If you are up for the challenge of roughing it, going on a family camping trip can save you a lot of money over the traditional vacation. After all, in 2010, the cost of staying at a campground averaged about $20 to $30 per night while a stay at a modest hotel can easily cost more than $100 per night. Still, you need to watch your budget when camping, because there are extra costs to avoid.
Purchase your camping equipment used. New camping equipment can be expensive, especially if you feel you need to get all the bells and whistles. Stick with the basics–a tent, sleeping bags, camp stove, cooler and folding chairs.
Make packing lists of what you will need. Forgetting something like bug spray or extra baby wipes will likely send you to the campground’s general store or a nearby convenience store, where you’ll pay top dollar for these necessities. Be sure to pack everything you’ll need by making detailed lists.
Compare campgrounds at your destination. There is no standard rate for campgrounds, so shop around for good deals. Keep in mind, though, that a campground that is more expensive may offer amenities like showers, a pool or a game room, which can be nice if you are staying more than a few days.
Ask about potential discounts. If you are a member of certain clubs, like AAA, you may be eligible for discounts at campgrounds. Some campgrounds also have a yearly rate, which allows you to camp whenever you want for one low price.
Cook your own food. You won’t have to spend much money at local restaurants eating. Stick with easy foods, like sandwiches or burgers.
Bring your own camp fire wood. Everyone wants to have a camp fire when camping, which drives the cost of local firewood up. If you bring your own wood, you can save money.
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