today is Oct 18, 2021

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Photo: Andrey Armyagov (Shutterstock) People all over the country (and the world) have found new creative ways to vacation the past 13 months—the most popular being stateside road trips or weekend getaways just hours from home. Short road trips were our way of still taking a vacation during the worst of the pandemic, but we might consider taking longer ones if we had the means. Enter: RV rentals. And they might be cheaper than you think. If you like camping or want to try a longer road trip, here’s how to plan an upcoming RV vacation on a budget. How to find the right RV If you want to enter into the world of RV ownership, you’ll need to cough up anywhere from $20,915 for a small towable camper to $49,999 for the large class-A diesels (those big coach bus types). It would obviously mean taking on another monthly bill  if you can’t pay that hefty price tag upfront, plus upkeep, storage, and other maintenance costs. But rather than investing in a whole camper, there are sites to rent an RV for just a single trip. Video Player is loading. Current Time  0:00 Duration  3:03 Remaining Time  - 3:03 Sites like Outdoorsy and RVshare allow you to rent an RV like you would an Airbnb. Basically, you choose your location and travel dates, and they’ll show you RV owners in your area and their cost to rent. I searched New York City on Outdoorsy and found everything from an outfitted van for $89 a night to a class-A Winnebago for $273 . I found comparable prices on RVshare when searching in several different locations. Once you’ve found the right one for your needs, you message the owner through the site and the RV is either picked up, delivered, or you can plan a mutual meeting point with the owner before getting a walk-through of the RV and starting your trip. G/O Media may get a commission How to find a campground Whether you’re making multiple stops or landing in one location, you’ll need to find spots to park your RV. The organization Free Roam is a nonprofit that provides campers and vacationers information on cheap campsites, and it’s a good place to start. You can search sites around the country, with search filters that include detailed cell service, price range, campground type, private or public, and then more detailed specifics like elevation, road difficulty, and crowdedness. Green dots indicate state parks, while the orange dots signify campsites. You can create a catered trip bouncing from point to point based on your price range, or set up in one spot. Just be sure to schedule in advance, as campgrounds can fill up quickly, and the closer you are to your travel dates the more they tend to charge. Go boondocking to save on camping fees Camping blog Compendium defines “boondocking” as “dry camping,” essentially meaning that you set up your RV without water, sewage, or electric hookups. If your RV has a generator or other amenities, you’ll be all set. Otherwise, you’ll need to make a plan for the things you need. Boondocking is considered legal as long as it’s done on public lands managed by entities like The United States Forest Service or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service . There’s also “dispersed camping,” which refers to setting up camp outside of designated camping grounds. Apps like Free Roam and Compendium can help you find a good boondocking area to set up camp, and as long as you’re following the rules , boondocking is actually encouraged by land service officials. Even better, you can park your RV for free. Subscribe to our newsletter! Upgrade your life, one email at a time.