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Tips to Save Money on Your RV Camping Trip

Posted on Jan 31, 2022

Whether you are travelling with a large family or group of friends, an Orange County RV rental is the best way to explore California when on a budget. By its very nature, Southern California RV rental road trips provide some of California’s most affordable and enjoyable vacation options.

Costs can add up really quickly when thinking about flight tickets, car rentals, dining out, hotels and accommodations rental. But when it comes to planning a vacation on an RV, you have all the bases covered in one: accommodation + transportation. It can be daunting as a first-timer and frustrating for all choosing the best fit RV type, best routes for RVs, cheapest gas, accommodations and food without breaking the bank. We want to make your experience easier for you so that you can relax and enjoy more of your vacation. Check out the following budget-friendly RV tips to start planning your forthcoming affordable – and surely unforgettable – California road trip.

Here is How to Save Money While Rving in Southern California

1. Rent an RV from a reputable dealer! 

While renting an RV might sound like an unconventional way of planning a vacation, fear not! As soon as you have secured your Southern California RV rental, you can start putting together a plan for saving even more money on the road. From budget-friendly RV activities to camping and dining strategies, the experts at 1st Choice RV have you covered. Avoid unexpected problems by renting a well-maintained RV from us. We can help you pick the right size of RV to save on fuel, to drive on different types of roads, and it will come equipped with a supplied kitchen. Our shared expertise will help you plan the best routes, where you can find the best value campgrounds and the best meals to cook on the road to save you more!

2. Plan Ahead

Undeniably one of the best parts about booking a motorhome rental is the freedom that goes along with it. You can choose where to go, how long to stay, and when to leave and can make all of these decisions in real-time on the fly! That said, if saving money is a top priority for you, proper planning is your best friend. Building an itinerary that follows the most efficient route to your destination will help keep you under budget. Booking accommodations ahead of time can have the same effect. Finally, if time is not a factor, consider travelling during spring and fall shoulder seasons to take advantage of lower rates across the board. While some places may not be open during these months, the ones that are will frequently be more affordable.

3. Manage your Fuel Consumption

It should be no secret that your Orange County RV rental will be more of a gas guzzler than your daily commuter vehicle, but there are some excellent techniques to manage this cost as well.

Slow down!

For one, your driving habits can have a significant impact on how much you spend on gas. Simply put, try not to rush from one destination to the next. Instead, keep your speed around 60 – 65mph and your RPMs low. Also, know where you are heading to, so you don’t get lost and have to spend money driving around to find your destination.

We suggest using maps to find the best route. Copilot GPS App: the best app for RV GPS if you do not have a navigation device for RVs.  Copilot GPS offers thousands of maps offline for when you’ve lost connection and can help you plan which routes are best for RV driving. 

Reap the rewards

The ultimate question “where do you find the cheapest gas?” is an important question for your budget when you are hauling a large vehicle around. Thankfully, there are ways to save on fuel and reap the rewards for paying for gas. When it comes to filling your tank, download a gas price app – such as GasBuddy – on your phone to track prices along your itinerary and take advantage of the best rates.

  • Gas Buddy App: the best app to find cheap gas. Gas Buddy is truly your best friend when it comes to finding nearby gas stations and their prices, giving you the option to shop around for the cheapest! 
  • Credit card perks:  Don’t forget to take advantage of the rebates, points or other rewards your credit card has to offer. You might as well get the points to use them on a future vacation.

4. Save on Accommodations!

By traveling in an RV, you are already saving money compared to hotels or AirBnBs and, depending on your comfort level; there are a variety of ways to save even more. While camping is often perceived to be relatively cheap, campground fees can give you a sticker shock.

Memberships to groups like Passport America will offer significant discounts on many campgrounds. National forests generally offer some cheap camping options. If amenities like electricity or water are not crucial to you, consider boondocking – or parking legally for free on public lands. Like fuel apps, there are a handful of phone apps – like FreeRoam – that share information and directions on places to camp for free.

5. Don’t Eat Out, Cook In!

Just like living at home, you can save a considerable amount of money while on the road by eating in instead of dining out. It is certainly tempting to go out to eat while on vacation – and you should, by all means, treat yourself on occasion – but if saving money is a priority, then take advantage of the kitchen in your motorhome. While RV kitchens are a bit small, they are functional, and you can enjoy preparing most of your favorite meals from home while on the road. If space and time are a concern, consider prepping food ahead of time or cooking on a grill or campfire at your campsite. When it comes to grocery shopping, try to take advantage of the ample farmer’s markets that pop up in communities every week all over California.

6. Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Many of the best budget-friendly RV activities involve enjoying the great outdoors. Put aside places like Disneyland or SeaWorld and instead opt to go hiking, beachcombing, biking, or enjoying the many state and national parks of The Golden State. An annual pass to the national parks costs $80, will last you an entire year, and allows access to parks and public places all over the country. This makes it one of the best deals this country has to offer!

7. Bring Plenty of Indoor Activities 

When packing for your budget-friendly RV adventure, be sure to include plenty of budget-friendly RV activities for the evenings or bad weather days. Instead of feeling obligated to drive to the movies every night or spend money on other indoor activities when it’s raining, maximize quality time with your travel companions by playing board games, doing arts and crafts, reading together, or watching a movie in your motorhome. Half the fun of motorhome travel is the time you get to spend together, and having a variety of indoor activities on board is a great way to make the most of this. 

How long has that little voice in your head been telling you to take an RV vacation? RV road trips are a magical way to explore all that California has to offer, and with a little bit of thought and planning, they can be a very budget-friendly vacation option to boot. Whether you already have a trip planned or are hoping for a California escape in the near future, give the experts at 1st Choice RV a call today. Our team is here for you and always excited to help our clients make the most of their road trip dreams – from the most lavish to the most budget-friendly! 


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