Campground Costs One Year – How did we do in our first year?

At a Boondockers Welcome

Campground costs one year in to full time RV life: We sure have learned a lot this first year! One of the biggest areas of learning is the various options for camp sites. Prior to launching full-time RV life, we had done lots and lots of research on the different styles of camping, and we knew we wanted to try as many kinds as possible in our first year.

Campground Costs One Year – How did we do?

We didn’t start out with a specific goal in mind for what our campground costs would be, although we did have a rough budget number of $50/night and hoped to boondock about 30% of the first year. Our total cost for twelve months ended up being $7,331 which works out to an average nightly cost of $20.08, and we did end up boondocking about 30% of the nights — not too bad !! Even so, we decided we could do better than that in the next twelve months.

Campground Costs One Year

Campground Costs One Year – Improvement Plan

In order to do better, though, we needed to understand how we were spending our nights in more detail. So, we assigned each night into one of several categories of camping styles to see how many nights we had stayed in each category. It turned out that we had boondocked about 30% of the time, but we had stayed the most number of nights at the most expensive category of camp sites — independent or corporate RV parks (like KOA, Jellystone, and privately-owned campgrounds).

Campground Costs One Year

Campground Costs One Year – How will we do better?

We did stay at the higher priced parks more during the first six months when we were brand new and finally started experimenting with boondocking in our fifth month on the road. While we had achieved our goal of boondocking 30% of the time, we wanted to dramatically increase that number not only to save on campground costs but also because we do love boondocking so much. We will reduce the times we stay at the pricier parks, and we will make more use of our Thousand Trails Camping Pass, Harvest Hosts, and Boondockers Welcome memberships.

Yes - let's go down that road !!

We can confidently recommend joining Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome as a way to help reduce your overall campground costs along with it being a fun and enjoyable option for overnight camp sites. While Thousand Trails is an important part of our budget strategy for keeping campground costs low, buying a full membership is not the right thing for us at this time. We have appreciated the Thousand Trails parks (see reviews HERE), but there aren’t as many Thousand Trails parks in some of our favorite parts of the county, so for now, we’re holding off on buying a full membership.

For the next twelve months, we’ve set a goal for average nightly campground cost of $15 and increasing our boondocking to 40%. Wish us luck !!

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