Camping is great way to spend quality time as a family and create some great memories. Here are some ideas that will help you making your next camping trip affordable and fun.
1. Stay Close to Home: You will spend less money on gas and cause less wear-and-tear on your car and camper if you pick a place within a 1 to 2 hour drive of your home. Just getting outside of your town will give you different scenery and allow you to explore new areas.
2. Meal Plan: Even if you don't meal plan 100% of the time at home, you should plan out your meals for your camping trip. At home, you have the luxury of searching your pantry and full-size refrigerator for food if you don't have anything planned for the next meal. While camping, you don't have that option and will end up having to take the whole gang out to eat if you aren't prepared.
3. Shop at Your Local Store: Stock up on all your food supplies at your regular store before you head out on your trip. You likely already have their frequent shopper card for discounts and you know how the store is laid out. It will save you time and money not having to find a store near the campground.
4. Avoid Holiday Weekends: Campgrounds charge higher rates on holiday weekends because they can and because they plan more costly activities for their guest. Pick any other weekend or during the week and you will save money each night. Also, many campgrounds offer discounts if you stay a week over just a few days.
5. Look for Local/Free Attractions. We pick one local museum or destination per day on our longer camping trips. If we tried to cram in many stops in one day, we would end up spending too much money and have grumpy, tired kids by the end of the day. Look not only for State Parks in the area, but check out the local town, city, and county parks too. Look for ones with nature centers, hiking trails, and playgrounds.
6. Plan, Plan, Plan: Plan out meals, plan out rainy day activities, plan out your reasons to leave the campground. Having to run to a big-box store because you forgot 1 item for dinner is likely to cost you much more money that just the cost of that item.
Taking a family camping trip is a great way to bond with your family and see new sites. Keeping it affordable will allow you to take more or longer trips throughout the camping season.