There are plenty of hot travel trends for 2024—gig tripping, set-jetting, slow travel, and sleep vacations. As the travel demand continues to stay high, the niche pockets of how you can do it also grow in popularity.
But no matter how popular traveling to see the setting of your favorite TV show gets there will always be one popular travel trend: saving money.
While 96 percent of Americans are worried about the economy, a new Harris Poll survey commissioned by Intrepid Travel found that only 17 percent of Americans plan to travel less this year even as money is tighter. Instead, a lot of people simply plan on traveling cheaper.
But what does that mean beyond keeping your eye out for travel deals and hoping you stumble on cheap flights to the exact destination you hope to visit?
One of the top ways people are looking to save money on trips is by seeking out all-inclusive options. Super.com, a savings app, reports that 70 percent of Americans are interested in all-inclusive packages in 2024. All-inclusive packages have a lot of appeal for people who have set budgets for trips—you can determine how much you’ll spend going in and often get good deals for group and family travel.
Intrepid Travel reports that 48 percent of travelers plan on taking a beach vacation in 2024 and all-inclusive resorts are typically beachside destinations.
But booking a cheap beach vacation isn’t the only way to save money on 2024 travel. Here is the top tip for finding the best prices and getting the most for your money on your big adventures: Skip the airport!
One of the best travel hacks if you’re looking to save money? Don’t fly. If you have the time or are flexible about your destination consider taking a trip that doesn’t require going through airport security.
Here are some articles to help:
- RV Road Trip or Hotel Stay: Which is Better?
- Should I Buy or Rent an RV?
- 23 Pros and Cons of the RV Lifestyle in 2024
- When Does the RV Season Begin (and End)
According to the RV Industry Association (RVIA), recreational vehicle vacations are cheaper than other types of vacation travel. Specifically, savings range from 21 percent to 64 percent for a four-person trip whereas two-person trips can be 8 percent to 53 percent cheaper.
But expenses can rack up quickly whether you’re taking a short RV trip with your family or enjoying the full-time RV lifestyle. Fuel expenses, campground fees, and rental costs alone can put your trip over budget if you aren’t careful.
If you want to save money on your RV trip, several travel tips can cut costs while letting you travel comfortably and do plenty of sightseeing.
Here are eight simple but genius ways to save money while traveling in your RV.
1. Choose the right destination
It’s a simple fact of life: New York City costs more than Mobile, Alabama whether you’re there to visit or to stay.
Of course, if your dream destination happens to be expensive, you should still go; it’s unlikely that an alternative trip will satisfy your craving for that particular experience.
But if you’re at all flexible or still figuring out your route, take each potential destination’s general overall costs into consideration. You can look up area campground fees ahead of time and also check out the cost of grocery staples and everyday purchases and activities on sites like Expatistan and Numbeo.
In general, you’d do well to stay away from big cities and coastal areas though there are some exceptions to the rule and when you go does matter. And National Parks can get pricey in the crowded summertime so make sure you know what you’re getting into. Even if your trip sounds affordable on paper it may be hard to stick to your travel budget.
Which leads me to my second piece of advice…
But first, here are some amazing RV road trips and places to visit:
- The Ultimate RV Lifestyle Destinations Guide: RV Trip Ideas Based on Location
- 10 Unusual and Unique Places to Visit in Your RV This Summer
- 10 Road Trip Destinations from Las Vegas
- 13 Essential Stops on an RV Tour across Utah
- 70 Degree Road Trip #1: The Coastal Adventure
- The Ultimate Deep South Road Trip: Savannah to Charleston
2. Take advantage of shoulder season
Shoulder season, if you’re unfamiliar, is a given area’s off-season or the time when it draws the fewest number of tourists which means prices are lower for almost everything and you’ll deal with fewer and smaller crowds. Total win, right?
Of course, these seasons generally are when they are for a reason; perhaps the weather isn’t at its best or it isn’t a convenient time of year for most families to travel. But if you’re not afraid of a little rain, have wiggle room in your itinerary, and aren’t governed by your children’s school schedule, consider taking advantage of an area’s lapse in tourism and letting your dollars stimulate its dormant economy. They’ll thank you by not asking for quite so many of them!
Here are some helpful resources when it comes to offseason RV travel:
- The Best RV Destinations to Explore this Spring
- America’s 10 Best Scenic Byways for a Spring Road Trip
- Highlights of a Fall Adventure to Custer State Park: Needles Highway and Bison Roundup
- The Best Stops for a Fall Road Trip
- 11 National Parks Perfect to Visit This Fall
3. When it comes to fuel, you’d better shop around
You might roll your eyes at driving an extra ten miles to save a cent or two per gallon when you’re tooling around town in your sedan.
