Chelsea is a full-time RVer who teaches in campgrounds and online as she travels. She shares roadschooling tips and more on her blog, Wonder Wherever We Wander.
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It’s no secret that RVing is a ton of fun. Unfortunately, it can also be a pretty expensive pastime. Campground fees, attractions entrance fees, RV repairs, and the cost of gas can really add up. Add an expensive RV payment to the mix, and you might be left feeling like the RV lifestyle is something you can’t afford.
The good news? There are ways to cut back on the costs of RVing so you can fully enjoy the lifestyle without emptying your bank account. In this article we will discuss our top 5 money saving tips so you can stop worrying about your wallet and focus more on having some awesome adventures.
Enjoy Free Fun to Save as an RVer
We mentioned above that entrance fees to attractions can be pricey. That said, there are ways to avoid such fees entirely. The world is full of ways to have a blast without spending a dime.
Outdoor recreation such as hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, and kayaking are all totally free. They allow you to really immerse yourself in the beauty of the places you visit. Community events such as festivals, parades, and library programs also tend to be free. They’re relatively easy to find, especially if you visit a local library and/or coffee shop. Look for info when you arrive at a new location.
Other ways to save on attractions? Investing in reciprocal memberships, such as a membership with organizations like ASTC, NARM, or AZA. The “America the Beautiful” national parks annual pass is also a good thing to keep around for this purpose.
Keep Up with Maintenance
Nobody said RV maintenance tasks are fun to do. But they are definitely preferred over the alternative of repairing damages that could have been avoided with preventative maintenance.
You’ll save as an RVer if you stay on top of your RV maintenance. Keeping track of what needs to be done and when (like in a calendar or planner) can be helpful, but the RV Life Maintenance program is an even better option that allows you to track expenses, dates, and documents, and even sends you alerts about maintenance that is due.
For some, campground fees are the biggest expenses when it comes to RVing. What many don’t know is that campground fees can be avoided entirely. And no, you don’t have to stay in your own yard to avoid them.
Boondocking (or dry camping) spots are available all over the country. Many of these are the most beautiful places we’ve found to park an RV. The vast majority of these are on BLM or Forest Service land. But there are some water management and wildlife management lands where dry camping is allowed.
You’ll save as an RVer if you do choose to try boondocking. Just be sure camping is allowed where you plan to park. Follow all rules (know the stay limit, get a permit if necessary, etc.). You’ll also want to head into your adventure with a full freshwater tank and battery and take a way to recharge your battery. Use water and electricity sparingly. Have a plan for where to dump water and trash when your trip is over.
You can find some free dry camping sites on RV Life Campgrounds.
Stay Close to Home
With gas prices soaring the way they are, there are ways to conserve gas while still traveling. Being conscientious of your RVing budget helps. The best way to do this is obviously to camp close to home. Make a point of only taking trips to spots that are 1–3 hours from home.
With a little research you will almost certainly find some awesome hidden gems within a couple hours of your home. In many cases these are spots you would not have thought to explore otherwise. Use your camping trips to go off the beaten path and see some of those lesser-known places near your home. Not only will you save on gas, you’ll also have some interesting adventures you may not usually get to have.
If you’re in your RV full-time, you can apply this tip by staying in one spot for longer. Hop only a couple of hours away when you do move. You’ll save as an RVer if you can move slowly across the country. And you spend less on fuel each month as a result.
Buy or Sell Privately
Lastly, if you are still looking for a perfect rig, we highly recommend buying a lightly used rig privately rather than going to a dealer. Likewise, if you want to sell your current RV, you can save as an RVer. Just choose to make a private sale rather than trade it in.
Buying privately saves you money because individuals tend to offer better deals than dealerships. Selling privately saves money because you’ll get more for your rig than a dealer would give you should you trade it in.
Unfortunately, buying and selling RVs privately can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know how to get started. National Vehicle can help by valuing your RV, selling your RV and connecting you with sellers who have RVs that might interest you.