Cross -Country Road trip on a Budget

Have you ever thought about a cross-country road trip? I’m a firm believer that everyone should go on a cross-country road trip at least once in their lifetime. Road trips allow you to see the country at a slow pace and create your own destinations.

Itinerary I created
Driving in beautiful Utah
Goblin Valey State Park in Utah

I was in between jobs and I had the opportunity to go on a Solo U.S road trip for 2 weeks. It’s a memory that I will always remember. I  drove from my current hometown of Las Vegas to 11 States and back. States covered ~ UT, CO, KS, MO, IL, TN, AR, OK, NM, TX, AZ

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Western Colorado.

Not only did I get to experience all of the natural beauty that our country has to offer, I got to visit 11 states! How did I do it? That can seem like it’ll cost a lot, but I’m here to tell you that simply isn’t true if you plan wisely. The total miles driven was 4300. I only spent around $900 for the whole trip.

Garden of the Gods, Colorado springs CO

love Kansas Zoo, Kangaroos roam around freely

Salina, Kansas

Create an Itinerary:

Take out a paper map of the United States or go online before embarking on a road trip. Physically mark up your entire route complete with highlighted roads, attractions, lodgings etc. I created an online map and used my iPhone GPS to get from point A to B but carrying a map is good idea too!

downtown Missouri
Hot Springs, Arkansas

Anthony Chapel, AR

Emergency planning:

Emergency planning is just one small additional step in planning your trip. Do a quick maintenance check on your car before you go. Take water, food, extra blankets (in case your car breaks down), first aid kit, whistle. Carry important phone numbers and credit cards account number. And lastly let your loved ones know when and where you will be.

beautiful scenery in Arkansas
Day 10 in Oklahoma
Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo Texas

great for horseback riding, hiking & camping

Gas and Transportation:

You can rent a car, nowadays it isn’t cheap. Take a smaller car. I took my car instead because it was easy to handle and less costly. If you have time websites like GasBuddy can help you map your route around the gas stations where prices are lowest.


If you have friends and family where you are going, and if you can, stay with them. I booked my lodging in advance. To get on a budget I stayed in motels and used website like  airbnb and it only cost around $15 to $30 per night. Camping is also a cheap way to go. And in addition, you can crash for free on a couch with a like-minded host via Couchsurfing’s database. Couchsurfing is available to everyone and allows you to stay in a local’s home for free for a couple of nights. It’s free, it’s safe, and it gives you an insight into the local culture.

TN Zoo


I packed a cooler with ice with healthy food like veggies, fruits and drinks.  Also pack nut bars and other snacks. Leave room in the budget for trying regular or unusual foods along the way. You could splurge for one meal a day and then go cheap for the others to keep your food bill low. When I ran out of food, I found myself at a local grocery stores.

Carson, New Mexico

colorful trees
1000 plus year old mud houses
Grand Canyon Deer Farm, Williams, AZ

What was your best road trip you’ve ever taken? Any other best tips for saving money on the road?

2 thoughts on “Cross -Country Road trip on a Budget

  1. I like the variety of the places. I really like the way you explain each one. The photography and contect shows a good eye for her travels well worth following.

    Liked by 1 person

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