If you’re interested in going on an RV trip but are concerned about the costs, there’s no need to worry! The RVing world has diversified and expanded a great deal in recent decades, and there are options available that are particularly well-suited to certain budget limitations.
More than ever before, it’s possible to enjoy an amazing RV experience without spending a lot of money – but to do so, you’ll have to carefully plan your trip with an eye for savings.
Here are some of our top money-saving tips for RVers.
Join an RV Club for Discounts
RV Clubs are membership-based organizations that often provide significant discounts on campground stays, RV rentals, and supplies at qualified businesses. Do your research beforehand, however. Most RV Clubs charge a membership fee, though such fees are rarely excessive. Make sure that you will be able to take advantage of the discounts (if the network of businesses are not located where you will be going, it may be useless for your next trip).
Participate in Online RVing Communities
RV web forums and websites frequently host promotions for frequent visitors. These websites are not only useful for learning from and interacting with a large community of interested RVers, but also for finding some great deals on RV-related purchases. Keep your eyes peeled!
Negotiate When Possible
Depending on the transaction, it may be possible to negotiate. For example, if you are renting an RV from a local dealership or through a website like RVshare, you may be able to negotiate with the owner to push the rental rate down. Don’t be afraid to negotiate a fairer deal – in many cases, the owner will be willing to compromise. You just have to ask!
Plan Your Route Ahead of Time
Planning your RV trip route ahead of time can help ensure that you don’t have to make any long and spontaneous detours, which can have several negative effects over the course of your trip: 1) long detours will increase your overall fuel consumption; 2) if you’re renting an RV, unplanned detours can cause you to exceed your free mileage limits, causing you to incur expensive fees; and 3) excessive mileage over a short period of time can lead to mechanical issues.
Visit Free or Low-Cost Sites
The cost of recreational activities can add up to a significant portion of your overall RV trip budget. Though some sites are absolutely worth paying top-dollar to gain entry, try to mix in some free or low-cost sites as well. In the USA, look into purchasing a National and Federal Parks Pass – for a small initial fee, you’ll gain access to a wide variety of parks and museums (among other sites).
Bring Food Supplies
Take advantage of the natural versatility that RVing gives you – either cook meals on-the-go or store pre-cooked meals in your RV fridge/freezer. Eating home-cooked food will save you a substantial amount of money over the course of your trip, and is usually healthier than eating out!
Boondocking is simply setting up your RV in an undeveloped area, without any generator/water hookups. Boondocking is also commonly referred to as “dry camping.” Boondocking is popular among budget-oriented RVers as it is completely free. If you’re comfortable with boondocking (and the extra effort required), it can save you a huge amount of money in campground fees.
Look for Visitor Centers
When you find yourself in a new area, stop in at the visitor center. Not only will the staff be able to show you interesting places to visit, but there may be pamphlets with discounts applicable to local retailers, restaurants, events, and sites.
Keep Tools on Hand for Minor Repairs
Minor mechanical issues can quickly snowball into more significant issues if ignored, but going to an RV-friendly mechanic for minor repairs can quickly deplete your trip budget. To avoid this problem, get acquainted with your RV enough to make some basic fixes, and bring along the necessary tools to make said fixes.
Avoid High Demand Times
During peak seasons, holidays, and certain high-demand weekends, you’ll find that campgrounds, RV rentals, and other services are often priced higher than they normally are. You can save a lot of money by simply avoiding high-demand periods and planning your trip around a low-demand period.
There are so many ways to save money when RVing – just be creative and stay disciplined. Good luck!