Are you looking to enjoy unforgettable family adventures without breaking the bank?
You’re in luck! RVing makes it easy to control costs. When your goal is bonding with your kids outdoors, you can save big bucks by cutting down on nonessential comforts and luxuries.
Check out these 4 tips for planning a budget-friendly family RV trip:
- Embrace "roughing it"
- Don't buy expensive gear
- Be a frugal foodie
- Play outdoors
1. Embrace “roughing it”
While some RVers might dream of a luxurious glamping getaway, budget-minded campers can find an equally rewarding experience by roughing it.
Instead of amenity-rich RV resorts, look for cheaper (or even free) campsites in state parks, National Parks, National Forests and BLM land. In addition to saving money, you can camp in some of the country’s most beautiful locations.
The sites you find might not include electrical or water hook-ups, but you can make dry camping a part of the experience. Challenge your kids to spend a weekend without gadgets, screens or electricity. Getting back to basics can open up new perspectives on how to enjoy life.
2. Don’t buy expensive gear
If you’ve ever been to an outdoor gear retailer, you’ll know it’s easy to blow your budget on super-wicking, cutting-edge fabric technology and similarly expensive products.
Yet, for families on budget trips, these items aren’t necessary. Sure, if you plan on doing specialized activities like intensive hikes or mountain biking, then it’s a good idea to invest in equipment. But, for swimming at the lake or nature walks, you probably have a lot of what you’ll need already at home, like sneakers, rain jackets, shorts, bathing suits, etc. Plus, kids grow so fast, it’s rarely a good idea to spend lots of money on things they’ll only use for one season.
If there’s something you’re missing, ask around for hand-me-downs or check out local yard sales. Discount big-box stores often have outdoor equipment for a fraction of the price of the premium stores. Bargain Babe has some more great tips on finding inexpensive gear.
3. Be a frugal foodie
Cooking over an open fire is one of the best things about camping, and it can help save you money on food and supplies.
Rather than buying over-the-fire grills, propane stoves and fancy campfire utensils, limit yourself to just a handful of versatile tools, like skewers, aluminum foil and a cast-iron pan. Plan your meals around what you can cook with these items, such as hot dogs, shish-kebab, s’mores and corn-on-the-cob.
For other meals and snacks, think “simplicity”. You’ll likely be spending most of your time outdoors enjoying nature, so make things that are easy to stick in a backpack: PB&Js for lunch, trail mix for snacks and granola bars for breakfast. Remember: food is just the fuel for your adventures.
4. Play outdoors
When you are camping, you want to be outside as much as possible. Fortunately, sunshine and fresh air are free. Popular outdoor recreation areas might have an entrance fee, but they are usually inexpensive, and the hours your family will spend exploring the woods or sunning on the beach are well worth it.
When you are back at the campground, let your kids’ imagination guide their activities. Kids are great at making up games, so give them the chance run around and play their own versions of freeze tag, red rover and anything else they can dream up.
Once they are tired out, have them sit around a picnic table to play cards or make DIY nature crafts. At night, tell ghost stories or sing songs in the round. Having a blast outdoors is one of the most affordable and fulfilling experiences there is.
Are you looking for ways to control the chaos in your camper? Download our free 10 DIY Organization Tips for your RV today!