How to Save Money on Vacation With a Family Camping Trip

How to Save Money on Vacation With a Family Camping Trip
So you want to take the family camping this year instead of going to the beach--that's great!  A vacation in the outdoors with the family is a wonderful way to experience nature and enjoy each other's company. While camping can be a fun way to spend time with the family it can also certainly be a cheaper vacation if you're looking to save money. By planning ahead, you can save a ton on money on a family camping trip.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Plan ahead

Step 1
Sit down with your family and plan the trip in advance. Have an idea of where you will be staying. Know what monuments, parks and attractions are in the area. To make the trip fun for the whole family, get everyone's opinion on where they would like to go. It is especially important to keep younger kids busy on a camping trip. You don't want to feel pressured into spending money on unscheduled stops.
Step 2
One of the best ways to save money on a camping trip is to pack everything that you are going to need. Make a checklist of what you plan to take, and don't wait until the last minute to run through the checklist. You should have everything that you're going to need at least two days before the trip. Buying necessary gear on the road can be a pain, especially when you're spending money on stuff that you have laying around at the house.
Step 3
Check and then double check your gear to make sure that it is functioning properly. You should spend the time to sit down and go through every piece of your camping gear to make sure that it is in working condition. Camping gear on the road is usually a lot more expensive than it is at a retail store. You should also check your car. Make sure your oil and other fluids are full and your tires are properly inflated.

Pack your Own Food

Step 1
Whether you are camping with kids or not, you should have a healthy supply of non-perishable snacks. Granola bars, chips, nuts and beef jerky are all good choices. Make sure everyone knows where the snacks are located. A good idea is to divide the snacks among the family and have everyone pack their own snacks in their backpack.
Step 2
You should also pack your own juice or water. It is recommended that a person should drink about two liters of water a day. Pack enough water bottles for every one in the group to meet this recommended amount. Don't assume that you will have access to free water wherever you go. This is not always the case.
Step 3
Cooking your own food can be one of the best experiences of your camping trip. On one hand, it saves money that you would normally be spending at a restaurant. On the other hand, it can be really fun. Take along a portable stove and enjoy your favorite meal surrounded by nature. Or, if you're really comfortable with the idea, cook your food over a camp fire. Either way, you're likely to spend less money by cooking your food yourself than you would if you paid someone to cook it for you.

Know Your Budget

Step 1
When you are planning your trip, avoid camping grounds that charge you to stay overnight. There are a number of places that you and your family can sleep for free. Most national and state parks allow you to camp overnight; although, some might require you to register or apply in advance. If you know how to pitch a tent, or don't mind learning, it can be such a great experience to sleep out in untouched nature. When you are deciding where to camp, call around and ask about access to restrooms and showers.
Step 2
If you have an idea of where you would like to go, call and get information about the place. Find out if there is an entrance fee. If there is an entrance fee, ask about discounts or peak hours. Some campgrounds stop charging after a certain time of day. It can't hurt to be prepared and know exactly what everything is going to cost before getting on the road.
Step 3
Have an idea of where you plan to park before you set out. If you are going to be moving around during the camping trip, look into areas where you can park your car for hours at a time for free. National and state parks usually provide parking lots. Find out where these are located. Also, ask about overnight parking if you plan to leave your car overnight. Avoiding towing fees and tickets is definitely a good way to save money on a camping trip.
 

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