Car Road Trip

How To Calculate The Average Cost Of A Road Trip

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Last Updated on January 30, 2023 by Rose Morah

Want to know the average cost of your road trip?

Generally, the average total cost of a road trip will revolve around food, gas, hotel, and activity fees.

First off, here is what we’ll need to consider when doing the calculation:

  • Your vehicle’s average fuel efficiency
  • The local gas prices
  • Whether you will be staying overnight in a hotel.

Then, we will need to estimate the average cost of driving from your home to your destination.

This will help us figure out the estimated budget for your trip.

Other things to consider when calculating the cost of a road trip include:

  • Food
  • Permits
  • Camping and lodging
  • Parking
  • Gas


To estimate your daily food budget, first, you need to know the total number of people and the days you will take.

How to calculate the cost of food for your trip

Now that you have the total number of people taking the trip, multiply that number by the daily cost of food per head.

Then multiply it by the number of days you will take on your trip.

On a rough estimate, about $20 will be the average meal cost per person if you are considering bringing food from home.

How to calculate the average cost of r

And since this is just an estimated figure, the amount can either be more or less, depending on the age of the crew and your destination.

Additionally, packing some food and beverages in your cooler, as opposed to ordering from fast food joints, will undoubtedly lower your food budget.

But, remember to leave some room in your budget for a taste of the local foods along your journey.

You may also like: How To Pack A Small Car For A Road Trip.

Parking costs

The parking cost on a road trip will depend on your country or state.

How to calculate your trip parking costs

Let’s suppose you have the daily parking cost. You will multiply that by the duration of your trip in days.

Packing Cost = Daily Parking Cost x Duration of your trip.

See also: How To Plan A Road Trip On A Budget.

Camping and lodging

You will need to get the campsite fee amounts, the hotel room fee, and the number of nights you will be staying in order to come up with the total amount required for camping and lodging.

How to calculate the cost of hotel lodging for my road trip

To calculate the hotel lodging costs, multiply the nightly costs by the number of nights you will be staying.

Hotel Lodging Cost = Nightly cost x Number of nights.

Gas cost

To come up with the total gas cost, first, determine a few things. You will need to know the number of miles to your destination on a round trip, the number of miles per gallon, and the gas price per gallon.

This will be used to calculate the estimated figure of amount you will spend on gas during your trip.

How to calculate the cost of gas for the road trip

To calculate how much you will spend on gas, you need to take the total number of miles on a round trip and divide that by your vehicle’s miles per gallon (MPG). Multiply that number by the current gas price.

For more accuracy and practicality when calculating estimated gas consumption for your road trip, use the following formula: 

How to calculate the average cost of r
How to calculate the average cost of r

The result will give you the total cost of gas for the entire trip.

But apart from that, here are the other miscellaneous costs that you will likely come across during your road trip:

  • Public transit
  • Road toll
  • Trail permits
  • Guides
  • Entrance fees

Going on a friend’s road trip? Get our best tips on how to prepare for a road trip with friends.

See also: 17 fun things to do on a road trip with friends


To get your total permit expenses, you need to know the park entrance fees, any other event service fees, and the activities fee for any activities that you’re planning to carry out during your road trip.

How to minimize the costs of a road trip

It is worth noting that an online cost comparison search tool such as Momondo or Kayak would be an excellent place to start if you will be using a rental car or booking a hotel during the trip.

Momondo compares different hotel prices by dates and rental car prices by company and location.

With Momondo, you could be heading your way to great discounts and saving time since they also give you the option to book directly through their website after getting your best deal.

Much like Momondo, Kayak is yet another great alternative for hotels, rental, and flight bookings. They offer great price comparisons that allow you to book on the spot once you have identified what you want.

These two are great tools that help you save a ton of money on your vacation or road trips.

And additionally, if you are looking to get the best available rates on your next theme park or museum tickets, you could consider checking out City Pass.

City pass has great discounts on attraction entry packages across major cities in the US. Be sure to keep them in mind on your next family road trip. They might help you save some cash.

And lastly, you could save a lot more on gas with the help of a gas estimator tool called Gas buddy. The tool helps you find the next gas station on your route with the best prices and how much you will be saving.

When is the best time to go for a fun road trip?

Well, the best time depends on many factors.

But supposing you are on a budget, I would say the best time will be when the gas prices are low. This is when you are likely to save more, especially when traveling on a tight budget.

But one more thing, be sure to carry some extra cash in case of any emergency. This could be something you forgot to bring or a sudden change of plans that needs to be covered by some additional funds.

Hello there! My name is Rose. I’m passionate about electric cars and clean energy. My adventurous spirit and journalistic pursuits make each day fascinating and far greater. I consider traveling not just about the grandeur moments, but the little elements that transform the whole experience.