How to Save Money on Campgrounds
We all love to feel the anticipation of the wonderful road ahead, the fun destinations, roasting marshmallows over the campfire, and the back to nature experience. As we all love camping, more of us frugally minded campers will find themselves wondering how to save money on campgrounds, which are often quite expensive for what they are selling you. Oftentimes, it is a mere concrete slab with some hookups, not just a few yards away from another campsite and some of us can't help to think "this is really smaller than our backyard". As we do enjoy the destination, given the "nature" of campsites, the cost can often feel like we have shot ourselves in the foot. We have come up with some creative ways on how you can save money on campsites.
Call ahead. Often if you call ahead to many privately owned campgrounds and tell them that you are looking for the best price between campgrounds in their area, they'll quote you any special that they are running. Sometimes they'll offer you a perk such as special desired or "elite" sites, or free coupons to a restaurant near the campground. Either way it helps to put the campground into a selling position rather than just showing up "needing" them for a place to sleep.
Join clubs such as Good Sam Club. Good Sam club has a network of campgrounds all over the United States and Canada who cooperate in giving discounts to club members. Oftentimes the discount is 10% off of their campground price, above and beyond any further discounts that may be offered. Good Sam Club does cost to join, but they offer 1 time lifetime memberships as well so that you can be a life member and always get the special.
Consider staying at free campgrounds. If you use a search engine, there are many localities across the United States that offer free campsites to stay at for a couple of nights. Some are on donation basis, but many are there for free. Also consider that you can park in many places in national forests and camp completely for free (often without hookups), and many Walmart, Sam's Club, and Cracker Barrels will allow you to sleep overnight in their parking lot in an RV. It's a common courtesy however in these lots to remain low key, and always to be a patron of the store that you stay at.
Ask for senior discounts. Many people who enjoy the use of campgrounds are in their senior years, and many different campgrounds along with other fun activities will offer a senior discount for those over a certain age. It is usually not very much, but it is always nice to get a few percent off the price. Even a savings of 10% over time can really add up. Often the senior discount can be applied on top of any other discount offer that the campground has.
Always watch for coupons in local circulars. Many campgrounds will advertise in these types of publications and will include coupons for campground savings. You can often use these coupons with any other discount that you may get. These coupons can often be used with senior discounts and the Good Sam membership, so the savings for a campground can really add up. Sometimes the coupons can also be found online in the form of a code that you can use on the campground web site.
If you implement all of these techniques, you'll really be saving a lot of money on campgrounds. Just be sure to keep your wits about you, and keep frugality in mind during the entire process. Be sure to always ask for any type of discount or savings opportunities during the entire process. Sometimes it even helps to rent a campground for a full week in order to get further savings.
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