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Unlock the Secrets of Affordable RVing: Save Big by Camping with Friends!

Published on September 7th, 2023 by Emily Lawrence

Camping is a fun, budget-friendly activity. But RV camping can raise the cost substantially! One way to enjoy more affordable RVing is to travel with a group  of friends and split the costs between members. Travel companions can also make the entire experience more enjoyable. Here are some helpful hacks to unlock the secrets of saving on camping and RVing costs.

Cost Savings Tips for More Affordable RVing

Traveling by yourself or with a partner is all well and good, but it can get lonely (and expensive). Many people join RV clubs or take trips with friends and familySharing RV costs with a group provides an excellent opportunity to spend time with others and enjoy more affordable RVing along the way. The more you pool your resources and apply for discounted prices, the more you save money.

Of course, having travel companions doesn’t automatically lower camping costs. You still need to be thoughtful about your purchases and work together with your RVing group. Here’s how you can save money on your next camping adventure!

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1. Look for discounted group sites

Group campsites are some of the best options for RVers who travel with others. These aren’t available at every campground, but some places offer special accommodations for large groups. Group sites tend to be fairly large. They might even have access to special features like pavilions, grills, and maybe even private bathrooms.

Group sites might even have discounted weekly rates that you can take advantage of. Private campgrounds often reduce nightly rates if a group stays for multiple days in one campsite. Longer stays are a terrific way establish camp and enjoy each other’s company!

Because of their size, group camping sites tend to come with a higher nightly cost. But when you split the campground fee between your RV travel companions, you might actually save money overall. This is a hit-or-miss tactic, so always compare the costs of booking individual camping sites versus reserving a group spot.

2. Bring tents to double up on campsites

If you rent an individual campsite, you can make the most of it by having your travel companions bring tents! Many RV parks offer parking for RVs, as well as a separate area where you can pitch a tent. If you have too many passengers to comfortably sleep in a single RV, bring a tent or two so some people can sleep outside.

This basically gives you a two-for-one special when you reserve a campsite. Just make sure it’s okay with the park managers before you set up camp. Most campgrounds and parks will be okay with doubling up on campsites as long as you stay within your site boundaries.

3. Create a camping budget for your group

In theory, traveling with other people can help you save on the cost of camping. After all, you can share resources and get discounted campsites! But if you don’t keep track of your camping expenses, it’s easy to go overboard and spend more than you were expecting.

An RV camping budget is important for every member of your group.

There should be flexibility to account for unforeseen circumstances. But try to keep things fairly consistent between everyone. A budget also ensures fairness because some people might feel left out if they can’t afford the same activities as someone else.

Create a general plan for camping meals, campground rates, activities, and other expenses you might encounter during your journey. Be prepared to adjust as you go. Some RV trips may be cheaper or more expensive than others. But an outline is helpful because it prevents you from making impulse purchases.

Friends can save money on camping activities, too. (Image: Shutterstock)
Friends can save money on camping activities, too. (Image: Shutterstock)

4. Use group travel apps to plan and share information

Planning a group RVing trip can be tricky. Everyone has different camping gear, as well as likes and dislikes when it comes to campsite locations, gas station chains, dietary plans, and much more. Juggling all of this is a nightmare if your group can’t communicate to one another.

Fortunately, you can use group budget/travel apps for creating aplan that everyone can contribute to. Make a list of everything you’ll need and ensure that each item is taken care of. Plans like this ensure that nobody doubles up on supplies or buys ingredients that someone else already has.

You can use any system that works for you, but some great travel apps for groups include Prava, Splitwise, and Troupe.

5. Split up camping meal plans

One thing that every traveler needs is food. It’s fun to explore local restaurants and diners, but the costs can add up pretty quickly. To enjoy more affordable RVing, split up meal planning responsibilities among the group.

This will look different for every group of RVing friends. For instance, different people might take turns cooking each night. Sometimes, certain people might be responsible for buying ingredients, while others clean up afterward. It all depends on everyone’s budget and ability to cook for a group.

Coordinating meal planning can help you save money as well. It gives you the ability to combine your ingredients so you don’t have to buy a ton of separate items.

6. Boondock and share resources to lower costs

Speaking of sharing, let’s talk about boondocking! This is a fantastic way to enjoy more affordable RVing when you travel with a group, because you can camp for free. Reserving campsites every night is a major expense, so consider boondocking as a budget-friendly option.

You will also have a better experience if you share resources during this time. For example, one person’s RV might have larger water tanks so their vehicle can act as the main bathroom/shower station. Another person might have a generator or a set of solar panels that can power various appliances. You can also follow the same RV cost sharing tips above for meals and food planning.

Finally, why not indulge on an occasional hotel night?

Plenty of full-time RVers like to stay in hotels from time to time so they can get a break from their vehicles. When you RV travel with a group, you can share rooms, and you might even qualify for discounted prices if you book them together.

The cost of a decent hotel is often comparable to a single night at an RV park/resort. An occasional hotel night won’t drain your budget if you do it occasionally. Plus, you might get access to extra perks like free breakfast, pool access, Wi-Fi, and more.

If you and your travel companions are getting tired of life on the road, treat yourself to a night or two in a hotel. It’s a great way to refresh.

General Tips for Affordable RVing with Friends

The list above is useful when it comes to cutting costs. But you have to consider more than just how to save money when you RV with a group! Try some of the following tips to promote harmony during your group’s next camping adventure.

Choose a primary trip planner/leader

Organizing a group RVing trip can be hard, especially when the trip lacks a clear agenda. In order to streamline the RV trip planning process, select a leader to act as your trip leader/planner. Now you have a single person who can filter through everyone’s different needs and requests.

Just make sure you’re kind to your leader. They have a tough job! Communicate as much as possible and be willing to compromise for the good of the group.

Delegate and rotate chores

Whether you RV solo or with a group, there are camping chores that you probably always dread. Maybe you hate doing dishes, or dread emptying the holding tanks. These things still need to get done, though!

To promote fairness, you may want to rotate chores on a schedule so everyone has time off.

You could also split things up based on people’s preferences. For instance, one person might be in charge of trash collection while another does the grocery runs. Communicate with your group to find the best solution for everyone.

Enjoy fun activities together

Finally, don’t forget to enjoy yourself.

RV travel with a group of friends is a great way to make a lifetime of happy memories. Although it’s important to do the necessary work, plan time for activities and relaxation as well. Encourage people to bring games that they enjoy, tell stories, have a bonfire, etc. This should be a fun experience for everyone.

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This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy here.

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