6 Commonly Forgotten Road Trip Expenses

Cars, News I By Guest Contributor I October 14, 2020

This post was contributed by Motor1.com

Road trips are exciting. From seeing new things, spending quality time with others, and reaching each destination, many people choose to take time to hit the road. While fun, road trips still require a lot of planning and preparation. Figuring out mileage, where to stop, who is driving, and what car to take are just a few things every road tripper should take time to do before the trip.

With every road trip, however, comes unexpected expenses. As you get ready to head out on your trip, take a moment to prepare for any unexpected expenses. In the end, you may not even use all of your budget for these expenses. To learn more about what types of unexpected expenses may occur, read the article below.

Forgotten items

When packing, it’s easy to forget something. Usually, when this happens most people don’t realize they’ve forgotten something until it suddenly comes to mind halfway through the trip, or when they actually need it.

There’s a good chance you’ll forget something, too. Set aside a little bit of money in your road trip budget to account for any forgotten items if needed. Hopefully, it’s a simple item like a toothbrush or a shirt that is easily replaceable. Before heading out, ensure you have all high-value items packed, as those can be much more difficult and costly to replace if truly needed.


In any budget you create in life, there should be money put towards an emergency fund. On a road trip, emergencies can happen. Car accidents, medical emergencies, weather, and crime can all occur. Bottom line is, expect the unexpected to happen, and be ready to pay for it. This should be the number one priority for extra budgeting space.

In the event of a car accident, you’ll want to also make sure you have a solid car insurance plan. When you’re in the middle of nowhere, reaching an agent quickly for roadside assistance is possible with some plans, such as one from Travelers auto insurance.


Parking isn’t guaranteed for free at each stop on your road trip. At some point, you’ll probably have to pay for parking, whether it’s valet, a parking garage, or street parking. Additionally, the more stops you have and the longer your road trip is, the more chances you’ll run into this expense. Don’t let something like parking be the reason you have to spend more money than expected on your road trip.

If you don’t budget for parking, you risk getting a parking ticket (or even towed) when you park somewhere you shouldn’t. This can easily cost a few hundred dollars, which is way more than the few dollars you would have paid to park somewhere. Just do yourself a favor and budget for parking as much as you can. A day-by-day budget should be enough to get you by.

Spontaneous activities

Most people have taken a short detour to do something spontaneous on a road trip. After all, if you’re nearby something cool or can’t do it anywhere else, why not try something new? Many attractions like these can easily cost money, however. By setting aside some money to pay for fun and spontaneous activities, you’ll not only be accountable, but you’ll also have a more enjoyable trip.


It’s likely that you’ve already thought about food for your trip, but many people still under budget for this expense. Food is going to cost different amounts in different places, so make sure you stick to your budget as well as you can. Sometimes, you’ll only have a few options (if even a few) for food, which doesn’t give you much flexibility in how much you have to spend to eat. Plan to buy food at fast food places, restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores.

The way back

The fun part about a road trip is planning the way there, but not the way back. Don’t forget to budget for your trip back, especially if your trip lasts more than a day or two. While you may not make as many stops on the way back home, you’ll still need to account for gas, food, emergencies, and other expenses.

Some of these expenses may not end up being an issue on your road trip anyway. But, if they do occur, you’ll seriously thank yourself for preparing for them ahead of time. With every road trip you make, mistakes will be made, but that’s how you end up learning. This allows you to better plan for your next road trip. Enjoy the trip!


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