A road trip across the United States is a dream for many people. It’s an opportunity to see some of the country’s most beautiful sights and stop at roadside attractions on your way to your ultimate destination. But it can also be stressful if you’re not prepared, so follow these steps to make sure your budget-friendly road trip goes smoothly:

Survey Your Schedule

Before you make any plans, take a look at your schedule. You’ll want to plan your road trip during a time when you can enjoy the scenery and not be stuck in traffic or dealing with expensive hotel rates. A good time of year to drive across the United States is during spring or fall—you won’t have to worry about snow or hurricanes, and temperatures will be mild enough that you won’t freeze while sleeping in a tent (or even in an RV). Similarly, avoid major holidays like Labor Day or Memorial Day weekend; these are popular times for road trips and hotels will be booked solid well before those dates roll around. If possible, choose an alternative date that’s less crowded—such as Thanksgiving week instead of Christmas week—and save yourself some money on lodgings!

Set a Budget

When you are planning a road trip, it’s important to set a budget. A good way to determine how much you can spend is by subtracting all of your expenses from your total income and dividing that number by 365 days. This will give you an idea of how much money should be left over for every day of the year. For example, if my monthly income is $4,000 and I have $1,500 in expenses per month (which includes rent), I would have around $1,800 left over each month. When I plan my road trip, I divide this number by 365 days and come up with $44 per day that I can spend on whatever I want!

Pick a Route

The best way to start your road trip across the country is by picking an interesting route. You don’t have to plan every detail of your trip in advance, but you should know where you want to go and roughly how long it will take. This will help determine how many days you’ll need on the road and how much money you’ll spend while traveling.

The point of this exercise isn’t just to get from point A to point B—it’s also about having fun along the way! So don’t try to see everything in one trip; that can feel overwhelming and exhausting, especially if your schedule doesn’t allow for many days off work or school during the holidays or summer vacation. Instead of trying to fit everything into one big trip, try extending it over several years so that each leg of your journey becomes its own adventure unto itself (and hopefully includes some time off).

Finally: Don’t worry about getting lost! If something goes wrong with your itinerary (or if something better comes up), just improvise. And remember: It’s okay not to know what will happen next; after all, there are no maps when it comes to life!

Choose Your Mode of Transport

Your first step is to decide how you’ll be getting from Point A to Point B. Do you want the freedom to explore smaller towns off the beaten path? Then a motorcycle or scooter might suit you better than a large RV. But if your budget is tight, don’t worry—you can still have fun traveling long distances on a budget by choosing a vehicle that’s comfortable for the trip, such as an SUV or minivan. Once you’ve decided what type of transportation works best for your needs and preferences, think about:

  • What kind of space would be best suited for carrying all of your supplies? Is it enough room for passengers and/or luggage?
  • How much fuel will this vehicle burn up per mile? If gasoline prices are high where you are headed (and they tend to be higher in more remote areas), consider driving something with good gas mileage like an electric car or hybrid car.
  • Will this vehicle tow another vehicle behind it (like pulling up a trailer)? This could come in handy if there isn’t enough parking at campgrounds along the way!

Pick a Length of Time for the Road Trip

How long you want to travel is a personal choice. If you have more time, you can stop at multiple destinations along the way and make your trip more fun by exploring more of each state. If you don’t have much time but still want to see different places, then choose one or two states that are most interesting for your family and make it an extended weekend road trip instead of a full weeklong journey.

Plan Out Where You Will Stop Along the Way

It can be difficult to plan out where you will stop on a road trip, especially if you’re traveling with others. You may want to go somewhere exciting and different, but make sure that it’s not too expensive.

You also need to consider where you will stay and park your car overnight. If possible, try finding hotels or campgrounds that offer free parking so that you don’t have to worry about paying for parking while enjoying yourself during the day.

Organize Your Camping Supplies

  • Be sure to bring the right equipment. A tent, sleeping bags and pillows are essential for a good night’s rest on the road. You’ll also want to consider bringing a cooler for food and drinks; you don’t want to stop at every fast-food restaurant along your route just because it’s convenient!
  • Bring a first aid kit in case of injury or illness; camping can be dangerous without proper preparation.
  • A flashlight is also important in case of emergency or power outage during the night time hours–you’ll need one that is small enough to fit in your pocket while still having enough power to illuminate an area around you up close or long distances away from campground boundaries (if applicable).

Pack Food in Coolers

  • Pack food that won’t go bad. Ideally, you’ll want to bring non-perishable items that can be eaten cold. Avoid anything that requires refrigeration and make sure your cooler is big enough to fit whatever it is you want to bring with you.
  • Pack snacks for the road. If you don’t want to spend money on fast food during your trip, pack small snacks like granola bars or nuts in resealable bags so they’re easy to access when hunger strikes at any time of day or night!

Organize Your Maps and Itinerary

The first step to road tripping on a budget is to organize your maps and itinerary. This can be done by using a GPS, Google Maps, or a paper map.

You’ll also want to make sure you have some sort of backup plan in case the GPS doesn’t work or you get into an accident. You really don’t want to end up lost in the middle of nowhere without any kind of way out!

If for whatever reason your GPS malfunctions or runs out of battery power (which is not fun), I recommend having directions printed out from Google Maps on hand so that way you won’t have any problems finding your destination again.

Another method would be using a paper map as well since most people nowadays have them available at all times anyway through their phones’ apps while they’re traveling which makes it easy access when needed too!

Create an Emergency Plan

When you’re traveling, it’s important to have a plan for any number of emergencies that could happen. If you’re driving across the country on a budget, it’s critical to think about how your vehicle will be handled if someone gets hurt or breaks down (or both).

Here are some things to consider:

  • Have a list of people who can help in case something goes wrong. Include friends and family members who live near the route you’ll be taking, as well as those who live along your route.
  • Bring one or two items with you that you could use if someone gets injured while on the road—these could include bandages and antibacterial ointment, but also things like coffee filters and tea bags—just in case someone needs them!
  • Take pictures before leaving so that people can see what kind of car they were driving if something happens during their trip; this makes it easier for law enforcement officials to find them quickly afterwards too!

A road trip is an easy way to see the country and make memories with loved ones.

A road trip is an easy way to see the country, make memories with loved ones and get to know yourself.


If you are looking to take a road trip, then I hope that this article has given you some ideas on how to make it happen. Road trips can be expensive if you don’t plan them out properly, but they can also be rewarding and fun as long as you have a good attitude. In the end though, there is no right or wrong way to travel across America—just make sure that wherever your journey takes you next is one worth remembering!