But even the smallest and most efficient RVs are gas-guzzling beasts compared to what you probably usually drive and big Class A motorhomes sometimes get as little as six miles per gallon. Oh, and did I mention the gas tanks hold up to 150 gallons of fuel?
Trust me, when it comes to a fill-up like that you’ll want to save every cent you can. When the tank’s getting low use an app like GasBuddy to see which station in your area is offering the most affordable fuel but make sure to give yourself a couple of good options. Not every station is set up for a big RV to get into and out of easily and you don’t want to get stuck. Hopefully, this tip will help you honor your travel budget!
Also be aware that independent truck stops and local fuel companies (such as Q-T in Arizona and Maverik in Utah) often sell diesel fuel 30 to 50 cents per gallon cheaper than major truck stops (including Pilot/Flying J and Love’s).
Here are some articles to help:
- How to Save on Gas and Diesel: RV Fuel Discount Cards and More
- Tips on How to Get Better Fuel Mileage in Your RV
4. You brought a kitchen… so use it
Just like at home, it’s always cheaper to make meals from scratch than it is to eat out in restaurants. Yes, even cheap ones. No matter what you make you’ll almost certainly have leftovers to eat at another meal. Plus, you have full control over exactly what goes into your food allowing you to eat more healthfully.
Besides, I can’t think of even one other form of travel that lets you bring the kitchen sink along for the ride. The convenience of having a kitchen on your road trip is part of the reason many people are drawn to RVing in the first place. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?
5. Plan ahead: Make a travel budget
Yes, spontaneity is probably one of the things that attracted you to the road.
But getting caught short without a place to stay, enough food for dinner, or enough fuel in your tank can make for some expensive scrambling.
Do enough planning to avoid having to make an unexpected and pricey purchase whether it’s for the top-of-the-line RV resort that happens to be the only one with a spot available or an impromptu delivery dinner when you could have cooked your own. This will allow you to maintain a healthy travel budget.
If you need ideas, check out:
- Tips for Finding Free or Low-Cost Activities While RVing
- Plan an RV Trip to a Museum: How to Save with Reciprocal Memberships
6. Get handy
The only sure things in life are death and taxes (and RV repairs).
And the only sure thing in RVing is that something is going to break. And it’s probably not going to be convenient or cheap to have professional repairs done during your road trip.
So take this opportunity to develop some basic handy skills. You can start with simple things like replacing a water filter or patching a roof leak. Even complicated-sounding tasks like replacing your sewer vent aren’t as difficult as they might seem and you’ll save a ton of money that would have gone into a mechanic’s pocket.
That’s why I wrote these four articles:
- 10 Basic RV Maintenance Tips Every RVer Should Know
- 12 Simple RV Maintenance Tips
- What Every RVer Needs in Their Basic Tool Kit
- The Tool Kit Every RVer Needs
7. Join the club
If you’re just starting out in the world of RVing you might be shocked to learn exactly how many discount clubs and memberships you can join. Once you’re in an RV it goes way beyond AAA.
Check out Good Sam and Escapees which offer both discounts and extended support and social networks. There are also memberships that grant you access to cheap and unique camping experiences like Passport America and Harvest Hosts which matches its members up with vineyards and farms that will allow you to spend a night or two on their property. Sure, you may end up buying a bottle… but it’s a much tastier way to spend that $50 than sinking it into hookup fees at an RV park.
Check this out to learn more:
- 25 Questions to Ask When Booking a Campsite
- The Best Collection is Recollection: 2023 RV Resorts Guide
- 21 Arizona RV Parks You Must Visit
- Love’s RV Hookups: Comfortable RV Stays at Truck Stops?
8. Be adventurous—and try boondocking
Even though camping fees might seem paltry compared to hotel costs even $30 per night can add up more quickly and easily than you think. But what are you gonna do? You have to have somewhere to park, right?
Well, yes, you do… but it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Or much of anything!
Dry camping, dispersed camping, boondocking—no matter what you call it is camping on public lands without hookups. Sure, it’s a little bit more rugged than hanging out at the resort campground that comes complete with a swimming pool and rec room… but I mean, you do still have a mattress so it’s not exactly roughing it!
Boondocking is an art in itself from finding camping spots to learning how to maximize your time by conserving power and water. But with sites that allow you to camp for up to 14 days for a minimal fee (or even for free in some cases), it’s a surefire way to save money on the road.
These are just a few easy money-saving tips for RVers but there are many other ways to save cash while you travel! That’s why you’ll want to read 10 Ways to Save Money on Your Next RV Road Trip.
Frugality works on the road just as it does in every other part of life. It might not be easy to stick to your travel budget but it’s simple: Keep track of your finances and don’t spend more than you can afford.
Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.