By Guest Blogger, Ted Kasper

A typical vacation, even with just a family of four, can become quite expensive. There are costs for transportation, lodging, food—and don’t forget the entertainment. Amusement park tickets, museum admission, historic tours, boat rentals and the like all add to vacation expenses. RV family vacations are, on average, 26 to 74 percent less expensive than travel by personal car, airline or cruise ship.

Here are some tips that will help you save money while still enjoying all the fun, freedom and flexibility that RVing has to offer.

  • Camp closer to home. There’s no need to venture outside your home state! For example, in Michigan, there are over 1,000 campgrounds located near popular destinations, along major tourist routes and even in metropolitan areas. Remember, you’re always on vacation at the campsite, even if it’s only an hour drive from home.
  • Stay longer in one place. Many RV parks are vacation destinations in their own right, offering something for everyone—swimming pools, playgrounds, game rooms, boating, fishing, nature trails, planned activities and more!
  • Eat in. Cook your family favorites in the convenience of an RV to avoid the high costs of eating out. Better yet, cook over your campfire!
  • Drive 55 instead of 65. For every 1 mph increase over 55 mph, fuel efficiency decreases 2.2 percent.
  • Adjust home thermostats to save energy when traveling.
  • Pack light and purchase firewood, water and other camping materials at the campground to keep the RV lightweight while traveling.
  • Tune up the engine of your motorhome or tow vehicle, inflate tires properly and conduct regular maintenance to maximize fuel efficiency.
  • Use the grade of fuel recommended by the engine manufacturer to increase miles per gallon.
  • Travel during off-peak times. Avoid rush hour or travel at night when the weather is cooler and the vehicle air conditioning is needed less.

For more information about RV vacations, visit the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) Web site,

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  1. Traveling by RV can cost alot of money. Sometimes more then an average vacation. I would have to say it can be much more fun though, you can have comfort and enjoy the outdoors at the same time. Being able to eat in is a great way to save money on long travels. Some good tips.

  2. Denise from Ark

    Even small bundles of firewood seem to be exceedingly pricey at campgrounds. When camping in rural, forested locations, we often go out looking for locals who supplement their incomes by cutting firewood. Sometimes those people will deliver it.

    However, it would be interesting if someone would crunch the numbers and see if it truly IS cheaper to buy firewood at a campground where you pay $5 for a small bundle, vs. how much it actually does cost to add the weight to your rig and take your own firewood. This would assume that the home firewood was free (easy to do at my house) or acquired more inexpensively as cordwood laid in as winter stock for the fireplace.

  3. John Jackman

    Our park charges for anyone who is not a member of your immediate family, My 28 year old daughter and 4 year old grandson do not qualify.
    I know it is a business but this is one of the few things we can do together that is fun and provides memories builder.
    I do have a family of 3 other kids and my wife to go together but as I can accomodate up to about 8 people with my trailer it seems a waste not to be able to use it to the fullest…
    These are the kind of things that kids remember after we are gone as being good times and helps to improve the family circle.

  4. leadfoot41

    I was quite surprised when we got back into rving 2 yrs ago that alot of places include only 2 people now & charge for a third person under the age of 18, because we have custodyof our grandson who is 16 now. It was hard to take at the beginning especially when yoy are on a fix income. Can’t do as much rving as we had hoped.