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> How Can I Keep Costs Down On Long Trip?
rvmamabel
post Jun 12 2010, 08:29 PM
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Hi everyone,

So of course I'm seeking your expertise here again. We're leaving for our first long trip of 8 weeks cross-country in just 18 days. I've been planning and researching as much as possible. We've had our 35' TT for one year, and spent seven weeks in it, for smaller trips. However, this trip is getting expensive. I'm hoping to keep costs down, but know that some are fixed: gas, entry fees, grocery bills, etc. Nevertheless, I'm feeling that the costs are really mounting, and we haven't even left home yet! In an effort to keep campground fees down I've:

1--Joined Passport America. ($50)
2--Purchased a large portable dump tank ($270)

I was going to get a generator, but that's possibly another $1,000 before even pulling out of the driveway, and I'm not sure it's an investment that will pay itself back. Today I went shopping for mobile internet access, and that could add up to another $800!

Help!

Any ideas as to how I can keep costs down for the next two months? We won't eat out much at all and won't spend a lot of money on touristy-junk or in convenience stores, so that's not an issue. Am I missing any potential cost savings? Hate to sound like a cheap-o, but I know we are all a cost-conscious bunch, and sure would appreciate any other ideas.
Thanks so much,
m
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Deb&Bob
post Jun 13 2010, 02:42 AM
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You don't need mobile internet access. Most camp grounds or RV parks will have WiFi internet access. some charge a fee, but alot don't. Most of the better RV parks don't charge for WiFi.

Have a good and safe trip. biggrin.gif
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nedmtnman
post Jun 13 2010, 09:04 AM
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We are fulltimers and use campground wifi so i don't have an air card. Passport America is a good idea and if you have a golden age passport from the national park service corp. of engineer campgrounds are good. I also use this site to locate campgrounds and plan my stays accordingly. If you use the passport america campgrounds that will take care of the generator problem.


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John Blue
post Jun 13 2010, 11:10 AM
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I agree with the other post. I would drop the generator and air card. Stay in parks that have power and free Wi-Fi. Golden Age card is great if you have one at age 62. Remember you can add more toys in your box later as you see what your needs are in RV land. Start out slow and enjoy the travels as you go. Most all parks have a dump station so you will not need the Blue Boy.


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pianotuna
post Jun 15 2010, 02:37 PM
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Hi m,

If you surf to this web site:

http://www.rv-camping.org/

and click on a state and scroll down there is a list of campsites that are either extremely low cost--or even free. Some even include electricity, a few have water and some are "full hook up". Nebraska seems to be the "winner" in that regard.

I'd return the blue tote. You won't need it unless you plan to stay in one location for a week at a time.

Have a wonderful trip!


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Lindsay Richards
post Jun 15 2010, 04:38 PM
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The best way to save money on a long camping trip is to leave your wife at home, but I suspect that isn't going to work. Use your toad for all exploring. Stay 2 nights per stop and eat at least 2 meals a day in the coach. Avoid the touristty places. When you do eaat out, go to the local places (a meat and 3 veggies). The food is better and more plentiful and you will save money as well as get a feel for the area. Use concrete boondocks at least half the time whccih will cut your camping expenses in half. Use Passport America as hour first choice. Join Harvest Host.


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RLM
post Jun 15 2010, 06:06 PM
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QUOTE(rvmamabel @ Jun 12 2010, 06:29 PM) *

Hi everyone,

We're leaving for our first long trip of 8 weeks cross-country in just 18 days.


8 weeks or 18 days. Whcih??

Passport America is a good deal if you stay at enought of those campgrounds to pay for the card. The PPA campgrounds tend not ot honor the discount on the weekends, tho.

Groceries aren't an issue. You have to eat whether it's at home or in the RV. Gas prices vary because of state taxes. Find the cheaper states to buy in by researching at websites like Gasbuddy.com Get a credit card that offers 5% cash back on fuel at the pump. 5% is a bunch of savings. Get a Flying J RV card. It will provide one cent/gallon discount, but more importantly allow you to use that 5% credit card at "cash price."

You could buy a National Park Pass to save some bucks if you intend for the entire family to visit several of those facilities. Some of the more popular National Parks now charge $25 to get in. It doesn't take many visits with a family to save money with the pass.

If a dump tank and/or generator isn't going to be a long term investment, then why do it?

IF you want to be on the internet for cheap (free), then go to the local library. While you are visiting that small town library, you might find that there is something else in town that might strike your fancy. Like a local mom & pop resturant with great food. Or a thrift store, local museum, etc. You don't have to buy anything, just find out what America is really about.

Go online and check out campsites at recreation.gov for your intended route. Federal campgrounds tend to be cheaper. You won't get the amenities offered by a KOA, but you will save a lot of bucks for a brief stay.



















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Lindsay Richards
post Jun 15 2010, 06:14 PM
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That confused me too. I think he meant in 18 days from the writing, he was leaving on the 2 month trip,


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rvmamabel
post Jun 15 2010, 08:05 PM
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Okay Lindsay, you and I have been down this path before....I AM the wife! You are so guy-centric. I'll forgive you, as you post good advice. Remember, my DH is just along for the ride on the RV! Sometimes I even let him drive smile.gif and I will say he is getting better at hooking and unhooking.

When you say 'concrete boondocks' is that like a Walmart, or am I missin something else there?

