Trying to cut costs while RVing full-time is a bit different than saving money while living in a typical home. Whether you live in an RV full time, plan to one day, or you just want to justify going camping more often, check out these money-saving tips.
RV life can be very expensive if you’re not careful. The budget for RV living for anyone looking to make this a lifestyle varies greatly, and going out on the weekends can too.
The cost of camping and campgrounds might vary depending on what part of the country you’re visiting and what extent of amenities you’re searching for. The cost of full-time RVing can vary greatly.
Let’s dive into 9 ways to cut costs while RVing.
1. Only Buy What You Need to Get Started
If you’re new to RV travel, avoid buying everything you see online right away. Start with just the RV accessories you need to get going. As you RV for a few weeks or even days you will quickly see what products you may need or want.
2. Plan to do Free and Inexpensive Activities
When you get to your location, avoid feeling like you have to go see and do everything. Find ways to enjoy your time without spending extra cash that isn’t in the budget.
Buy an annual National Park pass and use it to visit many National Parks and hiking trails. If you have a child who is in 4th grade, then be sure to grab the FREE 4th grade National Park pass that will get your entire family into National Parks for the year.
If you have kids and bikes there are many fun bike paths to explore together. These bike paths are often right around campgrounds or close to them. Biking is a fun and easy way to see the area around you and get your body moving.
3. Dine In (or Out of) Your RV
It might be tempting to stop on a long travel day at a restaurant for a quick bite to eat. Meals are one essential thing you can plan ahead for to help save you money.
Make your meals ahead and plan to stop at a rest side stop to eat in your RV kitchen. Or, if the weather’s nice, you could have a picnic. Preparing meals ahead of time allows you to still have tasty and filling food while leaving extra room in your budget.
One of the benefits of having your RV with you is having your own kitchen along for your trip. Plan to use it regularly so that you don’t have to budget more for eating out.
4. Use a Camping Membership
If you are full-time RV living and looking for ways to cut costs, consider investing in a camping membership to receive discounts.
Most full-time or serious RVers take advantage of one or more membership programs that offer discounts or even free nights at campgrounds, as well as a wealth of other benefits. However, no membership program is worth it if they cost more than what you will save over the course of the membership year.
5. Find Cheap Gas or Diesel
You can use the app ‘Gas Buddy’ to find real-time prices at gas stations along your route of travel. Be sure to check on Google Maps’ satellite view before pulling off to an unknown gas station. Some stations are small and not RV-friendly.
Check out these additional tips to save money on gas for RVers.
6. Boondock - Camp For Free
If you have a great camping generator or solar, and you’re set up to dry camp, a great way to save money while RVing is to go boondocking. There are many places to camp for free around the US for both short and long periods of time. You can choose from camping in a Walmart parking lot to boondocking in a beautiful National Forest.
How do you know where to boondock? Check out this tip on how to find secret boondocking spots.
7. Visit Destinations in the Off-Season
Off-season travels will always help you save money on campground fees and activities. If you can’t make it during the off-season, what about the shoulder season?
For example, Fall is a great time to visit Yellowstone National Park, and the campgrounds just outside the park are much cheaper in the Fall than in the Summer. Here are some of the best campsites to visit in the fall.
8. Slow Your Travel Planning Down
Staying longer in one location will reduce the cost of full-time RV living. The expense of gas or diesel can easily eat up your RV budget quickly. Use practices such as the 3/3/3 travel rule to help your travel days go smoothly. In addition, if you’re paying for a campsite at a campground, you can often receive a discount if you stay at least 1 week (often 1 night free) or even 1 month (1 week free).
Even if you are planning on boondocking or dry camping on BLM land, you’ll save on the gas to travel to the next destination if you choose to stay longer. Plan ahead for where to RV in the winter if your goal is to stay in the warmer states so that you’re not having to pay high prices for last-minute reservations.
9. Slow Down on the Highway
Not only will you be much safer in your RV by slowing down on the highway, you’ll also notice savings in gas or diesel. Driving a vehicle slower is a simple, yet efficient, way to save money while taking your RV out.
RV living might seem expensive and intimidating at first glance. With careful preparation and adherence to your budget, RVing can be less expensive than living in a typical home. RV living brings adventure and excitement to your life, which in our opinion, is priceless.
See you on the road..