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There’s a school of thought that suggests that RVing and camping are expensive. The folks who subscribe to that theory aren’t necessarily wrong. Camping and RVing can be expensive. But there are ways to save money on campgrounds and overnight stays, and today we’re giving you some of our best suggestions for doing just that.
Does Camping Save Money?
Camping can save you money. Hotels are expensive, and eating in restaurants is a great way to blow through a lot of cash as well. So having your own bedroom & kitchen with you on your travels can save you quite a lot.
But the reality is that driving a large rig like an RV can be expensive too, due to the cost of fuel as well as maintenance, insurance, and general upkeep on the motorhome. RV parks and some campgrounds can be quite expensive as well.
On average, RV campsites typically cost anywhere from $25 to $80 per night, depending on location and amenities. But some luxury RV resorts can cost as much $100 to $200 a night! And that adds up fast!
So, when you consider the cost of driving a large rig and parking it at a campground or RV park, and you compare it with the cost of driving a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle and staying at a hotel or motel, it doesn’t seem that camping is more cost-effective as a rule.
However, there are many ways to save money on campgrounds, and when you employ some of these ideas, we’re pretty sure you’ll agree that camping is not only more affordable but more enjoyable as well.
How to Save Money on Campgrounds
One of the easiest ways to save money on campgrounds is through the use of some of the many memberships available to campers and RVers. So let’s take a look at some of our favorite membership opportunities…
Best Memberships to Save Money on Camping
Good Sam Club
Good Sam Club allows you to save 10% at thousands of participating RV parks and campgrounds. Many of these are Good Sam parks, but the membership is also often accepted at parks that are not Good Sam parks.
You’ll pay just $29 for the entire year’s membership, (or you can opt for a two-year membership for $55 that includes a $15 merchandise certificate for Camping World or another participating retailer. Or you can choose the Elite membership which offers additional perks plus $30 in merchandise and covers a three-year period for a total of $79).
You’ll locate RV parks and campgrounds by entering the state/province, postal code, or park name, and clicking the “search” button. That’s it!
You can also plan trips by checking out some of their suggested categories such as Adventure Seekers, Snowbirds, Boating Fun, Family Camping, Pack & Stay Rentals, Attractions, and Entertainment, etc.
You can find park reviews and even RV storage rental facilities.
Why We Love Saving Money On Campgrounds With The Good Sam Club
We love the fact that in addition to saving 10% on any of 2100 Good Sam parks and campgrounds, as a member of Good Sam Club you’ll save even more money with retail discounts at Camping World and Gander Outdoors, as well as fuel savings at Pilot Flying J locations, (5 cents per gallon savings on gas and 8 cents on diesel!) In some locations, you can save 5 cents per gallon on propane and $2.50 on dump station fees.
All of these savings quickly cover the annual cost of the membership, so this is clearly a win.
Use Your Good Sam Membership To Save Money On Campgrounds & More
Passport America allows travelers to save up to 50% at over 1,450 participating campgrounds, all for an annual fee of only $44.
You can search for campgrounds near you using the mobile app, and enjoy trip routing as part of your membership. You can also search by amenities, for example, 50-amp service, big-rig-friendly parks, heated swimming pool, fishing, etc. With your membership, you’ll also receive an online subscription to RV America Magazine, as well as additional discounts.
Why We Love Saving Money On Campgrounds With Passport America
Who wouldn’t love to save 50% if there’s a participating park in the area you’re visiting? That’s great savings and like anyone else, we love to save money where we can. You should be aware that there can be restrictions on the length of stay, and even on availability depending on the season. That said, for an annual fee of $44, it’s relatively easy to make a Passport America membership worthwhile.
The Dyrt PRO
The Dyrt PRO is another one of our favorites. The Dyrt’s free app is a fantastic way to find campgrounds for sure, but when you add in the perks of upgrading to The Dyrt PRO, the savings can really begin. Especially since the cost of the PRO membership is minimal.
Upgrading to The Dyrt PRO gives you access to their trip planning features and that aspect of the membership alone is a great reason to join.
With PRO you can even download maps of your route (in case you lose cell coverage along the way) or export them to Google Maps for offline navigation. And you’ll also get map overlays for BLM, US Forest Service, and National Park Service boundaries with the PRO upgrade. This is a great way to save money on campgrounds because these locations are free to campers with certain restrictions.
But the most direct way The Dyrt PRO will help you save money on campgrounds is through their discount program. As a PRO member, you get access to savings of as much as 40% off. With thousands of participating RV parks and campgrounds, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a place to stay… for less!
