Camping is a priceless holiday. It’s a great way to get outdoors and create some timeless memories with your family or loved ones. Camping is also generally considered as a fairly inexpensive holiday, the alternatively low cost option when you consider travelling abroad, where you need to pay for flights, accommodation, transfers and all the rest of it. However, more often than not, a simple camping holiday can end up being quite pricey in itself, and people constantly fall down the same potholes where they could instead be saving a fair bit of money.
We’ve compiled some of our top tips for a proper budget camping trip, so you can forget about the expensive trip to the Carribean or the Maldives, and plan the perfect family get away for a fraction of the price.
What type of camping?
The biggest cost variable when it comes to camping all depends on what type of camping you want to do. Are you happy to pitch up in the middle of a field, or pay to stay on a registered camping site? Or do you want to go on a romantic glamping weekend? These different options will all range in price. The cheapest form of camping would be getting a tent and hitching up in the wild, but that obviously doesn’t suit everyone. The key is to try and cut costs anywhere you can, no matter on what type of camping you chose. If you want to go glamping, check online for good deals and reductions on glamping holidays. If you want to go camping in an RV or caravan, look to buy second hand ones, which would be a good investment if you plan to use it for at least a couple of times a year. You can find some great touring caravans for sale here.
Where to go?
There are campsites dotted around all over, at national parks, forests, recreation areas and other rural parts, all away from the urban hustle and bustle. Your basic campsites usually charge between $15-$30, and this will cover all of the essentials. Again this will vary depending on the size of the pitch you need, whether it’s for a 2 man tent or a 6-berth recreational vehicle. For some more pricey campsites you could be looking at paying $30-$60+, but these will generally have better equipment and better amenities: showers, swimming pools… even tennis courts!
Your budget here will be entirely dependant on what you want in your camping holiday. If your happy with the essentials, you won’t have to spend a great deal.
Things to do?
The next big consideration is what you do at the campsite. At most sites, there should be plenty of inexpensive activities for both adults and kids to take part in. It’s not uncommon for campsites to have hiking trails, lakes and rivers for fishing, swimming and boating, courts for baseball, basketball and more. These should all be free, but you should remember to budget for things you might need to rent for the day, i.e. a fishing road, a baseball bat and so forth. Try to bring as much stuff with you that you might need, so you don’t have to rent at the campsite. For example, renting a bike could cost you near $15 an hour, and that would generally be on top of a deposit- borrow a bike rack for a friend and bring your own with you!
Food and Drink?
Arguably the best bit about camping is the food- BBQ’s, cooked marshmallows, what more could you want? A common pitfall for most campers is forgetting to pack food along with all their camping gear. Buying stocks and provisions at campsite shops will generally be a lot more expensive the buying at bigger stores. The same goes for eating out- there are bound to be some nice local restaurants near your campsite, but try to avoid these! Plan ahead what meals you’re going to eat and prepare accordingly.
Eating well is surprisingly healthy and cheap if you prep properly. Meals like spaghetti, curries, casseroles and stews all make for perfect (and easy) camping meals.
Some other useful tips to shave some money off your camping holiday:
- Borrow camping gear: Be it tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment or tarps, try and borrow camping equipment from friends or relatives. Especially if your only looking to go camping a couple times a year, it’s not worth spending all that money on brand new equipment.
- Buy off-season: If you do want to invest in your own camping equipment, you should do so during the winter and ‘off-peak seasons’. Camping essentials usually go into sales during this time. Also, instead of shopping online you should go into stores like Wal-mart- they’ll have what you need.
- Camping Hot Spots: Most campsites will change their prices depending on the time of year. In busy periods, prices will peak along with demand. If you want to cut costs you can try to avoid camping in the main season. Alternatively, go to quieter campsites where prices will be a bit less competitive.
The bottom line is that, you can make your camping holiday as expensive or inexpensive as you want. Once you’ve got all your gear sorted, you could do a long weekend away around $250. If you follow our handy tips, you’ll save a good deal of money camping holiday.