Are you taking an RV road trip? Do you want to keep costs down? Us too! For our longest RV road trip to date (Georgia to Colorado), we brainstormed on ways to save money on this trip and hope some of our strategies help you as well.
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How to Save on Food Costs
One of our biggest expenses is food!
We love eating out, supporting local bistros (which sometimes means we are spending a lot for unique spots), drinking gourmet coffee, trying out new craft beers, and frequenting local wineries…all food budget busters!
So, to limit some of these costs, we planned to limit our food stops on our travels to and from locations.
Food Savings Plan
We planned on using a soft-sided cooler that fit inside our truck and within easy reach.
The cooler was filled up with ice (cheap) or reusable ice (cheap in the long run), added waters, snacks, sandwiches, and anything else we liked (cold brew anyone?).
To save on our coffee, we made 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. The kids might not drink coffee, but they usually get chocolate milk and bakery items when we stop at coffee shops.
Click here to watch how we use our Moka Pot on a daily basis (we had electricity when we made the video, we would use a 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.
|Meal – Family of 4||Cost||Comment|
|Coffee Stop||$20||Coffees, Chocolate milks, bakery items|
|Lunch||$30||Fast food stop|
How to Minimize RV Fuel Costs
We have a diesel truck with a very large tank. We often find ourselves filling up 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 planned 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 weighed the price of the fuel, the distance to get there, and if they could accommodate our 55ft rig (Truck + Trailer).
Fuel Savings Tips:
- Keep an eye on the speedometer and MPGs. Try slowing down (go the speed limit) and avoid accelerating quickly, to improve your fuel economy and your fuel savings.
- If possible, use cruise control.
- Take the routes with fewer traffic lights and stop signs.
- Try to keep elevation changes to a minimum.
- Keep your RV weight down. Do a little spring cleaning and don’t overpack.
- Avoid idling
How to Save on Campsites
Another big expense is campsite fees. There are so many ways to save money on RV parks and campgrounds (click here for our detailed post about campsite savings), but boondocking costs $0 and doesn’t require a membership so that will be our focus here.
On this trip, our goal was to save on campsites by boondocking only. This was especially appealing to us since it was only for overnight stays!! Our goal was to get to Colorado as quickly as possible.
Important Things to Know About Boondocking:
- Boondocking is RV camping without hookups – no water connection, sewer, water, or electricity.
- You will be able to use water in your freshwater tank (water pump), furnace, refrigerator (run on propane), bathroom, and lights inside your RV.
- Outlets will not work when you are not plugged into shore power. Only your 12-volt outlets will work.
- A solar setup or generator will allow you to use your outlets.
No Generator? Find out how we did on our boondocking RV road trip, in the summer, without a generator by clicking here: https://youtu.be/O5-I0FWfhPQ If you are looking to purchase a generator, check out our Champion 3500 Watt Dual Fuel Inverter RV Generator post.
Camping Fee Savings Plan
Find boondocking sites and free overnight camping by using:
- freecampsites.net – lists free camping locations around the country. Easy and free to use.
- Campendium – lists all kinds of camping, including free overnight camping and boondocking spots. Easy and free to use.
- RVwithME.com – lists free camping locations around the country and around the world. Easy and free to search.
Campsite Savings Goal:
We planned on reducing our costs by boondocking (dry or wild camping – no hookups) for about about 7 days – this can save us upwards of $280.
See how our 2016 RV road trip, boondocking from Georgia to Colorado went, by watching our video at the following link: https://youtu.be/ltlr572F4DM
So, what do you think? Ready to save some money on your next RV road trip? Let us know if you have found other ways to save money.