RV Travel: The Road To Savings

The recently released Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners conducted by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) indicated that more than 20 million Americans will travel in RVs throughout the summer months, heading to our country’s 16,000-plus campgrounds, and enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

Considering the RV lifestyle? Try renting before laying down the cash. Camping in a rental unit at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Considering the RV lifestyle? Try renting before laying down the cash. Camping in a rental unit at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

According to the new survey, 66 percent of RV owners intend to use their RVs more this summer than they did last year, and 28 percent will use theirs the same amount. Just 4 percent said they’ll use their RVs less.

RV ownership is at an all-time high because it provides families with a comfortable and cost-effective means to get away and spend quality time together.

RVs roll travel, accommodations, and meals into one and for less than you might think.

In fact, an RV vacation can cost a family of four up to 59 percent less than other forms of travel. Extra storage space means saving on equipment rentals, too, as you can bring along the bikes, skis, kayaks, golf clubs, ATVs, and all the other toys. And when you travel with everything, including the kitchen sink, you save on food expenses. Food becomes a bargain because you not dependent on eating out at pricey restaurants every night or relying on unhealthy fast food.

Not only do RV parks and campgrounds offer much cheaper rates than hotels and motels but you won’t have to worry about lost reservations, delayed or canceled flights, and room downgrades.

But I don’t need to tell you that! I’m preaching to the converted. Right? If you’re reading Vogel Talks RVing you already own an RV or are a RV wanna-be!

Cut campground costs by joining a camping discount club such as Passport America. Camped at Riverbend RV Park, a Passport America park in Luling, Texas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cut campground costs by joining a camping discount club such as Passport America. Camped at Riverbend RV Park, a Passport America park in Luling, Texas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Saving money on unnecessary spending frees up bucks for other things. While an RV is one of the biggest investments we can make, the ways we can save when camping with our RVs, are almost limitless.

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

When planning your trip, check out the Chamber of Commerce websites for areas you plan to visit. Call or email to request an information packet by mail. Not only will these info packets have plenty of brochures and information on various local attractions, they often include discount coupons. If you’re on the road just stop in.

If you belong to the AAA, ask about discounts on restaurants, museums, theme parks, fairs, and special events.

Cut campground costs. Camp closer to home. Remember, you’re always on vacation at the campsite, even if it’s only an hour drive from home.

Cut campground costs. When camping with your RV, commercial campgrounds can take a big bite out of your wallet. You can often find better deals at public campgrounds operated by small towns or counties.

Cut campground costs. Join a membership campground system.

Cut campground costs. Join a camping discount club such as Passport America or Happy Camper.

Cut campground costs. Consider staying for free or nearly free on nearby federal BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land.

Camping and canoeing at Laura S. Walker State Park in Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Camping and canoeing at Laura S. Walker State Park in Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cut campground costs. Many Casinos allow free overnight RV parking. A few Casinos require that you be a customer in order to park. There are some Casinos that allow no overnight parking, or require that you park at their adjoining RV campground at their customary nightly rates. You will also find a few Casinos that offer free RV dump stations, and even a few that a full-service RV park.

Cut campground costs. Stay longer in one place. Many RV parks are vacation destinations in their own right, offering something for everyone—swimming pools, playgrounds, game rooms, boating, fishing, nature trails, planned activities and more.

Having a written budget is essential to getting your finances under control. If you do not have a written budget it is hard to know if you are living within your means and saving enough money for your long term goals like purchasing a recreational vehicle.

Worth Pondering…

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.

—Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1849

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