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Looking to Take a Trip in Your RV This Fall? Here Are 4 Things to Know

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A recreation vehicle (RV) offers a unique opportunity to see the country, from charming small towns to the grandeur of national parks. And you don’t have to give up the comforts that come with having a bed and kitchen.

But that kind of experience isn’t free. And if you’re not careful, you may spend more than expected. The good news is that fall tends to be the offseason for many popular destinations, though you’ll need to be strategic if you want to save money on a trip this fall.

Here are four tips to help you get started.

4 tips for taking an RV trip this fall

No. 1: Do the savings prep work

Taking a trip in a new or used RV will come with some inevitable costs. But with proper planning, you can minimize them.

“About a month before you leave, check the owner’s manual for maintenance interval recommendations,” says Jenn Jones, LendingTree autos expert. “It’s less expensive to perform maintenance before you start driving than it is to pay for a breakdown in the middle of a trip.”

Jones advises getting items like groceries, clothes and toiletries from discount stores before you go and as you travel. By focusing on saving money in your RV, you won’t pay inflated convenience store prices.

No. 2: Leverage RV club perks

RV clubs can provide a sense of community among avid RV enthusiasts, but that’s not the only benefit of joining. In fact, depending on the RV club you join, you may get access to things like RV park discounts, exclusive discounts and tools to help you plan your trip. They’re worth looking into if you haven’t joined an RV club before.

Just make sure the annual membership fee doesn’t outweigh the value of the benefits you plan to use. (There are options for less than $50 a year.)

No. 3: Plan your route wisely

Maybe you have a route in mind, or you’re still considering things. Either way, making slight changes to the route can pay off, especially if that means avoiding the high-cost gas and diesel prices available off freeways and main roads.

“Many apps, including Google Maps [Apple App Store or Google Play] and AAA Mobile [Apple App Store or Google Play], show gas prices based on your location,” Jones says. “You may also get a price break on gas or diesel if you pay with cash.”

Jones also suggests considering boondocking for a few nights when planning your route. (Boondocking refers to camping in your RV without water, electricity or sewer hookup — often in places like national parks.)

You can comparison-shop campsites and parks to find the best deal when you want to dock for a few days. Free RV parking sites can also help cut costs if you don’t need access to typical RV camping site amenities.

No. 4: Make sure you’re properly insured

Insurance isn’t usually the most fun RV topic. But if you run into issues on the road, you’ll be glad you did. If renting an RV, your auto policy may provide some coverage during your trip. But an RV rental policy may be necessary to help fill coverage gaps. And if you plan on taking a travel trailer, that may require additional coverage.

When it comes to RV insurance, you’ll want to make sure it covers all the personal property in your RV and that you can afford the deductible. You may also want to look into whether they provide affordable towing services. (Of course, that’s in addition to an affordable premium.)

As with any financial product, it’s best to shop around to find the best option for you. That way, you can head out without worrying about a small hiccup — like a flat tire — ruining your trip. And you can focus on enjoying yourself.

 

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