5 Money-Saving Tips for RVing on a Budget

There are many, many wonderful reasons to travel in an RV. There’s a great deal of flexibility! You can see and do as much (or as little!) as you want and on your time, and it doesn’t break the bank. It doesn’t have to break the bank anyway. 

One of the biggest benefits of RV travel is that you largely control the cost. Whatever your destination, timeline, and must-see activities are, you can make it work with your budget. Even better, there are several ways to minimize costs and make RVing on a budget even more affordable.

Money-Saving Tips When RVing on a Budget

Save on Fuel

Fuel is one of the largest expenses (if not the largest expense) in any RV budget. Luckily, there are several tools and apps designed specifically to help lower fuel costs. 

GasBuddy and GasGuru both display real-time prices at gas stations near you, so it’s quick and easy to find the lowest-cost fuel while you’re on the road. The GetUpside app allows you to earn cashback for fueling up at national gas stations, including Circle K, Valero, 76, and more. If you regularly shop at a grocery store that offers fuel loyalty points, you can usually combine those savings with these apps! 

If you travel in an RV regularly, you may also want to consider getting a gas credit card or a cashback credit card that offers incentives for fuel purchases.

Consider Boondocking

Aside from fuel, another substantial expense when you’re traveling in an RV is paying for campsites. Especially when you’re RVing on a budget, these costs can add up quickly. 

Boondocking, the practice of camping “dry” without electricity or water hookups, provides an excellent alternative. Typically, boondocking RV sites are on public land and are either very low-cost or completely free. You also get the added benefits of more flexibility and better views when boondocking.

It’s true that traditional RV camping has its “pros,” like access to running water and being able to do laundry. However, you can’t beat the freedom that comes with boondocking, and it’s far more gentle on the RV budget as well. 

Be Strategic About Activities Along Your Route

Along the same lines as boondocking, sometimes the best activities are the ones way off-the-beaten-path. National parks, beaches, and theme parks are popular for a reason, but they also come with substantial expenses. Admission costs, parking fees, and pricey food can quickly bust an RV budget. 

If you plan ahead, you’ll find plenty of low-cost and totally free activities along your route. For example, the Roadtrippers app allows you to filter nearby points of interest by “Photo Op” or “Public Art,” both of which are free. As a bonus, you’ll probably end up discovering some awesome activities and places you would never have known about otherwise!

Plan Meals Carefully

It’s no secret that eating in (even if “in” really means outside your RV!) is far more affordable than eating out. All RVs come with the very minimum a small refrigerator, gas cooktop, and microwave—everything you need to make all your meals “at home.” Take advantage of that!

Before you hit the road to drive for an extended period, stop into a full-service grocery store to stock up on groceries and other road trip essentials. It will be far more expensive if you stop at a tiny roadside market or in a national park. 

Similarly, think long-term when you’re planning dinner. Even if storage is at a premium, you can cook recipes that do “double-duty,” so you get two or three different meals out of the same basic ingredients. For example, get all the fixings for tacos, including lettuce. Make tacos one night and taco salads the next!

Invest in Select Memberships or Annual Passes

Depending on the type of travel you enjoy, there are passes and memberships that can make RVing on a budget a lot easier. 

The Dyrt app is a useful and cost-effective RV app. A paid membership, which is $29.99 per year, will give you access to discounts on campground and camping gear discounts. Even better, if you just want to test it out for your first RV trip, use the promo code CRUISE30 for 30 days free.

The America the Beautiful Pass costs $80 per year ($20 for seniors) and gets you into more than 2,000 national parks, monuments, forests, and recreation sites. Being that a single park can cost upwards of $30, that represents substantial savings. 

An annual Good Sam membership gets you campsite and propane discounts, plus access to free dump stations. Finally, a membership to Boondockers Welcome is an incredible value, as it provides you unlimited FREE one-night stays on private property in nearly 3,000 locations.

Enjoy Your Vacation in Style With Cruise America

So there you have it—five unique ways to approach RVing on a budget. Now all you need to do is choose your favorite Cruise America RV rental, pick it up at one of our 134 locations, and hit the open road! Contact us to learn about our available RVs and which one is perfect for your road trip on a budget!