Traveling by RV is incredibly fun and relaxing, allowing us to escape our hectic lives for a while and reconnect with nature. But thanks to high fuel prices, inflation, and a general increase in the cost of living, hitting the road is more expensive than ever. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to cut costs and manage your expenses, potentially saving you some money in the process.
Here are our ten money-saving tips for your next RV trip:
Find Places to Camp for Free
Thanks to their numerous amenities, beautiful locations, and handy features, staying at a campground can be a lot of fun. But reserving a campsite can also be pricey, especially now that demand is at an all-time high. Thankfully, there are alternative places to park your rig, some of which won’t cost you anything.
Places like Walmart, large truck stops, and roadside rest areas usually allow RVers to stay overnight for free. Additionally, federal lands operated by the Bureau of Land Management allow for free RV camping as well. These locations typically don’t have any amenities or hookups, but they are great for boondocking or short stays while in transit.
Take Advantage of Your RV’s Kitchen
When on vacation, most of us enjoy dining out in nice restaurants or grabbing fast food while on the go. But unlike most other travelers, RVers have a mobile kitchen that goes with them wherever they wander. Make the most of this great resource by cooking your own meals as often as possible. By stocking the refrigerator and cupboards with your favorite foods and snacks, you can save a surprising amount of money compared to eating out regularly.
Get a Good Sam Membership
A Good Sam membership is an excellent investment for frequent RVers. Starting at just $29/year, members can save 10% on campground reservations at over 2000 locations and get discounts on RV rentals. They can also take advantage of special pricing—and free shipping—from Camping World and save 5¢ on gas and 8¢ on diesel fuel. Members can even save thousands of dollars on a new motorhome or travel trailer from RVs.com.
Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated
Keeping your tires properly inflated will make your RV safer out on the road and extend their lifespan by reducing wear and tear. According to the Department of Energy, it also has the added effect of improving fuel efficiency by as much as 3%. That means you can go further on a tank of gas, saving you money at the pump in the process.
Keep Your RV Well Maintained
In addition to keeping your tires properly inflated, it is important to keep up with your RV’s other maintenance needs. That includes making sure your heater and air conditioner are working properly and checking your holding tanks, along with the propane and electrical systems. You’ll also want to replace any worn hoses or belts under the hood and ensure that your brakes are in functioning correctly.
Proper maintenance will keep your RV running at peak efficiency and prevent costly and unexpected repairs. That can save you money in the short term but also over the entire life of the vehicle.
Don’t Travel as Far and Stay Longer
Some camping trips involve long road trips with stops at multiple destinations. Those kinds of adventures can be a lot of fun and allow you to see more of the country. But thanks to high gas prices, they can be more costly too. By staying in one place for an extended period of time, you’ll burn less fuel and get the chance to relax more. Most campgrounds even offer a nice discount when you book a stay for a week or a month.
Look for Free Things to Do
Most destinations have a surprising number of things that you can see and do for free. For instance, you can take advantage of local hiking and biking trails or go kayaking on rivers, lakes, or the ocean. Many places have free museums, tours, festivals, concerts, and other activities you can also take part in. The website for the local visitor’s bureau can be an excellent resource for finding things to do when exploring a new area.
Use an App to Save on Gas
Another handy way to save cash is by installing a gas-savings app on your smartphone. Apps like GasBuddy, Gas Guru, and Fuelio can help you find the best fuel prices while traveling and earn rewards along the way. The saving can add up quickly on a long road trip or throughout a long and busy travel season.
Bring Your Own Gear
Always bring any outdoor gear that you intend to use on your trip. For instance, if you want to explore the area on a bike or plan to go kayaking, you can save money by bringing your personal gear from home. Not only will you feel more comfortable using the equipment you already own, but renting those items can be expensive, particularly if you intend to use them more than once during your travels.
Travel During Off-Peak Times
The summer travel season may be the most convenient time to hit the road, but it isn’t the most affordable. Due to the increase in demand, prices for campsites, fuel, RV rentals, tours, and other fees will likely increase. If you can schedule your trips for the off-peak season, you can often save a lot of money. You’ll also get the added benefit of less traffic and smaller crowds, making the experience much more enjoyable.
Some destinations can be busy at other times of the year due to seasonal activities (skiing, autumn leaves, etc.), festivals, and special events. Be sure to do some research ahead of time to avoid unexpected surprises that could drive up costs. Additionally, major holidays can cause a spike in travel, which can impact pricing too.
There you have it, our top tips for saving some money on your next RV excursion. Hopefully, you found one or two new items that can help you cut costs and stick to your budget, allowing you to enjoy more time at the campsite in the weeks and months ahead.
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