Saving Money On RV Stays

Budget Tips

Saving Money On RV Stays

One of the largest pieces of a person’s RV budget is usually the amount of money they spend to park their RV somewhere each night. This makes sense, as it’s a need! However, that doesn’t mean that you need to break your budget in order to sleep each night. There are many ways to stay affordably. Here are my tips for saving money on RV stays.

Sign up for RV memberships

There are many different memberships that may help you save money on your nightly stays. Memberships are usually very affordable, with an RVer being able to recoup the cost after just a night or two. These include Good Sam, Passport America, Harvest Hosts, Family Motor Coach Association and Thousand Trails.

Good Sam – This is a membership that costs $25 on an annual basis. You can join online, by calling them directly, or joining at certain RV parks. With the Good Sam card, you can save 10% at more than 2,100 RV parks and campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada. As an added bonus, you can also save on purchases at select gas stations, roadside assistance, and more!

Passport America – This is a membership that starts at $44 on an annual basis, and you can save money if you purchase 2 or 3 years at a time. You can join online or by calling them directly. With the Passport America card, you can save 50% on certain RV stays. There are numerous RV parks that participate in Passport America, but the catch is that you have to make sure that your dates of stay are included as it usually does not cover the RV park’s busy season.

Harvest Hosts – This is a membership that costs $44 each year. You can join online or by calling them directly. When you stay at a Harvest Hosts location, you will either be staying at a winery or a farm of some sort, and there are usually no hookups for your RV. You can only stay a maximum of 24 hours, but your host is the ultimate decider for whether or not you can stay longer. You are asked to purchase something from the host to show your appreciation, because other than the annual membership cost of $44, your stay is free. Using Harvest Hosts can be a great way to stop someplace fun, meet new people, and get an affordable rest in.

Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) – With about 75,000 active member families, FMCA is the largest association in the world for members who are enjoying the motorhome lifestyle. Membership costs $50 for the first year and $40 per year for renewal. Benefits of joining FMCA include chapter rallies, roadside assistance program, RV insurance, monthly Family Motor Coaching magazine and discounts at member campgrounds. Above all, many RVers join for the camaraderie with their fellow motorhome owners.

Thousand Trails  This membership gives you access to RV resorts and campgrounds across North America. For $545 per year, member benefits include unlimited overnight stays at Thousand Trails campgrounds, access to RV storage, member application events, discounts at Encore RV resorts and more. Members can choose from 5 camping zones that together feature over 80 campgrounds where they can camp all year round.


Boondock

Boondocking is when you park in a legal area that allows you to stay for a certain number of days (the amount varies by location). This may include national forests, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas, a friend or family member’s home, certain WalMart locations and gas stations, and so on.

There usually are no RV hookups when boondocking, but it can be a good way to get a free stay in.


Stay places longer

Weekly and monthly rates at RV parks generally are lower than if you were paying for less than 7 days at a time. By booking your spot for a longer time period, you may be able to save a decent amount of cash.

For example, you may find a nightly price of $35, a weekly price of $200, and a monthly price of $550, all at the same RV park. Another example is a different RV park I was recently at, where it was $28 a night, $128 a week, and just $320 if you stayed for a whole month!

It is important to note that if you stay for a month or longer at some RV parks, then you may have to pay for your electricity separately, as additional costs for your stay.


Opt for more affordable RV sites

At many RV parks, there are usually different prices for different spots. If it suits your needs, you may want to ask for the cheapest spot available.

Spots at an RV park or campground may be cheaper if they are smaller, if they aren’t a full hookup, if it’s a back-in site, and so on.


Research your stays

There are many websites that solely exist to help you find the best places to stay in your RV. By doing your research, you may be able to find better pricing, determine a better route for your RV trip, and more.

I recommend scrolling through websites such as FreeCampsites.net, campendium.com, and AllStays.com when you are researching different places to stay.

There are many ways to save money on your nightly RV stays. I recommend signing up for memberships that you think you will receive good value out of, looking further into boondocking, traveling slowly, and doing your research. RVing is a lot of fun, and there are so many different places to stay.

Do you have a tip for stretching your dollar when staying in your RV? Let me know in the comments!

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Making Cents of Sense

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and her husband (and their two dogs) are new RVers, but have quickly fallen in love with it. After traveling around the country in their car and tent camping, they soon realized that RVing was something they needed in their lives. When she isn¹t blogging for us about the open road, Michelle runs an online business and a personal finance blog, which you can find at MakingSenseofCents.com.