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Road trips are the embodiment of freedom and self-reliance—they’re about the journey, not the destination. (Unless your destination is the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls, that is.) But as much as we love them, they can also be a little, well, expensive. We talked to a travel expert to find out just how much a cross-country road trip will set you back, and how to keep the costs down.

It’s not hard to find the statistics that tell you how much it costs to drive across America. It’s easy to find lists of the cost of hotels, gas, restaurants, and activities. But there are some things that don’t show up on any list, and that’s where you can save money on your own road trip. For example, did you know you can camp free in many public spaces? A lot of people don’t know that, so they pay for hotels. You can also save money by packing enough supplies to go without a few meals—hey, it’s only money.

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The American road system allows you to travel anywhere in the country if you have the time and money. If you’re traveling to visit family, on vacation to a certain place, or to see where the road takes you, you’ve probably wondered how much it costs to drive across America. We have done research to give you a reasonable idea of what the cost is, what factors affect that cost, and what to expect so you can make an informed decision about your travel plans.

The prices of road trips across America can vary greatly depending on the choices you make. Where you stay, what you eat, what you drive and how far you travel can all affect the cost of your trip. To get a better idea of the total cost, we will break down the cost of the trip by day rather than by trip. All these prices may vary according to the choices you make along the way and the number of people travelling with you. There may also be unexpected costs or savings along the way. The most important factors of the day are:

  • Sleeping arrangements : $50-$300+
  • Fuel: $100-$200
  • Food and drink : $20-$50
  • Attractive funds : $0-$100
  • Total cost per day : $170-$600+

You should now have an idea of the cost per travel day. We encourage you to read on to get a full picture of road trip costs. We review the above costs and answer other common questions about traveling by car.

Travel costs

We’ve already explained how the choices you make during your trip can lead to very different prices, but in this section we’ll explain the above cost breakdown and other factors in more detail.

Important factors to consider

Length of vehicle journey

An important factor that affects the total cost of travel, but is not a direct cost, is the length of the trip. We calculated the cost per day, but America is huge. A trip from coast to coast takes a few days, while a trip through multiple states only takes a day or two.

Travel time

Daily driving time can change due to factors such as fuel costs and the time it takes to reach your destination. The average driver wants to drive ten to twelve hours a day, leaving eight hours for sleep and four to six hours for pit stops and finding accommodation. At a normal highway speed of 70 miles per hour, this will give you between 700 and 840 miles per day.

Based on the number of kilometres per day and the length of the trip, you can determine how many days you will be on the road and what costs you can expect. For example, it would take at least four days to travel Interstate 10 from Jacksonville, Florida to Santa Monica, California, just over 2,460 miles.


For long trips of several days you need a place to sleep at night. Technically, you can sleep in your car at a bus stop, but this is not an ideal situation. Hotel and motel rates can vary significantly. A night in an expensive hotel can cost over three hundred dollars, in cheaper motels less than fifty. More people on your trip can lower the price of the room. Booking.com can also help you save money if you decide to plan your accommodation in advance.

When choosing accommodations, you can save money by choosing the right one or finding hotel deals and booking rooms in advance by creating an itinerary. Although RVs are more expensive in terms of fuel, an RV park is a cheap option for an overnight stay. If you like hiking, you can camp in a national park or campground by purchasing a pass for about $20.


A typical car that gets about 20 miles per gallon has a 15 gallon tank. During the journey you will have to stop every three hundred kilometers to refuel. To save time, this is the ideal time for snacks, meals and toilet breaks. More or less fuel economy or different tank sizes can affect the total cost. You should take this into account with the help of our examples.

Gas prices vary from state to state, but at the time of writing, the average gas price in most states is between $2.50 and $3.90, with higher prices on the West Coast and lower prices in the Southeast. For a 15 gallon tank, the cost of filling the tank ranges from $37 to $59. With the above fuel savings, a car trip would cost between $0.12 and $0.19 per mile traveled. If you drive 700 to 840 miles per day, fuel costs range from $84 to $160.

