RV trips can be really expensive if you haven't planned them properly and booked parking sites well before time. Here are some tips to help you save money on RV trips.
There is no doubt that RV travel can be cheaper than other types of vacation travel modes. Nevertheless, RV trips can rack up quite the cost as well, if you are not careful. With regular fueling, staying at RV parks, snack shopping along the way, and other costs that pile up to make a hefty price tag, an RV trip can easily exceed your budget. But no price tag can deter a traveler’s spirit, and by following just a few steps, you can cut down all unnecessary costs. So read on to find out the 10 best ways you can save money on the RV trip you have been dreaming to take!
Travel in the Off-season
Most US states have their highlight tourist season of the year. Colorado is a tourist hotspot during the winters for its ski slopes, while Maine is known to be a North American paradise during the summers. Tours, accommodation rates, and attraction fees all vary per season, if not monthly. Traveling during the off-season means that any national parks, attractions, and RV campgrounds you stop by on your way will have cheaper rates. Tour prices and park tickets will be less expensive, and you will also beat the tourist traffic. Lower rates, no wait lines, and maybe even a more personalized tourist experience - what more could you ask for?
Rent the Right RV
RV campers who don’t own an RV - this one’s for you. Renting the right RV is a crucial decision in terms of staying within a budget. RV rentals can cost exorbitantly per day, especially for Class A or Class C motorhomes. So before you rent out your home on wheels, make sure to go through our guide to determine which RV rental is the right fit for you. Start researching as soon as you can for the most affordable RV rentals that meet your needs, and book them at the earliest. Booking them closer to your trip will not only raise the prices but may also limit your ideal motorhome’s availability.
Choose the Right RV Campgrounds
Expensive does not always mean the best. An RV road trip means you’re already spending money on fuel and overnight stays, but what you can control is the amount you spend on your stays. Choosing affordable RV parks and campgrounds can be a vital factor when it comes to the final cost of your trip. While some RV resorts and glamping options are pricey, there are plenty of affordable RV campgrounds that offer full hookups and great amenities. Be sure to do the research along your chosen route and compare campgrounds in the area to find a fit for you that’s economical and well-equipped. You can consider these RV campground lists to start.
Join RV Clubs
RV clubs are a great way to avail discounts on your road trips, even if you are not a frequent RV camper. Becoming a member of an RV club can give you plenty of perks, the most important of which are discounts at various RV parks, campgrounds, and hotels. Some may even include reasonable deals at RV repair shops, insurance companies, and mechanics. Annual membership rates are cheap, and paired with the discounts offered, joining an RV club is cost-effective. Once you become a member, be sure to check which RV campgrounds along your route are partnered with your club to avail the discounts. Some leading clubs you can check out include Good Sam, Boondockers Welcome, and Escapees RV Club.
Use Cash-Back Credit Cards
Speaking of discounts, cash-back credit cards are another great way to save some money on your RV refuels and necessities. Reward credit cards are those that offer a percentage of cash back for certain purchases, such as gas, groceries, and even dining. Since RVs are most privy to refueling, the best options for gas reward credit cards are Citi Premier Card, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card, and the Costco Anywhere Visa Card.
Boondock When Possible
Boondocking is off-the-grid, true to its nature, camping. It means no RV hookups, no restrooms, no amenities - just you and God’s plain Earth. Since you’re staying the night on public land, boondocking is generally free, so doing it for a night or two over the course of your RV trip can be an easy way to save you some money. Just make sure to dump your black and grey water in proper dump stations, since it’s illegal to dump them on the ground. You can check out this list for your boondocking essentials and these apps to find the best free boondocking sites along your route.
Reduce Refueling Expenses
RV campers already know RV refueling is one of the most significant expenses. While we have considered cash-back credit cards, there are other ways to cut down your refueling expenses too. The simplest, easiest, and most effective way is to downsize your motorhome and living. For example, you can consider smaller vehicles, like Class B motorhomes, camper vans, and trailers. You can let go of luggage that demands more fuel consumption, like carrying extra weight or towing. Also consider making smaller changes in your RV living to save fuel, like driving a bit slower, giving your AC unit a break, and emptying your waste tank regularly.
Stock Up Your RV Kitchen
Eating out during your RV travels is a sure way to shoot up the cost of your trip. Spending money daily at restaurants, even the cheapest ones, for a party of two or more will still turn your plans very expensive. The best way to tackle this is to stock up your RV refrigerator and get your RV kitchen operating. You can buy your groceries at great deals or discounts at your local grocers and fill up the fridge. If you travel to remote places where food items may be limited, the prices and options will be out of your hands. You can also use reward apps like Ibotta and Fetch Rewards for further discounts on your grocery shopping.
DIY RV Repairs
A sure-fire way to mess up your travel budget is to stop by an RV mechanic’. Even simple repairs and maintenance checks can produce costly bills on the road. But no worries - a good way to avoid this is to learn basic RV maintenance, especially for frequent RV campers and owners. Tackling basic tasks like replacing a flat tire, applying roof sealants, changing the oil regularly, fixing the clogs, and deep cleaning can save you plenty of money when the time comes. However, while it’s great to manage yourself, do not attempt to repair problems you aren’t familiar with. Electrical issues can prove harmful to you, and meddling in systems you don’t understand may worsen the issue.
Pack For All Situations
Shopping on the roads for necessities is crucial to increasing your expenses. Not only may you be limited in choices, but necessity will have you buying something you could’ve gotten for half the price elsewhere. A good plan would be to check the forecast along the routes and places you’ll be going so that you can pack accordingly. Also, read up on your activities to organize your closet - outdoor adventures would call for athletic footwear, pools demand swimming gear, and mountain climbing may require a few extra jackets. Of course, be sure to pack camping essentials too, like sunscreen, insect repellants, rain jackets, and batteries.
The best things in life may not be free, but they can be affordable. With help from this guide and some effort on your part, you can save money more easily on your RV travels than you imagined. RV road-tripping is an adventure not to be missed, so don’t let your finances be an obstacle when you can tackle them!