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How Much Does a Road Trip Cost?

How much does a road trip cost? It all depends on where you're going, where you'll stay and what you'll be driving.

how much does a road trip cost

Itching to go on a domestic trip but just don’t feel like dealing with the hassles of airport, bus or train travel? Time to take a road trip! From being in charge of your own schedule to seeing sights that you wouldn’t see otherwise, taking a road trip has its benefits. But, you may be wondering: just how much does a road trip cost?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to the overall price.

Rental cars

It’s definitely worth considering a rental car for your road trip. It can save your personal car from the wear and tear of a long journey, and can be a great chance to test out a new ride. How much does a road trip cost? Well, the type of vehicle you rent is definitely part of the equation. For instance, a compact sedan will likely cost less than a turbocharged sports car. To get the best deals on your rental, be sure to take advantage of exclusive AAA membership benefits through Hertz.

Hotels

The type of accommodation you choose will impact road trip cost. You’ll pay significantly more to stay at a luxury property versus a motel or a campground. AAA’s Diamond Rating system is one way to gauge what a property will cost. One way to limit your hotel expenses without compromising room quality is to stay at a Best Western property; AAA members get exclusive discounts.

how much does a road trip cost

Your own wheels

If you’re calculating the expenses of taking a road trip using your own vehicle, you should consider the combined costs of maintenance, insurance, taxes, depreciation and finance costs. AAA has a handy reference sheet to help you calculate the per mile cost of driving your car.

Gasoline

Gasoline prices change on a near daily basis, so it’s wise to make this calculation as close to your departure as possible. It’ll definitely play a role in how much your road trip costs. Research the cost of gas in the states you’re traveling through. The AAA Gas Cost Calculator is a good resource.

Tolls

It’s hard to come up with a sizable road trip route that doesn’t include a toll. Calculating your expected toll costs can be tricky. There are a few apps to try, and you can research toll costs with states’ transportation departments ahead of time. No matter what you choose, don’t leave home without budgeting for these expenses. Many Northeast drivers charting a course for Virginia Beach, Va., will travel the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. It’s a scenic crossing, but a round trip can run you as much as $30 in tolls.

Attractions

Your destination, how long you’ll be there and when you visit can all impact how much your road trip will cost. Disney parks, for example, price single-day tickets based on expected attendance. The busier the park will be, the more you should expect to pay. Even your method of travel can impact your cost. It’s $35 for a seven-day vehicle pass to the Grand Canyon, in Arizona, but you can save $5 by entering via motorcycle and $15 by entering on foot or bicycle. AAA’s expert travel agents are good folks to talk to for advice on what you can expect to spend on attractions, and how might be able to use your membership to save.

What’s your favorite road trip? Tell us in the comments. 

This post was originally published in June 2018 and has been updated.

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