RV trips are cheaper than other types of vacation and travel. The RV Industry Association reported that two-person RV trips are between 8% and 53% cheaper than conventional vacations, while four-person trips can be between 21% and 64% cheaper. But RV expenses can accumulate fast, whether it’s a short trip or a full-time lifestyle. Rental costs, campground fees, and fuel expenses can put you over budget if you don’t take care. Thankfully, there are a number of tricks and techniques you can adopt to keep your costs under control and allow you to travel in luxury and comfort. Most cost-cutting methods involve minimizing major costs like rental fees, food, and gas. Other tips come in the form of general guidelines you should adopt since adhering to them will ensure low costs throughout the trip.
Join RV Clubs
This is perhaps the best way to cut costs even if you travel for a couple of nights annually. RV clubs often offer their members various discounts and deals that end up saving them a significant amount of money. This means that you are likely to have cheaper access to parks and campgrounds, mechanics, insurance, and hotels when you join a club. The affordable membership fees and huge RV park and campground savings make RV clubs very cost-effective. Therefore, you should look out for RV clubs when planning your trips and see the ones with partner campgrounds along your route. This information is readily available online, so you can compare various clubs and their offerings to find the one that suits you the most, depending on your membership level. AAA members get the most with perks like discounts on accessories and parts at select dealerships, free rentals, fuel delivery, flat tire service, and free towing over a given distance.
Avoid Eating Out: Cook Your Own Food and Drinks
Eating out is one of the easiest ways to rack up trip expenses. This is true even if you cook occasionally. Cooking is easy in RV equipped with kitchens, but you can buy portable stoves for cooking if yours does not have one. In addition, many campgrounds offer cheap firewood you can use to cook. Cooking your own foods is budget-friendly as it drastically reduces the cost of meals. The same is true for beverages and alcohol. If you go out every day, you will spend an exorbitant amount of money compared to buying drinks in bulk and enjoying them in your RV. This approach has been shown to reduce drinking expenses by500% to 600%. You can also save on snacks and desserts. Instead of buying ready-made snacks, you can buy ingredients and make them in your RV. Buying ingredients also gives you a supply you can use for several days. Eating and dining in your RV can save up to 70% of food costs. You can trim your expenses further with tricks like using reward apps. Cooking in your RV has another advantage in that it fosters bonding.
Save Money on Gas
Fuel is another significant cost you should be conscious of. This is especially the case if you plan on taking a long road trip. The most direct way of saving on fuel is downsizing. Camper vans and Class-B motor homes consume much less fuel than Class-A and Class-C RVs. Even if you are best suited with a large RV, you can minimize the payload by refraining from actions like towing. Other tricks include emptying your waste tank regularly, driving slower, and using less air conditioning. You can also buy fuel at cheaper gas stations, which can be identified by using different apps like Waze and GasBuddy. These apps also have features like traffic monitors that help you avoid jams and accidents.
Boondocking means RVing without water, a sewage system, or electricity. Boondocking often involves overnight camping on free public land. This method of RVing is typically free, so it’s the best way to save on traveling costs instantly. You may have to pay when camping overnight in campgrounds, but it is still cheaper than staying at parks where you are connected to sewage, water, and electricity. However, you have to keep an eye on your wastewater tanks as it is usually illegal to dump black or grey water on the ground. Make sure you empty your tanks at designated points before boondocking. Boondocking is one of the most frugal and fun ways to go about RVing if you don’t have qualms about showering occasionally. Off-grid RVing often offers the best sights and experiences, but you should only do it after careful consideration.
Take Advantage of Free Campsites
Campsite fees can quickly make your trip expensive, especially if you book multiple parks. The good thing with RVing is that you don’t have to book in advance in most instances, which means you can take advantage of free campgrounds. One disadvantage of free campsites is that many are not hooked up to sewage systems, electricity, or water. But this can be an excellent option, and there are a number of sites on the internet that have directories of free parks and campgrounds and tips on how to make the best of them. Popular routes usually have several free camping spots, so you should look out for them whenever on one.
Plan Inexpensive Routes
Spending money on your trip is inevitable, but the route you choose is a crucial determinant of how much you will end up spending on essentials like overnight parking and gas. You should look out for cheap or free parks, so you should carefully research options along your route. Other considerations to factor into your plan include toll-free, low-traffic roads, the availability of cheap gas stations, and points of interest. Including all this data for long trips can be an arduous task, but thankfully there are a number of trip-planning software that can help you find affordable routes. Additionally, the West Coast is generally cheaper compared to the East Coast, so it is better to travel in that direction if you want to travel cheaply and stay within your budget.
Off-season travel is another excellent option that will make your trip much cheaper. Tourist attractions, parks, and hotels usually have lower rates during nonpeak seasons to attract the generally smaller number of vacationers at this time. You can take advantage of these rates and have a luxurious experience at a lower cost. You will also see novel sights much different from the ones summer usually offers.
The thought of living the RV lifestyle, no matter for how long, is alluring, but it can turn out to be an expensive affair if care is not taken. A wholesome experience involves limiting expenses and sticking to a budget. You can really enjoy RV life while keeping your finances healthy. RVers have come up with a number of methods, techniques, and tricks to trim their expenses, and you should ensure you use them as much as possible. Careful planning is a crucial part of the process, so you should come up with a budget and do all you can to reduce expenses whenever you can. Implementing the methods laid out above will go a long way in keeping your trip as cheap as possible.