Use these camper hacks to vacation on a budget.

Whether you’re pitching a tent or hanging out in your RV, camping can be a naturally more cost-effective way to travel. Still, the costs can add up quickly if you’re not paying attention, which is why these RV tips and hacks are so powerful. Let’s look at some RV hacks to help you save money so you can travel more.

Borrow Camping Gear (Or Buy Used)

Borrowing or buying used items is one of the best RV hacks for saving money because the savings add up so quickly. If you’re new to camping or otherwise don’t have all the gear you need, consider borrowing from a friend or family member. If that’s a dead end, check out your local thrift stores. Many sporting goods stores will also have a used equipment section, allowing you to score discounts on what you need. 

Lower Your Costs with Christmas and Birthday Gifts

If anyone is at a loss as to what to get you for holidays or birthdays, share your camping wishlist with them. Start a list of the gear you need or the places you’d like to visit, then let loved ones pick items from your list to surprise you with. It’s a win/win — they get you something you like without having to guess, and you get to fuel your camping hobby.

Split the Costs with a Friend

One of the best Rv hacks to maximize your trip is to include others and make memories. If there’s room for you and a friend or other family to share your RV, you can split the costs of the campsite, food, gas, and activities. Take turns cooking and cleaning up so the other can sit back and relax. You’re not forced to do all the work, so you can enjoy your vacation even more.

Trade a Luxury Trip for a Weekend at a State Park

Camping locations can vary in cost. A beachfront campsite will drain your budget faster than a secluded spot in a less-traveled campground. If you’re not picky about where you go, consider skipping luxury destinations for a state park. State parks usually have lots of activities and amenities included in your stay, helping you to get more bang for your buck. And while you might not get oceanfront views, you’ll get the satisfaction of saving money and still benefiting from some time away.

Pick Locations Close to Home

The campsite isn’t the only thing that affects the cost of camping. One of our favorite camper hacks is to choose a place that’s close to home. You’ll save tons on fuel costs (hauling an RV isn’t cheap!), so you can put more money toward other parts of your trip. Plus, being closer to home means less wear and tear on the RV, so you can take more trips in between routine maintenance.

Travel During the Week

One of the most underrated RV camping hacks to save money is to plan your trips during the week. Weekends usually command a higher nightly rate, sometimes even double the price. Skip the weekend premiums and the crowds by booking a Monday through Friday vacation. You’ll enjoy more peace and quiet, and you’ll usually have more campsites to choose from.

Pack Less

Traveling light is part art, part science. When you’re away from home, you never know what you’re going to need or wish you had packed. And when you have an RV or travel trailer, it might seem like an open invitation to fill the space and not make hard decisions.

Don’t fall into this trap—it costs you more than you may realize.

For starters, the more weight you’re towing, the more it’s going to affect your gas mileage. Heavier loads command more fuel usage, so you’ll be paying more for your trip. What’s more, unless you already have all the items you plan to take, you might end up buying things for the trip that you don’t really need.

One of the best travel trailer hacks is to pack as though you don’t have infinite space. Be selective about the items you place in your RV, just as you would packing the trunk of your car. Think, “Do I really need this? Can I get by without this?” You might be surprised at just how little you need to enjoy a night in the RV.

Bring Your Own Fun

Who needs lots of planned excursions when you have your very own RV? For many, the RV itself is a big part of the adventure. That’s why one of the best travel trailer tips to save money is to bring your own entertainment. From movies to games to WiFi and more, you can have a great time without leaving the campsite. Or, if you’re staying in a state park or campground with amenities, plan to have all your fun on-site.

Cook Your Own Meals

One of the most powerful RV tips for saving money is to cook all of your own meals. Stick with easy items like one-pot meals or meals with limited ingredients. It makes it easier to feed everyone on a budget, plus clean-up is usually a breeze.

Rent Out Your RV

Owning an RV isn’t a cheap endeavor. Aside from the cost of the RV, there are also maintenance costs to consider, gas, taxes, and all the things you need to stock your RV to have a good time. 

One way to lower the total cost of ownership is to rent out your RV to others. Sites like RVShare allow you to list your RV for rent. Share the love of the outdoors and RVing while making some money on your purchase. You can even offer to set up your RV at a local campground or state park for your renters, then pick it up when their trip is over.

Enjoyed these RV tips and tricks to save money? Check out even more RV camping tips and tricks to make the most of every night in your RV.

By Jeyree Reed
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