Not all of us are rich enough to travel endlessly, living in luxury RV resorts and not caring about the cost of any of the luxuries we would like in life.
In fact, from our observations, most of the people we come across object to paying exorbitant fees for a concrete slab that they can call home for a few nights before moving on to their next destination.
We have become quite the pros at figuring out how to pay the least amount of money while getting the most out of our trips.
Money Saving Tips:
FOOD: While on the road, stay in a Walmart parking lot and purchase a ready made meal, such as a chicken or ribs with a potato salad or a coleslaw. It is cheaper than buying the ingredients yourself and making it from scratch. Also, it saves on water and power to not have to cook and wash dishes. Even a ready made frozen bag of chicken and vegetables can prove to be very tasty and filling. A great left-over idea for a chicken you may have eaten the night before is to make a delicious Chicken Caesar Salad. Just make sure you have a lettuce, Parmesan cheese and any other leftovers that can be added to a salad. Or buy a ready made salad and add the left-over chicken to the bowl. Voila! No dishes to wash up means no wasted water for two days in a row.
DINING OUT: Either plan on a lunch outing, which is usually a cheaper option for the same food that you would have at a dinner sitting. Breakfast is an even cheaper option, but it is probably not as healthy as you might like.
We have also discovered that some buffet restaurants are an absolute bargain, considering the variety of food being served, from a healthy salad to a filling steak or pot roast. We know it is not the creme de-la creme of eateries, but we find the best value restaurant in that genre is the Golden Corral whether it is an early breakfast to keep you going for the day or a late lunch to eat as your main meal of the day. The restaurants often have large parking lots which could be possible overnight stops.
If you prefer to cook at home, consider getting a slow cooker for the times that you are hooked up for a few days. This is a great way to add whatever meat and vegetables you need to clear out of your refrigerator and you can make a meal that will last for quite a few days if you want.
Another invaluable cooking aid is an induction stove. This stand-alone unit does not create it's own heat, so your trailer will not overheat in the hot desert sun where you might be boondocking.
OVERNIGHT CAMPGROUNDS: It would be nice to be a member of all of the numerous RVing related groups that can get you a discounted overnight stay, but the annual membership would cost more than what you would save.
Shop around and choose just one or two membership options that would suit your preferences.
We have used the Good Sam discounts, which give about 10% off per night, which is better than nothing. However, our preferred option is to stay in State and National Parks that honor the variety of Access Passes available to US citizens, retirees and foreign visitors. Being Canadian, we use the America the Beautiful Pass which gives us a year of free entry into all National Parks in the USA with a discounted rate in their campgrounds, but it also covers us in most State Forests and State Parks. Before arriving at your chosen stop, it is advisable to check the park websites to establish that they do honor the passes. Once you are there, you just have to either show your card to the agent, or, if you are paying at a pay-station, you will have to enter the number of your card on the provided envelope in which you deposit your cash. It's very easy and will save you a tremendous amount in the long run.
A lot of our RV friends swear by Passport America or the Escapee membership for good value discounts.
Another option is the Thousand Trails system, which is a timeshare option for RVers. It appears that a lot of full-timers save a lot of money by utilizing their system.
We will be purchasing the HARVEST HOSTS annual pass on our trip to Florida in the fall. It appears that they have a good selection of wineries, farms and museums that RVers can overnight on. We feel it is worth spending $40.00 for the year, in the hope that we can enjoy the side roads, away from the hustle and bustle of the areas around Walmart parking lots and various Truck Stops that we would usually stay at.