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There’s not doubt that when you start planning your RV camping trip, you’ll realize that it can really dig into your pockets. Not only is there the cost of the recreational vehicle, but you also need to figure in fuel costs, camping ground charges, food and other factors that are important if you want to have an amazing experience.
But, your RV trip doesn’t need to be more expensive than types vacations. You can still RV camp with your family and save a ton of money if you do it right. In this article, we explore some of the ways you save some money while RV camping with your family.
1) Avoid expensive camping grounds
Some camping grounds could be really expensive as most of them charge per night. If you are looking to save some money, you need to do thorough research on all the camping grounds near where you plan to go and find out what their rates are.
Start by researching national, state, and county park camping rates as they tend to be less expensive than private RV parks. You can also find inexpensive campsites on AirBnB.
If you are lucky, you might even come across camping grounds that do not charge you anything. If you’re brave enough, you can also consider boondocking. Try camping during the week as many campgrounds charge less during the week compared to over the weekend.
2) Borrow or rent an RV
If you think RV camping is the way to go, but are years and dollars away from buying your own rig, borrow or rent an RV. Check with your friend who owns RVs and see if they’d be willing to let you use it.
That’s how we started our rented RV adventures. Our friends weren’t using their RV more than once a year and wanted to share the joy of RV travel with their close friends. They generously offered their Class A motorhome to some close friends and we used it for two years before they decided to sell it. We didn’t need to pay anything, however, my handy husband did repairs to the RV in exchange for use. And, we stored the RV at our home for a while.
The experience of borrowing the RV converted us and there was no way we could go back to tent camping. That’s when we started renting RVs for our family vacations. Sure, it wasn’t as inexpensive as borrowing our friend’s motorhome, but we found ways to keep our costs down.
3) Plan Ahead to Avoid Costly Food Purchases
One perk of RV camping over staying in hotels is that you have your own kitchen on board. You can prepare all your own meals instead of eating out.
I recommend you come up with a meal plan before embarking on your trip. List the ingredients you need to take with you so that you don’t end up needing to pick up items on the road (or worse yet, in the campground store where they charge you extra).
Or better yet, prep your meals at home. You spend some time the week before your trip to freeze meals like spaghetti or tacos. Take along your crockpot or Instantpot to cook your meals while you’re out exploring.
4) Explore free camping activities
Before you think of signing up for expensive camping activities, first explore what options are available for free.
You may not have cell reception on at your campsite, so before you travel, research online to find fishing, hiking, swimming, and biking opportunities that will keep your family engaged without spending much money. Or check out guidebooks from your library to take with you.
When you arrive at camp, ask the camp host or park ranger for recommendations of nearby activities. You can also stop at local visitor centers on your way into town to find out fun things to do in the area.
5) Join a club and get discounts
You can take advantage of discounts by joining camping clubs near you. These clubs pool together a lot of RV campers and they get to have a say in what discounts they might need from various service providers.
One discount club worth checking out is Good Sam. You’ll get discounts at over 2400 parks and campgrounds, fuel and camping-supplies. Other benefits for your RV camping trip is a trip planner, dump service and roadside assistance. And the RV Community on their website is gold if you’re looking for advice.
I was surprised by how reasonably a Good Sam membership is priced. The one-year plan is good for you to start with and you’ll probably make it back with your savings.
By following these tips, you don’t need to break the bank for your next RV camping trip. These are all ways our family has saved on vacation costs over the years. And part of the reason why RV camping is our favorite way to travel.
How about you? Which of these tips do you think will help you save money on your next RV camping trip? Comment below.
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