Following the COVID pandemic, there has been a boom in travel, both domestic and international. But recent sharp increases in inflation have made even the most avid traveler aware of the costs of their excursions. If you’re traveling overseas, there’s just no avoiding the big price tags of flights, rental cars, hotels, and meals out. But if you are looking to travel in the U.S. and Canada, you’ll find that you can save money by opting for RV travel, and even if you’re not one to fly domestically, you may find that RVing is not only a possible cost-saving measure, but one that offers other benefits as well. So let’s compare:
- How you travel: Flying is by far the most expensive way to travel. The average cost of a domestic flight is roughly $400, and you will have to multiply that number by how many you have traveling. Flying also means, unless you plan on staying in one area, either paying for a rental car or for ride shares to get where you need to go. Driving your own vehicle is the cheapest option, but it does mean hotel stays wherever you arrive, and it often means more driving (which adds costs) because you can’t stay as close to a location as you might like (particularly for areas such as parks). RVing becomes a nice compromise. It may cost more per mile, but it saves on other costs, such as hotel stays and meals.
- Where you stay: RV travel offers the least expensive option as far as stays. On average, you’ll pay about $40 a night for a good RV campground (and you can save that by boondocking) and even when you add in either the rental cost for an RV or an average per day cost for an RV you own, you’ll come out much cheaper than with a hotel room, which runs about $200 per night–and remember that if you’re party is bigger, you may need more than one room. An added benefit is that RV camping can often get you closer to the places you want to be, particularly if you like being in nature.
- Meals: One of the best cost saving measures of the RV experience is the money you can save on meals. The eating out required of a hotel stay for a family of four will cost on the cheap end $100 per day, while nicer dining can run over $200 per day. In an RV you can stock all your favorite foods, make a family meal that will be a fraction of the cost of eating out, and provide an opportunity for bonding with those you love.
- The intangibles: RV travel offers a flexibility to stop where you want to and travel free from the schedules of flying and check in/out times. Furthermore, when you travel by RV you can carry more of the things you need or want with you, plus you get to sleep in a familiar bed. And because you’re often right where you want to be for the activities you want to do, you don’t have to waste time or money in commuting.
RV travel may not be for everyone. If you prefer spending time in cities and moving around by foot, the traditional hotel stay may be right for you. But if you want an affordable vacation that offers freedom to do the things when you want and where you want, RVing may be the vacation experience you’re looking for. You’ll meet new people, enjoy some of the comforts of home, find you have more quality time with your fellow travelers, and save money!
Written by Ivan Young in partnership with Marv Golden Pilot Supplies