And those discounts even extend to camping gear! So not only can you save on where you’re staying, you can save money on the clothing, gear, and equipment that helps make a stay anywhere even better.
Why We Love Saving Money On Campgrounds With The Dyrt PRO
There are a lot of tools out there for improving your RVing life, but for those among us who may be less technologically inclined, we recommend The Dyrt PRO for its simplicity and ease of use.
And since The Dyrt’s PRO membership also gives you a multitude of discounts, it doesn’t take very long before you’ve saved more than the cost of the PRO membership. And everything beyond that is all gravy!
The Dyrt PRO costs only $35.99 per year after a 7-day free trial, which is less than $3 a month. However, if you’d like more than seven days to determine whether or not the upgrade would be worthwhile for you, here’s a special deal.
The Dyrt Is Offering RVgeeks Viewers A Full 90-DAY FREE TRIAL!
That’s three free months to get to know what The Dyrt PRO has to offer and to assess whether you like it. You do need to provide a credit card number to sign up, but then after using the PRO upgrade for free, if you decide it’s not right for you, you can cancel any time within the 90-day trial period and you won’t owe a penny. But we’re pretty sure you’ll love it as much as we do and want to keep it.
Use the "Go To The Deal" button to access the website, then click the "Redeem Your Gift" button found there to start your FREE 90-DAY TRIAL (a credit card is required, but you can cancel at any...Show More
Use the "Go To The Deal" button to access the website, then click the "Redeem Your Gift" button found there to start your FREE 90-DAY TRIAL (a credit card is required, but you can cancel at any time).
NOTE: the discount code field should fill in automatically. If it doesn't, click "I have a discount code" and enter code RVGEEKS90 to start your free 90-day trial.Show Less
Boondockers Welcome is our favorite, non-traditional way of camping while saving money on campgrounds. But, in this case, you’re not staying at a campground… you’re staying on the properties of participating individual private property owners. Here’s how it works:
A one-year subscription to Boondockers Welcome costs $50. (If you’re also a Boondockers Welcome host, your membership will only cost $25.)
As with Harvest Hosts (below), you’ll need to be traveling in a self-contained RV to stay at Boondockers Welcome h0st locations. You’ll use the website or app to choose locations along your travel route, contact hosts via the website or app, and arrange to stay on their private property, all free of charge.
There are more than 2,000 Boondockers Welcome hosts, and Boondockers Welcome guarantees your satisfaction, allowing you to try the subscription for 90 days. If you don’t feel you’ve gotten your money’s worth after your first stay with a host, your subscription fee will be refunded.
Why We Love Saving Money On Campgrounds With Boondockers Welcome
What makes Boondockers Welcome truly amazing are the relationships that are formed with fellow RVers who open their home properties to other travelers. It’s a unique and wonderful way to meet people and to get a true, down-home feeling for the areas where you’re traveling.
Hosts tend to be warm and welcoming, and also very helpful with suggestions, recommendations, and lots of hospitality. Many hosts even offer their guests amenities like power and WiFi.
For the low annual subscription fee of $50, you get unlimited stays with Boondockers Welcome hosts. There are so many of them in so many places that you could explore the entire continent staying only with Boondockers Welcome hosts!
Camp For Free And Save On Your Boondockers Welcome Membership
Safe, free and legal RV parking on private property. It’s like having friends and family everywhere! A great alternative to being stacked side-by-side in an RV park.
Safe, free and legal RV parking on private property. It’s like having friends and family everywhere! A great alternative to being stacked side-by-side in an RV park.
Save 15% on your initial membership with coupon code.Show Less
Like Boondockers Welcome, Harvest Hosts is an awesome concept that allows RVers to stay overnight for FREE at non-traditional locations. Instead of RV parks, you can stay at amazing locations such as wineries, farms, orchards, breweries, distilleries, museums, golf courses, attractions, and other unique businesses, all the while saving money.
Members pay an annual membership fee of $99 for the classic plan, and then are welcome to stay overnight at more than 2,100 Harvest Hosts locations throughout the United States and Canada… for no additional camping fees!
If you’re a golfer, you can upgrade your membership to add 400 golf courses to the plan for just $139 a year total. You’re then welcome to stay overnight at any of the 2,500 Harvest Host locations including 400 golf courses throughout the U.S. and Canada.
If you try it and don’t enjoy it (highly unlikely!), there’s a 3-month 100% satisfaction guarantee. Cancel within the first three months and you get your money back.
There are restrictions to keep in mind with Harvest Hosts. You must be traveling in a self-contained RV. All classes of RVs are allowed including motorhomes (Class A, B, and C), fifth-wheel trailers, travel trailers, toy haulers, camper vans, truck campers, and schoolies. But you must be fully self-contained. For example, there’s no cooking outside at any location, and you must have your own toilet facility inside your RV. No car or minivan camping is allowed, and there are a few other restrictions as well.
