RVing on a Budget


With the cost of just about everything rising, the price of using your RV may increase as well. The good news is that there are things you can do to help reduce the expense of an RV trip.
It’s a good idea to setup your travel budget now so you know where your money will be going and how much you have to spend for fuel, groceries, campgrounds, cell phones, insurance, etc. Here is a short list of things to look at as you plan your RV budget for the upcoming travel season.

Review your RV owner’s manual and note the manufacturer’s recommendation for the right fuel octane level. Higher octane levels cost more than lower levels. Do not use higher octane levels than required. This one thing may immediately start saving money.

  • Look into getting a gas or bank credit card that pays cash-back or has a reward program. This will put money back in your pocket. Fuel companies may also offer instantaneous discounts if you use their branded card.
  • Maintain RV tires at proper inflation. When tires are properly inflated you will save as much as 3% in RV fuel costs and efficiency.
  • Keep your RV properly maintained. If you need a difficult to find part, or have a part that needs to be replaced often, shop around and buy it at the best price–before you leave home. This will save you money if it breaks while you’re on the road.
  • Plan your travel itinerary in advance. Take the path with the least number of stop and go roads. Use freeways whenever possible.
  • Driving faster may get you there quicker, but your cost for fuel will increase. Keep your speed at 60 MPH or less. There is a rule of thumb that says for each 5 MPH over 60 you go could cost as much as 8% more in fuel expenses.
  • Use cruise control when conditions permit.
  • If you have a GPS system or smart cell phone with internet access, search the local area for the lowest fuel cost.


  • How much do you plan on spending for groceries while on the road? Stay within that amount.
  • Only buy what you need or will use.
  • Use manufacturer’s coupons.
  • Buy store brands versus name brands whenever possible.


  • How much did you budget? Stay within that amount.
  • Join RV clubs. They often offer discounts for members.
  • Compare the prices of campgrounds in the area’s in which you plan to stop.
  • Boon dock whenever possible.
  • Use state and federal campsites for lower costs.

Cell phones

  • Change to a cheaper plan if you can do so without paying a penalty.
  • Use a pre-paid phone.
  • Ensure the cell phone plan you select includes the area in which you are going to travel so you won’t have to pay roaming charges.

Insurance costs

  • Is the amount you are currently paying for insurance within your budget? If not, it may be time to start shopping for new insurance.
  • Shop around before you leave to find the best, lowest cost policy you can get.
  • If you are towing a vehicle, find out if it is covered or whether there will be an additional cost.
  • Does your health insurance cover you while you’re traveling?

Miscellaneous costs

  • Cable or satellite hook ups.
  • Dump station fees.
  • Entertainment.

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