The Frugal Traveler: RV Travel On A Budget

After months of shopping for an affordable tow-behind recreational vehicle, a manufacturer of custom cargo trailers caught our eye. When we pulled in to see if the cargo trailers could be modified for RV travel, the business owner gave us a bargain tour. The detour included frugal ideas for RV travel.

Alternatives: Horse and race car owners have altered custom cargo trailers to tow gear to events and to haul around a place to sleep on site. The average cost? Around 80 percent less than any other option we had researched. has information about other unexpected RV alternatives as well, including converted box vans and school buses.

Efficiency: Downsize your belongings and store them as efficiently as possible in order to conserve, space, gas mileage and sanity while traveling. Use accessories to organize your travel equipment. Wall hooks are ideal for securing bags, including sacks filled with bulky cold weather equipment. Other items can be clipped to the ceiling or spaced throughout the vehicle.

Networking: Partner up with other RV folks to share costs on activity and entry fees when you reach your destination. Group and potluck camping dinners are popular with the recreational vehicle crowd, and group activities turn make-your-own meals into a social event. Make new friends to develop a support network and sense of community that you may start missing after several months on the road. lists RV networking groups in various locations. Find one near where you're heading to see if there's an event scheduled during your time there.

Public parks: State parks and private camping grounds often charge affordable overnight rates for RV travelers. Many camp sites are full-service facilities, with a variety of amenities and activities. Regional lists are available at and, for example, features a state-by-state list of national forests, state parks, RV parks and campgrounds. provides a detailed list of rental fees, park attractions and pet-friendly policies.