Food and drink

A trip is nothing without snacks! A quick trip to the gas station costs less than twenty dollars to stock you and your travel companions with drinks, candy and dried meat for the road. Along the way, you should also take a break to eat something. Cheap fast food options can save you money, but stopping at steakhouses or iconic restaurants along the way will increase your food costs.

This is another factor that can vary greatly depending on where you get your food and drink from.


There are small tourist stops scattered all over America where you can have fun. Whether it’s the world’s largest ball of wool, a famous distillery or a national park, you’ll find plenty of places to stop and stretch your legs during your trip. Costs can vary, as a ticket to the theme park costs much more than a pass to the national park or a photo in front of Paul Banyan’s 50-foot statue.

The choice of accommodation and activities has the biggest impact on the cost of visits. If you use no or only free rides, the cost can be absolutely negligible. Also, remember that wasting time prolongs your trip and increases the cost of the entire trip.

Car rental

It can be tempting to rent a car for your travels, especially if you are coming from abroad. On average, a rental car costs $56 per day. You can find cheaper and more expensive deals, but you still have to pay for the fuel and bring it back full. Try to find more fuel efficient and easy to drive cars to save money and have a better experience.


Every trip you make makes your car’s mileage increase rapidly. This can be a quick way to devalue your car when it’s new, just because it has more miles on it. Before you leave, don’t forget to perform routine maintenance such as changing oil and filters and rotating the tires. Little things like this can help you avoid mileage-related breakdowns and expensive repairs.

Other factors

While we’ve covered the usual basic costs of a car trip, other issues can arise. While most highways are clear and well maintained, some roads are not. Toll roads can make your trip slightly more expensive, and construction sites can slow down traffic and make your trip hours or even days longer, depending on traffic and delays.

Accidents are common, especially in big cities. Even if you’re not involved, they can block or partially block the roadway, causing traffic jams and delaying traffic for hours. If you are unlucky, you can lose a lot of travel time and spend more money as a result. Your car may also have broken down or your tire may need to be repaired due to wear and tear and dirt on the road. Repairs to the car will increase the cost of your trip and delay the trip, making it take longer.

Also, losing things along the way, like. B. Phone, wallet or personal items may increase the cost. It’s not uncommon to forget or lose small items like phone chargers. Therefore, make sure you have a little bit of money during your trip to replace these items. Some can even be added to your snack fund and picked up at gas stations and truck stops.

Many of the costs mentioned in the article can be reduced by the choice of your vehicle. Sleeping in your car is not ideal, but it can save you money on hotels. Motorhomes offer room to stay overnight, but operating costs are higher than fuel costs. Speaking of gas: Electric cars can be charged for free at stations across the country and save on fuel costs, but they are not yet available nationwide. Careful selection and planning can save you a lot of money and make your trip more enjoyable.

How long does it take to drive a car in the United States?

It would take a long time to travel all over the United States, as it is a huge country. In this example, we assume a trip to the four corners of the United States. If you want to calculate the trip, take the total mileage and assume about 700 miles per day to determine the trip length. A good way to find the time in the clock is to take the mileage and 70 mph.

The trip, we assume, will be from New York to Jacksonville, Florida, to Santa Monica, California, to Seattle, Washington, and back to New York. The total driving distance is 7,347.8 miles. If you cover 700 miles a day, the trip will take more than ten days. This does not include the days you stop to enjoy the sights you pass along the way.

How much would it cost to travel through the 50 states?

First, you can’t drive around in all 50 states. Hawaii is very far from the American continent and is located in the Pacific Ocean. So you’ll have to take at least one flight, probably two, to Alaska as well. The last example of a trip through the United States takes you through 28 states. For a very rough example, to visit all the states, let’s double this example and add the cost of the plane.

