Every bit of money saved will mean more money to travel with and more adventures. I hate overspending, I guess you could call me “cheap”, many have, I call it smart living! A penny saved really is a penny earned.
Whether you are on vacation or a full time RVer, there are a lot of ways to waste money traveling in a RV. I’m here to provide some tips to help you stretch that dollar and get more out of your RV travels!
Boondock, Boondock, Boondock!
I can’t say It enough, simply NOT using RV parks is the best way to save money on the road. Even the cheapest RV parks are going to add up quick, especially if it’s a long trip or you’re a full-timer. There are many free parking and camping options out there, BLM lands (public lands) are numerous, especially in the west and south-west. Though you generally have to be set up to live without the hookups, the most important thing for this is solar panels, after solar you’re set to boondock! Check out this article to learn more about installing solar.
Many National forests have free parking areas, it may not be listed on a sign but technically you can park and camp in national forests anywhere (not privately owned land in the national forest) as long as the spot is not close to a town, a body of water and not on a paved road. Google maps satellite view is great for scoping out possible national forest land camping spots.
There are other options as well, many places in cities you can stay a night for free. You can park in residential areas as long as there’re no signs saying otherwise. Most Walmart’s allow one or more nights free parking. Casinos are another great option, many allow 3 night stays, one casino in Arizona we stayed at allowed 7 nights free RV parking!
It may take a bit of planning and searching to find free parking but honestly, reserving spots at RV parks in advance is a bigger hassle if you ask me.(and you usually have to do this to get a spot) Don’t be afraid to park somewhere and stay, the worst that has ever happened to me is I was (nicely) asked to leave! For more information on finding free parking, check this out!
Stop Eating out, You Have a Kitchen!
Use that kitchen! Before I started RVing I wasn’t much of a cook, when I started saving for my RV lifestyle I stopped eating out almost completely! You’ll be surprised how much money you’ll save. If you have friends or family that want to eat out with you, you can order something small and cheaper from the menu, than eat more later when your back in your RV, I always do this!
It may take discipline but it’ll save you money fast! Nothings better than finding a great camping spot with a great view and eating outside anyway! Take advantage of that kitchen, you can generally eat more healthy as well, so your body will thank you as well as your wallet!
You can Fix it!
You have a RV, things are going to break. That’s part of the adventure. You’re not so handy? It’s a good opportunity to start learning to be if you want to save major money! Shops are pricey and sneaky, lets do all to avoid them!
Before I went full time RVing I knew little about fixing vehicles, especially diesels (which I have) but I had many chances to learn how to fix it. YouTube is honestly a great way to visually learn how to fix almost anything! It’s my go-to, that and blogs and forums. If you have the internet, you can fix it!
Not just mechanical things but many things are going to break, actually, everything will if you do it long enough! Buy some tools, then buy more when you need them! get handy, ask for help, use the internet. This is great chance to save money and learn new skills!
Right place, Right Time
If you can, find the off-season for the attractions you want to see. Prices will be lower and it will be less crowded. There’s a reason places are busy when they are, good weather, summer vacation, etc. But if you can, and are willing to go in maybe less than ideal weather conditions, It can save you some money!
There are certain expensive cities you might want to avoid all together, unless you really want to visit, skip it!
A bit of planning..
The best thing about RVing and travel for me is the freedom to choose where to go and be spontaneous. However, a bit of planning will save you money. Where to get gas is a big one, gas prices can differ drastically two blocks away. Planning when to fill your tank(s) and when to just put enough in to get to the cheaper station will play a big role in saving you money. The Gas Buddy app will help you plan where you can find the cheapest gas, so download it, use it!
Planning a day or two ahead for where your going to stay those nights is generally all you need to do, don’t want to be caught with having to drive out of your way to stay somewhere or (god forbid) have to pay for an RV park last minute! (if you can even find one last minute)
Another thing to consider is propane refill, the prices of refill stations can change drastically as well. If you find a cheap propane spot, fill up those tanks, even if they’re mostly full, top em off!
Plan for the worst, look into services like AAA and Good Sam. This is a huge money saver! I’ve had to use these a few times for a tow into town to get to a repair store. I had AAA, the service was sufficient however I switched to Good Sam for the much cheaper yearly price. Do your research on both or other options, this is a highly recommended service to have for RVing!
Last minute scrambling can be expensive! plan a bit, but in the end don’t stress too much over it and let it ruin your adventure!
Thanks for reading! Talk to me, leave me a comment below!
Happy travels friends!