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Top 5 Ways to Save Money on Summer Camping Trips

Nowadays, many Americans are working with household budgets that can really put a damper on summer camping plans.
May 9, 2012

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Nowadays, many Americans are working with household budgets that can really put a damper on summer camping plans. Thankfully, there are ways that savvy campers can save cash and still enjoy the great outdoors at the same time. Here's a look at a few of them:

Getting Involved in Work Camper Programs

One of the best ways that I know of to save money while camping is to seek out campgrounds that have work camper programs. For those of you that have never heard of work camper programs, they essentially let you camp for free in exchange for completing tasks around the campground. Those tasks may range from mowing the campground's grassy sites to planting trees. A good resource for finding such opportunities is the Workamper website.

Practicing Fuel Efficiency Techniques

Another way to save on camping costs is to work on increasing your RVs fuel efficiency. This may be done by using iPhone apps like Gas Buddy, making sure your camper's tires are inflated properly and reducing excess baggage. Other ways to save fuel include investing in a fuel efficiency adviser device and diminishing drag by removing exterior items like pull trailers.

Investing in Seasonal Lots

Those that tend to camp in the same location each year may also want to look at renting a seasonal lot. I'd suggest comparing the cost of leaving the RV at the seasonal lot and driving there in your car each weekend to the cost of driving the RV back and forth to the campground each time you want to go camping. In the end, it may prove to be cheaper to leave your camper in one spot.

Borrow, Swap and Use Recycled Camping Gear

First time campers with a need for gear may want to consider borrowing, swapping or using recycled camping gear instead of buying it outright. In my opinion, it is a good way to save a ton of cash as well as test out a variety of camping equipment. For example, a brand new REI Hobitat four person tent will tend to cost you $300. I have seen that same tent, used, on sale for $190 online. A few places to look for used camping gear include Gear Trade, Play it Again Sports and the Mountain Equipment Co-Op.

Buy Foods and Beverages in Bulk

When it comes to saving on meals, budget conscious campers may want to contemplate buying in bulk. Bulk food items tend to cost less than smaller portions. Some options to consider are freeze dried and dehydrated foods with a long shelf life.

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