4 Ways to Prepare for a Cross-Country RV Trip on a Budget

by Semify
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A trip across the country in an RV can be the adventure of a lifetime. The excursion can be full of new sights, great experiences, and a fabulous opportunity to bond with family and friends. But going all over creation in a gas-guzzling home on wheels can be expensive if you don’t make a plan on ways to save money here and there.

If you do, a road trip in an RV can be quite budget-friendly. In fact, according to PFK Consulting, folks can save up to 59% on their vacations using an RV as opposed to other methods like expensive hotel stays. If you’re wondering how to pull a trip like this together, keep reading for valuable tips on having an excellent cross-country trip in an RV on a budget.

1. Setting a Budget

You can’t follow a budget if you don’t have one. So before anything, decide how much you can spend on your trip. You’ll have four main expenses: gas, lodging, food, and fun. So if you have, for example, $4,000, you’ll have to set aside a realistic amount for each.

Figure out how much gas you’ll need by figuring out how many miles per gallon the RV gets and multiply that by the national average price for gas. It won’t be exact, but it will give you an idea. Figure in that fuel will be about thirty-five percent of your total budget. Then you can figure in the rest.

Be sure to set aside some money for emergencies like vehicle problems. On average, the typical driver needs to call a tow truck about once every three years. You don’t want that time to be when you’re on vacation in an RV, but you should be prepared for it.

2. Buy Groceries and Plan Meals

Everyone enjoys eating at restaurants on vacation, but cooking in may be the way to go if you are on a budget. RVs are typically equipped with a kitchen, so you can plan meals around that. If you’re staying in campgrounds, you’ll also have access to grills.

So, plan out a menu and go grocery shopping before the trip. Hit the sales, buy plenty of snacks, and pack your coffee and drinks. Having plenty of supplies will help you resist the temptation of stopping every time you’re hungry or need a cup of java.

3. Look For Free/Inexpensive Activities

One of the great things about driving cross country is that there are tons of free sites to see and dirt-cheap fun to be had. Research the stops you’ll be making and look into historical sites, museums, guided tours, and other exciting things that cost little to no money. Consider going to activities during weekdays when they’re usually cheaper. Always be on the lookout for Groupons, too!

4. Plan Where To Stay

Since your RV doubles as a personal AirBnB, you won’t need to worry about booking traditional lodgings, but you will need to find places to park it. According to Discover RV, the heat of the day – and your greatest sun exposure – typically falls between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Park somewhere where the sun is not too much during the day so your belongings don’t overheat. Campgrounds and State Parks are always options, but those nights can add up. If you want to save money and have a unique experience simultaneously, consider boondocking.

This is where you buy a low-cost membership to places like Harvest Host, which is about $80 a year. With that, you can set up your RV in select wineries, breweries, farms, and museums across the country. All that’s asked in return is that you make a $20 purchase at the business with which you stay.

These are just a few of the many ways you can travel in an RV on a budget. It takes some planning and research, but you can have a fabulous trip on a budget.

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