After hearing about the giant sequoias and incredible rock formations, you’re ready to explore Arizona by car. But is your budget prepared?

Before you peel out of your driveway and make your way to Route 66, you’ll want to make sure your finances are ready for a road trip. Take a look at these tips for special insights and advice.

Be Prepared — 4 Ways

Nobody wants to see their trip end with a fender bender. Unfortunately, these things happen, usually when you least expect them.

Being blindsided by the unknown makes it harder to get back on the road. But how can you prepare for something that may not even happen? Here are four tips:

  1. Build a generous emergency fund. Before hitting the road, try to save an extra $1,000 for your trip to cover the unexpected. That way, you can pay for an unforeseen trip to the mechanics without calling your trip short.
  2. Get a line of credit. An Arizona line of credit acts as a backup to your emergency fund should your repairs exceed your savings. You can easily apply for a personal line of credit in Arizona, even while on the road. That’s because Arizona lines of credit are available online via desktop or smartphone. You can apply for and receive a line of credit online, giving convenient access to a financial safety net (if your application is approved).
  3. Invest in Roadside Assistance. For a small annual fee, AAA offers emergency roadside assistance that includes emergency towing, battery replacements, and other services when things go wrong.
  4. Get to Know Your Insurance. Savings or an Arizona line of credit may not help when things go really wrong. For large collisions and other damage, you may need to involve insurance. Check your policies (of both your auto insurance company and credit card company) to see what is covered.

Find the Cheapest Gas

Gas isn’t cheap anywhere in the country these days, but Arizona is one of the most expensive states to fuel up. The Copper State saw the biggest increase in prices year-over-year, jumping 67% from $3.13 to $5.22 in 2022.

You can avoid the worst of it by mapping out the cheapest gas stations along your route. Crunching the numbers by yourself is a lot of work, so let these apps do it for you:

  • AAA TripTik Travel Planner
  • Dash
  • Fuelio
  • GasBuddy
  • Gas Guru

Camp Across the State

Arizona has plenty of places to camp, including the big state parks like Patagonia Lake and Dead Horse Ranch. But there are plenty more private campsites, nature preserves, and public lands where you can stay overnight.

Nothing beats waking up to an incredible view of cactus-covered deserts or a sparkling lake. Plus, camping is a whole lot cheaper than costly hotels and Airbnb rentals.

Make Use of Arizona Rest Areas

Drowsy driving is a killer, responsible for nearly 10% of all accidents on American roads. To stay safe on your trip, make a note of all the rest area locations in the state. These offer a free and safe place to turn off the road whenever you’re hit by highway hypnosis or feeling tired.

You can even park overnight to save some money — not just by avoiding the cost to camp or book a hotel room. By getting off the road when you’re exhausted, you could avoid a costly collision and property damage. You may even save your life!

Bottom Line: Get Organized!

While it may be tempting to hit the road without a plan, some preparation can help you experience the state with your finances intact.