When looking for adventures and experiences, the first advice is to have fun and enjoy the trip is more important than the cheapest prices.
This guide is helpful for saving money while camping, but if you have to choose between staying in the perfect nature park or saving a few bucks, go for the perfect nature park every time!
1. Find the camping candidates
The first thing to do is to find parks that meet your needs, close to the places you want to visit. The goal is to find the campgrounds that you would most like to stay at in the area you are traveling. There are many things to consider. You should always consider your own needs: the size of your RV, the hookups you want, the amenities (pool, showers, playgrounds, laundry, etc.) and the look and feel you prefer in a campground. The more you camp, the more you will know what you like. When reading reviews, keep these aspects in mind. Reviews are a good starting point, but the focus is on what you particularly like or dislike rather than the overall impression.
2. Consider the costs involved
Location is super important, not only for convenience, but also for cost. The closer a park is to a major attraction, the more it will cost to stay there.
But the farther away you are, the more you’ll pay in transportation costs. Google Maps is the ideal tool for figuring out such costs. One can narrow down the locations of the campgrounds one is considering and the locations of the places one wants to travel to. Then one gets directions from one location to the other to see what the distance is. Once you have your travel cost, you can add that to the price per night for each campground to get the actual cost of staying at that location.
3. Ask for discounts
There are many ways to get discounts at campgrounds. Most campgrounds will list the discounts they offer on their website. That said, the best way to find all the discounts they offer is to call them and ask. Here are a few common discounts you can get:
- Military discount
- Weekly and monthly discounts
- Weekday and seasonal discounts
- Club discount for members
Military discounts are usually straightforward. If you’re a current or former service member, you can get a discounted price. Weekly and monthly discounts are also largely self-explanatory. Be sure to check in to a section of the park that is designated for permanent monthly guests.
Some parks charge different rates on weekends and higher rates during popular times of the year. When asking about rates, be sure to ask about dates. Another way to save money is to plan trips during the off-season – just before or after popular times of the year.
4. Workshop camping and volunteering
There are many campgrounds, both public and private, that are willing to waive the camping fee in exchange for services. This usually means taking care of the maintenance and operation of the campground. It is not really a good way if you are on a family vacation, but if you travel a lot, it can be a good way to save money in exchange for your free time. Thus, even on a tight budget, you can get around the world a lot without having to pay for the camping itself.