If you double the previous example, you are almost 22 days away. That’s at least $4,400 based on travel days and cost estimates alone. If you include two round-trip tickets to Hawaii and Alaska, your trip will cost you about $2,000. In total, you need to spend at least $6,400 to visit or travel through all fifty states. If you prefer to travel to Alaska by car instead of plane, check out our travel guide : A trip to Alaska: A complete guide (based on our experience).

Of course, you can do very detailed research and find more efficient routes and tickets. Also keep in mind that these figures do not take into account sightseeing, stops or extra days, only the driving days. A good tour of each state, taking your time and seeing the sights, can take several months and cost upwards of ten thousand dollars.

What is the cheapest country to visit?

The cheapest states to visit usually include states with cheap cities to visit and interesting attractions. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is one of the best places for campers and nature lovers. If you decide to visit Yellowstone, check out this guide before you go: Top 10 things to do in Yellowstone National Park (with photos).

Albuquerque, New Mexico is a relatively inexpensive city in the Southwest to visit, and you can also afford beautiful beaches in Florida if you avoid the heavily populated areas and Orlando. We have many tourist guides about Florida that you can consult as well.

What is the most expensive place to visit?

California is the most expensive state to live and visit. Apartment and hotel prices are higher than in the rest of the country, government taxes drive up the price of goods and attractions are rarely cheap. New York and Florida are also considered expensive, but in these states it depends a lot on where you go and what activities you choose.

Farewell Reflections

Road trips across America have long been imagined as great adventures. Due to the size of the country, it can take several days to traverse it, with many interesting sites and places to see along the way. After reading this article, you should have an idea of how much a road trip costs and how to budget for it in the future. Remember, with careful planning and the right choices, you can spend much less on your trip.

Planning a trip to the United States? See our article 2 weeks in the United States [5 sample itineraries].

This source has been very much helpful in doing our research. Read more about 2 month road trip across the usa and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to travel all 50 states?

The cost of traveling around the United States is difficult to calculate because it depends on how much you spend during your trip. You might stay in a hotel every night or pitch a tent in the woods, buy a tank of gas every week or drive a hybrid car. Your food costs can depend on whether you cook your own meals, or eat out. You may choose to visit national parks and monuments or stay on the beach. Whatever you decide to spend your money on, there are ways to reduce your costs. If you are planning a road trip, ask yourself if it makes economic sense to own a car or van. The cost of buying a vehicle will be spread out over years, while the gas will be a one-time If you love to travel, you may have dreamed of seeing all 50 U.S. states. While it’s possible to hit this major milestone on a shoestring budget, you’ll probably find that flying to all the states in a single trip is cost-prohibitive. However, by hiring a one-way rental car or driving your own vehicle, you can still make it work – as long as you plan carefully and watch your budget.

How much should I budget for a trip to America?

When you’re planning a trip to America, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the sights, and just how much fun you’re going to have. However, it’s also important to think of your trip as an investment. No matter how much you don’t want to think of your visit to the country as an expense, if you’re going to be there for more than a week, you’ll want to budget as if you’re on a business trip! While you might dream of seeing the Grand Canyon or visiting all 48 of the continental states, the reality is that an extended trip to the United States can be surprisingly pricey. From the cost of airfare to the cost of a rental car, and the cost of lodging to the cost of food, you may find that your dream vacation ends up being a whole lot less dreamy than you’d hoped. The good news is that with a little bit of careful planning, you can still go to some of the most spectacular parts of the country while keeping your budget in check.

How much does a 2 week road trip cost?

Planning a summer road trip with friends can be a lot of fun – but it also means spending a fair amount of money. After all, you’ll need to pay for petrol, accommodation, food, and so on. The cost of travel varies depending on where you are going, but there are some general rules for how much a 2 week road trip should cost. While it’s difficult to put a dollar figure on your experiences, these will give you an idea of what to budget for. If you’re looking to take a road trip, but don’t know where to begin, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve got everything you need to know about planning a road trip. Before you can plan a road trip, you first need to determine how much you plan to spend. This is a crucial step, since if you don’t have a budget in place, you may find yourself overspending and over-committing.

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