A “Glamper’s” Guide to Budget Camping


Guest post from Kristin of The Touring Camper:

Our family loves to go camping — or perhaps I should say “glamping” given we camp in a travel trailer?

Either way, having a camper has enabled our family to save money on more expensive destination vacation experiences by staying at inexpensive campgrounds rather than condos, lodges, or hotels. However, the cost of gas is high these days, so we are always trying to find ways to save money.

Here are a few tips we have learned along the miles:

1. Look for Government Campgrounds First

When picking a campground, first check out state or government-affiliated parks (like the Army Corp of Engineers). Typically these parks will have a cheaper rate per-night of camping. KOAs and private campgrounds usually offer more amenities, like pools, cable, and wi-fi, which bump up the nightly rate.

2. Plan Your Activities Ahead of Time

To save money on touring the area we implement three strategies:

1. Use the Visitor’s Center

During our 2014 trip to Charleston, S.C., we stopped at the visitor’s center to sign our kids up for a free passport program. As we visited local sites that were connected with the program (many were free) the kids collected stamps in their passports and earned rewards.

2. Buy an “All-Access” Pass

If you plan to visit several area attractions, sometimes you can get a discount by buying a pass that gives access to several linked attractions. During our 2013 trip to Johnstown, Pa., we purchased one pass at a discounted rate that gave us access to historic sites as well as a children’s museum.

3. Purchase Memberships for Locations you Visit Regularly

Consider purchasing a science center, museum, or zoo membership that has reciprocity with locations you plan to visit. This past year, we had a Carnegie museum membership in Pittsburgh that also gained us free access to COSI during a Columbus camping trip.

3. Pack Carefully

Once you plan your activities (see #2 above), take the time to carefully pack what you’ll need for those various activities to avoid last-minute shopping stops at expensive camp stores.

However, even with careful planning, you may still need to head to the store for a necessity. So before you leave on your trip, know where budget-friendly dollar stores, Walmarts, or Aldis are located!

4. Consider Becoming a Good Sam Member

This program is similar to AAA, but geared for campers. The membership comes with roadside assistance but also offers fuel discounts at Flying Js.

Another option is to sign up for your preferred gas station’s fuel discount program.

5. BYOB (and Meals!)

Save money by bringing your own beverages… and your own meals.

Although it takes extra planning, we avoid expensive restaurant meals by having breakfasts and dinners at the campsite and packing lunches while we are out exploring.

To make the vacation as enjoyable as possible, we pick easy meals that can be reheated, quickly assembled over a campfire, or cooked in a crock pot while we are out touring. Additionally, when we camp with family or friends we generally take turns making dinner meals, which gives everyone at least one night off from cooking.

What are your best tips to camp (or “glamp”) on a budget?

Kristin and her husband Jarrett share additional camping tips and ideas over at The Touring Camper, where they are searching for adventure on and off the beaten path while reviewing places to camp and highlighting awesome places to visit.

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HUGE List of FREE Homeschool Curriculum & Resources

This is the weekly list of Free Homeschool Curriculum and Resources compiled by Jamerrill from FreeHomeschoolDeals.com. If you aren’t a homeschooler, but you’re a parent, teacher, babysitter, or nanny, you’ll probably find at least a few useful freebies in this list. You may also want to go through the Educational Deals and Freebies from earlier this week for more.

This week we found some really great homeschool freebies! They are sure to bring some fun to your homeschool year just when you need it most.

Preschool and Early Elementary

I love this FREE Strawberry Themed Cutting Practice Pack! It is super cute and just gets me in the mood for summer. Not to mention it practices important skills.

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Do you ever wonder “Can I Teach Reading & Spelling To My Kids Together?” Find the answer in this great post.

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Spring Themed Freebies

Spring is the best time to teach life cycles. Try this FREE FLOWER LIFE CYCLE FLIP BOOK (instant download).

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Here are two great history notebooking packs:

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Random Homeschool Goodness

FREE music Printables

Music is a great subject to study. Use these FREE Music Theory Worksheets, Lessons, and Printables.

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Jamerrill is the homeschooling mother of a large and growing family. After seasons of spending $50 or less annually to homeschool her children, she started Free Homeschool Deals in 2012 to help all families afford the homeschool life. You can follow the homeschool goodness on Pinterest and Facebook.

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