Camping can actually be quite expensive if you allow it to be. Yes, it is WAY less expensive than staying overnight at a hotel, but there are still other costs associated with booking, planning and setting up camp. Make certain to check out these frugal camping tips to save money!
Camping is an awesome experience for families to enjoy being together, out in nature and truly have the ability to “unplug” from the real world. If you’ve never camped before, it is a must. Never can you fully appreciate all the amenities you have within the comfort of your own home until you’ve “roughed” it camping in the woods. The truth? Camping is invigorating.
Frugal Camping Tips Worth Following
There is something about the fresh air that gives a boost of positivity. Who knew that eating hot dogs over a campfire would be one of the best tasting meals at the end of a day of camping? If an opportunity presents itself to you and your family to camp, give it a try.
1. Time your booking
If possible, book in person when you arrive. It can be a little tricky here, but if you are able to book in a “walk-in” site, you can save $8 or more on the online reservation fee, just by booking in person. The risk is that if you want to book a spot in person rather than reserving ahead of time, there may not be any spots left. It’s a choice to make on your end, but it is definitely something to keep in mind when looking at cutting potential costs. This may be handy to try if you are camping during an off-time or during the week when it is less crowded.
2. Bring food from home
Don’t stock up on food items at the store just for a camping trip. Instead, clean out your cabinets and pack coolers from home. Cooking on the campfire adds a pizzazz to the most normal food and makes everyone want to eat it all up. Create unique campfire nachos with toppings that you already have in your fridge. Food options are endless when camping.
3. Borrow items you may not have
If you aren’t a frequent camper, don’t spend the money buying something that you may not use again. Ask around to see if you can borrow a tent or a sleeping bag. Borrowing it for a weekend for free sounds a lot better than spending $100 for items that you may not need or use in the future.
4. Spend where it counts
The worst thing is forgetting something you need and then having to buy it at a premium where you are. Promise. Been there. Done that. One trip we literally forgot the toilet paper!! Never again! The $7 spent on the Camping planner is well worth it!! Your sanity is worth it!!
5. Camp during the off-season
Rates are quite a bit cheaper if you are able to go camping during a less popular time. Typically, colder months are considered off-season but can still be a great time to go camping. Check with your local campsites to see if they offer cheaper rates during the week versus the weekend as well.
6. Plan your stay at state parks
State parks are cheaper and more affordable than private campgrounds. They are also very well maintained. (thank you tax dollars!) Look at the vicinity around where you are located to see what state parks may be an option to camp at. Each state does have varying rates of their state parks, but all seem to be priced fair and provide a clean and safe stay.
7. Consider camping with a group
Many campgrounds offer “group camping” spots that can accommodate a larger number of people. If you can find others to join, you can split the cost of the campsite and any other food or wood expenses that may occur. Great way to keep that spending low!
8. Brings games and books from home
Don’t be tempted to buy a new game or book from the store for your trip. Check your shelves and bring something that you already own, but haven’t had the chance to play or read yet. I’m always amazed at how something becomes “new” again on a camping trip. With the downtime of just relaxing, there will be plenty of time to crack open that book or challenge someone to a game of Monopoly.
9. Make Memories!
Creating awesome memories for yourself and your family don’t have to be expensive or based on high-end glamorous trips or hotels. Camping is a unique experience in its itself that often provides new experiences. Those experiences then result in the creation of amazing new memories and traditions. Camping provides a foundation for bonding and family time while evoking wonderful energy that is hard to replicate. Say “see ya city!” and hit the road towards the campground of your choice!