Camping is one of the best ways to spend your vacation. You can try fishing, hiking, and biking in the great outdoors without worrying about driving for hours to get away from it all. Not to mention, the cost is far less than a hotel. If you’re anything like us, when you hear the words “camping trip,” visions of hilltops filled with tents, campfires, and families singing songs around a harmonious fire dance through your mind. And while it’s tempting to put together your perfect list of items needed for camping, some things might keep you from leaving the comfort of a hotel room. Whether you’re going to camp in your own backyard or you’re planning a camping trip with your family.
Average Hotel Cost
Hotels can be expensive. They are always the first place that families think of when they’re planning a vacation. It’s true; a hotel can mean no work, no cooking, and no laundry for days on end. The average cost of a hotel for two adults for one night is $80 at the low end in major cities and up to $200 or more in popular resort locations. So an average family trip could mean spending $800 to $1,000 on three nights in a hotel when you add up the nights for each family member.
Camping works out to be much cheaper than staying in a hotel. Generally, the cost of camping can be anywhere from a dollar or two per person per night (under a lean-to), to $15 to $20 per night for an RV or pop up camper; depending on your location and the type of place you’re going. However, prices vary widely for each type of camping trip and will depend on your location. For instance, a family in Florida could spend anywhere from $40 to over $70 per night while an average family in Los Angeles could spend over $100 per night there. The average price for two adults and one child is about $25 per night but that doesn’t include food or other expenses that might come along with going camping.
A hotel offers so many convenience features that you just don’t get when camping. A trip to the beach, a walk in the park, or a quick trip to the movies should never take longer than walking up to the front desk and asking for directions.
- Hot Shower: A hot shower, while not always available in campgrounds, is often available; especially if your site offers a pit toilet.
- Room Rate: When traveling to a popular vacation destination, the best place for you and your family is a hotel. Many of them have discounted rates online and often free or discounted parking makes it easier on the wallet as well.
- Bathroom Facilities: While campers can take baths, showers are usually available in most hotels and motels. However, if you’re staying in a popular campground, the bathroom facilities may not always be convenient or clean.
- Comfort: There are many places where camping can be a lot more comfortable than staying in a hotel. The temperature is always nice, tents don’t have to be carried up and downstairs, and even if you forget something while on vacation, it’s usually possible to make it back because you’re not in a hotel room.
- Cost Saving: If you’re making a multi-day trip into the wilderness, camping will cost a lot less than paying for multiple nights in a hotel. However, if you are planning on visiting one location for a few nights at a time or if you have to use the washrooms and other facilities in the area, then you might end up spending more on gas and purchases than if you’re staying at several different hotels.
There are many great features to consider when choosing between getting a room in a hotel or staying at a campground. The first thing that most people love about staying in campgrounds is the enormous amount of activities that they offer.
Tent Camping Amenities
For most tent campers, amenities aren’t a big deal. However, if you’re interested in having a little more comfort on your trip, some camping amenities might be worth the few extra dollars for a more enjoyable trip. Choosing between a mattress or sleeping on the ground isn’t really that big of a deal if you’re really into camping, but it can make for quite a few sleepless nights if you’re not comfortable. There are also other options to have better sleeping and cooking conditions when camping.
You can find bargain-priced sleeping bags for under $30 to over $200, depending on your needs and budget. The rule of thumb for choosing the right sleeping bag is to take into consideration the season you’ll be camping in, your climate, and the expected temperatures. Below-freezing temperatures might demand a sleeping bag rated for below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot summer nights can be best served with a sleeping bag not rated lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most sleeping bags are designed with removable covers that can be washed after each use or have covers that aren’t required to be removed. A sleeping mat usually works best when placed under air mattresses or pads that don’t have removable covers.
Renting a Small RV
If you want more amenities and space when you go camping, then renting an RV might be your best option. Renting an RV is a great way to see new places, and it can be a lot of fun to drive around on the weekends. RVs are supposed to provide more privacy and comfort than tents, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect.
