Planning a dream vacation can seem great until you start adding up the costs. Let’s say you want to go on a trip to a Caribbean island. You have to factor in the costs of airfare, transportation when you’re on the ground, your hotel, food and drink, activities, and other expenses. Rather than doing that, a lot more people are opting to stay in the continental U.S. and create dream vacations that consolidate the costs and don’t leave them in debt.

An RV trip is one great option to enjoy the best scenery and locales in the U.S. but to do so in a way that won’t destroy your budget.

The following are some tips to keep in mind if you want to plan a budget-friendly RV trip that everyone in your family will love.

Renting an RV

First and foremost, when you’re planning an RV trip if you don’t already own the RV, you’re going to have to figure that element out. One of the most convenient and budget-friendly ways to have access to an RV is to rent through a peer-to-peer site like Outdoorsy. Whether you’re in California, New York, or even Iceland, you can find people who will directly rent their RV to you on a short-term basis.

You don’t have to worry about the additional costs that could come from renting an RV from a private company, and you’ll have plenty of options to choose the one that’s right for you. Check out if you’re planning a journey around Iceland’s off-beat destinations.

The ability to rent through a peer-to-peer site is opening up RV travel options to so many people in a way that wasn’t previously available.

Research Accommodations

When you opt to travel by RV, you have so much freedom and control regarding what you spend. You can make it an extremely budget-friendly, frugal trip, or on the other end of the spectrum, you can go all out and make it a luxury vacation.

If you are worried about keeping your spending low, research campgrounds and places where you’ll park your RV ahead of time. You can find the most inexpensive options, and most places will let you book ahead. This allows you to maintain control over your spending and also plan ahead in terms of budget.

With any vacation or travel planning, doing as much as you can ahead of time is the best way to stay on a budget.

While this level of planning might take away from the concept of being a free spirit on the open road, you’re going to save money.


Some destinations are going to be cheaper than others, so that’s another place you can plan ahead if you want to save money.

For example, if you’re traveling to national parks, it’s probably going to be less expensive as compared to traveling to luxury resort areas in Florida.

Some of the most popular national parks in the U.S. that can be a good option for budget travelers include Yellowstone, Yosemite, and The Grand Canyons National Park.

Meal Planning

When you go on a trip, you’ve probably seen how much the cost of food can add up and how quickly you can end up going way over budget, even if you’re not dining in the fanciest of restaurants.

Along with avoiding airfare and expensive hotel fees, a huge advantage RVs hold for budget travelers is the fact that you can plan your own meals, bring some ingredients from home, and shop for other things as you need them. The best thing to do if you are thinking about your budget is to plan your full menu for your entire trip.

Try to choose recipes with interchangeable and similar ingredients. For the ingredients, you have at home like spices and canned goods, bring those with you and just buy whatever you don’t already have.

Budget-friendly recipes often include campfire food that you can cook outside, as well as slow cooker recipes you can have in case the weather doesn’t cooperate. You can also bring your own snacks, so you don’t have to stop along the way and spend extra money.

Finally, there will be some other costs you have to think about, and the biggest one other than what’s highlighted above is the cost of fuel. However, you can plan your trip accordingly based on your budget for fuel, so you can stay as close to home as you need to, based on what’s right for you. There are also fuel estimator tools you can use to get a pretty specific feel for how much you’ll be spending.