One Way to Beat High Gas Prices (Guaranteed!)

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July 1, 2008

Have high gas prices got you down? Have you been pondering whether to even take an RV trip this summer? Have you considered making your daily commute in an electric golf cart? Fear not, my friends. You can have your RV, and camp in it too.

Of course, the secret is simple. If you want to beat these skyrocketing gas prices, you simply need to…

Airstream RV Blog #70 – How to Beat High Gas Prices from Sean Michael on

…camp close to home!

Of course, this is only one way to beat high gas prices. I’m sure there are others. But for me, camping close to home highlights much of what’s wonderful about owning an RV.

It’s counterintuitive, to be sure. When we buy our RVs, we think about hauling them all around the continent. We imagine traveling from Florida to Alaska and all points in between. But one of the most extraordinary aspects of RV ownership is the sense of adventure it brings to ordinary locations.

Camping, you see, is camping. Sure, it’s nice to camp alongside the rim of the Grand Canyon. But once the sun goes down and the campfire lights up, you find yourself focused on the fundamentals. The simple basics of the experience are what make it so enjoyable.

The first time I went camping, I was young – probably around seven or eight years old. I slept in a Boy Scouts sleeping bag. I awoke amidst chilly early morning air to the sound of chirping birds, and the sight of glistening dew. I had enjoyed a fantastic childhood camping memory, and it all transpired in my family’s backyard, in the shadow of our house.

Shortly after Kristy and I bought our Airstream, we tried camping in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Even in this most unromantic of locations, we discovered that RV camping was still surprisingly fun. There’s tremendous value in simply stepping outside your normal everyday comfort zone. There’s upside in trying something different, even if it’s something you’ve been ignoring for years.

As newcomers to the RV lifestyle, we also took our newly purchased travel trailer to a nearby state park. This particular park is one of the most spacious and beautiful in our state’s system. It is located about 10 miles from our home, and offers rustic camping amidst a recently upgraded campground. But we had ignored it for years. It took buying an RV to get us out of our house and into that forest.

Quite frankly, those who insist “there’s nothing to do here” are usually busy doing nothing. Most people ignore the opportunities that exist in their hometown.

Wherever you live, there’s plenty to do. The question is whether you appreciate and value it enough to get out and do it. Which brings me to today’s point about RVs, camping, and beating high gas prices.

You may think that you need to haul your RV 1000 miles away to have a good time. You’d be mistaken. Good times are had in the company of good friends and family. You can be lonely and miserable in Paris, London, New York, and Tokyo. You can be happy and satisfied in Mayberry.

Quite simply, if you’re concerned about how gas prices affect your RV travels, perhaps you need to look close to home. Some of the best experiences of your life await, and they may be found right in your own backyard.

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  1. Louella, thanks! It sounds like you have the right idea. I must say that for full-timing, a 5er would be high on my list. And yes, A/C is a must! Kristy and I are about to get back on the road, this time headed West. Our plan is to visit Colorado — preferably a chilly corner of it!

    Ruth, thanks also! Look for lots more new videos to be on the way. We depart this week on another chapter of “The Long, Long Honeymoon.” And yes, it’s remarkable how one can RV close to home and still feel “a thousand miles away!” This has been one of our most popular videos, and I suspect it’s because most RVers have experienced it!

  2. Ruth Blanton

    I just discovered this web site and am loving your videos! I am fortunate to live in the Hill Country of Texas and there are dozens of places all within 1-2 hours that are wonderful places to go camping. Thousand Trails, of which I am a member, TX State Parks, Corps of Engineers Lake Parks, Private Parks in every direction. So if gasoline really goes up beyond what I feel I can spend for long trips, I can still keep on enjoying camping and the great outdoors! You are so right about it feeling like you are really “away”, no matter how close to home you are. One of my favorite places is an hour from my home and I feel I am in another world!

  3. I love your blog! Your videos are entertaining and informative. My husband and I have been living in our 5er since May. Sometimes in our own backyardor a friends’ for 4th of July, to dry camping for a week at a bluegrass festival about 30 miles from home. We both go to work each day but feel a million miles from home with only a certain few people knowing our cell phone # and only woods or fields to look at out most of our windows. Plus the RV has air conditioning and our house doesn’t. We are looking forward to getting on the road to Arizona this fall!