RV Amenities are pretty much what they sound like: extra features that come with your RV rental. Most of these amenities are worth the money paid for them, but only if you need them.
Are RVs More Economical Than Hotels?
RVs can be very economical and are usually rented by the day or the week. RVs provide more space than camping in a tent, and they’re usually affordable for families. However, if you want to rent an RV, then you’ll have to pay extra for many of the amenities that come with a hotel room.
- A/C: RV owners usually prefer to leave the A/C turned off to save money, but this may not be so great for others. If you aren’t used to living in a hot and stuffy environment or if you’re planning on sleeping in the RV, A/C might be a great addition to your rental.
- Satellite TV: If you like to have the option of watching TV while camping, then having satellite TV comes in handy. Satellite TV is offered by many different RV rental companies and can be a great way to relax while enjoying nature from the comfort of your RV.
- RV Maintenance: When renting an RV, you won’t be provided with many amenities that are usually included when buying. This means that you’ll need to do certain things yourself to keep your RV in shape and ready for use.
- Space: The additional space provided by an RV can be very helpful and you may find that you have room to bring more than one person with you on your camping trip.
- Comfortability: An RV is designed much more to be comfortable than a tent. You may find that you don’t have as many bugs in the RV as in the tent, and there’s usually less heat from the sun.
- Privacy: Even though an RV is much more comfortable than a tent, it still doesn’t have privacy like staying inside your hotel room or house.
The Big Picture
There are both positive and negative aspects to every type of vacation you can take. If you really want to make your vacation work, then take into consideration what you need to enjoy your time off from work. The most important thing you can do is make sure that everyone who’s going on vacation is comfortable with their surroundings, whether it’s at home or on vacation.
Pros Of RV
The pros of RVing are obvious, but they’re what you’ll want to look for when you decide whether you want to invest. It’s really much more fun to stay in an RV than to camp in a tent, and there are many other advantages of RV tourism.
1. More Space
RV parks usually have more space than campsites where tents are permitted. An RV park usually has a total of hundreds or thousands of acres that contain dozens of individual sites for the campers who rent them. That means there’s plenty of room for kids and adults alike as well as their vehicles. Many parks even have rental RVs that can accommodate larger groups and families with several vehicles. (Well, at least one RV)
Once you pick out your RV, you can have it set up just the way that you want it. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to pay extra for an RV that’s already arranged in a certain way when you can have your own space if you choose. That’s why people rent RVs over tents because they know that their rental will be ready to go at a moment’s notice. If you don’t mind sleeping in a tent or using a sleeping mat, then camping is probably better for you and your friends and family. But if spending more on this RV rental rate doesn’t make sense to you or your friends, then renting one might be better.
3. Space is Affordable
RV parks are much more affordable than hotels and resorts. You’ll save money on transportation, food, and other activities by renting an RV versus booking a room or building a tent. It’s not cheap, but it’s well worth the cost in the long run. And besides, you’ve already got a place to sleep at night!
4. Fuel Efficient
You can easily add a gas generator to your RV, and this is extremely fuel-efficient. You don’t need to buy gas every time you go grocery shopping or run errands, and you can sleep at night knowing that there’s enough gasoline in the tanks for the next day. Plus, it’s not like you’ll be constantly filling up your tank.
5. Future Travel Plans
If you live in the same city or city-state as your job, then renting an RV is an easy way to travel. Just plan by renting a few months before you leave and get a cheap rate (which at times are much more affordable than a hotel), and pack up and go when you’re ready to settle down.
Cons Of RV
Several cons come with an RV lifestyle. Some of those include:
1. Vehicle Expense
The rental price for an RV is obviously more expensive than renting a car, but it’s not as expensive as joining the typical shoestring US budget. Not to mention the fact that you will have to pay for maintenance as well.
