How to Save Money on the Road
Is your calendar wide open and ready for a big adventure? Maybe this is your first long trip in a motorhome. Maybe you’re well acquainted with the RV lifestyle. Maybe you’ve already mapped out every stop or maybe you’re just letting the road lead you. Whatever you have planned, we’re here to help you save along the way and enjoy the journey with a little extra in your pocket.
Stay on park campgrounds
State and national park campgrounds can cost less per night than their private campground counterparts. However, you’ll want to look at the whole package, because sometimes the more expensive options come with amenities, like recreational opportunities or free breakfast, that might be worth the extra cost. You can even look at splitting your time between more expensive and less expensive parks.
One thing to keep in mind when choosing national parks though, are any campground restrictions for those with a larger RV or planning on stay for an extended amount of time. Most parks have a 14-day limit or sometimes require advanced reservations for designated RV camping spots.
Don’t rush when driving
While buying gas is one expense you can’t cut out, it is one you can definitely save on. Things as small as slowing down, relaxing your foot on the gas pedal or even taking country roads versus busy highways can do wonders for your fuel savings. Edmunds.com (one of the top car information sites), reports that aggressively driving on highways can lower your gas mileage by around 15%–30% and driving just five mph over 60 mph can reduce your fuel economy by 7%.
Want to know more about gas prices? Check out the national averages here and even calculate the estimated cost of gas for your trip with this article.
Conserve your RV’s energy
Efficient living is a great way to cut down on energy costs—on top of being better for the environment. Whether you already own an RV or you’re looking to buy, eco-friendly options like LED lighting and solar power panels can conserve energy and save you money. In fact, most Entegra Coach motorhomes come almost exclusivity with LED lights and solar power add-on options.
If you’re planning ahead, Costco and Sam’s Club are a great way to stock up on things like snacks, drinks, games, books and more. Plus, over time and a few trips your membership will most likely be well worth it in savings. Another good spot to work in during your trip is Walmart. Not only do they have great prices, but they’re everywhere.
You can also look up RV-friendly stores nearby where you stop too. Some stores like Cabela’s offer free water and dumping if you buy something and show your receipt!
Dine in more often
Eating out can be a fun way to experience new towns and cultures, but it can also add up quickly. The good news is that when you’re carrying a kitchen with you, you can always save money by dining in. Cooking your own meals can help you save on food expenses or balance pricier meals at a restaurant. Plus, picking up local ingredients can be a fun way to bring the flavors of those new places right inside your motorcoach. If you’re heading out for the day, why not pack a picnic or bring a bag of snacks to munch on while exploring?
Use rewards cards
It seems like almost every retailer and credit card company is offering new ways to save or earn money today. And that’s something you should use to your advantage! A couple of cards we’ve found helpful for long trips or life on the road are:
- Ducks Unlimited Rewards Card for 5% back on gas and sporting goods purchases.
- American Express Blue Cash Everyday® for 3% cash back on groceries and 2% cash back on gas
Find affordable attractions
There’s so much to see and do on a long trip. Depending on where you’re headed, it could be helpful to look up attractions you’ll be passing along the way. State and national parks usually offer low-cost or free entertainment for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
For those headed through cities or more popular destinations, you can look at traveling during the off seasons to avoid peak prices or research when attractions like museums are having free days. There’s also sites like Groupon, CityPASS or even AAA (you have to be a member) that can help you save.
Watch your cruise control
Our final way to save is all about being more fuel efficient with cruise control. If you’re driving through hills or mountains, your vehicle’s transmission has to downshift and the engine has to speed up to maintain a constant speed on inclines—which isn’t very fuel efficient. But on flat roads and over the entire journey, cruise control is a great way to add your trip’s total savings.
Check out these helpful resources
- List of RV camping clubs and associations
- Free campground finder
- Useful websites and apps for long road trips
- U.S. News & World Report’s best gas credit cards