There are few things that are better than hitting the road with your squad, exploring your state (or the whole country), and getting into a little (or a lot) of trouble on the way. With a little bit of planning, proper budgeting, and an adventurous approach you can pull off an epic road trip on limited funds. Pack up and get ready to hit the road, we’re going to show you how to do it.
Skip The Hotel
Lodging is one of the most costly expenses when it comes to traveling. And skimping on a hotel usually means you’ll end up in some seedy motel in a questionable part of town that may or may not have been used as a site for a murder. The solution? Camping. There are various campsites across the U.S. that will let you sleep under the stars for as little as $20 per night. With purchased or rented gear you can sleep on the cheap with varying levels of amenities (toilets, running water, or even showers) and enjoy the beautiful sights that nature has to offer. Check out Reserve America for more info, bookings, and details on passes.
If being one with nature isn’t your style, you can always check out couchsurfing.com to find a generous soul who will allow you to sleep on their couch for the night. There are few better ways to meet cool, generous people than to crash at their home. Air BnB is always an excellent option if you’ve got a little bit more money to spare and apartments and houses can be had for under $100 a night.
Ditch Your Car
Trust us here. While going on a road trip without your car may seem impossible, it’s actually a great way to save some cash. Instead of having to spend money trying to fill up your gas tank on your own, a rideshare will get you where you need to go for even less. Websites like erideshare.com were created to link up those who want to a cross-country travel companion. All you have to do is split the gas price with other riders, and you’re road trip dream will become a reality.
Discover Cheap Entertainment
Who says you need a ton of cash to take advantage of all the attractions the good ol’ U.S.A. has to offer? There are a ton of budget-friendly and cheap entertainment options that won’t burn a hole in your wallet. If you’re fan of the great outdoors, a scenic hike is one way to explore your destination for free. Music Festival Wizard will give you a list of all the free festival and concerts you can attend, and websites like Groupon have discounts on various attractions at half price or more. Plus, with craft beer festivals taking over the country like wildfire, there’s no doubt many towns across the US will have some form of beer festival going on this summer.
Meal Plan Like A Doomsday Prepper
Stopping at a restaurant or fast food joint every time you get hungry will not only prolong your trip, but it will definitely cut into your budget. So, instead of eating out whenever your stomach growls, hit your local Costco or bulk store and stock up on snacks and quick prep meals to keep you full along the way. The only real expense in packing a snack or meal is the purchase of a cooler and some ice to store your perishables. From there, if you’re staying at campsites, you can hit the store, grab some meat and fixings, charcoal, (and beer obviously) and utilize the free grill set ups most campsites have. Post up, grill out, and enjoy nature like a man.
Road Trip Destinations
There are thousands of places and routes to choose from of course but here are just a few of our favorite destinations with scenic routes along the way.
1. Sixth Street - Austin, TX
Do you really need an excuse to booze and mingle with people from all walks of life (and UT coeds)? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Austin’s Sixth Street is an iconic strip of nightlife that will keep you entertained for hours. From dozens of bars to live music venues and art galleries, Sixth Street has everything for everyone. The route to and from Austin is also littered with some of the best roadside BBQ and old-school dive bars this country has to offer so getting there might be half the fun.
2. U.S. Route 1 on the East Coast
If you’re really looking for an adventure, U.S. Route 1 has your name written all over it. This stretch of roadway connects the entire Eastern seaboard from Maine all the way down to the Florida Keys, so you’ve got a ton of options for exploring. Pick a state, or an extended stretch of road and hit the street, adventure is waiting.
3. Bourbon Street/Gulf Coast
Bourbon Street. Need we say more? This historic area in the heart of New Orleans is a non-stop party if you really want to rage during your vacation. From the food to the live music to the local and historical institutions, New Orleans is an experience that everyone should have. The entire Gulf Coast is home to amazing food, drinks, and adventure, so explore everywhere, from the remote towns to the heart of The Big Easy.
4. PCH (Route 1) in California
An iconic California journey awaits as you can venture nearly the entire length of California from San Diego to the Oregon border on some of the most picturesque highway in the US. You’ll experience and incredibly diverse range of scenery, everything from the chill beaches of SoCal to the beautiful rocky cliffs of NorCal, and you can hike, bike, eat, drink, and explore everything along the way. You’ll get big cities like San Francisco and LA as well as relaxed small towns like Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara so no matter what type of adventure you’re after, California has it.
5. Yellowstone National Park / Rocky Mountains
Speaking of scenery, are you down for breathtaking views and scenic hikes? Fit Yellowstone National Park into your road trip itinerary, and you will not be disappointed. Get your camera ready to capture the Old Faithful geyser in all its glory, or take a tour of the trails to take in all the beautiful sights. From the mountains of Idaho and Wyoming to the incredible plains and rivers of Montana and Colorado, the Western US Rocky Mountains puts every type of outdoor adventure at your fingertips. Camping, river rafting, lakes, and fishing, it’s all here and all ready for your next trip.