7 Steps To Save On Family Road Trips

Consider packing a picnic lunch on your next family road trip!

Labor Day weekend is less than a month away and most people use the three-day weekend as an excuse to take a mini vacation, or maybe that’s just me. We love to travel and I am always on the lookout for an excuse to travel with (and without) my family as well as ways to save money when we pack our bags and hit the highway. My theory is the more we save, the more we can save toward future trips!

I don’t know anyone who isn’t on a budget these days. There are frugal steps you can take to help you stay within a budget on your next road trip.

7 Ways To Save on Family Road Trips

  • Subscribe to online coupon sites such as Groupon, Living Social, or Sharing Spree for the cities you’re visiting. These are great ways to save on area tourist attractions and local restaurants, as well as learn about them months before you actually arive. And, speaking of coupons, start clipping restaurant coupons and bring them in a folder for those inevitable fast food breaks.
  • Staying overnight? Stay at a hotel that offers free breakfast for guests. This can really add up in savings! This is one of the first things I check when I do a search on TripAdvisor. Free Wifi is also a must have perq for us.
  • If you have the option of staying with friends or family for free, this is definitely the cheapest option! Consider making a “trade” for lodging. For example, if you visit your college friend and their family this Labor Day weekend and stay at their home, offer them the same on a visit to your town.
  • Sign up for a hotel savings plan. Most hotel chains offer rewards points programs. With my daughter in travel soccer this fall, I’m booking us at the same chain for those nights we need to book a hotel and I’m racking up points toward a free hotel stay!
  • Thoroughly research your hotel accomodation rates before you book and also follow up with a call to check for any specials. For example, a room with one bed and a foldout sofa may be less expensive than a room with two double beds.
  • Pack your own snacks and drinks in a cooler. You might think it’s silly to pack your own soft drinks and watered bottle, but trust me, once you’re kids have hit you up for quarters to feed the hotel vending machine five times in one day you’ll thank me.
  • Set a souvenir budget and have your kids bring allowance money for those “MOM I want this” purchases that go beyond your allocated budget. You and I both know that that rainbow fur stuffed monkey with the velcro hands from the tourist shop is probably going to be in the thrift store donation pile within a year.

Are you headed somewhere Labor Day weekend? Allstate (you know…the “You’re in good hands” company) has a new pay as you go roadside assistance program available to anyone. It would be great to have for that “just in case” reassurance that you’ll be prepared for any unexpected emergencies on the road.

What are the benefits of Good Hands Roadside Assistance?

  • Free to join
  • Open to anyone in the U.S. whether you have coverage through Allstate or not
  • Pay as you go; no monthly fees
  • Most services cost about $50; towing fees are typically $75
  • You can have a total of 5 drivers on your account, which comes in handy for families with teen drivers

If you pre-register for Good Hands Roadside Assistance you’ll receive faster service if and when you need help on the road and you’ll also receive a welcome kit in the mail.

How do you save money on family road trips?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from Allstate.


  1. Kimberly B. says:

    I really like the idea about using the online coupon sites for the cities we’re going to visit. We usually ask our kids what tourist attractions they would most like to see so we have a few choices that fit into our budget.

  2. Jody H says:

    These are great suggestions. We went out of town last week and I was shocked at how much we spent on food eating out three meals a day for the four of us. I wished I’d packed more food!

  3. Audrey says:

    Wonderful tips. We never stay in a place that doesn’t serve breakfast. What’s funny is that my daughter will search the web and we usually end up trying a restaurant at least one morning from her web finds.

  4. Jamie says:

    Thanks ya’ll. I have to say my favorite hotel chain right now is Fairfield Inn & Suites (owned by Marriott.) I signed up for Marriott’s reward points, too. Fairfield Inn offers a nice free breakfast buffet, the decor is modern and nice, and I’ve been able to find rooms for about $100 (maybe a little more.)

  5. nan says:

    one of the thngs i also do when visiting my folks… is get only about a 1/2 a tank of gas where I live which will get me to my folks…so i can fill up in their area…where gas is at least 30cents cheaper a gallon

  6. Kim C says:

    Im always looking for ways to save on road trips. These were good tip, thanks so much! I will be using them on our next trip!

  7. Rochelle says:

    I love the tip about packing your own snacks and drinks. I know that even the little gas stations/mini grocery stores near the lakes out of town, charge so much for just a bag of peanuts! I will be packing a cooler for our day trip to the lake and future hotel stays :).

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