5 Tips for Travelling the Southwest on a Budget

Travelling across the Southwest can be a lot of fun. The Southwest includes a vast land that has endless potential for adventures and exploration. Ideal for road trips, the Southwest offers an impressive array of historical sites, beautiful national parks and of course, the glittering jewel of the desert: Las Vegas.

However, visiting the Southwest can be hard on the wallet. From its drastically differing temperatures to its skyrocketing hotel prices during peak times, the costs of travelling here can easily stack up.

Fortunately, there are multiple ways that travelers can save big while road tripping across the wonderful Southwest. With a little careful planning and a frugal mindset, you can easily enjoy all that the Southwest has to offer while still getting some excellent value for your buck.

Here are 5 simple yet highly effective tips for saving money while taking a road trip across the Southwest:

Seek Discounted Accommodations


The last thing anyone wants to deal with is trying to find a hotel after a long day of driving. Try to book all of your accommodations in advance, and if you can, make sure to visit a variety of websites to find the best deals. Once you hit Vegas, don’t get stuck with an overpriced room, but rather plan ahead in order to find the cheapest rooms available. Moreover, if you don’t mind roughing it a little, you could enjoy even bigger savings by bringing your camping gear along and looking for campsites along the way.

Travel During the Off Season

 Although it can be tricky coordinating time off work during non holidays, the money you can save by travelling off season can make it more than worth your while. Hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions often provide special deals, packages and discounts during off-peak times. This is great for stretching out your dollar and decreasing stress levels, especially as off season times usually equate to smaller and more manageable crowds and traffic. Check the peak times for your chosen destinations and try to avoid the days or seasons that are busiest, so that you can enjoy your travel experience and save a great deal of money along the way.

Route the Quickest Journey Possible

 If you’re really looking to save lots of money, don’t throw cash out of the window by taking the extended scenic tours or simply relying on your GPS to get you there the quickest. Look online to find the quickest route before you depart or even go old school and resort to a physical map before you take off. Strategically plan how to get to your chosen destinations with the least amount of gas and if you plan on renting a car, consider choosing a hybrid model to maximize your miles per gallon.

Bring Your Own Food

 Tourist traps and roadside diners are notorious for overcharging weary travelers for run-of-the-mill food. This inconvenience can easily be avoided by simply bringing your own food along with you. Obviously you won’t want to bring highly perishable or frozen foods, but you can bring bread, fruit, nuts and other snacks that will stop you from having to visit overpriced establishments. Naturally you will want to visit one or two restaurants on your journey, but try to limit how many you visit in order to prevent spending too much of your hard earned money.

Travel Over-Prepared

 The beauty of travelling by car is that you have tons of room for all of your things. Don’t get caught out in the cold and find yourself having to buy warm clothes for cold desert nights or overpriced SPF for the blindingly bright days. Pack everything you might need for day and night in order to avoid having to buy stuff you already probably have in bulk back home. It may be a hassle to pack extra stuff but the money you can save will make it worth taking that extra mile in terms of travelling prepared.

As clearly demonstrated above, the Southwest is a great place to visit but it doesn’t have to burn a hole in your wallet. This versatile area can most definitely be enjoyed on a budget with some careful consideration. Make sure to look for the best deals and travel during the off season to minimize your costs. Happy Travels!

This post is by Alec Bertram (18 Posts)

Alec is a London-based kiwi, dedicated broke traveller, digital marketer, and all-round nice guy. You can get hold of him by emailing him, tweeting him @KiwiAlec, or by walking around London and calling out his name.