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Road tripping and RV travel is not only an exciting and easy way to sightsee, but it’s often more cost-effective than typical air travel. 

And with an unexpected pandemic in the mix, it can also be the safer way to travel. However, without careful planning, even RV travel can rack up unexpected costs and force you to spend more than originally anticipated. But with the right tools and preparation, this doesn’t have to be the case at all. Here are just a few ways you can prepare and save money while RV traveling on your next big road trip!

Know Your Expenses

While this may seem like an obvious step, listing out all of your expenses can help you visualize and possibly even cut out some less needed expenses. It can also help you later on when you need to set out a budget for your trip. 

Initially, list out your typical road trip costs such as food and gas prices in the states you’re visiting, as this can vary greatly and make a big impact on your spending. Be sure to also include miscellaneous expenses such as souvenirs or cell phone bills, as these costs can often go overlooked when setting out your budget. You may also want to look back on your spending habits in previous trips, as this will help you understand how much you typically spend and create a healthier financial plan going forward. 

Save Money While RV Traveling - budget spreadsheet

Set A Budget

The next step to limit your spending and help save some money is by setting a budget. After listing out your expenses, you should have a good idea of how much money you’ll need for your road trip. It’s important to set a budget that’s comfortable for you and won’t break the bank. You may also want to consider an emergency fund. This should typically have enough money to last you up to three months without an income. Even if you don’t have an emergency fund now, starting one up can help you build healthy financial habits in the future and allow you to be prepared for whatever comes your way during your road trip.

Setting a strict budget and sticking to it will not only help you to limit your spending, but it will also keep you organized and able to save up the perfect amount for future trips as well!

Track Your Spending

Saving and organizing your spending doesn’t stop once you set a budget and hit the road! While on your trip, be sure to track your spending along the way. This can help you to adjust your budget if need be and create an even more accurate budget in the future. Since you will be on the road and have less access to in-person banks, consider getting an online spending account. This will allow you to track your spending at the touch of a button! 

Maintain Your RV

If you’re a full-time RVer, you’ll know that maintaining an RV can cost thousands of dollars a year. And while part-time RVers may only spend a few hundred dollars a year on maintaining their RV, it can still rack up quickly if not tracked or maintained carefully. 

Needless to say, maintaining an RV can be a costly task, but it can be even more pricey if you don’t maintain it regularly and let problems go unfixed. Before your road trip, make sure your RV is in good working condition and doesn’t need an oil change or any other maintenance. This will allow you to spread out the costs over time and ensure you won’t be spending even more later on. The last thing you’ll want to do during your road trip is stop by a mechanic and put your adventure on pause, so making sure your RV is in great shape before hitting the road is a must!

Prep Your Meals 

Oftentimes, a majority of one’s vacation budget will inevitably go to eating at restaurants. While this is a great splurge on occasion, it can be costing you more than you realize. Meal prepping is an often overlooked but effective way of saving your money out on the road. Not only is this a more cost-effective option to eating out, but it will also allow you the convenience of having food ready at your disposal. Be sure to prep meals simple to make and ones you’ll actually eat for the whole week to ensure no food will go to waste. 

This simple trick will allow you to spend less time grocery store shopping and at restaurants and more time out on the road!

Saving money out on the road can be a tricky task, but with the right tools and resources, it can be achieved and help your financial habits in the long-haul. Now it’s time to head out on the road and get the travel bug!