You love camping, your kids love camping, but your wallet doesn't want to budge for a family vacation this year. Instead of missing out on a necessary break from the daily grind, find ways to save before you go, and learn how you can cut costs at the campsite, too.
Save Before You Go
Budget camping starts well before everyone piles in the car for a family road trip. Consider how you can cut costs in every area possible, from buying equipment to choosing a site. Here are some ways you can save before you go.
1. Buy used equipment: Instead of purchasing all new camping gear the week before, take a little more time, and look for used items. Find used pots, pans, spatulas, hiking boots and more at most thrift stores or online. Check with your local outdoors retailer for their next gear swap, if they have one. And don't forget to ask family and friends for camping items they may no longer use.
2. Choose a park close by: You don't have to go far to "get away." Save on gas by picking a location that's close to home. The benefits of a camping trip are just as real 30 miles from home as they are 300 miles from home.
3. Buy multi-purpose items: Buy gear, clothing and food that can be used for more than one purpose. For example, ground turkey can be used for tacos, burgers, or mixed in with veggies and pasta.
4. Choose a primitive site: Campgrounds without electricity and running water are often less expensive. But keep in mind that some primitive sites are walk-up only. If you're traveling with lots of gear or children, you should confirm easy access.
5. Create and keep a camping box: Instead of buying temporary items, purchase things that can be used for the entire season, or longer. When spices are on sale, grab a few for your camping box. The same goes for batteries, tarps, ropes and canned goods.
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