Harvest Hosts asks that you patronize the businesses offering you a night’s stay at their locations, but this is NOT difficult to do. Harvest Host locations are fantastic. You can buy a bottle of wine, some food, or a gift in a shop.
Why We Love Saving Money On Campgrounds With Harvest Hosts
Harvest Hosts is a unique camping membership. It offers RVers the opportunity to stay in an array of truly unique locations while enjoying the culture of those locations during the stay, all while saving money over traditional campgrounds.
The experience of spending the night in the middle of an orchard or winery, outside a local brewery or distillery, or on a working farm gives “camping” a whole new meaning. The ever-increasing popularity of Harvest Hosts over the years is an understandable phenomenon.
Save Money On Campgrounds & Your Harvest Hosts Membership
Tired of RV Parks and Campgrounds and want to try something different? Stay overnight at wineries, breweries & distilleries, farms, and other attractions instead! Enjoy unique experiences that...Show More
Tired of RV Parks and Campgrounds and want to try something different? Stay overnight at wineries, breweries & distilleries, farms, and other attractions instead! Enjoy unique experiences that you'll always remember.
Save 15% on your first year’s membership to Harvest Hosts... click on the "Go To The Deal" button!Show Less
Overnight RV Parking
Overnight RV Parking is exactly that – parking, not camping. With locations all over North America, you’re sure to find places to park overnight to get a good night’s rest prior to continuing on in your journey.
Overnight RV Parking is a great way to save money on campgrounds. It’s part of the ToGo RV Plus subscription (which means there’s even more features you get to take advantage of), and it’s the largest database of free RV parking in the United States and Canada, with information on nearly 16,000 locations.
Again, this is not a camping app. It’s an overnight parking app for travelers on a long journey who simply need a free place to legally stop and spend the night before traveling onward. Here’s how it works:
You’ll type in your location, and the app or website will suggest overnight parking areas near you. It’s that simple!
In addition, you’ll see what other travelers who’ve stayed in these locations had to say about the area and their experience. You’ll not only be shown where you can park overnight but also many places where you can’t park overnight, such as a Wal-Mart that prohibits overnighting (unfortunately, there are lots of those).
The ToGo RV Plus subscription costs just $39.99 annually, and includes not only access to the Overnight RV Parking database, but also turn-by-turn GPS navigation customized for your RV as well as a subscription to Roadtrippers Plus, a fantastic trip planner.
Why We Love Saving Money On Campgrounds With OvernightRVParking.com
We love the fact that Overnight RV Parking saves us money and also saves a lot of time and hassle on long travel days. When you’re en route to a destination and just need a place to stop for a good night’s sleep before continuing your travels the following day, you really don’t need all the benefits of a full campground, so why pay for them?
There’s no time spent registering, parking at a campground, getting set up, etc. You just pull into the overnight parking area knowing that it’s been pre-approved for your overnight stay (be sure to check in with the customer service desk when you arrive, just to be sure nothing has changed), and you enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you won’t be getting a knock on your RV door from security personnel, or police, in the middle of the night.
In addition, the ToGo RV Plus membership brings other benefits such as the excellent road trip planning of Roadtrippers as well as the RV-specific GPS app. You’ll also find additional money-saving opportunities such as discounts of up to 45% on RV tires!
Save Money At Campgrounds & Save $10 On A ToGo RV Plus Membership
Upgrade your RVing experience with ToGo RV Plus. One annual subscription gets you access to Roadtrippers (a comprehensive trip planner), Campendium (for finding free boondocking spots all over...Show More
Upgrade your RVing experience with ToGo RV Plus. One annual subscription gets you access to Roadtrippers (a comprehensive trip planner), Campendium (for finding free boondocking spots all over North America), OvernightRVParking.com (for finding free overnight RV parking spots), the ToGo RV-Safe GPS (for RV-specific turn-by-turn navigation), and access to savings on RV Tires (save up to 45% on major brands).
Save $10 on your subscription when you sign up using coupon code RVGEEKS.Show Less
The heart of Escapees and Xscapers is community, and the mission of both clubs is the creation of bonds between members with shared interests in travel. Whether you’re full-timers like we are, part-timers, or weekenders, we all share a love of the freedom that RVing offers, and this is what brings us together as Escapees or Xscapers (Xscapers is the club-within-a-club for the newer generation of working-age RVers).
