In my previous article, How to Camp: A Guide for Beginners, I explained where to go and what to pack to have a great trip. Camping can be an affordable option for travel, but if you’re not careful, you can end up paying more than you thought. Here are eight tips to save money on your camping trip.
How to Save Money on Camping
- Go somewhere close. When choosing a campground, opt for one close to your home. The closer the area, the less you’ll spend on gas and car maintenance. As I mentioned in my first article, find campgrounds nearby that offer amenities you’re looking for such as biking trails, a swimming pool, or internet access.
- Grab a discount. If you’re planning on staying more than one night, ask if they can give a discount. Campgrounds also may offer discounts if you’re a resident of that state, veterans, and students so don’t forget to ask and bring along your ID or membership cards.
- Sign up for rewards or loyalty members. Private campgrounds offer reward memberships if you’re planning on camping frequently. For example, KOA Campground offers a reward card that gives 10% off every time you camp plus points towards additional savings.
- Use supplies you already have. After you determine the list of items you need for your trip, see what you already have. You’d be surprised what you have in your attic or garage. After you see what you have, see what you can borrow from family, friends, and neighbors to keep costs down.
- Watch for sales. For bigger items, like tents or grills, watch for sales. Sign up for e-mail updates from outdoor stores, like Bass Pro Shop, to monitor sales.
- Make a checklist. While you’re planning, make a thorough checklist of all the supplies you need. Having a checklist in advance and checking it before you take off, ensures you’ll have what you need. This way you don’t have to pay double on something you need. Bug spray and sunscreen are going to be much higher near the campground then if you bought it at your local store on sale.
- Camp during good weather. Camping during ideal weather is a lot easier said than done since it’s unpredictable. But while watching the weather forecast and choosing the best time of year, you can save. Avoiding rainy season helps you save by not stocking up on rain gear. If you camp during colder weather, you’ll need a more durable tent and more supplies to keep warm.
- Plan meals ahead of time. Before you leave, plan your meals. Bring two separate coolers with one for items you’ll be cooking and one for drinks. Pack plenty of water and sports drinks to stay properly hydrated. Planning your meals ahead allows you to be sure you have everything you need such as certain seasonings and cooking utensils. Having a plan also reduces the odds of you needing to stop at a higher priced store or heading out to a restaurant. Bring plenty of snacks as well.