What’s the Average Cost of RV Camping this Summer?
The RV industry has exploded in recent years, and it’s affecting campgrounds across the country. With the increase in demand and the acceleration of wear and tear on campgrounds, you may also see a spike in costs for RV camping spots.
But, are you paying above or below the national average?
Let’s take a look at what to expect when it comes to the price of camping this summer.
Does RV Camping Cost More This Year?
Don’t be surprised if your RV camping trips seem more expensive this year. Many campgrounds are trying to recoup lost revenue from closures and travel restrictions during much of the 2020 camping season.
You won’t just see increases at small family-owned campgrounds but also at state parks. Idaho State Parks announced a new tiered system for all of their campsites, which results in an 8% to 16% increase in camping fees across the board.
However, some of the most popular Idaho State Park campgrounds will cost double for non-residents ($24 for residents compared to $48 for non-residents). The plan is to limit non-residents using the park to free up space for Idaho residents.
And you won’t just have to pay for a site. You’ll also have to buy gear. Items like leveling blocks, chocks, and drinking water hoses have risen dramatically in price due to demand.
What Costs Come with an RV Camping Trip?
RV camping comes with a lot of extra costs. Let’s take a look at several costs you don’t want to overlook for your next trip.
If you plan to stay in a campground, whether public, private, state, or federal, there’s likely to be a fee. Many of these campgrounds provide amenities like access to freshwater, bathrooms, and shower facilities. There’s also often a dump station and trash service. The more amenities provided, the more you should expect to pay for your site.
One of the best ways to save money on camping is to boondock. This means setting up your RV and using public-use lands. There are thousands of sites across the country where RVers can camp for free.
However, some locations require campers to purchase a permit.
Budget-friendly campgrounds often won’t have hookups at the campsite. However, if you’re looking to camp in an RV park or campground with hookups, be prepared to pay the cost for it. Sites with full hookups are in high demand as many RVers like the idea of not having to manage their water usage.
You’re paying for the luxury of not having to stress about using too much water. Plus, when it’s time to empty your tanks, a quick pull of the lever will get the job done.
Don’t forget about the fuel you’ll need while RVing. Whether you’re in a motorized RV or a towable, the farther you travel, the more fuel you’re going to need.
Optimal RV camping weather hits during the peak of fuel prices due to the increase in demand. You can manage your fuel costs somewhat by choosing to camp in local campgrounds and parks instead of driving farther.
RV Rental Costs
Don’t forget to account for the costs of renting your RV. While you’re likely to experience a bit of sticker shock while renting an RV, it can help save thousands of dollars in the long run by helping you figure out what exactly you want from an RV.
The bigger the RV, the greater the likelihood that it will cost more as well.
Food and Drink
Preparing in advance is one of the best ways to save a few bucks on your food and drinks this summer. Many campgrounds have camp stores where you can purchase supplies, but the convenience will cost you.
Don’t expect to get a good deal. Doing all of your shopping in advance at your favorite big-box retailer can help you save money.
Something is always bound to break in an RV. You can keep up on some maintenance items during each trip, but some may require a professional.
The more you RV, the more you’ll discover the maintenance needs of your RV. Check your RV’s documentation for the recommended maintenance schedule.
Pro Tip: Here’s what an RV mechanic says will fail first in your RV.
Insurance is one of those things that you don’t appreciate until you need to use it. Having the right RV insurance can help you replace your RV should something tragic happen. Make sure you ask your insurance provider lots of questions regarding your policy.
You don’t want to discover that your coverage is lacking when you go to use it.
Tips on Saving Costs on Your RV Camping Trip
We want you to make the most of your RV camping trip, but we also want you to save a few bucks. Let’s take a look at a handful of ways to save money while RVing.
Between campsites becoming difficult to snag and campgrounds increasing their prices, it’s a great time to grow your boondocking skills. There are thousands of boondocking sites across the country that are either free or low-cost.
You don’t have to boondock for days at a time when first getting started. Go for overnight adventures to grow your skills and build a list of items you should add to your supplies. As you acquire the appropriate items, you can extend your time boondocking and save some serious cash as a result.
Keep in mind: These are the best 21 free campsites in America.
Ask for Weekly Discounts at Campgrounds
A campground is a business. If a campsite sits empty, the campground isn’t making money. While many campsites are relatively full on Friday and Saturday nights, there are five other days when a site may sit empty.
Many campgrounds will offer incentives for longer stays. If you’re looking to stay for multiple days, ask about discounts for weekly or longer stays.
Travel in the Shoulder Season
Again, campgrounds are businesses and increase prices during peak times. RVers book the sites anyway. A $10 or $15 increase per night can make your weekend RV camping trip $20 or $30 more costly. However, the opposite is true during off-peak times.
If you have the flexibility to travel during the shoulder season, you can save a considerable amount of money. It’s a simple supply and demand situation; because there’s limited demand for campsites, the prices fall. RVers with flexible schedules are the ones who benefit the most during these seasons.
Use Your Kitchen
If you’re camping in an RV, you can probably prepare your own food. Use your kitchen instead of eating out. Instead of $12 to $15 for a hamburger at a local restaurant, for the same price, you can buy meat, buns, and condiments to feed everyone at your campsite.
By using your kitchen, you also limit the amount of driving you’ll do. Every gallon of gas you save is more money in your pocket.
Shop Around for Gas
If you’re camping in a heavily-populated area, the gas stations will have more competition and often lower prices. However, when gas stations have a monopoly on the area, you’ll pay more. Use apps like Gas Buddy to shop around and make sure you’re getting the best deal on gas.
So, What Is the Average Cost of a Summer RV Camping Trip?
The cost of a summer RV camping trip can depend on where you camp. If you’re planning to RV camp near popular attractions, expect to pay a massive premium. The price grows considerably, especially if you’re looking at a full hook-up site in an RV park. It’s not uncommon to see sites for $50-$100 in these locations.
You can easily spend a couple of hundred dollars on a short summer RV camping trip. This price would include your food, fuel, and camping fees. You can likely find a campground that fits your budget, but it may require a bit of planning on your part.
Don’t wait until the last minute to try to find a site during the busiest time of the year.
Is The Cost of RV Camping Worth It?
A summer RV camping trip is a great way to connect with nature and relax. While it may cost more than in previous years, it’s worth the expense. If you plan ahead and make smart choices, you can keep your camping trip within your budget.
What are your tips for saving money while RV camping?
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