things to drop off at people’s houses or donations to take to Goodwill and stop on the way.

  • Gail Thomas

    Girl, you have got this down to a science!!!!
    When my kids were little I did the same as you! I LOVED planning the snacks and meals, and on really long road trips, my Mother in Law would have little presents for the kids to open every day ! So when we were on a long stretch, there would be a package to open, a book or small toy to entertain them!
    I salute you for your organizational skills..AND raising little ones on the run!

  • Erica at ButeauFull Chaos

    These are excellent trips! We are starting to slowly incorporate a lot more travel. But, my life goal is to travel all 50 states while living and working in an RV once my kids are all out of the house. These tips are going in my memory bank for very LONG time!! Thank you!

    My husband tells me that KOA campgrounds let you stay for free in return for work. He’ll be retired when we hit the road on our epic trip- so if its true he has found his new calling!! Otherwise, there will be a lot of Wally World parking lots in our future!

    PS- I didn’t realize you could drop off Redbox movies in different locations- that’s an awesome tip!!

  • Brittany @ The Pistachio Project

    Great tips! I’ve recently started to make a travel box for storing all the toys, books, games that we use for traveling. I pull them out for our trips and then they go right back into hiding for the next trip. This way I don’t have to buy a ton of stuff for each road trip and yet the toys and such still seem “new”.

  • Dara

    All great tips! We recently did the redbox thing on a road trip and we just about always take snacks with us rather than buying on the way. We also like to research ahead of time where we might be passing through so we have some ideas on where we might stop! I’m definitely interested in the reason you are on the road so much and I’m going to check out the rest of your blog to find out!

    Stopping by from the blogelina commentathon!

    ~ Dara

  • dona B

    I have used a few of these on both conventional travel and on road trips and they really do help! The gas price app is new to me, but I’ll be checking it out. Thank you!

  • Amy Boyington

    These are some great ideas. I have never had an RV trip but would love to someday. I especially liked the swapping out toys tip – what a great idea to save on spending tons of money on things the kids will tire of in a few days!

  • Tammy

    Since we are retired now and will start traveling soon and I love these tips. I wrote down a couple I hadn’t thought of. We are actually looking for cabins to stay in, which can be cheaper than a hotel, and cook our own food. Food is so expensive when you are traveling and visiting areas where people like to travel. Thanks for the great post.

  • stacey

    These are ALL great tips. I already knew a few, but will have to write down the others. We travel alot as a military family, so these will come in handy. Great post!

  • jackie

    We saved money on our honeymoon by getting groceries from the grocery store and we would always eat light lunches at the theme parks. We also had some gift cards from the wedding to use. We also used the public bus to get to and from the airport- it only cost $4 rather than getting a taxi for $60+. It wasn’t the most convenient but we were able to have an amazing trip for $2100 and have money to start our lives together rather than spending tons more for food and transportation.

  • Pamela

    Great tips! Traveling with your kids is great to open their view of the world. Planning quick meals and snacks are essential to not having to spend a ton of money eating out and on the run.

  • tiffany

    Great tips! We actually do a lot of these when we travel as well. Especially the snacks. We are a snacking family so if we didn’t pack our own healthy snacks we would be stopping way, way too often for expensive snacks.

  • Angi

    We have always packed backpacks for our boys that include a binder filled with activities, a map of our travel and an itinerary with checkboxes so they have a good idea how far we are into the vacation and how much is left. Along with loads of snacks and a cooler with drinks, we have a lot more fun and a lot less stress.

  • Emily

    Great tips! OUr family loves to travel too and we have been able to do a lot of it because we watch our budget…A few simple tricks and you really can save a lot! Stopping by from the comment-a-thon…. Emily

  • Cat @ TOTS

    I really liked this list. We do most of these things (camping at walmart is awesome! casinos are often really cheap too, there is one in WA that we go to that has full hook up for $15 and then have a food place inside with $0.99 menu, including GREAT salmon and chips! Thanks for the list!

  • Katrina

    We just came back from a trip from Ontario to Ohio and found packing snacks to be the biggest money saver. Also have a water jug (with ice) packed so you can refill on the road and are not always having pop or juice.

  • Kemi Quinn

    Great ideas! We save money by putting together our own meals even overseas. We find the nearest grocery store and buy staples such as fruit,bread and cheese. Only eating out for dinners. This saves a ton!

  • Leslie at Mama In Montana

    Great tips. We do most of these already, but liked the toy-garage sale-donation idea best! Stopping by from Blogelina

  • Nikki

    These are great tips! I never would have thought about the parking lot one. I definitely agree with bringing your own snacks. Snacks from quick stops can really wrack up the costs!

  • Rochelle

    Great great tips! I don’t have anything to contribute, the few I knew about you covered. I’m not lucky enough to get to go traveling much at this point in our lives. But my dream is to rent an RV and take a fun American history trip around the East coast with my family.

  • c. lee reed

    Great money saving tips. I’m all about saving and as a prior military family; we still get the travel bug. Heading out this weekend to Miami; going to remember your Top 10 Ways. Thanks!

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