For motorhome and touring caravan devotees, one of the (many, many) benefits of taking your holiday home with you is the huge savings to be made on accommodation, flights and excursions. But at the moment, with the cost of literally everything going up, even vanlifers are looking for ways to save a few extra quid.
Here are Wrapper’s top money-saving tips for your next motorhome or touring caravan adventure…
- Plan petrol stops
The cost of filling up has nearly doubled over the past year or so. For motorhome and touring caravan owners, filling the tank is an unavoidable part of any trip, whether that’s a long weekend in the UK or a month-long tour of Europe. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about the prices at the pumps. But what we can do is think a bit more about the pumps we’re willing to visit.
Filling up at a motorway service station is always going to be more expensive than filling up at a supermarket forecourt or a local garage, so planning your petrol stops will help you get the best rates for a full tank.
Use a website like Petrol Prices to find the cheapest pumps on your route, and fill up there.
- Drive more slowly, and avoid rush-hour… and hills
Speaking of petrol prices… another way of saving money on fuel is by changing the way you drive. Generally speaking, whenever you type your destination into SatNav, it will try and send you the quickest route, and that will generally mean the motorway. But motorways mean faster speeds, and faster speeds mean higher fuel consumption. Try getting your map out instead and finding a way of getting to your destination that avoids major routes. Not only will this mean you burn through less fuel, it’ll mean you get to explore a bit more of the countryside you love, and maybe even scope out a few new destinations to try.
Two other enemies to your fuel expenditure are hills and city centre rush hours; hills because it burns more fuel dragging the weight of your caravan or motorhome up it, and city centre rush hours because of idling in traffic jams. If you can, avoid both as much as possible.
Try using an app like Waze to suss out current road and traffic conditions just before you set off, so you can either delay your departure or find a different route that avoids congestion. Your wallet will thank you for it.
- Do your research around campsites
If you’re set on visiting a particular area, don’t just settle for the first campsite you find – look into a few sites and see which one has the facilities you want at a price you’re happy with. It might be worth considering spending a bit more to stay somewhere with really good facilities, because you might end up saving more than the difference if you don’t have to spend on toilet chemicals, wastewater charges or the cost of running showers, etc.
Another money-saving trick it might be worth exploring is to suss out whether there are any pubs in the area that have a campsite – in a lot of cases, these will let you park or pitch up for the night for free if you have your evening meal with them. Which is a win-win really.
- Visit a less-well-known location
Supply and demand means it will almost always cost more to stay somewhere popular. In the UK, that means the south coast of England will generally be much more expensive to visit than, say, the north-west of Scotland. And the higher costs of popular destinations aren’t just about paying more for a pitch – they extend to everything from grocery shopping and meals out to parking up on trips out. So it’s worth thinking about what it is you want from visiting a well-known destination. If it’s more about the beauty, the wilderness and the adventure, the chances are you’ll be able to find all that somewhere less well-trodden, and far less expensive.
- Plan your journey, and book online
If you’re planning on travelling in Europe, the chances are at some point or another you’ll need to use a toll road or bridge. The thing is, these roads generally cost you to use them because they offer a much quicker route from A to B than the alternatives. And as someone who likes the spirit of adventure that comes with the open road, sometimes you’re not actually looking for the quickest or easiest route. Planning a different route to your destination means you’ll get to see more of the world, while saving money on tolls.
Bridges are a little bit different, though, because it’s not always possible to go the long way around. In these cases, it might be worthwhile seeing if you can book your passage online in advance, because a lot of times you’ll get a good discount when you prebook your crossing.
- Plan a menu
As a motorhome or touring caravan enthusiast, there’s little that comes close to the excitement of pitching up in a previously unheard-of village, heading out for lunch or dinner to a local café or restaurant and discovering the best thing you’ve ever eaten. Dining out is one of the best ways to explore the soul of a place, and while nobody likes to think that option is going to be – quite literally – taken off the table as we grapple with rising costs, it might be that eating in needs to be more of a regular occurrence.
In this case, you’ll make your money go a lot further if you can plan ahead and do your food shop before you hit the road. A carefully drawn-up meal plan that factors in every meal and every snack for the duration of your trip will not only save you money upfront, it’ll mean you’re not throwing away half of the perishables you bought on the off-chance they’d get used. All those speculative lettuces and bunches of bananas cost money – and that’s wasted money if they don’t get eaten before they go off.
So plan your menu – breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks – and only buy what you need. The money you save on all the extras can then be put towards a special meal out on the last night of the holiday – or towards your next adventure.
- Use a pressure cooker for cooking
When you’re on site with all your meals planned, another way of saving a bit of money is by using a pressure cooker instead of standard pots and pans. Why? Because food will cook much faster in a pressure cooker, and that can lead to savings of as much as 60% on cooking fuel.
Rice, for example, will cook in a pressure cooker in 8 minutes total, rather than the 25 minutes it would take in a normal saucepan. And a nice, meaty stew can be cooked to melt-in-the-mouth perfection in about 20 minutes rather than over an hour.
In terms of cooking fuel costs, a pressure cooker can be a gamechanger.
- Build your own first-aid kit
It’s seemingly small things like this that, when added up, can make a massive difference to your outgoings. There’s no denying it’s easier to buy a ready-made first-aid kit that contains everything you might need, but it’s often much, much cheaper to buy the individual components separately. Things like plasters, bandages and sterile wipes will all cost a fraction of the price from the supermarket, and if you’ve got young kids who are constantly getting into scrapes, it might work out even better value to buy plasters in bulk from an online retailer.
- Use park and ride for city centre trips
Another way of saving a bit of cash while you’re away is by using any available park and ride schemes when you want to venture into the city. While you’re driving a motorhome or towing a caravan, city-centre parking can be limited and/or extremely expensive, so you’ll make big savings by using these scheme. Even if the city you’re visiting doesn’t have a park and ride, it might be worth investigating if you can park more cheaply (or even for free) on the outskirts of the city and get public transport into the centre.
- Get insurance without the admin costs
Nothing could end up costing you more than having inadequate insurance in place. But we also know it can be a costly affair to insure your motorhome or touring caravan in the first place. It’s always a good idea to shop around for the best, most flexible cover so that you’re never paying for more than you need, but that you’re always covered in the event something does go wrong.
Here at Wrapper, we offer flexible, self-service insurance policies that cover all your adventures – no more, no less. And because you’re building your own policy, you don’t have to foot the bill for our admin costs. It’s just protection for the lifestyle you love, 100% online, 100% of the time.
- Pop the Champagne! Wrapper Insure wins at Insurance Times awards December 17, 2022
- On the road again: Preparing your motorhome or caravan for the season ahead December 2, 2022
- 5 things to do if your motorhome or caravan is stolen November 14, 2022