RV camping is an excellent way to explore the beauty of the outdoors while maintaining the comforts of home. However, the costs associated with RV camping can add up quickly, especially when it comes to camping fees. In this article, we will explore various strategies to save money on RV camping fees, ensuring that your adventures remain as affordable as they are enjoyable.
1. Take Advantage of Off-Peak Seasons
Off-peak seasons offer a great opportunity to enjoy reduced rates at many RV parks and campgrounds. During these times, campgrounds are less crowded, and owners are more willing to offer discounts to attract visitors. Research the off-peak seasons in your desired destinations and plan your trips accordingly.
2. Utilize Membership Discounts
Joining RV clubs and organizations can provide membership discounts that significantly reduce camping fees. Look into memberships with groups like Good Sam, Escapees RV Club, and Passport America, which offer discounted rates at a network of campgrounds across the country.
3. Consider Annual Passes for National and State Parks
Purchasing an annual pass for national or state parks can be a cost-effective way to save on entrance and camping fees if you plan to visit multiple parks within a year. The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, for example, offers unlimited access to federal lands for a year.
4. Opt for Longer Stays
Many campgrounds offer reduced rates for longer stays, such as weekly or monthly rates that are cheaper per night than the standard daily rate. If your travel plans are flexible, consider extending your stay to take advantage of these discounts.
5. Boondocking or Dry Camping
Boondocking, or dry camping, is the practice of camping without hookups in undesignated areas. This can be free or very low cost, but it requires self-sufficiency in terms of power, water, and waste. Public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the US Forest Service are popular boondocking spots.
6. Volunteer at Campgrounds
Some campgrounds offer free or discounted stays in exchange for work, such as campground hosting or maintenance. This can be a great way to save money while giving back to the camping community.
7. Use Discount Apps and Websites
There are several apps and websites designed to help RVers find the best deals on campgrounds. Apps like Campendium, AllStays, and RV Parky provide user reviews and pricing information to help you find affordable camping options.
8. Seek Out City and County Parks
City and county parks often have RV accommodations at lower rates than private campgrounds. These parks can provide a more local experience at a fraction of the cost, though amenities may be more basic.
9. Embrace Shoulder Seasons
Traveling during shoulder seasons—the periods between peak and off-peak seasons—can offer a balance of decent weather and lower camping fees. Campgrounds are less crowded, and many still offer amenities that are not available during the off-peak season.
10. Look for Last-Minute Deals
Some campgrounds offer last-minute deals to fill unoccupied spots. If you’re flexible with your travel plans, you can take advantage of these discounts for spur-of-the-moment trips.
11. Stay Connected with Campground Newsletters
Subscribing to newsletters from your favorite campgrounds or RV parks can keep you informed about special promotions, discount codes, and exclusive deals for subscribers.
12. Engage in Workamping
Workamping involves exchanging labor for a free or discounted campsite. This can include a variety of jobs, from front desk work to groundskeeping. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in a community while saving on fees.
13. Explore Loyalty Programs
Some campground chains offer loyalty programs where you can earn points for each stay that can be redeemed for discounts on future visits. Investigate these programs and sign up if they align with your travel habits.
14. Consider Smaller RVs or Trailers
The size of your RV can impact camping fees, as some campgrounds charge more for larger rigs. If you’re in the market for an RV, consider a smaller model that will be cheaper to park.
15. Plan Your Route Efficiently
Efficient route planning can save you money on fuel, which can be redirected to cover camping fees. Use route planning tools to find the most economical path to your destination.
Saving money on RV camping fees requires a combination of planning, flexibility, and resourcefulness. By taking advantage of off-peak seasons, memberships, annual passes, and alternative camping options like boondocking, RVers can significantly reduce their expenses. Staying informed about discounts, volunteering, and engaging in workamping are additional ways to enjoy the RV lifestyle without breaking the bank. With these strategies, you can make the most of your travels and enjoy the freedom of the open road with a little extra cash in your pocket.