Survey: Experian Finds Drivers Plan to Spend About $1,000 on Road Trip Expenses

Quick Answer

Drivers expect to spend about $2 per mile on average for their road trips this summer, according to an Experian survey.

A photo of an unrecognizable woman looking at the sea and mountains from the opened roof of her car. She is taking photos of a beautiful sunset.

If you're taking your car on a road trip this summer, whether it's across the country or on a more local journey over blue highways, you've probably budgeted for gas, tolls and accommodations.

According to Experian's pre-Memorial Day survey of 1,008 insured drivers planning a road trip, not all drivers are approaching the summer driving season the same way. Here, we'll review what drivers are expecting to spend on their summer drives, which may help you plan your trip accordingly.

Drivers Say They Plan to Travel About 500 Miles and Spend More Than $1,000

When it comes to who's turning the odometer, only about 1 in 9 roadtrippers plan to drive more than 1,000 miles on their journeys, according to Experian's survey. The average planned road trip is mapping out to about half that, at 512 miles—enough for motorists driving gas-powered cars to have to refuel at least once.

Question: How many miles will you be traveling on your road trip?

Drivers are also working with different roadtrip budgets. About 1 in 9 drivers plan to spend $2,000 or more on their trip, although the average budget is $1,007. In other words, drivers expect to spend about $2 per mile, on average. Try doing that in your next rideshare or New York City taxi.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, it costs 72 cents per mile to own and operate a new car, whether or not you're headed to Walley World.

Question: How much do you plan to spend on your road trip?

Two-Thirds Plan to Use Their Own Car for Road Trips This Summer

Most road trippers are content with using their vehicle for their summer road trip: 66% say they're using their own car for at least a long weekend trip, if not more. Meanwhile, 21% tell Experian they're renting a car for their summer drive.

Question: Are you planning to rent a vehicle for your road trip?

For the car renters, there's some good news and some bad news. The good, or at least better, news, is that rental car prices are falling from their lofty pandemic-era costs, when vehicles were scarce to buy or rent. The bad news is that rental car prices tend to peak in the summer months when demand is highest. Fortunately in the 21st century, air conditioning is standard.

Gas, Food, Lodging and Insurance All Add Up

Although probably no surprise, most drivers surveyed say they expect gasoline and lodging will be their biggest expense on their road trip this summer, and another 47% say food will be one of their big-ticket items in summer '24.

Question: Which do you anticipate being your top three expenses?

Drilling down on gasoline prices: 76% of respondents say gas will be one of their top three expenses on their summer travels. For those concerned, indications are that gas prices are expected to be below average this summer, as supply has been helped by the U.S. releasing some of its fuel reserves.

Among the other anticipated top expenses are entertainment costs, with 18% of vacationers reporting it as one of their probable top three, and car insurance costs, with 15% noting premium costs for their own vehicle or, if they rent, the coverage they'll either use or purchase for their rental. As insurance costs have climbed more than 40% since 2020, it's become a perennial pain point among some motorists, even when they're on vacation.

Ways to Lower Your Insurance Premiums

If the summer road trip budget still looks pricey, you may consider comparing car insurance quotes online from the top auto insurance carriers and get our best rates for the coverage you need at Experian.

To get started you'll need:

  • Information about your current vehicle insurance, which can be provided digitally or by uploading a copy of your policy
  • The year, make and model and of the vehicles you're insuring
  • Details about yourself, as well as others intending to drive the vehicles
  • Any additional information that might qualify you for insurance discounts

Apart from comparison shopping, drivers have other ways of reducing insurance costs, including bundling auto and property insurance for discounts, increasing their deductibles or parting with the Family Truckster.

Methodology: The analysis results provided are based on an Experian-created statistically relevant aggregate sampling of our consumer credit database that may include use of the FICO® Score 8 version. Different sampling parameters may generate different findings compared with other similar analysis. Analyzed credit data did not contain personal identification information. Metro areas group counties and cities into specific geographic areas for population censuses and compilations of related statistical data.

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