The sheer vastness of America means a state-spanning holiday might initially be beyond some people’s reach. But today many airlines offer great value flights across the Atlantic, while a budget car hire can help you reach more destinations than you think. Here are our tips to make the most of your US road trip.

Plan your route

It sounds simple, but figuring out your route before you set off is the easiest way to save money on fuel while travelling. Think of it this way – any detours you make on your journey should be worth the trip, rather than a source of tension between you and your underperforming navigator. Don’t forget that you can include GPS in your Alamo Rent A Car booking, so local amenities like restaurants and gas stations will be easy to locate when you need them. Getting lost on a road trip can be something of an adventure… but there’s a lot to be said for knowing where you’re going too.

Find free things to do

No matter where your road trip may take you, you’re bound to come across a few affordable (or even free!) things to do that will make the experience all the more enjoyable. A quick search online should help you get started. As well as public attractions such as museums, art galleries and free music events, don’t forget that you’re travelling through one of the world’s greatest and most varied landscapes. Hike through mountain forests, stroll along sparkling sandy beaches – America is your oyster.

Save on food

Eating out can quickly eat away at your expenses, so preparing food before you travel can save a substantial sum. Stock a cooler with a few reserve meals that don’t require too much preparation. If your accommodation has a kitchen, see if you can batch-cook a few snacks for the next leg of your journey. While pit stops are often a must, saving money here and there on food will make the restaurant trips you treat yourself to that little bit more enjoyable.

Beware of tolls

In recent years, US roads have started to forego traditional, attended toll booths for electronic, more modern counterparts. And though convenient for locals, these cashless, electronic sensors could land you with a fine if you’re caught unawares. Toll roads will be clearly displayed with signage, and will typically have instructions on how to pay the toll, so do look out for these on your journey. If you’re covering lots of miles, you may find our TollPass™ service to be more convenient. On roads covered by this service, you can drive through toll express lanes and pay automatically. Of course, there should always be an alternative route, but remember what we said about journey times? Plan ahead.

Save on gas

When it comes to refuelling, it can really pay to shop around. Gas stations along the highway can often cost considerably more than those found just a short drive away from the main road. So make sure you have enough fuel left in the tank to find a more affordable option. There are also a myriad of mobile phone applications to help you get the best price on the road, while Google Maps also displays prices per gallon to help with your search.

Save on accommodation

Of course, accommodation will likely be one of your more substantial holiday outlays. Though camping is often a cheaper alternative to hotel stays, it still comes with some cost, with some sites charging up to $40 per night. Research is invaluable here – National Forests are often a lot more affordable (and sometimes even free!), with the added benefit of beautiful surrounds. Just be sure to use the area’s designated campground, or ensure that ‘dispersed camping’ (camping in areas with no facilities, often for free) is permitted.

Pack wisely

Avoid paying a premium on trip essentials by packing wisely. See yourself on a beach somewhere along the way? Beach towels and SPF often cost a lot more when purchased onsite, as do typical travel-related items like adapters and phone chargers. In essence, you don’t want to get stuck paying over the odds for something you already own at home or can pick up cheaply at a supermarket en route.

Save on car hire

Finally, a vital part of your road trip budget is of course car hire. Alamo Rent A Car’s US deals could help to stretch your money further – from getting seven days’ hire for the price of five to adding a free additional driver to share the miles with.

Ready to hit the road? Read our ultimate car hire checklist for USA driving.