The 10-day, $400 road trip

I’m a big fan of the all-American road trip – especially when it means packing up the car (and husband and dog) and visiting some of our nation’s best parks. A cooler full of food and a trunk full of camping gear can make road trips a very affordable way to travel.

A few years back, we took 10 days off work and headed west. We visited eight national parks, feasted on freshly caught trout, toured a cave, photographed wild horses, saw sacred Native American quarries, and cruised around a mountain lake – all for $400 per person (including gas and souvenirs)!

Here are a few of my best money-saving tips when it comes to the all-American road trip:

1. Pack a cooler! We only dined out twice in 10 days. Otherwise, all food came from our cooler and was pre-purchased before we left home. This allowed us to avoid pricey groceries on the road. Who wants to pay $5 for a bag of marshmallows at the campground store anyway?

2. Camp! On our last big road trip we paid as little as $8 per campsite at Theodore Roosevelt National Park to over $25 at Yellowstone National Park. We would have paid well over $100 per night if we were staying at park lodges.

3. Buy a pass! – Most parks require entrance fees which can range from a few dollars to $25. Because we knew we’d be visiting so many parks, we opted for a National Park Service pass for $80. It ended up saving us about $20, plus it was good for a year so we were able to use it in Florida a few months later!

© Jessica Leigh Rosier 2013

Road trips can be an affordable way to see some our country's best natural wonders!

Road trips can be an affordable way to see some our country’s best natural wonders!

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Categories: Money-saving tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “The 10-day, $400 road trip

  1. Great tips and advice, Jessica! Especially as I am doing a little road trip of my own after I graduate in May. I’m driving to Alaska and back and I will definitely start out with a cooler full of food from Cashwise, and I intend to car camp or tent camp the whole time. A U.S. national park pass is a great idea, also. Thanks!

    • That is a fantastic graduation gift to yourself, Rick! Will you be passing through Banff in the Canadian Rockies? I’d love to visit that area someday!

      • Of course I would love to check out Banff and Jasper NP, probably on the way back, but it really depends on time and gas. I really want to journal this trip extensively (never done that before) and also post about it along the way as much as possible.

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