30 Tips to Cut Your RV Travel Expenses

The Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to the summer travel season, with many families either hitting the road or planning to do so within the following summer months.

Try local wineries for wine tasting and tours. Pictured avbove Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Following are 30 tips that will help you save money while still enjoying all the fun, freedom, and flexibility that RVing has to offer:

  1. Buy a local newspaper when checking into a campground or RV park and check it for coupons, bargains, and savings before going out to shop for groceries.
  2. Don’t buy all of your groceries at supermarkets. Buy food and other necessities at thrift bakeries, discount stores, dollar stores, church and charity bazaars, flea markets, roadside fruit and veggie stands, canning plants, and u-pick orchards.
  3. Shop at a local farmer’s market and chat with the folks selling the fruits and veggies. Pick up something “new to you” and ask them how to prepare it—then go back to your RV and try it.
  4. When in a campground connect to “shore power” and use THEIR electricity, not YOUR propane, to heat your water and run your refrigerator. Water heaters in particular consume considerable amounts of propane.
  5. If you’re staying in a metered park and paying for the electricity, you can determine which energy source is most economical—paying for the electricity or using your propane. Multiply the kilowatt rate being charged by 20 and compare that to the price of a gallon of propane.
  6. When eating out, look for 2-for-1 coupons and early bird specials.
  7. Eat out at lunch instead of dinner.
  8. Attend festivals, fairs, and parades. Pictured above is a guord festival near Moab, Utah. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

    Eat in. Cook your family favorites in the convenience of an RV and avoid the higher costs of eating out. Better yet, cook over your campfire!

  9. Check the local paper for free community events including concerts in the park, lectures, plays, etc.
  10. Attend festivals, fairs, and parades. Tourism offices and RV magazines offer calendars of events.
  11. Visit the public library and check out a few movies, make some popcorn, set up the TV outside the RV and have a date night or family gathering under the stars.
  12. Take free tours of state capitol buildings.
  13. Visit churches, cathedrals, and architectural sites.
  14. Visit museums on their free days—most have at least one a month.
  15. Take a factory tour—sometimes they’ll include bonus samples.
  16. Try local wineries for wine tasting and tours.
  17. Check out cheese factories, breweries, and farms that offer tasting tours.
  18. Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon at a local park relaxing, eating, talking, reading, exploring, daydreaming…did I mention relaxing?
  19. Window shop a fancy part of town. End the afternoon with a cup of coffee, tea, or other refreshing beverage in said “fancy part of town.”
  20. Follow the trails of the pioneer settlers as traveled the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri to the Pacific Oregon.
  21. Discover the history and charm of America’s historic routes such as the Ohio and Erie Canalway in Ohio; Historic National Road in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; and Historic Route 66 in Arizona, California, Illinois, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
  22. Explore Americas Scenic Byways such as the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway in Oregon, Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia, and Natchez Trace Parkway in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
  23. Check out the travel section of local bookstores for guidebooks on historical, cultural, and scenic travels.
  24. Visit the birthplace and memorial libraries of presidents. Pictured above is John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

    Visit the birthplace and memorial libraries of presidents such as the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts and George Herbert Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.

  25. Visit the birthplace and homes of other famous people such as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, Florida.
  26. Take up bird watching.
  27. Explore the public parks and gardens around the continent such as the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and Stanley Park in Vancouver.
  28. Explore the beauty of the outdoors by taking a walk along a river or lake or hiking into the wilderness.
  29. Take advantage of regional bargains. Each area of the country has bargains you can take advantage of as you RV.
  30. Take a walk in nature—breathe deep, walk softly, and observe your surroundings.

Unless you have written savings goals, it is often tempting to spend money on purchases that give immediate gratification instead of long term rewards. Being skilled at managing money often requires goal setting as well as long term planning and saving.

If you have additional thoughts, we would love to hear them. Please do share!! Send them in an email to vogelontheroad@gmail.com, and I’ll see that they appear in a future post.

Worth Pondering…

If you can, you will quickly find that the greatest rate of return you will earn is on your own personal spending. Being a smart shopper is the first step to getting rich.

—Mark Cuban

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