At our most recent stop, Matt and I were given the choice between a “resort” RV park (priced at about $340 a week) and a more “basic” space (for $200 a week less.) We chose the latter of the two — not because we have anything against amenities, but because spending less on our space allows us to have more money in our budget for other pursuits.
Choosing an place to camp is all about priorities — knowing what's truly important to you and what is not. For some folks, the RV park itself is the destination (I find that this happens most with either retirees or families with small children.) They want lots of recreation options right on site, so they never have to leave “home” to be entertained. They're looking for swimming pools, tennis courts, mini golf, playgrounds — and a calendar full of bingo, jazzercise, art classes, outdoor movies, potluck dinners, and other community center gatherings. If that's what matters to you, then it's certainly worth paying a premium for a park that offers all those “extras.” After all, you'll be so busy at the pancake breakfasts and poker games, you won't have any time to spend money out in the wider world! But Matt and I clearly are different than most other full-time RVers — we don't travel in order to compare the various hot tubs and shuffleboard courts around the country. We spend our lives on the road because we want to experience each town we visit — and that means finding our recreation outside the RV park.
What I enjoy more than floating in a pool all day is dipping my toe into the local culture — that means museums, performances, historic sites, animal parks, and restaurants. I want to get out into whatever nature that place has to offer me — beaches along the coast, hiking trails in the mountains, maybe a river for canoeing or flat land where we can bike. I also live for those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you can only have in that specific location — hang gliding off a sand dune in Kitty Hawk or snorkeling in Key Largo or spending a week rafting down the Colorado River. These things all cost money (sometimes, quite a bit of it) — but Matt and I still try to live frugally, on a relatively tight budget that doesn't tie us to 9-5 jobs. So you see the problem — if we shell out more than twice what's necessary for our monthly rent, we won't have any money let over for the fun stuff. You can either pay to do or pay to be — It's just simple economics!
My Airstream is my home, filled with all the comforts I need, but I have the same attitude toward the actual campsite as I do a hotel room — it's a home-base, a location from which to explore the world, a pillow upon which to lay my head at night. I require safety, a certain amount of aesthetics, and a basic level of service (laundry facilities, bathhouse, room to go for a walk, and an open area for picnics or frisbee.) If the place comes with a jacuzzi or horseshoe pit or fire ring, so much the better — nice, but far from necessary. But so much of what we enjoy doing lies outside the RV park, and completely replaces an on-site service that might cost more. For example, right now, we're in the Outer Banks — well why on earth pay for a pool when I've got the entire Atlantic Ocean at my disposal? What I desire from a camping space has very little to do with the property itself — good weather, convenience, and proximity to either a natural area or downtown. The beauty of it is, none of these “amenities” cost me one penny extra — I've saved so much while we're here, I think we'll go out on the town tonight!
Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream with The Husbert and two fur-babies. Learn more at GettingOrganizedAToZ.com and RamonaCreel.com.
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