How to Plan a Budget for Your Family Road Trip

Figuring out how much money you have to spend on your family road trip is vital in determining where you are going to go and for how long.

Think about what your total budget might be, and then break it down into the major segments of the trip. How much are you willing and able to spend on these necessities:

  • Accommodation
  • Fuel
  • Food
  • Activities
  • Shopping / Entertainment
  • Travel Insurance

Once you know what you are comfortable spending on a daily basis, divide that dollar amount into your total budget available and that will give you a rough idea of the amount of days you can travel for.

Research the costs for the following.


We like to start by using sites such as and AirBnB. Remember when traveling by car you have more flexible options.

You can book accommodation a little further out of the most expensive areas. You can easily drive in and out.


You will need to work out mileage getting there and back and also factor in driving when at your travel destination. If you do decide to book accommodation further out, factor in costs of fuel to drive to major destinations as well as parking.

Sometimes, it may be cheaper to stay in accommodation closer to town for these reasons.


Will you be cooking in an apartment or campsite? Will you be eating out? You will need to factor in costs for every meal including snacks.

If you are cooking at home think in terms of your usual shopping budget, if eating out factor in $10-$20 per person per meal. $5-$10 for kids.

With road trips you can carry more grocery items, and transport in coolers, which can save you a lot of money on eating out.


Decide what you want to do and what the cost will be for each activity at your chosen destination. Try to fit in as many free things as you can. Cater to all interests.


Consider any extra costs you may have in providing equipment for your trip. You may have to buy camping equipment, clothes etc. Factor in the cost of a vehicle service and possible maintenance.

Now you have your rough costs you are in a better position on deciding where to go and for how long.

You can then answer these questions:

  • How much money will you need for your desired road trip destination?
  • How much do you have in savings now?
  • How much do you need to put away each week?
  • Where is that money going to come from?