How to Explore the Country and Still Save Money

Words and photos by Coalatree Ambassador Hunter Page and Elena Patten. Follow Hunter and Elena's adventures on Instagram: @hunterpagephotography @elena_patten

We grew bored of the everyday routine and had to make an instant change. We quit our jobs, moved into Elena's Subaru, and hit the road to travel. Though we didn’t have much money, we knew we’d have to get creative on ways to save. Here are a few tips we learned from our time on the road.


This is always the most expensive necessity while on the road. We use the GasBuddy app, which tells you where to find the cheapest gas in the area. In many places, paying with cash instead of a credit card will save you at least three cents per gallon.



Paying upwards of $35 to camp is ridiculous! To get around that and to explore new, unknown areas, we used the website Thanks to this website, most nights we camped completely alone and in silence. A lot of the campsites listed were down dirt roads, sometimes leading into forests, lakes, rivers, or even up mountains. Don’t be afraid of these roads! We found the best places to camp down them.


Food and ice can be very pricey—but not if you do it right. First off, make the investment for a nice cooler. (We bought a Yeti.) Also, get some “Stasher Bags” which are basically high-quality, durable, and reusable ziplock bags. We’d grab ice from grocery stores and gas stations, and fill the bags to the max for our cooler. Boom! Five pounds of ice for free! While you’re at it, head over to the deli section and grab a handful of ketchup, mustard, and mayo packets. We ate lots of eggs for breakfast with potatoes, peppers, cheese, spinach, and our single-size condiments with tortillas to make burritos.


Using these tips will help you to see what mother nature has created for all to enjoy, without the stress of money. We have visited dozens of amazing areas from Utah to Oregon, spending weeks in the Redwoods and in the Cascade Mountains. Remember everyone, wherever you travel, Leave It Better Than You Found it!  Pick up trash, recycle, and respect our natural places.





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