In today’s episode we will share some of our top tips for saving money while traveling. In this podcast episode, will be focusing on “Staying There” and “Playing there”. See podcast episode #3 on “Getting There”. We will continue the list of tips with tip #12…
While this is no means an exhaustive list or how you should do things, it’s just how we do things to save money while RVing. We would love to hear your tips for saving money while traveling. Please leave a voicemail by clicking on the “Send Voicemail” tab on the right of the screen, or send us an email at email@example.com. If we use your question, tip or comment on a future podcast, we will send you a couple free RVing Illustrated decals.
Tip #12 – Don’t pay for modern conveniences you don’t need.
You can save a lot of money by choosing a site that doesn’t have all the amenities. For example, one of our favorite places to stay in NC is Stone Mountain State Park. When we are there we get electric and water only. But our beautiful huge site only costs us around $25.00 a night. But if we picked one of the non-electric sites, we could save about $5.00 a night. This park has a great bath house and a dump station located at the campground entrance.
Tip #13 – Try County, State and National Parks
One of the best campground values we ever found was a county park. I wasn’t even aware that counties had campgrounds! Beautiful Tanglewood Park and Campground was a wonderful find in Forsythe County, NC. Keep this park in mind if you happen to be traveling through because it is right off of I-40 and it is a gem! For about $33.00 a night you get full hookups electric, water, sewer and cable. This park has great bike trails, equestrian trails, dog walk park, and so much more. Just a warning though, the sites are sloped. Some much more than others. So keep that in mind. Next time we are there we will do a video for our YouTube channel so you can see what a great value this park is. But this is just an example of the kind of treasure you can find by researching county parks. Another example of a great county park that has a campground is the Campground at James Island near Charleston, SC. We’ve never been there, but it appears to be a popular place at a great destination.
Tip #14 – Harvest Host, Passport America and other discoun
AlI have to admit that this is one we haven’t tried yet but we simply cannot wait to try. Especially the wine lover…me! Havest Hosts is an RVing membership that you can join for as little as $40.00 a year that will give you access to a list of wineries and farms that will allow you to stay on their property for free. There are some rules and general codes of conduct that you need to follow. First you have to be self-contained, then they ask that you patronize the winery or farm. I think this sounds like so much fun. I usually hit the local wineries and look for farmer’s markets to buy fresh produce when we travel anyway.
Passport America is a discount camping club where you can get 50% off of camping at participating campgrounds. There are nearly 1900 of them across the country. You can go to their website and see what campgrounds accept Passport America. But do check out the “notes” section for restrictions.
Tip #15 – Good Sam Club Membership
The Good Sam Club is a membership club that offers discounts on things from campground stays to propane. Cost to join is $27.00 a year or $50 for 2 years. Saving include 10% off at Campgrounds, 5 cents a gallon off gas, 8 cents a gallon off diesel, savings at Camping World, 25% off propane, free dumping at Camping World and much more.
Tip #16 – Sign up for fuel rewards
We use the Pilot Flying J RV Plus card. Which is not a credit card…but actually a charge card. We can save money on our gas, propane and dumping at Pilot/Flying J stations by using this card to purchase our gas. This card requires that you pay it off each month, which is great because we aren’t going into debt using it. You also get specials in the store. Their coffee is pretty good. After all, their fuel trucks boast they are the “best coffee on the interstate”. We have a couple of their travel mugs and get them refilled for around a dollar or so and after you purchase a certain amount (around 10), you get a cup free. Plus they will send you emails with specials. At time of this article (Father’s Day 2017), they sent out an email with code for a free cup of coffee (any size) for fathers. It lasts about a week. There is no charge for their card. There is no interest charged to you. We get about 7 cents off a gallon of regular unleaded and we have found that their prices before discounts are the same or lower than other competing gas stations nearby. Some think they are higher, but it must be a regional thing or they just have something against Flying J/Pilot. If you decide to sign up for one of their cards, be sure to put our number (1059203) in the promo code section and we will get $5 credit towards our bill. That’s more gas for traveling!
Tip #17 – Buy a Zoo membership
We are members of the NC Zoological Association. For an annual fee we can go to the NC zoo whenever we want during the year. They also have reciprocal agreements with other zoos and aquariums where we can get in for free or get 50% off.
Tip #18 – Take advantage of matinee movies
This is especially great if it happens to be raining on your vacation. Instead of sitting in the RV upset with Mother Nature, go see a Matinee movie, it is way cheaper than going at night …when you should be having a campfire. Also check with the local area to see if they have low cost movie theaters. You may find one where it’s only a couple bucks to see a movie. Yes, they will be older movies, but you there maybe something showing that you never got to see or something you might want to see again.
Tip #19 – Take advantage of the fun things to do at your campground
Many campgrounds have very cheap or free fun activities going on. Some KOA’s even have live music, activities for kids, social events, movies and more. Jellystone campgrounds are another great place to go for activities. This is great for those with kids.
Tip #20 – Check out local festivals
We know around the Blue Ridge Parkway area there are always festivals going on. Most of them are pretty cheap and lots of fun. Be sure to check online for events going on around you. Check with your state or even a local municipality. They always post things online. North Carolina has a page at https://www.visitnc.com/events
Tip #21 – National Park Pass
Especially if you are military. The America The Beautiful National Park Pass is $80.00 a year. It covers the driver of the vehicle and all passengers in the vehicle at a per vehicle location. It covers 4 adults at a site that charges per person. Children under 15 are free. But if you are military it is free. If you are 62 or over it is $10 for your lifetime (changing to $80/lifetime). This gets you into all of the National Parks. It does not get you free camping, but if you have the senior pass, you do get half off camping at Federal campgrounds. Go to www.NPS.gov for more details.
Tip #22 – Take advantage of historical stuff
We had a blast going to a Civil War re-enactment in Wilmington, NC with The Depreys (check out their Youtube channel) We had a great time and it was free when we went. Fort Dobbs is a French and Indian War site that is practically in our back yard. They do reenactments for only a few bucks per person (donation). These are great opportunities to learn about history, while having fun and it is cheap. Win Win Win
Tip #23 – Take advantage nature
Go wild. There is just something good for the soul about spending the day hiking or playing in a creek. We need more of this and the cool thing is that normally these are the memories we will take with us for the rest of our lives. And they are often completely free. One of our favorite spots is a sliding rock waterfall in Stone Mountain State Park . It is like this magical swimming hole with a waterfall and a natural slippery rock slide, where you can go and frolic like an otter for a day. These magical places exist all over our beautiful country… you just have to look for them. And that is most of the fun of the experience.
We hope you have enjoyed this podcast and our tips.
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