Are you taking a RV road trip? Do you want to keep costs down? Us too! We are hitting the road in one week on our longest RV road trip to date . We have been brainstorming on ways to save money on this trip and hope some of our strategies help you as well.
Updated January 3, 2018.
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RV Road Trip – Food Costs
One of our biggest expenses is food!
We love eating out, supporting local bistros (which sometimes means expensive), drinking gourmet coffee, trying out new craft beers, and frequenting local wineries…all food budget busters!
So, to limit some of these costs, we are planning on limiting our food stops on our travels to and from locations.
We are embarking on a road trip from Georgia to Colorado…so that’s quite a bit of meals – 20 hours driving.
Food Savings Plan:
We plan on using a soft-sided cooler that can easily fit inside our truck.
The cooler will be filled up with ice (cheap) or resuable ice (cheap in the long run), add waters, snacks, sandwiches, and anything else we can think of (cold brew anyone?).
Make our own gourmet coffee with our Bialetti Moka Pot. It is a stovetop unit so no electricity is needed and it takes up little to no space. Using one of these once a day for our coffee saves us about $20/day – 2 cappuccinos + kid drinks + snacks.
Watch how we use it on a daily basis (we had electricity when we made the video, we would use stovetop for heating up the milk when boondocking):
Food Savings Goal:
Save $100+ each day by avoiding fast food and/or restaurants along the route.
RV Road Trip – Fuel Economy
We have a diesel truck with a very large tank. We often find ourselves filling at truck stops. This is NOT the cheapest thing to do, but very convenient.
When we are somewhere for long periods of time we can easily find cheaper fuel, but not when we are on the road.
Fuel Savings Plan:
We plan on using gasbuddy.com to help us save on fuel.
The main downside to using GasBuddy – the cheapest gas stations are not always the most convenient.
So we plan on weighing the price of the fuel, the distance to get there, and if they can accommodate our 55ft rig (Truck + Trailer).
Keep an eye on the speedometer and MPGs. We tend to get 10 MPG (truck + RV) and always strive to find ways to increase that.
Take the routes with fewer stops and go and try to keep elevation changes to a minimum.
RV Road Trip – Camping Fees
Another big expense are camping fees. There are so many ways to save money on RV parks and campgrounds (click here for details), but boondocking costs $0. We are going to focus on this, especially since it will only for overnight!!
Things to know about boondocking:
This is RVing without hookups.
There will be no water connection, sewer, water, or electricity.
You will have access to your fresh water tank and lights inside your RV. You will need solar or a generator for additional electricity to charge devices and use outlets. Of course if you have been driving all day, you should be able to keep your devices charged while traveling.
Need more information on boondocking? Read our Boondocking for Newbies Post and/or our detailed Boondocking Tips Post.
No Generator? Find out how we did on our this trip, boondocking in the summer without a generator!!
Camping Fee Savings Plan:
Find and use free camping sites by using:
freecampsites.net – lists free camping locations around the country. Easy and free to use.
RVwithME.com – lists free camping locations around the country and around the world. Easy and free to search.
Boondockers Welcome – stay on private property around the country and Canada. Easy to use. OK, this one is NOT free, but it’s only $30 per year and there are no additional costs.
Moochdocking – stay on friend’s driveway, backyard, etc.
We plan on reducing our costs by boondocking (dry or wild camping – no hookups) for about about 7 days – this can save us upwards of $280.
How did the trip go?