RVing is a convenient and affordable way to travel. Paying for flights and hotels on a traditional vacation can really add up, especially if you have a large family.
There are many ways to save money on an RV vacation—here are 5 ways to stretch your wallet while on a camping trip in your RV.
Choosing your destination and season wisely can be the most important way to lower costs during your RV travels. Certain tourist locations, such as New York City (yes, you can RV to the Big Apple!) will be much more expensive than others. If your dream, however, is to visit a destination that is on the costly side, consider RVing there during shoulder season. Many RV parks and tours offer a discounted rate during their low season, which can save you a lot of money.
You’ll also want to try to avoid too much spontaneity with your RV travels. Having your route planned out and knowing where you’ll stay each night will keep you from overpaying out of convenience or even desperation.
Staying longer in one place can also lower costs. You’ll pay less in gas if you stay put for longer and many campgrounds also offer a discounted weekly rate.
Enjoy free activities
Having fun doesn’t have to cost money. In fact, it’s usually the free activities that end up being the most memorable anyway.
Go for a hike or bike ride, walk around and explore instead of paying for transportation, and bring your own adventure gear with you so you avoid rental costs.
Volunteering is another great free activity that will even have a higher reward. Many of the national parks have volunteer programs that allow you to explore the park, learn more about it, and give back at the same time!
Prepare your own meals
If your RV has a kitchen, then use it! That’s one of the many perks of RV travel, right? Eating out at restaurants every meal really adds up. Plus, part of the fun of camping is grilling out or cooking your food over the campfire.
There are tons of great camping meal ideas and recipes that make cooking in a small kitchen easier and more convenient, without sacrificing health and taste! It’s a good idea to bring food and other items from home—it’s not uncommon for groceries to be more expensive in popular tourist destinations. You’ll save your precious vacation time and money!
Save on fuel
How much you spend and budget for gas is completely up to you. You can budget for fuel expenses and plan your trip accordingly. Using the GasBuddy website and app, you can use their trip cost calculator and also the least expensive gas along your route. Another way to save on fuel is by checking your tire pressure, doing routine maintenance on RV, and make sure you aren’t carrying any unnecessary weight. You’ll also want to avoid rush hour traffic, coast at slower speeds whenever possible, and plan your route ahead of time to avoid getting lost or taking a longer route. While exploring, consider walking or riding your bike to avoid additional fuel costs, too.
Take advantage of free public lands or discounted RV parks and campgrounds
If you’re traveling west, you can find free places to dry camp or “boondock” in almost every state (here are 5 states with incredible boondocking camping spots). If you prefer RV parks and campgrounds, there are ways to get discounted rates. Being a member of Good Sam and other RV memberships can offer you a percentage off of your nightly stay at select parks.
Or, if you have several weeks or months, consider work camping. In exchange for your help with various tasks around the park, you’ll receive a free stay and in some cases, hourly pay!
We hope these tips help you save money and take more RV trips! If you have other tricks for lowering costs while camping, we’d love to hear them in the comments below. How do you make your money go further on your RV travels?