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How to Camp on a Budget

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Too many times people say they “can’t afford” to go on a vacation.

& I’m often asked how I afford to travel so often.

Although I actually enjoy camping and often prefer it..

it is a good way to travel cheap if you have a low budget but still want to go somewhere.

I'm sure you've heard the saying : "Camping – where you spend a small fortune to live like a homeless person."

And people assume that traveling is expensive. That is not the case at all (or it wouldn’t be possible for me)

Camping CAN be really expensive (Especially if you are first starting & try to spoil yourself) but it doesn’t have to be.

The main costs for a camping trip are:

Tent, Campground Fee, Food, Firewood

& ¾ of those can be avoided.. let me tell you how


You can get a reasonably priced tent (cheaper than 1 night at a hotel) and use it on several trips. So really it pays for itself. You don’t want to get one too cheap, because remember, this is your “home” for the time being. But no need to get a huge, expensive one. Most of your time will be spent outside of the tent anyways.

You honestly don’t even necessarily have to have a tent. If your budget doesn’t have room for that and you’re not really a fan of camping anyways (you’re just trying to go somewhere on a budget) and don’t want to waste money investing in a tent. All you need is an SUV, and you can lay the seats down flat or take them out, and boom! make yourself a bed!

Look how comfy me and my sis were during : our first trip together

OR (yep .. I have one more option for you. So you really have no excuse)

If the weather permits … go get a cheap hammock & post up with your blankets or sleeping bag & call it a night.

I've linked some below.

Campground Fee:

I have never stayed at a campground that charges more than $30 a night, and that was honestly pretty pricey. They mostly range from $7-25 a night. I know, you’re probably having some of the same thoughts as myself… “why the hell should I have to pay to sleep outside on the ground?!” But what you are paying for with (most) campgrounds is a bathroom/shower, picnic table, fire ring, sometimes they are even gated after a certain time, or have washers and dryers. & if you're really luck, a pool!

If you're looking to camp FREE there are also several options as well.

Also, in places such as national parks, etc. there is sometimes camping allowed on side gravel roads (there will be signs posted)


You’re basically on your own with this one, friend. I won’t tell you how to eat.

But I’ll give you some tips.

  • Get snacks that you would normally eat. Sleeping in the woods is not the time to try new things.

  • Bring what you can from home. (no point in buying things you already own. (Aka , me with now 5 bottles of ketchup)

  • Split cost (and the food) with whomever you are with.

  • If your campsite has a grill or rack over the fire, get aluminum foil & cook on the fire. After all, you’re camping!

  • You can cook canned food by the fire !! (mhm… chef boy r dee, you are coming with me!)

  • Bring a cooler (or buy a cheap Styrofoam one from the grocery store while you are there getting your food)

  • Don’t slack on the water!

veggie hotdogs, black bean burgers, asparagus


Most campgrounds and gas stations sell firewood for around $5-8 a bundle.

If that’s too expensive, round up some damn sticks! Trust me, you’re gonna want a fire ( + s’mores)

I hope this was helpful to anyone who thought camping was too expensive.

Do you have any budget camping tips of your own?

♥ Haley Jane

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