Roadtrip Budget Breakdown

roadtrip budget

Our roadtrip last week to Williamsport, PA was a quick one. When M. has 2 days off of work in a row, we like to take advantage of his employee hotel discount and see a new place. We chose to head Northwest this time, and explore a city along the Susquehanna River.

We don’t really budget for our trips beforehand, but we always want to keep our spending at a minimum. We chose from a handful of affordable hotels, and we picked the cheapest one. Here’s our roadtrip budget breakdown for Williamsport:

  • Hotel: $76 ($35 per night, plus taxes)
  • Gas: $78Ā 
  • Entertainment: $15.50
  • Food: $60

Trip Total: $229.50

Overall, I don’t think this is too bad for a family of 3. We still have a half tank of gas left over. Our hotel offered a continental breakfast, which we took advantage of. We had dinner in a restaurant once, and since our hotel room was equipped with a kitchenette, we brought a cooler of snacks and drinks with us.

The $15.50 for entertainment was for the Hiawatha Paddle Wheel Riverboat cruise that we took. The ticket prices were really cheap, and I also found a coupon in one of those free tourist guides that gave us an additional $3 discount. We bought some snacks and drinks on there, as well.

Personally, I just love walking around a town or city and exploring it on foot. Not only is it free, but you also get to see different local spots that you otherwise wouldn’t on a guided tour.

This was a really fun quick trip. On the 4th, we got up and checked out of the hotel and drove about 20 minutes to a nearby town. Williamsport did not have a parade happening, and our daughter really wanted to see one, so I looked up online where we could find one in the area.

We got to enjoy a good old-fashioned small town America Fourth of July parade, and I don’t think that there is a more perfect way to spend the holiday! It lasted at least an hour, and our daughter got a bag full of candies and other goodies. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

This is probably our last roadtrip for a while, because we really need to focus on saving up before we leave for Europe. Less than $300 for 3 people, for 3 days on the road, isn’t too bad, though!

What do you think of our roadtrip spending? Do you usually spend a lot on food and entertainment?

18 comments on “Roadtrip Budget Breakdown

  • Josh @ , Direct link to comment

    I love road trips; and wow, you keep yours pretty low cost. We do tend to spend $400 or so when we go on our road trips, but I still think we’re being frugal at that. After all, we don’t get a hotel discount and we usually have no idea what the destination is going to be; so booking in advance is blown out of the water.

  • Liz , Direct link to comment

    I love getting out and going on a road trip. I think you did fantastic ā€“ that boat ride looks fun and what a great price . We will be traveling about 5 hours out of town into farm country this weekend for a family wedding. Iā€™m really looking forward to getting out of town. Lucky for us, my parents paid for our hotel room. Score!

  • E.M. , Direct link to comment

    $36 a night for a hotel is great! Sounds like it was very much worth it, and that’s what counts. We always try to keep our weekend getaways under $250 for the two of us, but I don’t think we’ve ever had that low of a rate on a room.

    • Lauren , Direct link to comment

      The hotel discount that my husband receives is really what makes these little trips possible for us, otherwise the cost would probably have doubled!

  • Ryan @ Impersonal Finance , Direct link to comment

    My wife is from central PA, and it’s definitely a beautiful place. And I definitely don’t think $230 is bad for a family of 3. Most people spend that one one hotel room for one night, so you’re doing it right! We try to buy food at the grocery store to save that way, and $35 for a room ain’t bad at all.

    • Lauren , Direct link to comment

      Central PA is beautiful. I never considered living there before, but now it’s something that we’re starting to talk about.

  • Derek at MoneyAhoy , Direct link to comment


    Sounds like you really couldn’t have done it for cheaper than that. Good work!

    Sounds like you are making good use of your husbands hotel discount šŸ™‚

  • John @ Sprout Wealth , Direct link to comment

    Looks like you did pretty good to me, especially with the lodging costs! We love taking short trips like that and are usually best for us since we have three kiddos. We always try and do what we can to mitigate food costs as those can easily get out of hand if you let them.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money , Direct link to comment

    That’s VERY cheap for a short road trip! I think the hotel discount really helped you, as hotels are typically the biggest expense for us when we go on trips. We have a four day weekend coming up which we will mooch off of my parent’s rented cabin that week as well as a free hotel that I won as part of an All Star Game giveaway.

  • Kassandra , Direct link to comment

    I think you did great for three people for less than $300! My DH often travels for work within the state and abroad so we ended up in Farmingville, Long Island NY over the July 4th weekend for a couple of days. The hotel and breakfast was covered so we just worried about gas and paying for supper the first night. I think we spent about $100.00 for those two days!

  • Alicia @ Financial Diffraction , Direct link to comment

    That’s a totally awesome/reasonable total for a short getaway. I would love to have an in with the hotel discount! Usually when I road trip we’re going back to my home town so I just crash at my parents place (it’s free!) but your way lets you go to lots of new places. šŸ™‚

  • Will , Direct link to comment

    It’s obvious you’re a good writer when myself, a busy and single 24-year-old with no kids, read every single word of your story.

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