Summer breaks are there to be enjoyed to the fullest when you’re a student. But they don’t go on forever. Once you’re finished with school you can fully enjoy the fact you have very few commitments until the next semester. It’s for this reason that a road trip is the perfect getaway opportunity for you and your friends. It can be done affordably if you plan far enough in advance, and it’s a great way to get out and explore the United States.

Plan flights first

Flights and accommodation are likely to be your two biggest expenditures, and so you will want to plan these first. For example, if you’re planning on starting off in New York and traveling down the east coast, you will want to figure out how to most affordably fly to your starting destination. You may have to consider early morning, late night or connecting flights, as these are often far cheaper.

Car rentals

One of the most affordable ways to complete a road trip in the United States is to rent your vehicle. Nowadays, there are so many services that specialize in affordable rentals; you will be truly spoiled for choice. Car rental companies such as E-Z Rent a Car can be found in multiple destinations, so you will at least have a variety of start and end points to choose from.

Don’t leave accommodation to chance

Finding a neon-lit motel with vacancies in the dead of night is the stuff of movies, and it should remain as just that. You never want to put yourself at risk by leaving your accommodation up to chance. Whether you decide to find a reasonable motel, or splash out on the odd hotel or grab an AirBnB, book these well in advance to get the best savings on your trip.

Tried and tested

When you’re a student, you are still a relatively naive traveler, and sometimes it is helpful to do just as your mother would suggest. Choose tried and tested routes that are a hit with road trippers and you can guarantee they will be a hit with you and your friends. One example, the Columbia River Highway will take you through Oregon is a guaranteed success if you like winding mountain passes, waterfalls and stunning wildlife.

Re-consider your luxuries

If you like nothing more than an iced coffee with an expensive shot of sugar-free caramel syrup, then by all means continue as usual, but know that the costs will only add to your road trip. Those who have budgeted their road trip have found that luxuries such as Starbucks have totaled up to an eye-watering amount. One $5 coffee a day will quickly add up if you are making regular stops in drive-throughs. If it’s possible, pack your own luxuries and enjoy them as you go, just to save some money here and there.

Road trips can be the ultimate cost-effective travel option if you’re a student: they can eliminate the need for flights, and teach you how to stick to a budget while traveling. However, this can only be possible if you are as organized as possible.