After months of shopping for an affordable tow-behind recreational vehicle to use for family camping and North American exploration, a manufacturer of custom cargo trailers caught our eye. When David and I pulled in to see if the cargo trailers could be modified for RV use, the business owner gave us a bargain tour.† The detour included frugal ideas for RV travel.† (See also: How to Make Money While Traveling the World)
Horse and race car owners have altered custom cargo trailers to tow gear to events and to haul around a place to sleep on site. The average cost? Around 80 percent less than any other option we had researched. Cheaprvliving.com has information about other unexpected RV alternatives as well, including converted box vans and school buses. Use accessories to organize your travel equipment.† Wall hooks are ideal for securing bags, including sacks filled with bulky cold weather equipment. Other items can be clipped to the ceiling or spaced throughout the vehicle using s hooks or carabiners. Basically, if you play your cards right, thereís no reason why you canít experience many affordable family road trips with the incorporation of an RV into your vacation supply inventory.
Partner up with other RV folks to share costs on activity and entry fees when you reach your destination. Group and potluck camping dinners are popular with the recreational vehicle crowd, and group activities turn make-your-own meals into a social event. Make new friends to develop a support network and sense of community that you may start missing after several months on the road. Rv.meetup.com lists RV networking groups in various locations. Find one near where youíre heading to see if thereís an event scheduled during your time there. Accessing infrastructure and activities on the road neednít be a financial burden or budget buster. There are a number of travel apps for family road trips to help make things easier by providing information on family-friendly venues, roadside attractions, budget-friendly birding opportunities and more.
You donít have to do the traditional camping thing long before you realize that in addition to whatever payments you may or not be making on your recreational vehicle, you will typically be charged daily or monthly fees by campsites in order to park and use their facilities and utilities. This might be fine once you own your vehicle outright or for a week or weekend getaway, but long-term travelers tend to find it a bit steep to dish out the equivalent of a second mortgage every month just to plug into an electric and water line. Sites like boondocking.org provide listings of cost-free venues around the United States where vacationers are welcome to park an RV or tent while they explore the surrounding area. Similarly, Harvest Hosts lists wineries and farms where RV travelers are welcome to spend the night for free. Support services arenít provided, but if you have a stand-alone unit with solar power and contained sewage, this is a great way to go glamping for less while seeing some rural countryside.
Do you have an RV travel success story? What are some of your favorite ways to live this particular lifestyle for less?
Photo Credit: Slideshow Bruce