1. Introduction

Since I was a kid, I and my dad have been going on fantastic road trips across America, and he showed me all of his tips and experiences in each of the road trip he took. Now, I’m grown up and he’s more than 70, but still very healthy, and we are still having road trips in the Autumn with my wife and my children.

Because of the experiences that I have within more than 15 years of taking road trips, plenty friends of mine usually ask me how to start their road trips, what need to prepare, or how can they go with a low budget. So I have been sharing these tips for all of my friends, but I think that it’s not enough. Not only my friends, but many other people also want to know how to have the most amazing and cheap road trip ever. Therefore, I’m writing this “How to” article to share three things everybody needs to know to start their road trips

I hope this would be useful to all of you. Let Start !

2. What you will need to follow this tutorial ?

Before we go into detail, there are some essentials that you will need to know and prepare in your road trip:

  • Food
  • Lodging
  • Gas

Information about your trip:

I’m sure you have thought of several instruments or destination in your mind. Now we will see some detailed information about a road trip.

3. Step by step instructions

1. How much road trip across America?

It will take you 20 to 30 days to travel across America, which depend on your speed, and how you planned your routes. There are four areas that you will be going through

The Northern Route

Beginning on the east coast of Boston and ending at the west coast of Olympic Penninsula. There will be various places that you can see, such as Boston, Appalachian Trail, Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, Buffalo Bill Historical Center,.. The trip is just over 3,500 miles and clocks in at 51 hours, which lasts about six driving days and over eight hours a little. You should have a plan for five stops, once every night, before arriving at the Pacific.

The Middle-America Route

Taking you from an East Coast landmark to a West Coast icon, the dashed line shows that it cut through America's heartland with unforgettable stops along the way. This is an amazing part to visit in the country. What I love best is the cultural diversities among the cities that I stopped by. You can visit Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras.., and mysterious and beautiful landscape such as Home of ancient Mayan ruins, Carribean beaches,.. It last almost 2,800 miles, and the most reasonable way to go is dividing 40-hour trip into five eight-hour driving days with four overnight stops. You will have enough strength and be awake while driving.

The Panhandle Crossing

If you're urging to take in some of the southern sights, try starting along the Atlantic coast in Charleston, South Carolina, and heading towards Interstate 40 which leads to Los Angeles. At just under 2,500 miles, the trip clocks in at 36 hours. This means that it will take four driving days of nine hours and three nightly stops before reaching L.A. You’ll have a chance to see Augusta, Atlanta, Georgia, Birmingham, Alabama…

The Southern Route

Start at the southern tip of Florida and head toward the bottom corner of California while busting through bayou country with a Miami-to-San Diego trip. Interstate 10 is your friend on this journey, which will put about 2,650 miles on your odometer and take about 37 hours. Count on four to five days for the trip, depending on whether you want to drive more than nine hours or more than seven hours each day, respectively. Remarkable cities and sights you can see are Florida, Gulf Coast, New Orleans, Houston…

See more:

This is an example of planning your day. You can use it if you think it is useful to you.

2. How to road trip cheap across America?

These are some of my tips for anyone would like to travel with low budget, or want to lower the cost to as cheap as possible:

How to travel for cheap ?

  • Consider renting a car instead of driving your own

Because renting a vehicle has much more advantages than using your own one. The cost of both ways is the same, and you don’t have to worry about the car breaking down, because if it’s a rental one, the agency will provide another at no charge. Besides, it can take you where your personal car probably cannot. For example, if you rent a SUV can be a good idea if you take some kind of unfavorable road.

  • ...but if rental cars annoy you, do your own driving.

Your road trip can be very tough with a rental car if you don’t understand industry conditions and terms are regulated. And you have to be extremely careful because it will be inspected every single scratch. Moreover, you need to make sure that you’re familiar with the controls, which can become very confused and take a quite long time. So if you find all of the above things too annoying, just use your own vehicle.

  • Investing in a train ticket can be a great idea.

Amtrak offers USA Rail Passes for 15-day, 30-day or 45-day trips. Prices start at $449. So if you’re interested in seeing new scenes and places along the way, taking a road trip by train is a very economic and terrific way.

  • Or embrace bus travel.

