Let’s face it – if you love going out into the great outdoors, you need money to support that lifestyle. You’ll have to invest in good quality gear (not to mention upgrades and replacements) and have money for gas, food, supplies and campsite fees for each trip. It’s not exactly cheap!
But even if you did have the budget to be on the road for most months of a year, wouldn’t you still want to save some of your hard-earned money when travelling outdoors?
Sometimes the smallest adjustments make the biggest difference in budget. May it be in the planning stage, during travel or at the campsite, there are many ways you can lessen your spending.
Here are some brilliant money-saving hacks for when you’re camping and travelling outdoors!
Consider your destination
One of the biggest expenses when you’re travelling outdoors is accommodation, especially if you’re staying for more than a few days. Whether you’re tent or car camping or you brought your RV, you still have to pay a campsite/parking fee at most sites. The more popular the site is, the higher the rates.
If you don’t mind venturing out into less popular but more secluded sites, that’s a cheaper way to camp. National forests usually let you camp for free as well, but they don’t offer facilities.
When choosing a campsite, choose one that offers basic facilities (even just a bathroom and a shower). Although a campground that has a shop, a pool or a tennis court seems appealing, they’re usually very expensive. Just bring your own entertainment instead!
Note: For even lower rates, book your camping trip for the off season and avoid public holidays.
Choose an area with plenty of natural wonders
Since you have all the freedom in choosing your destination, you might as well choose an area that is full of natural interests. You don’t really need to spend a lot to have fun and experience the great outdoors fully. You can take a short hike to a gorgeous view point, swim in a lake, visit a waterfall, go bird watching and more.
Bring your own entertainment
With careful planning and research (and add a little imagination!), you’ll never run out of fun things to do when you’re outdoors. If you’re leaning to a more relaxing vacation (meaning minus the hikes and exploring), there are plenty of enjoyable and inexpensive options for everyone.
Prepare some fun camping games, sing some good old songs around the campfire or simply enjoy some quality time with friends or family by swapping stories over a favorite drink.
Preparation is key
When packing for your trip, using a checklist makes everything more organized and helps make sure that you don’t forget to bring anything important. Forgetting small essential items like a sunscreen, your spices or even toilet paper means you’ll have to purchase them at premium campground prices.
Also, bring your own food and drinks for the journey. This way, you won’t have to make unnecessary stops at service stations or rest stops to get (expensive) snacks. Bring your favorite food to munch on and a tumbler of coffee to get you going during the road trip.
Doing these small changes won’t seem to have much effect on your wallet, but keep in mind: it’s the little extra costs that all add up!
Rethink your transportation
To get to a nice campground, you’ll probably be on the road for a while. The farther your destination is, the more money you’ll have to shell out for gas. If you’re travelling solo or as a couple, consider taking public transportation. Riding a train or a bus to your campsite can be a fun adventure! Just remember to pack light.
If you’re not too keen on using public transportation, invite a few friends to join your adventure. As they say, the more, the merrier! You’ll also have more people to split not only gas money with, but other expenses as well like food, campsite fees and more! If you need to re-fuel on the road, use Gas Buddy for the cheapest deals!
Plan your meals carefully
Careful meal-planning is essential to budget campers and travellers. Specialty outdoor foods like freeze-dried meals can be expensive, so it’s ideal to prepare/bring meals from home, ideally ones that you’ll just heat up at the campsite.
Plan each meal per day to make things organized and go for easy-to-cook recipes that don’t use fancy ingredients. One-pot meals are ideal, they’re easy to cook over a single-gas burner or a campfire!
Enjoy cooking over a campfire
No, you don’t have to cook every single meal over a campfire – although a lot of fun, campfire cooking takes a lot of time and effort. But to save money on stove fuel, try cooking some of your meals and heating water for coffee/tea over fire.
This is especially ideal when you’re camping with a group of friends. You can take turns cooking big meals for everyone (instead of lots of small meals, which can be more expensive). This also means you get more time to kick back and relax when it’s not your turn to cook.
Also, instead of bringing pricey store-bought snacks and desserts, you can make campfire cooking a fun activity, especially if you’re camping with kids. You can try your hand at the classic s’mores or a campfire pizza!
Start a Camping/Travel Fund
Start a fund where you add a small fee each month. So once camping season starts, you’ll have money to spend and you’ll be able to budget for your trip accordingly. Who knows, you might even have some extra to buy that collapsible kettle or that fancy travel bag that you’ve been eyeing on!
Try these brilliant money-saving hacks for your next camping trip or outdoor travel!
Our Camping Lantern makes a great gift for friends and family who love camping, hiking, fishing, backpacking or any other outdoor activity. Treat yourself to one, too! Shop here now!