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Money Saving Tips: Extending Your RV Travel Dollars

May 29, 2011 by Rex Vogel · 52 Comments  
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The latest Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners conducted by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) revealed that 53% intend to use their RV more this spring and summer despite higher fuel prices, while 38% plan to use theirs the same amount and just 9% say they’ll use their RVs less. Of the respondents who plan to use their RVs more often, 65% said one of the reasons is to take more mini-vacations.

A recent study indicates 53% intend to use their RV more this spring and summer despite higher fuel prices. Motorhome parked at Sliding Rock Overlook, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A recent study indicates 53% intend to use their RV more this spring and summer despite higher fuel prices. Motorhome parked at Sliding Rock Overlook, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many RV owning families plan to take shorter but more frequent trips in their RVs. Sixty-three percent plan to spend five or more weekends in their RVs this spring/summer; 19% will reserve a seasonal site at a campground this summer and visit it on weekends.

According to the report, 68% said they expect fuel prices to affect their spring/summer travel plans. Of those respondents, 61% said they’ll travel closer to home, 42% will travel fewer miles and 37% will stay longer in one place.

These figures indicate that people are looking for inexpensive vacation options, and RVing leads the pack. RV owners love the RV lifestyle and rising gas prices won’t stop them from getting away.

RV family vacations are, on average, 27% to 61% less expensive than other types of vacations, according to a study by international travel and tourism experts Collier’s PKF Consulting USA.

Not only do RV parks offer much cheaper rates than hotels and motels but you won’t have to worry about lost reservations or room downgrades by incompetent clerks. Food becomes a bargain as well because you won’t be dependent on eating out at pricey restaurants every night or relying on unhealthy fast food.

We all know that times are tough. The economic downturn has touched everyone. Many are facing unemployment and dwindling home values. Nobody knows when the economy will pick back up, or when Americans will begin to spend their hard-earned money again. When the economy tanks, we look for savings—and that true for everyone, including RVers.

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

Considering the RV lifestyle? Try renting before laying down the cash. Camping in a rental unit at Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Considering the RV lifestyle? Try renting before laying down the cash. Camping in a rental unit at Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah. © 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 such as Thousand Trails, or Western Horizon.
  • 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.
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

  • 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 (1812 – 1870), David Copperfield, 1849

You May Also Like

If you enjoy these articles and want to read more on RV travels and lifestyle, visit my website: Vogel Talks RVing.

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Comments

52 Responses to “Money Saving Tips: Extending Your RV Travel Dollars”

  1. George on May 29th, 2011 4:53 pm

    You only go around this old world once. There’s no need to be extravagant but worry about debt when you’re old and in a home.

  2. Florio Campi on May 29th, 2011 6:27 pm

    I wouldn’t trade my RV vacations for anything, at any price, and I agree with all of your article except one thing. The part about not worrying “about lost reservations or room (site) downgrades by incompetent clerks” is not as true as we’d like. As it seems to happen more and more frequently, especially at KOA’s, the reservation desk will promise you anything, until they get your credit card number, with no intention of fulfilling your needs or requests. Park reservations staffs need to remember that campers are customers and will ultimately only buy from suppliers that meet their needs.

  3. waterproofsbackpack on May 29th, 2011 8:27 pm

    Nice Reviews.Thank for information. its very useful for everybody

  4. Liz on May 30th, 2011 12:18 am

    If you are active or retired military, Carefree RV Resorts (www.carefreervresorts.com ) offers 50% off. The Treetop RV Resort in Arlington is near Ranger Stadium, Cowboy Stadium, 6 Flags and Hurricane Harbor. They have 4 camps in Texas. There is one in Austin, San Antonio and Sandy Lake.

    There are also all of the military bases/posts RV parks on post/base or their recreation centers. Some of them even have trailers set up there that you can rent so you could have friends and family join you. Some of the have boats, canoes, kayaks, fishing piers, etc.

    We are going to do small trips this summer, then we are planning to go to Ohio this fall when it is cooler and hopefuly the gas is at a better price.

  5. Bob and Julie on May 30th, 2011 12:37 pm

    Hi, everyone,
    George, you’re funny!

    We went on an extensive RV trip this winter covering more than four thousand miles. This is way more than we usually do and don’t like to spend that much time traveling. But this year, commitments to visit got a little out of hand.

    4,000 miles @ 10 MPG = 400 gals fuel. Paying an extra $1.00/gal = $400.00.
    That’s on a four month trip.

    While it’s never fun to pay extra for anything, I fail to see the big deal. Somebody explain to me that it is more than simple anger and hysteria.

    Bob and Julie

  6. Phyl on May 31st, 2011 10:40 am

    I’m glad people can still afford to RV. We can’t.

  7. Bob and Julie on June 2nd, 2011 5:09 pm

    No. I don’t buy that, Phyl. If you don’t own an RV then you are not an RVer. Case closed. If you do own an RV then you can RV on ANY budget. I don’t believe in all that whiney crap.

    Bob

  8. David Hendrickson on June 12th, 2011 5:37 pm

    Hi. I have a 1985 RV. 26ft on my last trip the refrigerator went bad . the smell of ammouna was ruff . but the shock the RV.dealer wanted to replace it $1500.00 +175.00 labor .I’M a hard working man .started looking on line and found . NATIONAL RV. REFRIGERATION thy will completely refurbish the frig like new for $550.00 will take them 4and 1/2 hr. I have to drive 230 miles one way. But I will get to go camping this summer

  9. Myrtle alma Collier on June 12th, 2011 6:06 pm

    This is the third time I have tried to submit my message. It is getting aggravating because I do not believe I made a mistake on the CAPTCHA Code and I will not try again.

    Dometic had some recalls on their refrigerators. If the person’s refrigerator is a dometic he can call 1-888-446-5157 and they will ask him a few questions and tell him whether his is one of the recalls.

  10. David Hendrickson on June 13th, 2011 9:59 am

    on my frig in 26 years old the average frig only last 15 years

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