Thinking of doing a camping trip with the family soon, well here are some ways to save money on camping. It can be a very inexpensive way of having heaps of fun as a family together for your next holiday destination. whether it’s a few days or a few weeks I have put this article together with the intent of giving you a few options for a cheap but fabulous way to share special memories with your loved ones that will last a lifetime.
Camping doesn’t have to be expensive and certainly doesn’t have to break the bank, in fact, it could be just as economical as staying at home. Particularly if you can stay somewhere close to where you live. It may not cost any more than a normal week at home. And camping is a great way to spend time with the ones you love.
Stay close to Home.
Depending on your place of residence there are usually places within 2 hours driving of most major populated areas. So try hard to save money on camping by finding a spot that may be acceptable to you, do some research, and a week or two duration may not amount to much more than the household budget normally permits while at home.
Staying close to home and only driving a minimal distance may be no more expensive for fuel than you would use going to work every day. As when you arrive at your destination there may be no reason to move the car until the return trip home. After fuel the two main expenses left are camping fees/park fees and food/drinks, so how can we deal with these 2 items of expense.
Firstly, can we find a good camp spot for FREE?
You may be surprised by the number of free campsites available within a couple of hours drive of most major cities. They may not be right in the major tourist areas, or on the coastline near the beach. And I know some of them are no more than a patch of ground. However, a lot of them are beautiful places, well maintained, provided by local councils, with good recreational facilities.
These all have different time limits of stay, however, it is possible to find campgrounds that sometimes even have available toilets and showers and facilities and activities supplied by the local town. Regularly cleaned and mowed by local government staff, supplied for our benefit at no cost. In some free campsites I have stayed, you can stay for up to 14 days FREE. And they are spectacular places.
I have stayed on rivers where you can swim throughout the day, go fishing in the same spot, kayak for hours, and also put in the tinny to set some crab pots. If you have a small to medium size boat with the power, you can even water ski, all within 30 meters of your campsite.
There are many apps available today with vast amounts of information about camping and campgrounds. Go ahead and do yourself a big favor spend 4-5 dollars and download a copy of one of the many available for finding free and inexpensive campsites all over the country. You will have the ability to find some very good sites at your fingertips. A good app will save you a lot of money.
Save on food.
One area that you can save is to prepare food at home and freeze it. Meals will generally stay frozen for the first couple of days at the bottom of the car fridge, obviously even longer if you have a 12 v freezer. These meals are then very easily defrosted and reheated when required and enjoyed as a meal.
Depending on some meals I would say some taste even better after a couple of days plus the cleaning up is usually much less, which is a definite bonus for mum. Soft drinks should be bought in bulk at home, can soft drinks bought by the carton are very inexpensive.
There is no real reason for money to be spent on items of food and drink that would not normally be purchased in the weekly grocery order. Don’t shop at the small town convenience store unless you really have to, as they are much more expensive than the larger city supermarkets. Also, while camping there is no need for day to day spending on takeaways.
Rice is good inexpensive food that can be very fulfilling and flavorsome as a side dish and easily prepared at camp. Bread can be enjoyed fresh daily courtesy of a camp oven over an open fire, plus it’s delicious and you can whip up all sorts of ingredients to mix in. There are many recipes for bread, but a simple one is usually best. Flour, salt, water, and yeast are all you need.
Long life milk is very tasty, and sometimes difficult to tell the difference from fresh. It is no more expensive than fresh, sometimes cheaper, and can be carried and stored without refrigeration in their containers till you need to open one.
If you need to buy gear for your camping trip, can I suggest you go for second-hand stuff depending on what you require. A lot of times there is camping equipment for sale in excellent condition at a very reasonable price, just make sure to do your research.
Bring old pots and pans from home they don’t need to be in good condition, because after a couple of weeks over an open fire they will surely get a workout. Plastic knives and forks are good but purchase a couple of enamel plates for meals, they will last many years.
One major cost of staying in some high priced areas is the cost of activities and entertainment. But in a campground, the activities for the family can sometimes be more enjoyable and more numerous than you can do in a short stay. If your near a creek or river than fishing for dinner would be mandatory. Swimming, kayaking and just having a good time. How about the walking excursions that come at no cost, and the learning and enjoyment of exploring the outdoors.
Different games children can play right in front of you, while you sit in your comfortable camp chair. Tag, skip rope, hide-and-seek are just a few. The budding artist has some wonderful opportunities to learn and sharpen their skill among the beautiful landscapes that surround us. Some cheap brushes and watercolors to get them started is a very cost effective activity for the outdoors and camping. Please take a look at my post on camping activities for the kids for more ideas to keep everyone happy.
Give me Fire.
Don’t pay for firewood. It is sometimes difficult to source native firewood so make sure you bring a pile of logs, as it can be expensive to purchase a small bag full. One of the most enjoyable parts of camping is having a fire, but remember you will have to check the local campground for the rules and regulations around open fires, also is there any local fire restrictions in force.
The very act of creating fire can be a wonderful opportunity, for the children to partake in something some kids never get a chance to do. The knowledge of how to gather wood and set it to create a campfire safely is a life skill. And one that will stay with them forever. There is little or no cost involved, but I can guarantee it will be one of the highlight moments in their memories of the trip.
Many campsites give us the opportunity to light a fire, and sit around it and tell stories as a family. After the meal is finished and we are toasting marshmallows, these are the times that will be remembered for a lifetime. These are memories that don’t cost a cent but are forever precious. Some of these benefits, when added to the bonding of the family unit or the strengthening of friendship, are worth more than gold itself, but cost very little.
Go ahead and start your research and you will find many ways to save money on camping and still have the time of your lives. We live in a beautiful part of the world, where the great outdoors is a treasure trove of excitement, learning, and wonderment.
If you have an idea or a special place you like to visit please feel free to leave us a comment.
If you have any more questions about how to save money on camping, I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the comments section below.
Remember! Leave it cleaner than you found it, only footprints not rubbish.