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Easy Ways to Save Money When RVing

Updated on April 24, 2017
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I have traveled extensively throughout the US for many years and enjoy helping people to enjoy their own vacations.

Vacationing in a recreational vehicle has become expensive, but with a bit of planning, you can easily save hundreds of dollars on every trip you take.

The good news is that by using these proven methods, you can still have a quality vacation without sacrificing a thing!

To do this, you will need to learn how to

  1. choose the least costly routes,
  2. reduce fuel costs,
  3. drive shorter distances,
  4. reduce camping costs,
  5. vacation in places that cost less to visit,
  6. find less expensive ways to dine and
  7. travel off season.

You don't have to do everything on this list, but the more of them you do, the more money you will save.

These things may seem like simple common sense when you first look at them, but the truth is that people tend to ignore their value and, as a result, pay much more than is necessary for their RV trips.

  1. I can't count the times when I've watched people pull their rigs into gas stations that are charging five cents per gallon more than one that is located right across the street.
  2. Five cents may not seem like much, but when filling a 100 gallon tank, it adds up to $5.00. Multiply that amount for ten fills, and it becomes $50.00.

That's quite a price to pay for the very same item just because you didn't feel like pulling across the road!

Great ways to cut travel costs while enjoying your RV trips.
Great ways to cut travel costs while enjoying your RV trips. | Source

Choose Less Costly Routes

If you want to reduce your travel expenses, you need to plan a trip that allows you to get to and from your destinations using the shortest,best,least expensive and most efficient routes.

It may not make sense to use toll roads, but the truth is that the money you save by driving on them reduces distances, puts you on better roads, lowers fuel costs, saves time and eliminates some of the wear and tear on your coach.

Driving shorter distances using regular roads can provide many of the same benefits, but only if doing so doesn't take you up steep grades or through many small towns that have a lot of stop and go traffic.

Here is an example of the cost differences between two routes that begin and end at the same places.

  • If I am getting 8 miles per gallon and want to drive from Tampa, Florida to Louisville, Kentucky, I can choose routes that take me 878 miles, 912 Miles or 1088 miles. At two dollars per gallon, the first one will cost $220 for gas, the second $228 and the third $272.
  • The difference in dollar between the first and third routes is $52, but if I return home using the same route, I've saved $104. Yet, I've ended up in the same spots!
  • I've also saved myself many hours of driving.

Drive shorter distances and save more money.
Drive shorter distances and save more money. | Source

Reduce Fuel Costs

If you also route your trips through states that have lower gas taxes, you can save even more.

Internet sites such as USA keep track of gasoline prices nationwide and update the information regularly, so it's a good idea to use them when traveling.

For example, at this writing, gas in California is averaging $2.85 per gallon, whereas gas in Mississippi is averaging $1.96.

Even though these figures fluctuate, you can pretty much figure that you'll be saving $.89 per gallon (or $8.90 per 100 gallons).

So, if you're taking a 3,000 mile round trip and get 10 mpg, you can save $267 simply by purchasing as much of your gas as possible in Mississippi and other low fuel tax states rather than in places such as Nevada and California.

If you are traveling in a state where gas costs more but know that shortly you'll be in one where prices are lower, put just enough in your tank to get you to the second spot.

Upon arrival, fill up where prices are lower and then top your tank off again before you leave.

As mentioned earlier, you can also save by paying attention to prices in local gas stations and buying from those that charge less.

Vacation Closer to Home

Don't assume that you have to drive thousands of miles in order to have an enjoyable RV trip.

Every state has campgrounds, parks, museums, shopping areas, hiking trails, fishing areas and other amenities.

These spots often have a great deal to offer, but people rarely visit them because going long distances seems to be more exciting.

However, you can have just as much fun close to home as you can traveling across the country, and the good news is that doing so can save you a bundle!

Pay Less to Camp

There are a number of methods you can use to greatly reduce what you pay to camp. You would be amazed to learn how easy this is to do and how much fun you can have doing it.

How to Save a Small Fortune on Your Camping Costs and Reviews of the Most Popular RV Camping Clubs will show you what you need to do, but here is just one example.

  1. Most campgrounds in Biloxi, MS charge upwards of $35 per night to camp, but my husband and I always stay just across the bridge at a National Seashore campground for $11 per night.
  2. Over 30 day period we save $720 and get to stay in a beautiful park with a marina, hiking trails and beautiful woods. Since we are less than five minutes away from beaches, casinos, hospitals and shopping, why would we want to stay anyplace else?

Finding deals like this is easier than you think, but they do require that you do some research when planning your vacations.

Vacation Where Things Cost Less

There are many places you can visit where things cost less.

Travelers who stay near big cities will always pay more for everything than those who content themselves with camping in or near smaller towns, even though these places can have a great deal more to offer.

Most are beautiful, serene and clean, offer lower camping costs and offer many activities big cities cannot match.

Littlefield, TX, for example, has a nice, free, full hookup campground that was donated to the town by Waylon Jennings to thank them for helping him with his career. When he was alive, every so often he'd stop buy with his big tour bus and give a free concert on the little stage there that was built just for that purpose.

By staying at Waylon Jennings Park you get to meet people who knew him and hear all of the interesting stories about him.

Situations like this create great travel memories and cost absolutely nothing! Try finding them in big cities!

Dine With an Eye Towards Saving

Eating in restaurants is the second biggest expense for people on vacations, but you can reduce those costs by

  • cooking and eating most of your own meals in your coach,
  • eating breakfast or lunch in restaurants (instead of dinner) if you must dine out or
  • taking advantage of dining specials.

Many restaurants have certain days or times of the week when you can enjoy some of the meals they serve while paying less for them.

For example, every Thursday one place in Florida gives away free BBQ wings, and on Wednesdays, another gives away free pie!

You can also choose to "double down" on certain deals if you eat a late lunch in place of your dinner.

  • For example, a local casino runs its mid week buffet lunch until 3:30. The price doubles after that, but the food is mostly the same.
  • So, a couple who is seated before the meal service changes can save as much as $25 and virtually eat the same food!

What makes finding such deals possible is research. If you want to cut costs but still enjoy some of the luxuries, you have to find out where the deals are and how they work!

Eating most meals in your coach saves a great deal of money.
Eating most meals in your coach saves a great deal of money. | Source

Travel Off Season

Traveling during low season costs significantly less than going during busy tourist times, so, if possible, you should try to do so.

  1. Years ago my husband and I were in Dodge city at the end of October. The famous cowboy cemetery and town known as Boot Hill was open but unattended, so we got to stroll through it and see everything.
  2. A few years later during the travel season, we thought we'd stop there again, but the prices were so high that we changed our minds.

Time your trips so that you can take advantage of off season costs and you can save big!

Travel off season and save a bundle.
Travel off season and save a bundle. | Source

Why Not Try to Save Money?

I can honestly tell you that it really feels good to come home from an RV trip knowing that I had a great time and spent very little money to do so.

It does take some time to do the research and set things up, but the payoff is huge.

Campground owners and tourist venues want you to think you have to spend a fortune to travel, but this simply is not true.

Many good deals are out there just waiting for you if you take advantage of the best and easiest ways to save money during your RV vacations,.


Do you think these tips will cut the costs of your RV vacations?

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