Budget Friendly Getaway Part 1: Cost-Effective Camping

by kdizzle
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Camping gear including a lantern, tent, cooler, beach chair, and sleeping bag.

Summer is finally here, and after more than a year of dealing with the COVID-19 craziness, we could all use a break. But is it really possible to get into your vacation mode and stay on a budget? The answer is ‘yes’ and there are so many great ways to plan a special (budget-friendly) get-away (or staycation if you please), that it was too much to fit into one post. That’s right! This is the first in what we know is going to be a sizzling summer series on Budget Friendly Getaways!

Mind Your Mother . . . Nature That Is

We are kicking our summer series off with the most classic of all family getaways: camping in the great outdoors! Camping is a great way to get out of the house for a relaxing change of scenery. And, with plenty of inexpensive or free camping locations to choose from, this get-away won’t take a big bite out of your budget. 

Here are some budget-friendly camping ideas to get you started:

  • You can camp for just a few bucks (and often for free) in many National Forests and Parks. The best part? You can easily reserve a spot online at one of over 130 locations
  • There are also resources that can help you explore beyond our National lands. For example, Hipcamp can help you book a camping experience on both public and private land. Hipcamp covers National, State, Regional and Army Corps Parks in all 50 states. 
  • There are also resources that offer you discounts and savings as well as trip planning services. For example, The Dyrt can help you customize your trip and save money.

Once you’ve decided where to go to get up close and personal with Mother Nature, you’ll need the proper equipment. Tent, hiking boots, sleeping bag, you need it all! But, wait! Won’t purchasing all that equipment take this low-cost camping vacation and turn it into a budget-busting excursion? Actually, “no,” because there are plenty of ways to save money on the equipment essentials.

Thrift shop

The first stop for finance-friendly camping equipment is your favorite second-hand store, local thrift shop or consignment store. These stores offer gently used items available at a fraction of the price.

Online community marketplace

You can also find used (and sometimes even new) items on community market boards like Facebook Marketplace, Offer Up, and more. Don’t know where to start with these services? Check out our article all about how to find or sell used items.

Rental options

If you don’t see yourself becoming an avid outdoorsman and hesitate to spend money on items that might get very little use, renting equipment can be a great option. Rental services like Arrive Outdoors can help you reserve and rent camping gear, and then have it shipped anywhere in the U.S. without hassle. When you’re done, just return ship the items. It’s that simple.

For more ideas, check out this article from Trail and Summit, for 12 additional ways to get low-cost or even free camping gear

Have some fun

Once your equipment is squared away; and you’ve hit the road, pitched your tent, and rolled out your sleeping bag for a night under the stars … what next? Well, naturally, you’re going to need to find some ways to entertain yourself. Websites like TripAdvisor can help you find things to do in the surrounding area to get the most out of your experience. This article from Beyond the Tent also offers a list of 99 fun camping activities to help you get the creative juices flowing!


Whew! We hope these tips help get you on your way to becoming a happy camper and enjoying this summer in the great outdoors. And you know what they say: “Campers have s’more fun!” Here’s your chance to prove them right. So, go sleep under the stars. Look for Bigfoot. Swat some mosquitoes. Sing those campfire songs. All while staying on budget.

Want more cost-saving tips? Be on the lookout for part two of our budget friendly getaway series soon!

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1 comment

joanna July 9, 2021 - 10:42 am

Thank you very much for sharing this Information! I have never planned a camping trip, so this was very helpful!

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