For approximately 40.5 million Americans, camping is a way to spend time with their families while getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The kids have activities, parents are busy at work and taking care of the household. Camping doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation. In fact, it can be very inexpensive with a little preparation! I have provided 8 tips to cut costs while camping with your family.
1) Bring your own cookware. There is no need to buy expensive camping cookware. Yeah, some of it is pretty cool, but is it necessary? When you purchase new cookware for your home, keep the old stuff so you can use it when you camp! It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just need to be able to use it safely on your trip.
2) Plan your meals. Discuss what you will eat on your trip before you go, and plan accordingly. Choose meals that are easy to make on the campfire, and that minimize cleanup. Bring as many herbs and spices that you’ll use. Plan ahead by chopping, cutting, and marinating at home before you leave to cut down on meal prep time. Factor in your snacks for the trip. Fruits and veggies make a good, grab-and-go snack as well as granola bars, and crackers.
3) Cook over the fire. Not only does this save you money on camp fuel, it can save you from purchasing pre-made snacks, desserts, etc that will likely go bad over your trip if not properly stored. There are all kinds of campfire meal recipes out there to try, and many of them are creative, turning camp cooking into a fun activity for everyone in your camp.
4) Bring your own firewood. This might not sound like it’s a big deal, but firewood can be pricey especially if you are sitting around a campfire every night. Many campgrounds, including Lost Valley Lake Resort, sell firewood. If you plan on cooking and relaxing around the campfire for a week, you may save yourself a few bucks by bringing your own. Another option is to seek out firewood once you have set up your camp. This can be a family activity, and it’s a good way to talk about expectations, and to plan ahead for the coming days.
5) Fill up on gas before you go. If you are traveling from a densely populated area to a more remote area, there’s a chance that you will have to pay more for gas at your destination. Fill up before you go. One smartphone app can help you find the cheapest fuel on your route. Gasbuddy can help you find the cheapest spots to refuel along the trip route.
6) Stay close to home. Camping trips don’t have to entail a 10-hour drive away from home. Check around! Are their places that are closer to home? What would the price difference be with travel and camping rates? Is there a campground closer to home but a couple of bucks more? In the long run, the farther away you travel, the more money you could potentially spend. You also have a higher risk of other costly issues such as vehicle issues. Keep this in mind when planning your trip.
7) Sharing is Caring. If you are camping with a large group or another family, share your stuff. One person provide certain things like dish soap, ketchup, paper plates, while another can provide drinks, aluminum foil, and bug spray. Plan ahead to decide who will provide what item, saving money by purchasing one item instead of multiple items.
8) Check out the thrift stores. Sometimes people get rid of things that still have a lot of life left. Check out the thrift stores when planning a camping trip. There may be some camping gear that has been barely used. You might save yourself a few bucks by finding a gently used item.
Camping doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many ways to save some money, but still have an experience that lasts a lifetime! With a little planning and preparation you can have the same experience, without spending a fortune.