Traveling is expensive enough to begin with, but it gets a bit trickier during challenging economic times. The United States is still in the midst of an economic recession. Economists define a recession as a period during which a country experiences a negative GDP. Essentially, this means that there has been a decline in economic activity.
However, economic decline and higher prices don’t have to keep you from enjoying the road! Here are some tips for RVers to combat inflation and save money during their travels.
Improve Your Vehicle’s Mileage
You should be checking your tire pressure at least once a month or before every big trip. Ensuring your tires are properly inflated improves fuel-efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this can improve gas mileage by an average of .6%. This may seem insignificant, but those miles add up. For some vehicles, proper tire inflation may even improve up to 3%. In the event of a blowout, you also have the option to secure RV wheel and tire protection in order to save on repair and replacement costs.
Recommended Grade Motor Oil
This may seem like an obvious one, but make sure you are using the recommended grade of motor oil. If you’re unsure which motor oil you should be using, you can either refer to your owner’s manual or check with the vehicle manufacturer. Following this can improve your fuel economy up to 2%, saving you between $0.03 and $0.07 cents per gallon of gas!
Avoid Excess Weight
Knowing your RV’s weight is important for a couple reasons. You don’t want to put too much stress on your tires, as this may lead to blowouts or other mechanical breakdowns. Excess cargo will reduce your mileage, so you should only pack what you need! This also encourages sustainability and prevents creating unnecessary waste.
Address Engine Issues
We’re all familiar with that pesky little engine light (and the groan that accompanies it). However, even if it turns out to be a minor issue, you should visit your mechanic promptly. Certain engine problems can drastically reduce your mileage—or result in costly repairs.
Compare Gas Prices
Last year, we saw a massive spike in gas prices. RVs are large vehicles (with admittedly poor gas mileage), so filling up the tank is certainly not cheap. Of course, sacrificing convenience for spending hours researching and comparing gas prices along your precise route probably isn’t worth your time, which is why it’s a good idea to download the GasBuddy app. This free app is used by RVers and everyday drivers alike. Available for iOS and Google devices, you have easy access to real-time gas prices from stations in all 50 states. GasBuddy provides savings tools such as a trip cost calculator, gas price map, fuel logbook, and more.
Campground costs and National Parks passes add up. If you’re looking for ways to save money on RV camping and you want a more intimate experience with nature, boondocking is a great option. Boondocking is dispersed camping on public land. Agencies that typically offer free dispersed camping include the National Forest Service, Wildlife Management Area, or Bureau of Land Management. Make sure you know which entity manages the land so you can acquire the right permits if necessary. Some areas may require a recreation fee, so always do your research ahead of time! The BLM posts free dates on their website. Just follow the Leave No Trace guidelines!
Also, you should take advantage of public campgrounds. This is a great way to explore a new area at the low cost of zero! Free public campgrounds may still offer some amenities if you aren’t quite ready to commit to boondocking. These may include fire pits, picnic tables, water, or even bathrooms depending on the location.
Timing Things Right
If you want to maximize savings, timing is everything. Avoid traveling during tourist season or major school breaks, as prices will peak, and destinations will be much more crowded. Try RV camping during the week or in the off-season, such as just before and after summer.
Many popular travel destinations offer free walking tours, so you will want to take advantage of those opportunities. You will receive a cultural, historical, and geological education of the area of interest, all for free! If there are museums or other sites you simply must see, bundling with GroupOn will save you money. Use their website to look up exclusive deals on various attractions. This is a fantastic option for RVers traveling with friends.
Although it’s convenient (and delicious), eating out is not very sustainable or cost-effective. One of the best things you can do to have meals in your RV is investing in a slow cooker. There are tons of simple, delicious recipes available online, and it’s so easy to throw a bunch of ingredients in and leave it to cook for a few hours while you go for a hike. A slow cooker will save you time and money.
RV Warranty Protection
Another way to save big on your travels is purchasing an RV extended warranty plan for your vehicle. A warranty policy has the potential to save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on hefty repair costs. RVs break down often, which is already a huge hassle—you shouldn’t have to pay for it! Your warranty provider will step in to cover the repair bill for all covered components.
You don’t have to let higher prices stop you from enjoying the world around you. Although some of these tips may take a little bit of extra time, they are certainly worthwhile. You can keep on exploring during tough economic periods, stress-free.