Sherpa Money Saving Tip #2: Make Your Next Vacation A Camping Trip

Michael Lux Blog, Money Saving Tips, Student Loans 12 Comments

It is no secret that paying back student loans can have a devastating effect on your budget.  However, the effects can go far beyond a mere budget spreadsheet.  For many, student loans and debt in general can be a great source of stress.  One of the best ways to relieve stress is a relaxing vacation.  Unfortunately, vacations cost money.  Fortunately, there is an easy way to take a break from the stress and save some money.

Go Camping!

If you have never been camping before, don’t let this summer pass without giving it a try.  Camping is one of those things that everyone should experience.  Find some friends or go by yourself and enjoy nature.  I’ve been fortunate to have spent most of my youth camping and it is a hobby I carry with me to this day.  Whether you are an expert or novice, camping can be a great time.

This weekend I had the pleasure of a weekend trip with my girlfriend and dog.  We were fortunate to get some outstanding weather and had a phenomenal time.  As city dwellers, its easy to fall into the mindset that the city is the center of the universe and has everything you need.  If you spend a couple nights outdoors, you will realize how much you are missing out on.

When it comes to clearing your head on a tight budget, camping saves you money in all sorts of ways.

Bring Fido Along


Even a tiny dog like ours loves the chance to get outside to find his inner beast.

If you are a pet owner, you know that one of the more expensive parts about any vacation is the cost of boarding your pets.  Almost all campgrounds allow your four-legged friends to tag along.  Not only do you save a few bucks by having the dog camp with you, but your dog will have the time of its life.  Having camped with many different dogs, I’m amazed at how they all quickly adapt to their new surroundings.

Cook Your Own Food

With any travel the temptation is always to sample the local food.  When camping, cooking for yourself becomes a treat and an experience all by itself.  If you are planning on cooking your own campfire food for the first time here are a few tips to make sure you eat well:

Tip #1: Cast Iron is king of the campground.  This rugged cookware can survive any abuse.


Bacon and eggs with some fresh onions and tomatoes… YUM!

Tip #2: The glowing orange coals are best for cooking.  With flames you run the risk of setting your food on fire and will have a difficult time cooking at a steady temperature.  Before you begin your culinary pursuits, burn some wood down to glowing orange coals.

Tip #3: The campfire brings new life to boring foods.  A hotdog always tastes best fresh off of the campfire.

Riverside Accommodations at a Fraction of the Price


Our “room with a view”

The campground we visited this weekend sat right beside a local river.  From our tent we had a gorgeous view, and each night we went to sleep listening to the relaxing sounds of water.  I’m sure a pricey hotel with a waterfront balcony has its perks, but for my money, nothing beats a carefully selected campsite.

How do you relax on a budget?  What is your favorite thing about camping?

  • I have never gone camping. Yup, I just said that. I really want to though!

    • Michelle!!! You need to go camping. Drop whatever it is you are doing and go. You will be glad you did.

  • It’s been years since I’ve been camping. Our little ones are bit too little to really do it right now, but definitely want to get back to it as they get older.

    • I was shocked at the number and size of RVs out there today. I don’t know if there are more, but there are certainly more than what I remember. How old do you think the little ones need to be before they can make the trip?

  • I just saw that you’re in Indiana. We’re in Indiana too!

    I love camping…cannot wait until my girls are old enough!

    • Welcome fellow Hoosier!

      We are fairly new to the state, so we are still trying to get a feel for what the best local spots are. When your girls are old enough to camp feel free to hit me up for a recommendation on where to go.

  • Camping is one of those things I haven’t done very often, but I’ve loved it every time I’ve gone. I’m definitely excited for my son to be old enough to do some simple camping tricks. Nothing better than a campfire and s’mores!

    • Right you are Matt! It is a great time for the whole family. Once you start taking your son, I’m sure he will get hooked.

  • We crossed the US last summer on a motorcycle and most nights were spent camping, I love that you can pitch your tent almost anywhere and just enjoy a view you would pay hundreds for in a hotel. As per the food, we usually had a late lunch at a buffet or bought subs because moving every day it gets complicated to keep food and a stove. Considering you don’t waste food it isn’t much more expensive.

    • I would love to take a motorcycle trip across the country. What a great way to experience so much of what the US has to offer.

  • I love camping! It’s something I do every single year with my family. Family as in cousins and uncle. Not kids. It’s definitely a cost effective way to vacation and get away from the city.

    • Camping can definitely be a great tradition. I’ve camped my whole life, and no two trips have ever been the same.