Whether you are living on a tight budget, trying to get out of debt, or looking for and inexpensive family vacation camping is a great frugal way to spend some quality time outdoors. As a kid my family spent almost every weekend at the local campground playing in the woods, swimming in the lake and roasting marshmallows over a campfire. Now that I’m a mom with two boys and two more on the way I again see camping trips in my future.
Five Frugal Camping Tips For Families On A Budget
Buy Supplies On Sale Or Clearance. Each spring before the camping season officially begins many stores put their camping gear including tents, camp stoves, lanterns and sleeping bags on sale. In the fall you can often find great clearance prices on those same items when the camping season is coming to an end. If you’re planning to make camping an annual tradition this may be a great time to buy the things you will need for your next season of camping trips.
Pack Your Own Food And Supplies. It’s not only a good idea, but more cost-effective to pack and bring your food and drinks from home. Packing them inside Rubbermaid totes will help to keep things safe from bugs and animals. Use canvas shopping bags to hold and store your non-food items like paper towels and plates, napkins, silverware, and cups. While most campgrounds have a commissary or general store on the grounds where you can purchase last-minute items. However, you are going to easily pay double the price.
Take Advantage Of What The Campground Has To Offer. Campgrounds often have lots of activities for your family to do that will help keep your kids occupied. Try spending time down at the swimming area, fish in the lake, or go hiking on the wooded trails. Some campgrounds even have bike trails, canoes and kayaks to rent and even community gathering areas. If your family happens to be at a smaller park that doesn’t offer these amenities you can always make friends with your neighbors and start a friendly game of cards while the kids play hide-n-seek.
Adventure Beyond The Campgrounds. Chances are there are lots of great things to explore out in the community away from the campgrounds as well. Spending the day exploring local attractions and discovering new places is not only educational but fun as well. Before setting out on a day trip, take a little time to explore your options and make a plan. Make sure to compare prices for each activity your family may find interesting. Make a note of any special discounts available, for example is it cheaper to go on a Wednesday vs a Saturday, is there a price difference between a daily or weekly pass, does the venue offer discounts if you are a member of a specific group. Finally, decide what options fit best within your budget before heading off for the day.
Consider Purchasing A Parks Pass. In my state we have the opportunity to purchase a Recreation Passport every year when we renew our license plate tags. It only costs $10.00 for a year-long pass and we have free access to state parks, trails, state forest campgrounds and boat launches. If your family plans on exploring the great outdoors and your state this summer consider checking into this option it could be well worth the price.
If you are on the fence about making camping your family vacation this year, you should give it some serious consideration as it can truly be an adventure even while saving money.
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save money, have frugal fun and enjoy life!
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