Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory
The Cost of RVing
By Alan Lidstone
State and County Parks
– Every state in the union provides and maintains State Parks that provide extensive facilities and services to hikers, campers, and RVers. Sources of information include Internet sites, 800 telephone numbers, brochures, and materials provided at the Interstate Highway System welcome stations and visitors' centers. Many State Parks offer reduced campground fees to senior citizens and other discount programs for RVers and campers.
County and other regional parks are the "sleepers" of the campgrounds and RV resorts. They tend to be very casual and relaxing places to stay, with excellent recreational facilities and the advantage of very reasonable fees. As east coast RVers, two of our favorites are Jekyll Island Campground in Jekyll Island, Georgia, and James Island Campground in Charleston, South Carolina.
– Become a work camper and enjoy a site at no cost, or for a very low rate, in exchange for working part–time or full–time at an RV resort, campground, or state or municipal park. Check the
KOA Work Kamper
websites for job opportunities.
National Park Passes
– RVers and campers visiting our magnificent National Parks) will find savings on entry fees and other NPS programs, including camping fees, with the
America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass programs
. Any one can purchase the Annual Pass for $80 a year. The Access Pass is a lifetime free pass available only to the disabled. Seniors 62 years of age and older are eligible for the Senior Pass, another lifetime pass that costs $10.
– The discount tags available from most supermarkets provide another way to cut costs of RV trips with savings of 2 to 5 percent on your grocery bills. We recommend attaching the discount key tags to your RV key ring so they're readily available on future trips.
– RVers need several types of RV insurance including liability, collision and comprehensive; emergency road service, and extended warranties.
Liability, Collision and Comprehensive Coverage – While many RVers use the same carrier for their RV as they do for their personal vehicles, RVs have some unique needs that may not be properly covered by your automobile policy. While most automobile policies cover the actual insured vehicle (car, SUV, RV, etc.), you may want additional coverage for the contents and personal effects carried in the RV, liability and medical coverage for anyone injured in your RV while visiting, and temporary lodging and meals if your RV is damaged and unusable.
Fulltimers and RVers on extended trips should review their need for additional coverage options available from carriers specializing in RV policies. Check with your RV camping clubs, such as Good Sam, FMCA, or Escapees;
, or your personal insurance broker for additional information.
Price quotations from multiple carriers are recommended to ensure that you are getting the coverage and price that meets your RVing needs. The amount of estimated annual miles driven affects your insurance cost.
Emergency Road Service – Emergency road service insurance provides assistance for tire changes, tow service, lockout service, and minor repairs. The
Good Sam RV ERS – Emergency Road Service
is a popular service provider offering excellent road service plans for approximately $80 – $120/year.
We strongly recommend all RVers carry road service coverage to avoid expensive charges for towing or road service calls.
Extended Service Plans. Carrying an extended warranty to cover unanticipated and repair and maintenance costs after expiration of the various manufacturers warranty periods relieves the worry about unexpected repairs ruining a trip.
The cost of replacing an RV refrigerator or an out–of–factory transmission or engine repair can exceed the entire cost of the extended warranty. Keep copies of all maintenance and service work performed on your RV because they may be required for warranty coverage.
RV Service and Supplies
– Most RV service shops will tell you that many RV repairs would not have been necessary if the customer had contacted them when the problem was first noticed. Keeping your RV serviced according to the schedules in your coach and chassis documents will help reduce maintenance and service problems on the road. Inspect your RV before every trip using the information in your coach and chassis documents.
RV supplies include the miscellaneous items that help us enjoy the RVing experience, from comfortable folding chairs, to patio rugs, screen rooms, RV entertainment systems and features, and other specialty items designed for RV use with light weight and durability in mind.
Many RVers find the
Camping World President's Club
membership with the valuable 10% discount on most items, and other specials with reduced prices and free shipping very helpful.
locations also offer extensive RV service, repair, and installation services.
Many RV dealers also provide discounts to their customers for RV supplies purchases after the initial RV purchase. RVers will also find Wal–Mart stores carry a selection of basic RV supplies including chemicals, sewer hoses, batteries, coolers, inverters, and more at reasonable prices.
The dollar–stores, such as Dollar–General, Dollar Tree, and the Family Dollar Store are great places to shop for household items, including dishes, pots, pans and inexpensive hand tools.
Managing Fuel Costs
– You can reduce fuel expenses by taking shorter trips. Check out the campgrounds, RV resorts and state and municipal parks closer to home in your
. You can also save a hefty 3 to 10 percent using credit cards that provide fuel rebates.
You can look for fuel rebate cards at the
Credit Card Guide
website. In addition, because fuel prices vary, check out gas prices and locations at
Gas Price Watch
websites on the Internet before you leave and while you're out on the road.
Fuel efficiency will be improved by having your engine and drivetrain serviced at manufacturer–recommended times and mileage points and whenever you suspect problems. Regularly check the air pressure in
, including the spare when the tires are cool. Driving slower by reducing the speed down to 60+ MPH on the Interstate will improve mileage and provide less stressful driving.
Reducing weight by removing unnecessary items from interior compartments and exterior bays, carrying less fresh water, and draining holding tanks will place less stress on your suspension system and tires, and improve handling and fuel mileage. Finally, consider towing a lighter "toad" to improve your RV gas mileage.
Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!!!
Alan Lidstone is a freelance author and writer living in southwest Florida. Alan, and his wife, Barbara, co–authored RVs—Getting out and STAYING Out, from Fulcrum Publishing of Golden, Colorado, and they write and publish the
Roads 'n Toads
website and 32–page print newsletter providing timely information on activities and products that for the RV lifestyle.