Now that you have made the decision to live in an RV, you should know the number one way to save money. In this article, I will share with you the insiders secret to saving thousands of dollars each year without boondocking. Here it is:
Stay in one place!
Let me explain. Staying in an RV park is similar to a hotel. There are a variety of rates that are subject to change depending on the season. There are four basic types of RV park rental rates.
- Daily Discount.
- Long Term or Monthly.
Let's take a look at each of these options.
1. Daily - The daily rate at an RV park is the rack rate without any discounts. While the average nightly rate in America is $35 a night, you will find parks as high as $75 or $100. The daily rate adds up if you plan to stay more than a night or two, but can be worth it if the park is located in an area you want to explore.
2. Daily Discount - There are several ways to get discounts at RV parks. You can own a club membership, use AAA or AARP, be in the military or participate in a group booking. Each of these options will save 10-50% depending on the park. Here are a few discount options you can explore:
Coast To Coast - offers members discounted rates at their Good Neighbor Parks. This discount can be used for up to seven nights, but the price will vary from park to park. As members, you must choose a "home resort" and then purchase a level of membership.
Passport America- This club offers 50% off within their network of hundreds of U.S. parks. Membership is $44 and includes a directory. Be aware that because the discount is significant, many parks drop in and out of the system. Just because you stayed somewhere last year does not mean it is still a Passport America park. Be sure to call ahead and check.
Escapees - As a member of Escapees, you can receive discounts within their park program. Escapees members enjoy a variety of benefits, but the parks are few and far between.
3. Weekly - Many RV parks offer weekly discounts if you plan to stay seven days. In most cases, this is equivalent to buying six nights and getting one free. Weekly rates are most common when traveling in the off-season and shouldn't be expected year round.
4. Long Term or Monthly - Long term guests save a ton of money in RV Parks. In many cases, the savings can be as much as 300% or more! Long term or monthly spaces aren't always available, but if you can snag one, this is your best way to save money while exploring.
Now here's the question: is it possible to travel and stay in one place to increase your savings? The answer is yes! Here's how!
Most people take off on a wild goose chase after buying an RV. They travel here and there, taking photos along the way. The problem is, most people burn out or run out of money within a few months. Soon they sell their RV and move back into a stick and brick lifestyle.
Is there another way?
Yes, I suggest a plan of four, six or 12 month periods. Decide which states or region you want to visit, and plan to make this your primary homestead for your predetermined time frame. Because you will be staying in one place for a set of months, you will have plenty of time to explore the area. Need money? Plan to get a job while you stay. When you visit a region for a longer period, it is much easier to get regular employment.
In the months ahead, you can dig into the possibilities a region has to offer. Dig deep and explore the local food, festivals, activities, weather, and the like. You can't absorb a culture in a few days, but when you stay for a few months, you get an authentic taste of life in that region.
Renting Monthly - Things You Need To Know
Don't expect to pull into an RV park and stay for months. Monthly guests are residents and most campgrounds require you to jump through some hoops. Here are a few things you can expect:
1. Background Check - Most parks require a background check for each person living in your RV, which means you will pay a $30-$50 fee per resident. Background checks can take 12-72 hours, and you may or may not be allowed to stay in the park while you wait for approval.
2. Credit Check - Some parks require credit checks, which are done in conjunction with the background check. In most cases, they are looking for proof of income. If you are on social security, you will be expected to provide proof.
3. Deposit - RV parks require a security deposit, which can range from $75 to $250 or more. You may also be asked to pay your first and last month's rent, which weeds out guests who can't or won't pay their rent later.
4. Payment Upfront - Semi-annual or annual agreements may require that rent be paid upfront. Paying in advance assures you a deep discount, but be sure you understand the refund policy. If you pay in advance, odds are you cannot get a refund if you leave early.
5. Waiting Lists - Many parks offer waiting lists while others require you to call in on a regular basis for a first come, first serve opportunities. If you are serious about a monthly rate, ask the manager if paying the nightly rate while you wait will help your chances.
6. Lease - Expect to sign a lease, which may be month to month, six months or yearly. These documents are legally binding, so read the fine print and know what you are getting into.
7. Membership - Many parks require you to have a membership in their organization to rent month to month. These are called Co-Op's. You can learn more about these types of parks by reading this articlefrom the Escapees.
8. Age - Many parks have age restrictions on the RV's allowed in their park. Avoid disappointment; call ahead and find out the rules!
If you stay six months in each location over three years, you will have explored six different areas. If you stay four months in each place over three years, you will have gotten to know 12 regions!
Also, just because you signed a monthly lease doesn't mean you can't move your RV; it just means you secured your site at a low rate. Why not take your rig out in your off time? Explore the scenery, boondock, or take day trips. When you're done, return to your home base!
Finally, a word about preparation. If you plan to stay in an RV park on a month to month basis, take some time and talk to your RV insurance agent. Loop them in on your plan to stay in one place. As a full-time RVer, you will need proof of liability insurance to remain in most parks. With this simple policy adjustment, you can protect yourself and your rig. For more information, call 1-866-646-1755 or click RVInsurance.com RVInsurance.com.