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Old 11-29-2016, 10:56 AM   #1
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Making longer trips more economical

Any tips for 2 week or longer trips and how to make them more economical? As our trips get longer and longer those CG fees start to add up. At first a $70 KOA was no big deal for 2 nights. Is it routine for a discount for X number of nights?

We mostly cook breakfast and dinner and buy a cheap lunch.

Any tips would be appreciated by many I am sure!
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Old 11-29-2016, 11:37 AM   #2
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Stay at cheep parks, state and county parks, and places you don't need swing sets and pools every time you stop for a night.
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Old 11-29-2016, 11:38 AM   #3
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Theres several different discounts you can join. According to your age. At 62 yrs of age you can purchase "Amercia the Beautiful" card for discounts at Federal owned campgrounds. Some State Parks have senior discounts . If traveling and wanting just overnight use Walmart or Cracker Barrel . Just ask manager . Theres several ways of saving. Spend some time on internet doing your homework
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Old 11-29-2016, 12:13 PM   #4
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Grocery store VIP cards....dry camping is cheaper then with hook ups.
With the Interagency pass, know as America the Beautiful or Golden Age federal CG fees are 50% off, electricity will be 3 to $5 extra except at ACOE CG's. This pass is $10 and not to be confused with the Senior Parks Pass. Saw a write on this and the reporter confused the two different passes.
Passes as previously mentioned are for 62 and older. Some state parks that have an entrance fee, TX comes to mind, get the annual if your going to visit enough to pay for it.
BLM has a lot of free camping, dry
USFS has some harder to find and watch the rules.
ACOE has some free camping but difficult to find, get their Camping with the Corp book since they are changing the web site
USFWS has some free CG's, very difficult to find.
NPS has a few free CG's along scenic byways like the Natchez Trace.

Google search is your friend, also here https://freecampsites.net/ membership is free.
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Old 11-29-2016, 12:40 PM   #5
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We travel and stay in our coach more than 7 months a year. It is a rare bird for us to pay more than $35 per night. I am a bit annal retentive and spend a great deal of time studying the route. So we use a multiple of sources. I like to use Allstays based on the filters you can set to find lower prices. Also use the heck out of Good Sams trip planning, RV Park Reviews and of course the freecampsite web site. As we've found out, price is not a direct indicator of quality - thus the RV Park Reviews - Trusted Reviews of Campgrounds & RV Parks. When there are more than 20 reviews I put a lot of credence by the info found there. Using RVParkReviews I found this one Corral Drive In, Pizzeria and Grill, RV Park, Guymon Oklahoma - it was a GREAT find and with Good Sams discount $35.
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Old 11-29-2016, 12:57 PM   #6
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We stay at a variety of different parks as listed by other posts and use reviews from several on line sources to determine quality, RV Park Reviews is my favorite. We have also found Casino RV parks can be fairly reasonable if you can stay out of the casino.
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Old 11-29-2016, 01:03 PM   #7
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Passport America membership has saved us a bunch of $$ over the years. It is a 50% off reg. price at campgrounds in their list. You usually break even with the fee after a couple of nights. Only downside is that some campgrounds have blackout days like not valid on holidays or Fri. and Sat. nights.
Other times when available we stay in Nat. Parks, COE, Nat. Forest, Walmart, Sams, Cracker Barrel, city and county parks and boondock. Oh yeah, in friends yards when asked.
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Old 11-29-2016, 01:32 PM   #8
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We are foodie's so we are lured by different restaurants, to avoid eating out we pre cook and freeze different stuff we can reheat easily like ribs, soups, meatloaf etc. This save us a few bucks and keeps us out of some of the Diners and Drive-Ins restaurants we like to go to.
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Old 11-29-2016, 02:47 PM   #9
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Long trips usually mean long distances for our type of travel. To save both time and money, I usually drive long days covering more distance on way to destination and back home. Driving late makes it easier to overnight in rest areas, where we get an early start. We often cover first 1200 miles in first 2 days without any campground fees.

If we had more free time I would travel in a more relaxed mode, but for now when we just need to sleep, rest areas save time and money. Also, getting to destination sooner allows more time there (assuming total time is limited).
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Old 11-29-2016, 02:59 PM   #10
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KOA & other kid friendly parks such as Jellystone are the most expensive. Weekly & monthly are the cheaper rates at most all private parks. Our rig is too big for most all state & national parks so we are stuck in private parks which I locate by all the sources mentioned above. We DO NOT use Wal-Mart's "campground"!
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Old 11-29-2016, 07:22 PM   #11
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You do not have your coach listed so I don't know how long you are, but we were out for over two months in our Axis and we averaged about $10 a night. We love the National Parks and National Forests and with our Golden Age pass we get free entrance to the NPs and half off camping. We would rather go without electric and water to camp in some of the wonderful NP and NF campgrounds. Our 25' length allows us to get in almost anywhere.
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Old 11-29-2016, 07:35 PM   #12
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While doing our 3 years of full timing we lowered our annual camping expenses each year. We renewed Passport America every year and used it as often as possible. We tried KOA membership but it was usually only 10% off so that one really never helped, plus some of them are overpriced. Of course a Good Sams membership will get some okay discounts on camping fees also and we found that one worth it.


