Budget Travel Tips for RVers

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RVing on a budget is a mathematical game… But RVers don’t have to be Archimedes to fathom that if you spend less, you’ll see more. It’s an oxymoron, but in this case ‘less’ means ‘more’.
Yes, a little frugality – and sensible planning – will get you a long way. Well, a lot further anyway!

So here’s a raft of budget travel tips for motorhomers that will help you maximise your hard-earned dollars – and, more importantly, save you money – while enjoying life on the road.

Obviously one of the biggest ‘money munchers’ facing RV owners and renters is fuel… So, cutting costs at the bowser is a primary strategy.

But you can leave plenty of petrol in the tank, if you’ll excuse the pun, by simply slowing down – taking your time! Driving slower will also reduce wind resistance, and even staying put a few extra days if gale force conditions prevail (an issue in parts of WA, I’m told) will help the ‘bottom line’.

Embarking on shorter forays and/or staying local – even remaining longer in one location – will also aid in the fuel department. And your motorhome’s GVM will considerably impact on its fuel efficiency.

There are also cheap fuel apps on Google Play Store and Apple App Store, such as Petrol Spy Australia, Vroom Fuel Price Compare, etc you can download that will assist in reducing the ‘gas guzzling’.

It’s also imperative to regularly check tyre pressures, particularly while on more lengthy sojourns.

And be conscious of how much gear you pack as additional cargo also impacts on fuel efficiency. Only take what is absolutely necessary. It’s also wise to avoid purchasing new stock. In other words, what’s wrong with taking home supplies along for the ride?

Food costs will also eat away at your travel budget. But any savvy cook on the move will have pre-prepared frozen rations that beat eating out hands down when it comes to spondooly saving. Utilising reheatable meals is also another smart option. And remember, you’re travelling with your kitchen – it’s a budget-saving opportunity not to waste!

We all crave climatic comfort while RVing to our favourite destinations, but managing interior ambience in your motorhome is also another important consideration. And that’s exactly why minimising usage of cooling and heating is a sensible action.

Performing routine preventative maintenance is also paramount, and eventually will help lower costs. Maintaining your RV will ensure it runs smoother and is more fuel efficient, and will render it less likely to require expensive repairs. Naturally, regular servicing is advisable. (NB. Refer to manufacturer’s guidelines, including the AL-KO handbook, for your running gear servicing intervals.)

And if RVing off-grid tickles your fancy, then ‘going green’ (read solar) is a worthwhile investment if not essential. The returns on your expenditure won’t be immediate, but gradually you’ll be ‘in the black’ – and you’ll be paying less in overnight accommodation fees!

You can also save money by motorhoming off-peak. RV owners can benefit during a quieter period by accessing holiday parks and campgrounds that are normally full during peak periods, and RV renters often receive cheaper rental rates. Oh, the lurks and perks!

Keeping a diligent eye on discount, cheap, or free motorhome accommodation can also pay handsome dividends. Search through free camping directories, and you’ll pocket the savings!

RV parks can be an expensive option, but signing up for RV Club memberships and RV Park memberships do entitle you to a number of benefits, discounts and rewards.

It also makes no sense allowing your idle RV to gather dust at home. But what does make sense is RV owners renting out their motorhome when they’re not using it. Clearly, earning money while sharing your RV with others is a great way to offset the costs of owning one.

There’s a myriad of online peer-to-peer RV rental marketplaces, such as Camplify, RVshare, Outdoorsy etc, at renters’ disposal.

Any RVer contemplating a rental should also be on the lookout for budget motorhome/campervan hiring businesses. Renting an RV out of peak season, including one-way specials, is also an economical consideration.

Meanwhile, any RV budget plan can be subject to unexpected expenses. Hence, it’s a good policy to have an ‘emergency fund’ for expenses totally out of your control.

When you think about your RV travel budget, don’t exclude the idea of making some money along the journey. There are a lot of ways to generate an income while RVing, which will definitely help break the fiscal shackles.


Peter Quilty
With more than 30 years’ journalistic experience, Peter’s brief predominantly centres on editorial reviews for Caravan World and Camper magazines. A relative late starter to the trials and tribulations of the RV industry, Peter has been making up for lost time caravanning and camping with his family around Victoria. Initially, Gippsland was the primary stamping ground free camping in idyllic bush settings such as Dargo and Licola, beside the Wonnangatta and Macalister rivers respectively. Other favourite haunts also became ensconced on the family camping itinerary – Jamieson in Victoria’s High Country, Whitfield in the King Valley, Princetown on the Great Ocean Road, and Bright in the Ovens Valley.


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