Save Money With These Cheap RVing Solutions
Recent inflation on the costs of nearly everything has everyone tightening their belts and looking for ways to save money. With huge leaps in fuel costs, some RVers are even questioning whether they can afford to take an RV holiday this year.
Luckily, there are still painless ways you can cut back on expenses so you can still RV without breaking the bank. Here are our top RVing solutions for affordable travel during these rather expensive times.
1. Camp close to home
Saving money by not driving as far is one option that makes RVing doable. You’d be surprised what you can find right in your own backyard. There are tons of attractive options for affordable RVing close to where you live. Planning your travels with RV LIFE Trip Wizard can help you find the best places close to home.
2. Join a club
Club memberships don’t cost a lot and can save you a lot of money on campground fees at member RV campgrounds. These campgrounds are usually family-friendly, pet-friendly, full hookup campgrounds. Here are some of the most popular camping clubs:
- Kampgrounds Of America (KOA): KOA is renowned for family-friendly, well-maintained member campgrounds. A KOA Loyalty Club membership gives you a free night, 10% off camping fees and more. KOA Loyalty Club members say the KOA Loyalty Club is well worth the $33 fee.
- Escapees RV Club: Escapees RV Club is one of the oldest and most popular RV organizations around. Membership is just $50 a year and grants you a variety of benefits including RV park discounts, exclusive membership discounts, a magazine, and even an online community.
- Costco Warehouse Club Membership. If you don’t already have a Costco Membership, we strongly recommend considering signing up. For $120 annually, you’ll get great deals on a variety of merchandise, including groceries and camping gear. Your membership also entitles you to get gas at discount prices and discounted propane at some locations.
3. Boondockers Welcome
Boondockers Welcome subscription costs just $50 per year and gives you the ability to stay on private property at Boondockers Welcome hosts across North America for free.
Hosts are private property owners in a variety of locations who don’t mind you pulling in for the night (and sometimes longer). What’s more, some hosts may allow you to plug into their electrical power.
The only drawback with Boondockers Welcome is that they now require the purchase of a Harvest Hosts subscription to have access to Boondockers Welcome.
4. Harvest Hosts
Harvest Hosts is the parent company to Boondockers Welcome. Harvest Hosts membership costs $99 per year. You can save money on accommodations by staying at Harvest Hosts winery, brewery, and farm locations for $40 more, you can even camp at different golf courses.
Harvest Hosts requires RVs to be fully self-sufficient, you only get to stay one night, and purchases from hosts while you are there are strongly encouraged. Some locations are pet friendly. However, Harvest Hosts could be a money-saving option for those RVers who travel a lot.
5. Utilize RV apps
The free Gas Buddy app lets you know where the cheapest gas prices are wherever you are in North America. You can also use RV LIFE Trip Wizard to plan your trips in detail, you’ll know exactly when and where you will need fuel for your RV or truck. You can also vet those fuel stops with satellite and street view to make sure you can get in and out safely, and back on the road.
6. Eat more plant-based meals
Most people already know that eating plant-based meals is healthier, and better for the planet. Making amazing plant-based chili, delicious baked beans, or scrumptious plant-based pancakes from scratch can save you serious money in the long run.
These foods can be just as delicious as meat-based alternatives. For plant-based camp food recipes your family will love, check out:
6. Bring along a bicycle for sight-seeing
Riding a bicycle will save you some serious coin while you enjoy seeing the sights. Electric bikes are now available in all sorts of configurations, but they are heavy. Carrying weight adds significantly to RV fuel costs, so you might not be saving a lot of money by using an electric bike.
Electric bikes are also more expensive and typically over $1000+. That’s an awful lot more than a decent entry-level pedal-powered bicycle.
7. Don’t get sucked into buying RV products
There are many products out there that are available pretty cheaply until someone decides they can sell them as a special RV product. Here are a few examples of things that seem overpriced just because they have the “for use in RVs” designation.
- RV toilet paper: Toilet paper needs to dissolve fast in RV black tanks. Toilet paper also needs to dissolve fast in septic systems. Septic system-safe toilet paper works perfectly in RV black tanks. Yet, RV toilet paper is often more than twice the cost of regular septic system-safe toilet paper.
- RV awning mats: Typically made from lightweight woven plastic strands, an RV awning mat will help to keep dirt from getting tracked into the RV. An RV awning mat also gives a comfortable ambiance to the area under the RV awning. An RV awning mat sells for close to $80 and up. A similar patio rug made from lightweight, colored plastic strands can be found at Costco and elsewhere for around $40.
- RV accessory bags: RV electrical cords can be stored in an old gym bag, but you could also store them in a special RV accessory bag for around $50.
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything, including RVing solutions, destinations, mods, and more.
- RVers Share Their Best Tips On This Cheap RV Living Forum
- 10 Money Saving Tips For RVing With Kids
- Budget Travel: 10 Ways To Save Money On Your Next RV Trip
Lynne lives, travels, and works full-time in a Forest-River R-Pod 180 with her 2-pointers, Jolene and Annabelle. Lynne has been an enthusiastic RVer for over 35 years. And then one day in 2019, she began full-time RVing as a lifestyle experiment. She quickly fell in love with the convenience, freedom and minimalist lifestyle offered by full-time RV living. Lynne is a professional writer and has been a professional dog trainer since 1995. You can read about her travel adventures on her R-Pod Adventure blog, R-podyssey at: http://www.rpodaventure.com