Whether you are planning on going full-time or on weekend trips, Campground fees are a big part of a travel budget. Campground rates are on the rise as more and more people are turning towards camping. If you’re looking to save money on campground fees, check out these tips! Have any tips that you don’t see listed? Leave a comment!
Luckily, there’s several ways to save money on campground fees. Here is a run down of the many ways we save money everyday:
- Thousand Trails — If you haven’t heard about it, Thousand Trails is a camping “club” that allows you to really control your budget. There are a few different membership options but the most common membership is the Zone Pass Membership. For weekenders, this membership is amazing. You essentially pay a yearly fee to be able to utilize any of the campgrounds in a zone. Each zone is roughly $615 a year. As long as you use this membership more than 5 weekends a year, it will pay for itself and then some.
For full-timers, upgrading to a national membership is even better. The bigger memberships include all zones and allow you to utilize over 80 campgrounds. We have an Elite Connections membership which we will go over, in detail, in a future blog post.
- Passport America — Passport America is a discount membership that gives you a steep discount on many campgrounds throughout the country. At only $44 a year, it pays for itself with one use and is a no brainer for full-timers and weekenders alike.
- Harvest Host — Harvest Host is a membership group that allows you to boondock (or dry camp) at many vineyards, breweries, farms, and museums throughout the country. You’re only allowed one night stay at each location at a time but, like Passport America, it pays for itself in one use. It is $99 a year for the basic membership and there’s a $40 add-on that allows you to camp at golf courses throughout the country. When you stay, you are expected to make a purchase at the host location and they recommend this purchase to be around $20. Most host locations do not have any hook-ups so you are required to be self-contained.
- Boondockers Welcome — Boondockers Welcome is similar to Harvest Hosts except it allows you to stay up to 5 days (at the host’s discretion). The hosts are on private property, not businesses, and generally do not have hook-ups. It is only $50 a year.
5. State Parks/Forests — State Parks are generally significantly cheaper than private campgrounds and are often more secluded too. They won’t come with all the amenities that a private campground will have, such as a pool or laundry facilities, but they do offer scenic sites. If you’re looking to save money on campground fees and escaping the crowds, definitely look at state parks.
Other Ways to Save Money on Campground Fees
You don’t need to purchase a membership to save money on campground fees. If you’re willing to camp during the week, you will save a lot! Generally, campgrounds upcharge their nightly rate during the weekends. They also tend to charge more during holidays. A big bonus to camping during the week is that you will escape the crowds. You’ll be able to use more amenities while you’re also paying less per night!
Want to learn about our experience living in a small space? Check out this post here!