Heading out for the just weekend can get pricey, and heading out longer than that can get to draining your savings account faster than a set of hungry teenagers.
After all, we just wanted to “get away.”
It doesn’t have to cost you more to leave home than it does to stay at home.
Walmart – not only do they have great prices on the basics you’ll require like paper plates and cups, they’ll let you park in the back of the parking lot overnight.
I’m not suggesting you go camping for the weekend in the fun filled lands of the Walmarts. But if you just need to stop for a 6-8 hour nap on the road to the spot you really want to be at, then go right ahead and pull in and crash. Check out these tips for more details on how to do it for free.
BLM Camping is also free. Bureau of Land Management is the place to find open state land (in the USA) that you can stay on for free and Boondock it.
Not sure how to find which land is BLM Land and which is private property? Got you covered. Check this guide out to find free BLM land to camp on.
It’s a lot of fun and a LOT of campers do it!
When we first started camping, our grocery tab was more expensive for a 3-day weekend than an average 7 day week.
Why? We bought all kinds of “fun” and “convenient packs” of snacks and other things. We didn’t take anything from the fridge inside, so we always had to get small packs of basics. It was borderline ridiculous.
Now, after a few years under our belts we pack better. Our staple items go into Tupperware and we only do a late breakfast and dinner – cutting out a full lunch – which we usually skipped or at out anyways.
Our favorite friday-night-just-got-our-butts-here-finally is Hotdogs on the fire. Break out those marshmallow sticks and get to cooking.
If you could only plug in you furnace to shore hookups. That would be awesome wouldn’t it? But you can’t and I have yet to find a place that offers free Propane. So you are hauling around your double-tank LP’s and refilling them as you go. Stay out in the cold weather, and you’ll be running them more often.
This also allows you to setup your solar system in an efficient layout and run on it for a while too without having to move it around constantly.
You are simply going to burn through a bit more propane when it’s colder outside. You’ll be indoors more, and the heater will run more.
On the flip side, should you be plugged into a power source you can run the AC in hotter weather with using up your own gas. Only on shore power though, so if you are out and about and not plugged in you’ll need to run the rv generator more to cool down in extreme heat.
Plan accordingly. When you can use alternative sources to heat to wood/pellets or diesel, do that as well.
These are all over in the RV and Camping game. Ask around for the good ones in your area, and be sure to get more than 1 glowing recommendation from someone that has used the same association for more than 2 years.
Like BLM lands, national parks have discounted entry fees in the off season or even free. Just call and ask.
Be a good Boyscout and come prepared. Last minute expenses like another chair or water filter because yours is sitting in the garage rack up quick. “Be Prepared” is the Boyscout motto and the RV owners best trick of the trade.
The Complete A-Z Guide on RV Camping for beginners will help you with all the need-to-know basics on having a great time and not breaking and fixing things during your short time off.
Going out from the campsite to local events and tourist traps is another wallet shrinking activity. Museums have “free days” and theme parks run specials to help fill up their slower weekdays. Plan ahead and save some cheddar.