Looking to avoid breaking the bank during your vacation this season? Find out where you can camp and enjoy the great outdoors near you.
“We can spend a full week camping in a beautiful destination for a few hundred dollars,” said Jesse Hardie, a former backpacking guide and a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School. “I think the going rate for a week in Disney is about $7,000 now.”
Camping can be one of the best ways to save money while taking a vacation. To be more cost-efficient, consider these four tips from Hardie and other camping experts.
1. Head to the backcountry
Although backcountry camping can help you save big on vacations, you likely will need to carry your food, water, and equipment on your back. But you also will end up paying less than what it would cost for developed campsites that come with parking.
“The most amazing and cheapest camping will usually require a little more effort to get to, either by an extended drive on dirt roads or by backpacking,” said Hardie. “You will spend more money and be farther from the nature that you’re seeking by staying in large ‘front country’ campgrounds like KOA.”
2. Buy (or borrow) the right equipment
“The biggest money saver is found in gear,” said Hardie, who maxed out camping 145 nights in one calendar year. “Many new campers fall in[to] the trap of buying all of their gear brand new to go camping for the first time.”
If you’re a first-timer or don’t plan to camp on a regular basis, it won’t make sense to invest in high-quality equipment. Boost your savings from camping by employing the following strategies:
- Borrow camping equipment from family and friends.
- Look for used gear online or in sporting goods stores.
- Find DIY secondary gear such as lamps or bug spray.
- Ask experts, such as salespeople at REI, about best buys for your camping level.
Also, buy what you need for the weather you’ll face, said Liz Galloway, an adventure and travel writer who camps and backpacks on a budget.
“If you’ll be in relatively moderate climates, broke campers don’t need to spend $600 on a sleeping bag and $800 [on a] tent,” Galloway said. “You can grab a decent bag on Amazon for $60 to $80 and a one-person tent or bivy for another $80 — and you’ve already got your setup.”
If, on the other hand, you’re a more experienced camper looking to camp and save money over the long haul, Hardie recommends investing in high-quality gear.
“It will last a lifetime — I still use a stove that is older than me,” he said. “And it will work better than the bargain brands you can find a Walmart. I have seen many Walmart-brand tents fail to make it through the night in their first rainstorm.”
In other words, being cheap might cost you later.
3. Plan meals for your camping trip
Like working on meal planning at home, the same effort for your camping trip can go a long way in saving money. If you head out on your trip without planning, you might find yourself shopping at a grocery store near your campground — and spending more than you should.
“Shop in your pantry for food before heading to the grocery store for camping food,” said Bridget Carlson, who runs the Nutty Hiker website and has been camping for nearly 40 years. “You can make so many camp meals out of items that are already inside your pantry.”
Nothing in the pantry? No problem. Take the best practices for grocery shopping into account when buying food to cook over an open fire — or go without hot food entirely.
“One of the reasons I love camping is you can go as cheap as you want, depending on what you are willing to do,” said Galloway. “Are you willing to eat tuna, beans, and granola the whole time? [Then] you’ve already saved.”
4. Pack light
“Don’t get caught up in needing to have everything,” Galloway said. “Trust me, you’ll probably end up wearing the same clothes the entire time.”
Be skeptical of camping packing lists. Your list should contain only what you need for the camping experience you’re planning.
Once your list is set, check off items by grabbing them from around your house instead of buying camping-specific versions.
To avoid overpacking, take a one-per-person approach to items such as plates, bowls, and cups.
Make one exception to that approach: Bring at least two different kinds of supplies to make your fire. If the rocks don’t spark, you’ll be glad you brought along a pack of matches.
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.46% – 6.97%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.57% – 8.44%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.02% – 6.44%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.24%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|