July 4, 2009

49 Ways to Save Money While on the Road

1. Watch those speeds. Your already fuel-guzzling RV only consumes more fuel as you lead foot across the country rather than cruising at a steady 55 mph.

2. Lighten the load. A heavier rig (and trailer!) works harder, thus uses more fuel, thus costing you money.

3. Reuse rather than replace. While paper plates, plastic utensils, and other "disposable" items do help keep onboard weights lower (as opposed to their plumper counterparts),this practice also requires spending more cash to replace these items again and again.

4. Skip the water view. Since campground fees often vary by location, our advice is to skip the often pricey scenic sites whenever possible. You can't see what your missing during the night, and we bet you'll be too busy during the day to enjoy the scene outside your RV's window. Make up for it by taking the spouse on a (free) romantic walk to see what the fuss is all about.

5. Ask for discounts when checking into an RV park. Beyond the obvious ones, lowered nightly stays have are sometimes gained for Triple A members, military service, and police and fire personnel as well as a few others.

6. Buy a diesel. Yes, it's more money upfront, but boasts lower fuel costs (and better mileage) and diesel's well-known longevity should make up for it - and then some - over the life of the vehicle.

7. Fuel lies at the heart of an RV's ongoing costs. Therefore, it makes sense to belong and practice membership in as many fuel suppliers as possible, where lots of money can be saved.

8. Eat in. Dining out almost always costs more money.

9. And if you must eat out, favor places offering early-bird specials. You'll find similarly sized portions, but lunch-time prices. Moreover, breakfast and lunch provide the biggest bang for the dining-out buck.

10. Only pay for what you can use. When reserving a campsite, don't sign on for full hookups if you won't be using them. Carefully examine what you need - and what you can do without - to avoid doubling up on expenses.

11. Don't overpay for cell phone use. Shop around. Long-time phone commitments are soooo over.

12. Libraries have thousands of books just waiting for someone to read them. Loads of new titles, too. Best of all, they're free, begging the question, why buy splurge at the book store?

13. If a national park(s) is on the itinerary, definitely make sure to purchase a National Park Pass, which grants users (and their compatriots) free access to the nearly 400 locations within the system.

14. Keep those tires properly inflated. Doing so both increases fuel economy and prevents blow-outs, which should hopefully put an end to afternoons stranded on the side of the highway after a blow-out.

15. Join a roadside service. Yes, there's a fee, but it's much cheaper and more reliable than expensive tows in parts unknown.

16. Towable RVs last longer and are cheaper to operate and maintain than their motorized counterparts. It's not a value judgment, just a fact.

17. Visit all those primo vacation spots out of season or, better yet, when one season blends into another one. Disney world in January and February is significantly cheaper than the summer and holiday times when visitation (and prices) are at their highest.

18. Don't be afraid to price shop for campgrounds. However, be sure to factor in the recreation offered at each. A boring campground will cost you more money since you'll need to pay for your fun someplace else.

19. Subscribe to magazines rather than buying them piece meal. This nifty practice saves readers easily 50 percent and often markedly more per year. Better yet, hit that library and read the latest issues for free.

20. This is a nod to my economics teacher. Got extra cash lying around? Pay down that credit card debt. The juice on that Visa alone can cream your bottom line.

21. If you're looking into buying a vehicle to tow behind the motorhome, get the lightest, most fuel-efficient one you can. Don't overspend here. This is not a "status" vehicle, rather something simply to get you and yours from point A to B.

22. A high-quality, previously-owned RV obviously costs less than a new one. We can thank deprecation for that. However, that's assuming the vehicle is in good shape and buyers can identify a potential lemon when they see one. And in this market, there are great deals to be had.

23. Easy costs more. Convenience stores are just that, but expect significantly higher prices than traditional grocery stores. Campground stores, even more convenient still, are often even pricier. If the shopping list includes more than five items, take a trip into town where your dollar goes farther.

24. There are lots of free or low-cost attractions out there. State parks rarely charge admission; national parks fees are usually very low or non-existent. Call ahead for free days at museums and the like. Favor matinees over prime-times for movies. Get in the habit of asking, "Is that the best rate you can give me?"