Bus is the most reliable and cost effective ever. Bus companies offer different times of departures, so that it’ll be comfortable to travel from one county to another. Furthermore, it’s very suitable for tourists thanks to places it goes through. You can see breathtaking sites such as dense forests, plateaus or escarpments by taking a bus.

  • Use cheap flight tickets websites.

This is a really great way if you’re going to fly. The reason is such websites usually offer a lower cost tickets than big one. I can give you some examples:TheFlightDeal.com; Skiplagged; ITA Matrix…

3. How to eat and drink for cheap ?

Via www.herviewphotography.com

Take the food out.

If eating is one of your ways to discover cultures of each place, you can order food from a famous, and then take it out. In this way, you may avoid tipping, which can minimize your cost. Then take a picnic in a nearby park or lake. This will be very relaxing.

Bring your own necessaries, even to a hotel.

Self-sufficiency is the best way to economize on your budget. You can rent a private hotel room, with a fridge. Then go to the nearest department store and buy yourself dry provisions, soup, or noodles in cup. You can lower your cost as much as possible with this method.

American gas station is an ideal destination.

Another good way for you to be self-sufficient. You can find everything, not only petrol, at a gas station, including dairy products, dry and canned goods, drinks to magazines, crazy local crafts, weird headwear,..And price is not what you need to worry because it’s very cheap.

4. How to explore for cheap ?

Via www.visitutah.com

- Get a Federal Recreation Pass.

For a mere $80, you and three friends will get a year of free allowance to get inside entire areas of national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges and more, which is one of the best deals in the country. Most of these spots, like Yellowstone, are on the list of vacation destinations, and you can camp there when you’re inside.

- Road trip through “free attractions” cities, such as Washington D.C. and New Orleans.

In such cities, the equal portion for sightseeing in many cities is equal to attractions plus ambiance. Choose a city that’s especially rich in both, like Washington, D.C., which has the monuments, memorials, shopping districts, National Zoo and Natural History Museum all opened for free. Other priority “free attractions“ cities include New Orleans and San Antonio.

- A tour by bike is interesting.

You can do more activities when you ride a bike than when you drive a car. Catching the sunrise or fresh air is one example. Besides, bike touring can make your health better, push it to the limit, and have magical moments. A race to the top of the hill with your friends can be a memorable experience, and the prize for winner is the best adventure with most beautiful views ever.

5. How to sleep for cheap ?

Via vanwinkles.com

- Do you know Couchsurfing?

Couchsurfing is an ultimate American hipster movement. Just kidding, it’s a website consisting of travelers around the world. Its members are always welcomed other travelers to stay in their house with very low price, or sometimes free. So just make a profile, join in and start your road trip.

- Stay with YMCA.

Hostel culture isn’t as well-established in the U.S. as it is abroad, so avoid those spots by hosteling at the good ol’ YMCA (this is a very useful tip when you go to New York)

- Camping with KOA.

KOA runs almost 500 non-state owned campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada. Its little yellow logo means you can sleep easily because your campground is completely safe.

- Rent a room in a real house.

Renting a room in someone’s flat or home can save budget of travelers up to 49 percent, which is cheaper than renting a room in a hotel. You will not only save on the base price for a room, but also typically have a kitchen, washing machine and clean bathroom. Moreover, there’s no better way to see America than through local people’s look.

6. How much road trip cost?

These are typical costs that you can find


Via www.realfoodology.com

  • Buying a cooler and stopping frequently at super markets to buy sandwich or salad materials will save much money. Buy canned meat to eat with sandwiches. Just make sure that food is kept very fresh as you don’t want food poisoning.
  • Various hotel rooms have microwaves. You could buy frozen dinners, soup, etc. Cereal always is a possibility.
  • And if you want to stop at restaurants, and enjoy American food in each region, you have to budget very carefully because it can take up to $30 per day..
  • You could do $15/day/person if you really economize, and perhaps want to lose weight.
  • If you’re in cities, you can raise budget to $40-50 to enjoy wonderful restaurants. But remember, if you raise the budget for this activity, you may have to cut down on others. So calculate quickly and carefully before making decisions.