2. The Small Size Of RVs
You may wonder why I mentioned this at all? It’s because there are certain times and places where you won’t be able to park your RV legally (like in national parks). Not to mention the fact that you can get more than a little frustrated with the driving time it takes to get to your next destination.
You have to make sure that your RV is in good working order. After all, you will need it for many years after renting it, and sometimes, these things need repairs. Make sure that you do some research before committing yourself to a rental so you can know what problems you might encounter ahead of time so you don’t end up stranded in the middle of nowhere on a family vacation!
4. Fuel Efficiency
RVs are a little more fuel-efficient than a car. This is good if you are traveling outside of the country for work or other reasons and need to save on gas. Gas cost per mile is higher for RVs than for cars, though.
RVs can be more cost-effective than traveling by car. If you’re traveling to a remote location, chances are that you’ll need to rent an RV anyway, so you might as well get it at a cheaper price. An RV is also easier to pack when you return than if you had several cars.
RVs are usually much more comfortable than most family cars. A lot of people think that RVs are cramped and uncomfortable. Well, this is far from true; the number of seats in an RV for the same number of occupants is equivalent to regular cars.
Where To Stay: Hotel Or RV?
Depending on how long you’re planning to camp, a hotel might be more expensive than an RV or camper. For those who can drive, an RV is often a more cost-effective option. There are several types of RVs and campers available for rent, which can range from $300 to nearly $1,000 a week, depending on where you live. The cost of fuel will depend on your activity – if you stay at one place for the duration of your trip, the fuel usage will be minimal; if you like to drive every day and take many day trips, the fuel costs are higher.
The best part about renting an RV is that it offers many amenities that are usually found in hotel rooms. You can have a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bed all in the same space. If you’re going to be camping on a less permanent basis, such as with a family vacation, an RV may be your best option.
Cost Difference Between RV, Camping, And Hotel/Motel
The cost difference between an RV and hotel or motel is significant. You can plan on spending about $50 a night if you book in a motel or hotel for one week, but the cost will be much higher if you need to stay longer. If you plan on building your own tent or renting a camper, then that can be more expensive than staying in a regular hotel room.
Where To Stay: Camping In Your Backyard
If you’re planning a camping trip that will last for more than one night or two, it’s best to stay in an RV or tent. If you’re new to camping and are equipped with only two people and a tent, there’s no place in the world better to “practice” than your own backyard. It’s quite easy to find a site in your yard that has been cleared for camping, and it only costs a few dollars to pay someone to do the “clearing” for you. If you’re going on a longer camping trip, though, a campsite or RV park may be more appropriate. Many parks have rules against overnight camping in hammock or tent without paying for a single-night stay at the park.
Are RVs More Economical Than Hotels?
When you’re calculating the cost of an RV trip or a hotel stay, you have to consider the cost of gas. If you’re using an RV, you’ll need to fill the tank when you need to fill it. Picking up and dropping off at different locations means fuel costs add up quickly if your RV is large enough to travel a distance.
While RVs tend to be cheaper than hotels, they aren’t always the best choice. Hotels offer more amenities for families that aren’t contained in a camper’s bedroom. Some hotels even provide items like cribs or high chairs for families with children so they can easily join in on the fun of a road trip vacation.
Camping outdoors has many benefits over staying at a hotel. Camping allows having more of an authentic experience, and those who camp can experience nature first-hand, while those who stay at hotels are more removed from nature. Campers also have more flexibility in where and when they go, with the added flexibility to stay out longer and travel to additional locations in one trip. Camping can be a less expensive option than staying at hotels, but if people want to stay at hotels for convenience or comfort reasons, that’s more personal of a decision.
Many people prefer camping because it allows them to experience the freedom of being outdoors while still being comfortable and enjoying good food. On the other hand, hotels have more amenities that make traveling easier for families with children. There are many factors to consider in deciding whether camping or staying at a hotel is best for you.