25. Impulse buys rarely work out like you'd want them to.

26. Easy on the souvenirs. New rule: Every kid gets one souvenir. One. It's wise, of course, to share this mandate with youngsters before hitting the amusement park.

27. Don't over think the fun. I haven't met a kid who doesn't relish a chance to spend an afternoon in a swimming pool. Consider other low-cost, high-fun activities such as dropping a few lines in the pond, shooting hoops, teaching your daughter the strike zone, tossing the Frisbee, learning a new sport, exploring the woods, or riding bikes. What do these activities all have in common? Each provides lots of one-on-one with children, great exercise, and almost no money to enjoy.

28. When buying an RV, ask the dealership to throw in free RV storage or a year's worth of oil changes in order to secure the sale. You'd be surprised what they'll do to make quota.

29. Ask yourself this question when contemplating a purchase, any purchase: What purpose will it serve?

30. Don't be shy about employing that senior discount. You've earned it, you deserve it, so use it already.

31. Price shop when it comes time for fuel. A dime saved per gallon adds up big-time over the course of a summer's worth of travels.

32. To keep weight issues (and therefore gas issues down),enforce this rule: Every member of the crew can only bring one bag. Discuss.

33. Be aggressive when it comes lowering the RV's weight. Do you really need all those: 1) tools; 2) clothes; 3) canned goods, 4) cooking supplies; 5) weighty extravaganzas you know you'll never use. And empty that roof pod while you're at it, since most are only good for: 1) adding unnecessary weight; 2) impairing aerodynamics; 3) risking (your) life and limb when trying to access them for grandma's Swedish meatball recipe.

34. Shorten the trip. Must you really venture to the other end of the country for that ultimate vacation? Chances are your family would settle for a shorter driver and more leisure time instead. The tradeoff not only saves a small fortune in fuel, tolls, and wear-and-tear, but gets the vacation started that much faster.

35. I know you like your bottled water, but, well, come on now.

36. Visit the websites of the attractions you're most interested in. You'd be surprised at the wallet-saving coupons many offer - on the website only - as further incentive for a visit.

37. Recycle like a fiend. Those five-cent aluminum cans really add up. And they're ten cents in Michigan. Mother Earth will thank you.

38. A digital camera pays for itself in terms of forgoing expensive film development charges at the drug store. Not only that, but digital images are easier (and cheaper) to send and receive. Furthermore, a decent printer enables users to print out the best photos of the bunch.

39. Automatic bill paying, at best, yields discounts from creditors and, at worst, provides peace of mind, no missed payments, late charges, or mailing costs.

40. Before you leave home, put the newspaper on hold, lower the heat, suspend gym memberships, postpone garbage pick-ups, and contemplate any and all moves that can save you dough while you're away.

41. Unless you're full-timing, outfit the rig with second-hand items. Why spend top dollar for the gourmet cooking items, fancy linens and towels, or the latest gadget, gear, or gizmo when this is only a vacation home?

42. Keep the kids out of the arcade, gift shop, and souvenir stands as much as possible. Your accountant will thank you. Besides, wasn't this supposed to be a family trip? Start bonding with your kids, people.

43. Even paying modest prices for music downloads via the Internet saves major dollars as opposed to purchasing traditional CDs when gathering tunes for the family road trip.

44. My recommendation is cash in pocket is almost always quickly spent. Get in the habit of hitting the ATM fewer times and taking out less.

45. Just because you're on vacation, happy and relaxed and loving life, doesn't mean you have to spend money like a drunken sailor. Lose the carefree attitude when it comes to your cash. The bills will be waiting for you when you get home.

46. A night of board games is cheap and enduring fun.

47. Favor RV parks who refuse to charge extra for: running the air conditioning, showers, pets, or extra large rigs.

48. Do you know what a full holding tank weighs? Lots. Empty those tanks whenever possible, and resist the urge to top off on the freshwater supply. Remember, lower weights results in better gas mileage and less vehicle wear and tear.

49. Tickets for not wearing seat belts or speeding are futile expenses.

Article written by Brent Peterson for the January 2009 issue of the Camp Club USA E-newsletter.

Brent is the author of the Complete Idiot's Guide to RVing.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Brent_Peterson

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