This leads many to consider a variety of options when it comes to overnight stays: Campgrounds, RVs, and hotels are all potential solutions, but choosing the most affordable among them is a must.
By doing a quick cost comparison between campgrounds, RV or trailer parks, and hotels, you can figure out which is right for you.
Costs to stay at campground can vary dramatically. However, you do have a lot of options to choose from, making it easier to stay on a budget.
For example, a premium campsite at Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California may only set you back $50. You can reserve some regular lots for just $35. However, the pricing can vary depending on the day of the week and whether you fall into the busy season, so keep that in mind.
In comparison, some campground options through KOA, one of the biggest campground management companies, can cost $75 or more.
RV and Trailer Parks
RV parks are similarly varied in price, although they tend to be more expensive than tent sites. Why do they cost more? Because you generally have access to a variety of utility hookups, such as power and waste.
Additionally, if you don’t own an RV or trailer, you may need to rent one, adding to the cost.
The price of renting an RV or trailer can differ dramatically depending on a few factors. For example, the size of the RV or trailer can impact the cost. Additionally, renting during the busy season may be more expensive. This is especially true during the weeks surrounding holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day.
However, you may be able to secure an RV for around $500 a week through a company like Cruise America. Your pickup and drop off locations may affect the price, as well as the number of miles you intend to drive.
One a good note, you do have some free options for parking an RV or trailer overnight, as long as you are willing to go without hookups: Walmart doesn’t mind if people use their parking lots as overnight stops as long as you are courteous about where and how you park — assuming that local law allows it.
The price of a hotel shifts significantly from one city to the next. That can make it hard to estimate unless you research each of your overnight stops.
Luckily, there are a lot of online resources that can help. Sites like Trivago and Priceline may give you access to lower prices and usually have options in every major city.
However, some smaller hotels with only one location might not appear on these websites. This means you might want to explore each destination a little on your own.
For travelers who want a quick ballpark figure, the average cost of a hotel stay in the U.S. as of March 2018 was $131.56, according to Statista. Just keep in mind that cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, and many others will likely a lot cost more than the average.
Which Is Cheapest?
Ultimately, tent camping at a campground is usually the cheapest option, though it may not offer you access to power or even bathrooms. RV or trailer parks can be fairly cost-effective, particularly if you own such a vehicle already. However, if you need to rent, then the cost goes up dramatically.
In many cases, hotel stays will be the most expensive option, especially if you have a big city destination in mind. But, if you explore options online, you can find discounted rates that may make it more affordable.
Readers, are you making any plans to travel this summer — and if so, where? And the last time you took a road trip, where did you stay? Please tell us all about it in the comments section beneath this post.
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