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5 Quick Tips to Make RV Camping More Affordable

Break Into A New Hobby Without Breaking the Bank


A beautiful pink and orange sunset over an RV trailer parked in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert in Lobo, Texas

Chihuahuan Desert: Lobo, TX - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue


 

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RV camping can be a great way to see the country and explore new places. There are many different types of RV campgrounds, from those located in national parks to privately owned ones.


Most people tend to consider RV camping to be quite an expensive excursion. But in reality, with the right planning and budgeting, you can reduce costs considerably and experience this amazing adventure for yourself!


We’re here to help! Below are 5 quick tips to help keep costs down and make your RV camping dreams a reality! But first…


RVs parked and admiring the view of majestic mountains with the sun peeking out from behind in Seward, Alaska

RV Camping in Seward, Alaska - Photo Credit: Joshua Sukoff



What is RV Camping All About?


RV camping is a type of camping in which you use a recreational vehicle, such as travel trailers, as your temporary home in the Great Outdoors. This can be an ideal option if you want all the comforts of home while you're out in the wild, since RVs typically come with dedicated kitchens, bathrooms, and sleeping areas.


Plus, you can bring all your favorite gear with you, which is great for people who love the outdoors but can’t decide what equipment to bring and what to leave at home - just bring it all!


 

If you are short on time, here is a sneak peek of what you need to know for budget RV camping:

  • Plan Well in Advance

  • Camp During Off-Peak

  • Choose a Small RV or Van

  • Rent One for Super Saving

  • Be a Savvy Shopper

 

Black Series trailers being hauled by trucks through a rocky desert landscape


RV Camping on Budget – What does it take?


If you love the outdoors and want to enjoy the flexibility and convenience of camping in an RV, you don't necessarily have to break the bank. Here are a few tips on how to make RV camping affordable:



1: Plan Well in Advance


RV camping can be a great way to explore the country and save money on accommodation. However, it's important to plan your trips carefully to make sure you stay within your budget.

Furthermore, you have to consider all aspects in advance. Here are a few tips.

  • Research campgrounds in advance and compare prices. Some campgrounds offer discounts for longer stays, or for members of certain organizations.

  • Check the weather forecast before heading out and be prepared for changes in plans. If possible, choose a campsite that is sheltered from the wind and has access to shade.

  • Bring along food that doesn't require refrigeration, that can be cooked over a campfire or on a portable stove. This will help you avoid having to buy expensive meals while on the road.

  • Pack any necessary items with you, such as bedding and towels. This will help you avoid having to purchase these items while on your trip.

  • Whenever possible, take advantage of free activities, such as hiking or visiting state parks.


2: Camp During Off-Peak


When planning for an RV trip, one of the best ways to save money is to camp during off-peak times. This means avoiding holidays and busy weekends when prices are typically higher. Instead, try to camp mid-week or during shoulder season (the time between peak and off-peak season). As a bonus, there will likely be fewer people around, so you will generally have more peace and quiet.


Consider going during off-peak times if you want to save money on your next RV camping trip.


A Black Series RV trailer with sunshade set up is parked at a campsite in the forest

3: Choose a Small RV Van


If you want to save money on your RV camping trips, one of the best ways to do so is by opting for a smaller RV. Smaller RVs generally cost less, and they also tend to be more fuel-efficient, which can help you save even more over time.


Moreover, smaller RVs are often easier to drive and maneuver, making them a great option for first-time planners. So, if you are looking to camp on a budget, be sure to consider a smaller RV for your next trip.



4: Rent One for Super Saving


If you think buying an RV van is too expensive, renting an RV can be a good alternative, allowing you access to all the amenities and creature comforts without breaking the bank.

In this regard, it is important to compare prices from different RV rental companies before booking. Make sure to look for discounts and special offers. Furthermore, if you are going on a longer trip, look for weekly or monthly rates to save even more on your RV rental.


An RV camper stands triumphantly on his van with arms outstretched, looking out over a cliff into the vast rocky shrubby expanse of the Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument: Fruita, CO - Photo Credit: Drew Bernard



5: Be a Savvy Shopper


There are many ways to save money when camping in an RV. However, it takes some effort and knowledge to be a truly savvy shopper. It is important to know what you need and want before looking for an RV. This will help you compare prices and find the best deal possible. First, you should make a list of your must-haves and nice-to-haves.


For example, your RV must be properly equipped with all the standard amenities, including water and waste tanks, electricity, heating and cooling systems, and a range of living conveniences. But aside from these, you should consider what "nice to haves" will make your camping experience more comfortable and enjoyable.


Some “nice-to-have” options to consider include additional storage space or gear areas, outdoor recreational equipment like kayaks or tents, attachments for outdoor cooking such as a grill or stovetop space, or even creature comforts like satellite TV or an on-board hot tub. Ultimately, the exact must-haves and nice-to-haves for RV camping will depend on your personal preferences and style of camping.


And don't just go with the first deal you see! Instead, compare prices from different dealerships and retailers to find the best price. You may be surprised at how much money you can save by doing a little research.


a Black Series offroad vehicle tows a short travel trailer along the beach


Furthermore, be flexible when you are buying an RV. If you are willing to consider different models, brands, or even used RVs, you will have more options to choose from and may be able to get a better deal.


New RVs are typically more expensive, but they are also built to last for decades. RVs are a significant investment, so it is important to choose one that will stand the test of time. With proper care, an RV can last for many years, providing countless memories along the way. Used RVs can be a great option for those on a budget, but keep in mind that they may not last you quite as long - and you’ll need to be sure the previous owners cared for it properly over the course of their ownership.


Finally, know the market value. It is important to have an idea of how much RVs typically cost so you can tell if you're getting a good deal or not. In this regard, you can check out various online communities and sellers who actually sell these RV’s. Verify the make and model you are about to buy from these sources. Finally, don't be afraid to haggle with the dealer or retailer to try and get a better price on your RV.


The moon shines brightly over an older RV trailer, parked in the middle of the desert at Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park, CA - Photo Credit: Greg Ortega



Final Words:


RV camping on a budget does exist - but it’s up to you how cheap or expensive you want this hobby to be. Following the steps outlined here is a great start, and as you gain experience you’ll find even more ways to save a few bucks here and there. Just like any other form of entertainment, you have to be very specific when planning an RV trip. By following the tips outlined above, you can make RV camping an affordable and enjoyable experience for the whole family.


 

Guest blogger Richard Barrios is the Marketing Manager at Black Series, dedicated to helping offroad and camping enthusiasts get the most out of their adventure.

 

Get exclusive stories, trail reports, National Park alternatives, recipes, and more delivered directly to your inbox from our growing team of experienced thru-hikers, former National Park employees, and fellow adventure lovers.



 

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