Via time.com

  • Your road trip may involve several different types of lodging. For example, you might stay in hotels for a couple nights on the way there, stay with relatives once you arrive at your destination, and then hit a campground or two on the way back.
  • You might pay $50 for a decent room in the heartland, yet struggle to find something under $100 in the metro areas on either coast.
  • If you're staying in campgrounds, you'll have a wide range of amenities available to you. Expect to pay $10-40 per night. If you're comfortable sleeping in a tent, you can really save yourself some money.
  • What if you drive an RV? Your lodging comes with you, and you'll have the comfort and privacy of a "home away from home." But you'll pay much higher fuel costs than you would if you drove a standard car, and you may still have to pay campground costs.


Via www.mvsottawa.com

  • Gas is another relatively simple calculation. Figure out your mileage, divide it by your miles per gallon, multiply by price per gallon, and you're all set.
  • But as you're figuring gas into your road trip cost, keep three things in mind:

1. Your car will be more loaded down than normal, thus reducing your gas mileage.

2. Many people tend to drive faster to get long trips over with. This, too, reduces gas mileage.

3. Gas prices do fluctuate in different areas. Spend some time at Gas Buddy to get an idea of the ballpark gas prices on your route.


Here's where you'll see some variance. If you're planning on long days at the wheel, the good news is that your recreation costs will be low. But if you're planning on stopping and seeing the sights, factor admission fees and souvenirs into your road trip cost. If you're a family of four and plan on seeing a movie each evening after the day's driving is done, that can really add up. Add those costs into your budget.


Don't forget about the extra costs of your road trip. Will you need to buy new clothes? Get maintenance work done on your car? Buy a new ice chest? How much will you spend on road trip essentials? Every little bit will add to your road trip cost.

Via GasBuddy.com

To give you brief information, I will list some of calculations and short tips


  • Rental of van for 28 days including insurance: 2280 euro (3100 USD) (obviously depends on type etc.)
  • Gas for about 4000 miles: 650 euro (886 USD)
  • Private tour Vermillion Cliffs National Monument: 184 euro (250 USD) for one person
  • Skydive Canyonland and Arches: 170 euro (230 USD) for one person
  • National Park Pass: 80 euro (110 USD) for one person A bed in a 6-p dorm (in San Francisco): 19 euro (25 USD)
  • One night in a double room in a simple guesthouse: 33 euro (45 USD)
  • A short 10-minute taxi ride: 11 euro (15 USD) A bottle of water (0,5L) at the store: 0,7 euro (1 USD)
  • A local beer at a bar/restaurants: 2,6 euro (3,5 USD) A glass of coca cola in a restaurant: 1,4 euro (2 USD)
  • Lunch at a local restaurant: 8 euro (11 USD)
  • Dinner at a cheap local restaurant: 8,8 euro (12 USD)
  • Dinner at an average priced restaurant: 14,6 euro (20 USD)

7. USA Road Trip Budget Tips

Via www.greatamericancountry.com

  • 1. If you rent a van, you are allowed to sleep on the side of the roads (excluding highways/National parks). Also, the cheaper campings cost about 10 USD for a spot, but you won’t have wifi/electricity/hot showers.
  • 2. Buying food in the store and cooking yourself will be a bit cheaper, but not as cheap as in Asia.
  • 3. Remember: the bigger the car, the more fuel you are likely to need. Also, save gas while driving. Turn of the AC etc.
  • 4. Don’t take on too many kilometers per day. The golden road trip rule is a maximum of 300k per day.
  • 5. Avoid parking in big cities.

4. Conclusion

I hope all of my sharing could be useful to you and also wish you would have the most terrific and fascinating road trip ever. And I love sharing, so if you have any questions, or opinion, just comment and I will answer as soon as I can.

Lastly, thank you for reading my article. Goodbye.

About the Author Leroy Simmons

My name is Leroy L.Simmons. I create this blog as the way to find out my excitement and also a way to remember my father. I always love writing, I embarked on this adventure of the blog, to tell you all that I want to share about my hobby, my dream of auto, truck and journey. At MRVEHICLE.NET, I hope to tell you great stories and especially to answer some questions you might ask. And there are also many interesting and up-to-date stories of drivers on their journey everywhere in the world.

Leave a Comment: