Try These 7 Money-saving Camping Tips
Whether with a group of friends or as a family activity, camping can be a fun and frugal way to enjoy the great outdoors. But it can also be surprisingly expensive if you don’t shop smart and plan ahead. These 7 tips will help campers at all experience levels save money on camping.
Avoid Popular Holidays — Everyone loves a long weekend camping trip, which is why you should avoid camping on popular holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, Labor Day and 4th of July. You’ll pay peak campground rates on those dates. Plus, it will be so crowded, it will hardly feel like you’ve taken a break. Choose less popular weekends or even get away during the middle of the week.
Compare Campsite Destinations—You wouldn’t book a flight or hotel without comparing prices; choosing a campsite is no different. Visit Reserve America, enter a destination or zip code and you’ll be able to compare prices, amenities and availability at campgrounds, RV parks and more throughout the U.S.
Rent or Borrow Camping Gear—Many inexperienced campers make the mistake of buying all their gear, only to find it sits unused for most of the year. If you only go camping occasionally, rent your gear or see what friends and family have available to borrow. If you find yourself camping frequently and decide to buy gear, look for it used to save big.
Plan and Prep Your Menu—There’s no Postmates or DoorDash in the great outdoors, so you’ll want to plan your menu in advance and bring everything you plan to eat with you. Make a special trip to the store to shop just for your camping food so you can focus on getting only what you need. Shop with coupons, buy what’s on sale and make a list to avoid impulse purchases. And be sure not to overbuy. You won’t have access to a refrigerator for keeping leftovers fresh.
Make Your Own Ice—Sure, buying bags of ice won’t break the bank, but why spend money when you don’t have to? Instead of buying ice, Fill empty water bottles and milk jugs with water and freeze them. They’ll last longer, are more versatile and when they melt, you’ll have extra drinking water. You can also freeze meat, bags of veggies, cartons of yogurt and other food before you place them in the cooler to ensure they stay fresh longer.
Bring a First-Aid Kit—Minor scrapes, bumps and bug bites are all part of the camping experience. Be sure to bring a kit with basic first aid supplies so you can take care of the little annoyances as they happen. While many campsites have a small general store that sells basic necessities, you’ll save a lot by remembering to bring your own.
Don’t Forget the Duct Tape—A roll of duct tape is a camper’s best friend. Use it to patch a tent or sleeping bag, keep the tent closed if the zipper breaks, repair broken tools, fix a leaky hose and more. It’s a cheap and easy way to fix a number of common camping mishaps.