  4. And by the way, Darrel, we’ve done the backyard camping thing too (albeit at Kristy’s parents’ house).

  5. Wayne, you make a great point. If I could go back in time, instead of paying apartment RENT for all of those years (in college, and beyond) I would’ve just bought a nice RV. I don’t know why more people don’t do this.

    Also, I know what you mean about putting vehicles in storage. I hate having them sit too long without being cranked. I’m sure if you do a little research, you can find some diesel storage tips. You may want to get a battery tender, or even drain some fluids if it is going to be sitting for a long time.

  6. Wayne

    Hey this works for me. And I’m totally being a jerk but wanted to say my piece. Buy an RV while you’re still working and just live in it full time. Ok so it’s not all it’s cracked up to be but for a single person I guess it’d be ok for awhile. But now it’s parked as I found a job in the Middle East. I do miss my 5th wheel but look at all the fuel I’m saving?!?!? Booo huh! Just don’t like my newer 2005 Duramax sitting inside storage without monthly starting. But inside is better than outside. I ramble too much.


  7. Hi Sean and Kristi, yet another great video. We too like Elly often just go to our motorhome in the back yard and stay. In fact a couple of weeks ago we came home on a Sunday and I didn’t even step foot in the house until Wed. 😉

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  9. Thanks to everyone for your kind comments. Every time that Kristy and I have camped close to home, we’ve had in blast. In fact, the first time we went to a nearby state park about 10 miles from our house, we planned on staying only 2 nights…but we ended up leaving our camper there for a week! The campsite was affordable and we were having fun.

    Jimmy, thanks for your “Digging” the post. I will check it out! Who knows, maybe we can get some good news out there to the media… 😀

    Cheers to everyone, and have a great 4th of July!

  10. Hi there Sean,

    Another great post. We often forget that our own “backyard” can be a great getaway. There is no reason to travel for days at times when a little piece of heaven is just miles away.

    As for spreading your thoughts, I’ve submitted your post to digg. I invite everyone here to go ahead and Digg this post and try to get our friends post and video on the front page. Link below:

    Digg away!

  11. Elly

    Nothing wrong with “close to home”. We have spent a couple outings at a campground less than five miles away and had a great time. And to do the ultimate to save fuel we have even camped out in the back yard, ( 200 ‘ from the house). When the sun goes down you can imagine you are most anywhere. Just being away from the TV and phone is a real plus!

  12. John Jackman

    I have had a trailer for 6 years and it has been parked in a park that is in an area that I have been going to for over 50 years. I bought my current TT from a friend and it is like a cottage at a small fraction of the price. I would like to travel some day but for now with my family this is just right…… It is about 2 and 3/4 hours from home. and near Algonquin Park. I can drive for 75 miles in each direction and find 100’s of things to see and do… all small town life ….

  13. Jim Burnett

    Sean – a wonderful and timely reminder that we often overlook great experiences close to home. Drew’s idea of sharing your post with others is a great one.

  14. Thanks Peter! I’m happy to hear you’ll try camping close to home. It really is fun. Not only do you keep the dollars in your own community, but you’ll probably discover some things about your area that you’d never knew. It’s pretty much a guaranteed good time.

    Drew, I like your media idea. All we seem to hear is bad news… In reality, life remains pretty darn great. We have plenty of attractive local camping options in this country; we just need to start exploring them. Happy camping to you!

  15. Drew Mueller

    We have gone to a place no more than 35 miles from our house for years. It’s on the Ca. Delta and we take advantage of the opportunity often.

    Sean- I would forward your entry to as many media organizations as possible to try to reverse the negative press all this gas prices stuff has done to people. It has caused them to loose focus and helped the country go into a tail spin about this.

    Good luck and happy camping!

  16. Sean, Great stuff. I loved your video, and what a great, simple idea. I think I will take off for a short camping trip next weekend.
    Peter Mercer