Mixing in using a Walmart or Cracker Barrel every other night while heading to a destination really cuts down. Most RVers know that you can't really use rest areas due to restrictions and noise since you are parking on the big truck lot.


If we were visiting a part of a state where there were 4 or 5 things we wanted to see we would locate a inexpensive clean CG and get a two week or even a monthly rate. We may put a few more miles on our truck (or toad) driving to different places during the day but our daily camping fees were sometimes $14 or 16 per day instead of $35 or $40.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:58 AM   #13
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There is a few places here in Texas on the coast dry camping is free and stay as long as you like. Magnolia Beach you can get as close to the water as you like.
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Old 12-14-2016, 12:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by mustang94@hot.rr.com View Post
There is a few places here in Texas on the coast dry camping is free and stay as long as you like. Magnolia Beach you can get as close to the water as you like.
Might be a great thread to start. Free or economical camping spots you have stayed at, with their location and some pics - if you have them.
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Old 12-14-2016, 01:32 PM   #15
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It would be interesting to have listings of free dry camp spots throughout the country. By mixing in a few free nights every month you really cut down on your average CG fee costs.
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Old 12-14-2016, 05:32 PM   #16
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Might be a great thread to start. Free or economical camping spots you have stayed at, with their location and some pics - if you have them.
That would be an interesting thread. I'm curious though if you guys differentiate between free (or low cost) camping and free overnight parking? Is a Cracker Barrel, Walmart, or rest area camping, or overnight parking?
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Old 12-14-2016, 05:55 PM   #17
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Ok here you go: Free parks/overnight stops you've stayed at

Not that I can contribute much as I don't think we've stayed anywhere that was free...ooh maybe a rest area or two.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:33 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by scrubjaysnest View Post
Grocery store VIP cards....dry camping is cheaper then with hook ups.
With the Interagency pass, know as America the Beautiful or Golden Age federal CG fees are 50% off, electricity will be 3 to $5 extra except at ACOE CG's. This pass is $10 and not to be confused with the Senior Parks Pass. Saw a write on this and the reporter confused the two different passes.
Passes as previously mentioned are for 62 and older. Some state parks that have an entrance fee, TX comes to mind, get the annual if your going to visit enough to pay for it.
BLM has a lot of free camping, dry
USFS has some harder to find and watch the rules.
ACOE has some free camping but difficult to find, get their Camping with the Corp book since they are changing the web site
USFWS has some free CG's, very difficult to find.
NPS has a few free CG's along scenic byways like the Natchez Trace.

Google search is your friend, also here https://freecampsites.net/ membership is free.
Great advice, take all the senior discounts you can!!! Besides, you've earned them!
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Old 12-15-2016, 01:19 AM   #19
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That would be an interesting thread. I'm curious though if you guys differentiate between free (or low cost) camping and free overnight parking? Is a Cracker Barrel, Walmart, or rest area camping, or overnight parking?
I saw a Utube video of a family filming their "camping" spot at Walmart, awnings out, grill/chairs setup, SORRY IMHO that's abusing the privilege. If you "overnight" you stop late & leave early, if "camping" you arrive early see the local sights & leave whenever & again IMHO you shouldn't be doing that at Wal-Mart/Cracker Barrel or anywhere that wasn't designed for that purpose. We've never stayed at WM/CB, rest area, no where we didn't pay something.
I know I'm gonna catch hell from this entire post so I just as well add this, if you can't afford to stop & pay for a site while traveling then maybe rving was the wrong choice. There are city/county parks that allow a couple free nights all across the country & books that list them. I know the argument that "I spend $$ in Wal-Mart", ,but it's not a "campground". Just my .02 cents.
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Old 12-15-2016, 02:33 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Travelin' Texans View Post
I saw a Utube video of a family filming their "camping" spot at Walmart, awnings out, grill/chairs setup, SORRY IMHO that's abusing the privilege. If you "overnight" you stop late & leave early, if "camping" you arrive early see the local sights & leave whenever & again IMHO you shouldn't be doing that at Wal-Mart/Cracker Barrel or anywhere that wasn't designed for that purpose. We've never stayed at WM/CB, rest area, no where we didn't pay something.
I know I'm gonna catch hell from this entire post so I just as well add this, if you can't afford to stop & pay for a site while traveling then maybe rving was the wrong choice. There are city/county parks that allow a couple free nights all across the country & books that list them. I know the argument that "I spend $$ in Wal-Mart", ,but it's not a "campground". Just my .02 cents.
As I've stated before, we have never parked overnight at Walmart or Cracker Barrel. Not that I see anything wrong with it provided owners/managers are OK with it.

Cost is not the issue. When driving long distances, like 1,100 + miles from Florida to Texas, I often drive until late -- like midnight. I pull into a rest area, get 5 or 6 hours of sleep, and keep going. A campground wouldn't be practical for us to arrive at midnight. It takes too long to get off the road, find the CG, self-register in the dark, etc... It would be a pain if all I need is sleep.

We normally pay high rates to get nice CGs, but that doesn't mean skipping a campground once in a while to save time isn't worth it. Partly that's the difference between people who camp and those who travel. We are more travelers than campers.

I know where you are coming from with the "cost" angle, but everything in life is not driven by cost.
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