To others: good advice. I think I'll keep the tank, as I hope to be Rv'ing for many years to come, so it is an investment. Also, we went two weeks without sewer last summer, and it seemed like every two days we needed to dump. DH isn't great at water conservation yet.

The trip is for 8 weeks. We leave in 14 days! The gas card is a superb idea. Probably not enough time for me to get one, but I can put all the charges on a credit card that offers 5%, and then just pay the credit card off. Thanks for that idea.

I blocked out the first half of the trip, and looks like we are staying at PA campgrounds or national parks for at least the first four weeks. I'd guess there will be some Walmart layovers in there as well. Only two 'resort' campgrounds thus far, and even then just for a few days so the girls can enjoy a pool.

Keep the ideas coming! I appreciate it.
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joez
post Jun 16 2010, 09:48 AM
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Depending on how important reliable internet access is to you (or your daughters) you may want to reconsider an aircard. With a contract cards are free and cost is about $60/month. Someone told me service could be suspended when not in use, also. There are, I think, plans that do not require a contract. We have found depending on campground WiFi to be a major PI*. Finding free hotspots means you have to drive there - was in a Starbucks the other day that was charging for access.

We find that campgrounds along highways, near small towns, and away from lakes, rivers, amusment parks and other attractions tend to be less expensive, and more available when we travel. In other words, places where vacationers do not wish to stay. We are not real big on concrete boondocking and find county/city parks a question mark - some are hidden gems, some are kind of cheap havens for some scary people. Many are far from major roads so unless you have the time and are willing to explore they may not work well - I think west of Mississippi river you will have better success. When we travel into a new area, we typically find a less expensive PA park, then use the towd to explore and find perhaps a better place to stay for a longer time.

Sometimes if we want to eat out but do not want to spend a lot of money, we check the local paper for a community dinner - churches, fire departments, etc. Have had some great chicken, spaghetti, fish, etc. and met some really nice people. We also save a few pennies shopping for produce at roadside stands. Sometimes we will save some dollars by using in town laundromats instead of the more expensive cg ones. Depending on what your interests are, there are some inexpensive specialty museums and other attractions near small towns and medium sized cities. We sometimes will ask the waitress or store clerk where they go for recreation. We have found some killer free beaches and hiking trails, etc. this way.

Good luck on your trip.
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dalsgal
post Jun 16 2010, 03:09 PM
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Avoid any campground close to an interstate as their prices will be higher. Many campgrounds have pools without the Resort classification and will be cheaper. We are a small campground with a really nice pool and our rates are cheaper than the resort prices. We don't have lots of fancy stuff here but we are quiet, clean and safe. You will find there are many like us out there.
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Lindsay Richards
post Jun 16 2010, 07:25 PM
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We donít have a black tank. We have a gray tank and a yellow tank. The yellow tank is labeled black tank, but we always use another facility for what makes it black if possible. (emergencies sometimes happen of course). Wash dishes in a plastic tub in the sink and dump it down the toilet is a great way to conserve the gray tank. Concrete boon docking to me is overnight on a parking lot Wal-Mart, Cracker Barrel, Home Depot, rest stop, church, or whatever. It is opposed to boon docking like at Quartzite or in a BLM area. Several purist have corrected me for calling Wal-Marting boon docking, so I call it concrete boon docking. To use, the gray tank is usually the limiting factor. A Navy shower doesnít take hardly any water at all.


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rvmamabel
post Jun 16 2010, 08:59 PM
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Oh, I never would have thought of the idea of putting grey water in the black tank...super idea. And the campgound near the interstate price difference...also wouldn't have anticipated that, but it does make sense. Keep the good ideas coming...I'm still collecting them!
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Bud in Florida
post Jun 18 2010, 09:12 AM
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We just bought a Palm Pre Plus phone from Verizon. It will crate a mobile wi fi hot spot. Verizon is giving you the service for life free-usually a $40 add on. It works great. We have internet where ever we go and the bill for the phone and the wi fi service is less than we paid before. I had one of those blue dolly tanks and used it ONCE. What a pain-- you can only dump gray water. If you are doing a long trip, you will never be more than one place a long time. So use the dump station or sewer and be on your way. You should be able to go two or three days w/o dumping the gray water tank and you will be heading out in that amount of time. It takes up space and you will never use it! Forget the generator. Unless you are planning a lot of dry camping or staying in a lot of parking lots.
The other advice I have seen is all good. Have a great time. Oh, make sure you tell your credit card companies you will be on the road. You might get challenged if they start seeing lots of charges from different places a long way from home. Also, when you leave home turn off the hot water heater, raise the A/C temp, shut off the water to washing machines, cancel paper. You will be surprised how much you save right there. Also, take a load of quarters and those all in one sheets for laundry
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John Blue
post Jun 18 2010, 09:52 AM
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We also use the same plan as Lindsay. This way you have two tanks to fill up over one. You need to keep a lot of water in the black tank. At the dump station it all goes out the same hose. We have done this for years with no problems. We also use the same plan as Bud at home. Shut down AC power to everything you can. Shut off water, if you have a leak and are gone a long time like we are what a mess that will make in a short time. Leaking water hoses on washing machine are the number one insurance claims for water damage in homes. Make out a check list on everything you need to do before you travel and this will cut mistakes down to zero.


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