Croatia roadtrip

How we saved over 10K dkk on our roadtrip to Croatia

This post won’t be a regular Money Like a Local post. After asking our Instagram community a couple of times whether I should share money-saving tips along with the regular content, I received very positive feedback, so here comes the first attempt. 

In this article I’ll be writing about how we as a family of 3 saved over 10.000 dkk on our roadtrip to Croatia as well as some mistakes we made along the way. 


We took a 2 week roadtrip to Croatia. We stopped in Germany both on the way there and back to rest –  other than that, we stayed in Zagreb, Trogir and Ljubljana. At the end of the article I’ll make a break-down of the costs.

1. Prepare meals for the first travel days

So this tips works best when travelling by car, but it might also work when travelling by bus/ train. 

The options you have when on the road are often not very nutritious and can also be pretty expensive – especially if you stop for lunch on the highway. Previously we probably wouldn’t have thought about this, but having a 1 year old with us made us want to have something other that gas station food/ McD on the road. We decided to stop for the night in Leipzig, Germany so it took us 2 days on the road to reach Zagreb – our first stop in Croatia. 

Now, we couldn’t prep food for 2 days on the road but we did for the first day. We prepped some wraps, boiled & steamed veggies and small pizza dough pockets filled with meat and veggies. We kept these in a cooler (you know those cheap cold boxes you add cold elements to? I’ll link one here – not sponsored) and they stayed nice and cold until the evening. I’m not saying this is the image of health either, but they were definitely more nutritious options than what we found on the road on day 2 🙂 

We did the same on our way back when we travelled from Split to Ljubljana – just different meals.

Bonus food tip: We bought 2 boxes of just-add-water-kind-of-baby-oatmeal for our baby, so he would have breakfast for 2 weeks – he loves those 🙂

How much did we save?

We had 2 days of travel where we prepped meals like this (home – Leipzig & Split – Ljubljana) and 3 days of travel where we ate on the road because the accomodations didn’t have a freezer where we could freeze the cold elements (Leipzig – Zagreb, Ljubljana – Fritzlar, Fritzlar – home).

On average, we spent a little over 500 dkk on food on the days we ate on the road, so by prepping meals for 2 days we saved at least 1000 dkk. 

2. Book accomodation outside the city

Our “final destination” was Split. Staying fairly close to a beach in Split would have easily cost us 5000 dkk+ for a week. Instead we chose to stay in Trogir, which we wanted to visit anyway and drove to Split 3-4 times. We found an apartment at 600 m from the nearest beach in Trogir for 2400 dkk/ week. 

If you travel by plane, you need to make sure you have good access to public transportation and that the money you use on public transportation won’t exceed what you saved by staying outside the city. 

As we drove there ourselves, we saved at least 2000 dkk on accomodation – even if we were to calculate the gas & parking costs from travelling from Trogir to Split and back. 

3. Stay at an apartment instead of a hotel

Not only are apartments usually cheaper than hotels, for us it was also important to be able to cook. Cooking saved us money, but we also prioritised it so that our 1 year old wouldn’t eat pizza, burgers and fries every day for 2 weeks 🙂

It’s hard to calculate exactly what we saved by cooking some of the meals at the apartment (we also ate out a few times, obviously), but it definitely saved at least 500 dkk (I’d say that’s the bare minimum).

4. Have a friend/ family member watch your pets

I know this is only relevant if you have pets, but this was our biggest saving on this trip.

So we have 2 dogs – Luna & Harvey. Harvey is a rescue from Romania who has a lot of anxiety around new people and can therefore look threatening/ aggresive around strangers, which means that taking him/ them with us is not really an option. 

Usually, if we leave for one week, they stay at a dog hotel (hundehotel/ hundepension) – we have one that we used many times, so both Luna & Harvey feel safe there. But when travelling for 2 weeks, it gets very expensive (they also have weird drop off & pick up hours, so we would have to drop them off the day before we leave and pick them up the day after we come back). In our case, that would have been 15 nights.

15 nights x 280 dkk x 2 dogs = 8400 dkk (that’s 2 times our accomodation for the 2 weeks).

So instead we had a family member fly here from Romania to take care of them. She stayed at our place for the period, which meant she also took care of our home, garden green house and everything else.

The flights costs 860 dkk, so we saved 7540 dkk. 

5. The only souvenir we buy is a magnet

A long time ago we decided that the only souvenir we’ll spend money on is a magnet. No t-shirts, tote bags or whatever else people buy on holidays. 

6. Making coffee at home

I don’t drink coffee, but my husband does and he really wanted me to include this tip, because he thinks it’s small savings like this that also make a big difference. 

Most accomodations will have an electrical kettle – so what he did was to buy some instant coffee and make his own coffee at home. He also bought coffee in some places when he was tired of the instant coffee, but most of the time he made it at the accomodation 🙂 

7. Tank up the car outside of the highway

This might not be the case in all countries, but in Germany we experienced that gas would cost 2.20€/ liter on the highway and 1.80-1.90€/ liter just a couple of kilometers from the highway. 

Bonus tip: Shop in Germany

If you’re on a roadtrip and have the chance to stop at a supermarket in Germany, you might as well do some shopping – there are tons of products that are much cheaper to buy there. We usually buy coffee, sweets and cleaning products.

Now let’s talk mistakes..

Here are some mistakes we made that you can hopefully learn from:

  • Look for vignettes in good time

Another thing that makes me really appreciate Denmark – no tolls (except for a couple bridges). 

I learned pretty late that if you want to buy a vignette for Austria online, you have to do it at least 18 days before you enter Austria. Had we bought it online, it would have cost 9.90€. We bought it at a gas station before entering Austria  where it cost 18€. Not that it breaks the bank, but still a cost that could have been avoided. 

  • Make a list of what you need to take with you and triple-check-it

Once we were already in Germany, we realized we forgot some basic things, like our baby’s water bottle – which meant stopping at the first Kaufland and buying whatever baby water bottle we could find.


So how much did this trip cost ?

Accomodation: 5042 dkk
Tolls: 732 dkk
Gas: 4650 dkk
Food & other purchases: 3775 dkk
Flights (for our family member): 860 dkk
Entrances: 400 dkk
Shopping in Germany: 1190 dkk



2 Responses

  1. One week in Corfu Island
    – a family of 4 flight ticket 3.200 kr.
    – Parking over airport 450 kr.
    – rental car 2.100 kr.
    – accommodation 3.500 kr.
    – food and drinks 10.000kr only restaurants
    – food and drinks supermarket 2.800 for breakfast and mornings coffee
    – 2.150 kr. for clothes , gifts etc.
    a total of 24.200 kr. only for one week.

    6 years ago one week in Malaga cost us in total 15.000 kr.
    the same flight tickets, Airbnb, restaurants, gifts etc.

    A remark: my kids was 2 and 4 years old in Malaga, and they didn’t eat so much 😅
    but in Corfu they eat and drink in the same amount like an adult 🤦‍♂️😱😂

    Nice article, congratulation, it is good we are not the only ones that spend a fortune in road trip.
    to not say , a road trip to Romania from Denmark for 3 weeks in the summer cost us between 25.000 and 30.000 kr. , some days in hotels, some sleeping over to the relatives…

    Life became more expensive year by year , but with a good trip plan we can enjoy the life.

    1. I think all things considered and with all the savings we made, we ended up at a fairly good budget 🙂 We are also doing a roadtrip to Romania next month, so I’m looking forward to seeing what budget we’ll end up with there 🙂

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