Escapees has been in existence since the late 70’s when it was started by Joe and Kay Peterson, a couple that enjoyed RVing with their family and meeting other like-minded travelers with whom they wanted to stay in touch. They formed the group Escapees as a means of fulfilling that desire, and eventually, it took on a life of its own.
More than forty years later not only is Escapees still going strong, but its younger sibling, Xscapers, was created (by Joe & Kay’s grandson Travis, and his wife Mel!) and has become a popular RVing club for younger, adventurous nomads who chose to live and work on the road.
Escapees has 7 club-owned RV parks and 11 member-operated co-op parks, all of which offer discounts to members, presenting yet another way to save money on campgrounds.
In addition, Escapees/Xscapers offers the largest private mail forwarding service in the country, and membership allows you to receive your mail and packages wherever you travel.
For those interested in working on the road, the club offers a job exchange service, and Escapees Roadside Assistance service provides help if your rig breaks down while you’re traveling.
Escapees also provides a significant amount of education to its members, including RVers Boot Camp, RVers Online University, and SmartWeigh RV weighing program, as well as online discussion forums, webinars, and the Escapees magazine.
If you’re a resident of the United States, you’ll pay just $49.95 for an annual membership. Residents of Canada or Mexico pay $59.95 (USD), and residents of other countries pay $64.95 (USD).
Why We Love Saving Money On Campgrounds With Escapees
First of all, we have so much love and respect for Travis & Melanie Carr, the great people who run Escapees. Also, in addition to the discounts afforded to members, Escapees/Xscapers is a great group that advocates for RVers. The education materials and sessions provided are hugely helpful to RVers of all types, (full-timers, part-timers, and weekenders alike), and the rallies and gatherings are a wonderful way to meet other RVers and have fun.
Amazingly, Escapees long ago developed a center for full-time RVers who find themselves needing help due to age or a health crisis. This is an AMAZING concept that we appreciate so fully that we donate 100% of our Escapees affiliate income to CARE (which we announced to Travis & Mel live on camera in the video above) so that we can contribute to the continuous operation of this extraordinary residential program for RVers whose health has been compromised to the degree that they require help.
Escapees Care Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation that provides an independent living residency program for full-time RVers when they can no longer care for themselves or a spouse following an illness, injury, surgery, or the progression of a long-term healthcare issue.
C.A.R.E., (Continuing Assistance for Retired Escapees), located in Livingston, Texas, provides a safe place for members to receive assistance at an affordable price. Members stay in their own RVs and receive help with such things as transportation to medical appointments, cleaning, dumping of RV tanks, as well as receiving meals and opportunities to share in the community – socializing, playing games, exercising, etc.
Xscapers is a community within the Escapees RV Club that was created for working-age RVers. Members are usually full-time RVers, most of whom work on the road and have a nomadic, adventurous spirit. Many are raising families, and the sense of community provided by Xscapers is invaluable.
RVgeeks readers who are interested in an Escapees/Xscapers membership may use this coupon code for additional savings. As an Escapees affiliate, we receive a small commission when you use our coupon code to join. But, as mentioned above, we donate 100% of those proceeds to the CARE Center. So if you’re planning to join, do it here. It won’t cost you an extra cent, and you’ll be supporting this very worthy cause.
The Escapees RV Club is one of the oldest, largest, and most loved RV membership organizations in the world. They provide a total support network for all RVers, regardless of their travel style...Show More
The Escapees RV Club is one of the oldest, largest, and most loved RV membership organizations in the world. They provide a total support network for all RVers, regardless of their travel style, type of RV, or experience level.
We're particularly drawn to the Xscapers group, which is a community within the Escapees RV Club that was created specifically for working-aged RVers.
All in all, Escapees membership offers a lot of valuable resources… and, if you join using our link, we’re donating 100% of our affiliate proceeds to the Escapees C.A.R.E Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that provides a safe haven (with professional assistance at affordable prices) for members whose travels are permanently ended because of age, or temporarily interrupted because of health problems.
So if you're not already a member, please join today!Show Less
There’s No Reason Not To Save Money On Campgrounds
Clearly, there are plenty of ways to save money on camping and to make RV travel more affordable in general. These are some of our favorites, and there are more to be found, given a bit of research.
So, whether you’re looking for a safe place to park overnight as you make your way along your journey, or you’re looking for campgrounds and RV parks with particular amenities to keep you and your family happy and comfortable, there’s something here for everyone. Even if you’re just seeking a nomadic community with similar interests to your own, you can save money with low-cost memberships, and with apps that bring information to your fingertips.
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Even though we're handy RVers, we're not professional technicians. So although we're happy with the techniques and products we use, you should be sure to confirm that all methods and materials are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.