Budget Travel: Camping

Budget Travel: Camping

Budget Travel: Camping | brokeGIRLrich

For as long as I can remember, my extended family has gone on camping trips. My dad is the youngest of nine, so there were always plenty of cousins to hang out with and piles of mischief to get up to.

There was the memorable year when I ran full speed into a partially buried fire pit and split my shin open. The time my cousin refused to put on a life jacket, flipped the canoe and almost drowned. The time I dropped a flaming marshmallow on my bare leg and learned that, similar to napalm, flaming goo does not coming right off.

Despite these mishaps, I actually love camping. I haven’t been on one of these family trips since high school, so I’m especially excited to go on the big trip this year!

Last year, while driving around the country for work, I actually picked up a tent and a sleeping bag and spent several nights camping out instead of in a hotel. Besides being an excellent money saver, it was actually nice to get back to nature (most nights – there was the memorable evening when the campsite was right next to a highway).

The point of all this is – the season for camping is upon us again and it’s a great way for all your frugal folks out there to enjoy some time with your family and friends in a thrifty manner.

A great app out there for finding campsites is RA Camping, built by the people at Reserve America, one of the most comprehensive campsite search engines.

To save even more money, make sure to check the state parks near you. They often have fewer amenities, but a much lower cost per site as well. It’s not impossible to find sites as low as $5/night.

Even in the wild though, you’ve still got to eat! Here’s one of my favorite campfire recipes (heads up, it’s definitely not clean eating):

Banana Nutella Campfire Dessert

  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Jar of Nutella
  • 1 Bag of Mini Marshmellows
  • 1 Roll of Aluminum Foil
  1. Peel back a single strip of the banana skin.
  2. Scoop out a trough along the revealed banana flesh.
  3. Fill the trough with Nutella.
  4. Top with mini marshmallows.
  5. Recover with the banana skin.
  6. Wrap in aluminum.
  7. Place on top of hot coals for 10 minutes.

The banana should be soft when you poke it. Then you know it’s done. Gobble it up with a spoon.

Looking for something a little more substantial? Food in a bag is one of my faves and totally at my skill level.

Reynolds sells hot bags, which make this dish even easier, but you can also make your own hot bags out of aluminum foil.

This stuff makes campfire meals awesome and easy!

This stuff makes campfire meals awesome and easy!

  • 1 packet of dry onion soup mix
  • 1 big pinch of flour
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • Any veggies
  1. Chop up the veggies (an onion is a must-have for this mix) and dump it in the hot bag along with the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Give it a good shake to mix them all up.
  3. Place it on the grill for 15 minutes.
  4. Flip it over and grill for 15 more.

Be careful opening the hot bag!!

Another thing I love about camping is board games. I am a total dork and can happily play hours upon hours of board games. Most people are not interested in joining, but when we’re camping, I can almost always convince some of the others to play and if it rains, everyone plays board games all day. Kind of my little slice of vacation heaven.

Playing Ticket to Ride

This is when the obsession started.

My two favorites right now are Cards Against Humanity (for the adult crowd) and Ticket To Ride. Ticket to Ride is pretty much the most addictive and amazing game I’ve ever played. You either love it or hate it very quickly.

So how about you guys? Are any of you campers? Got a recipe to add to the list or a board game I should bring with me this year?


*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on Femme Frugality and Debt Debs*

19 thoughts on “Budget Travel: Camping

  1. We’re huge campers here!!! My extended family used to camp when I was a kid too, and I’ll never forget my cousins flicking fish eyes at us girls as they cleaned out the fish – eeeewww!!!! We now take the kids camping every year without fail, at least once. They get the “fun” breakfasts that I won’t serve at home, such as Pop Tarts and sugary cereal, and junk food to their hearts’ content. :-) Our fave card game has to be Canasta (or, as some call it, Hand and foot). Gotta love it!
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…Prepping 101: Learn from the Past to Prep for the FutureMy Profile

  2. My friends and I went on a camping trip last year for the 4th of July. It was awesome!
    My family used to go camping too, when we were kids. We’ve traveled all through France with a group of about 5 families: we always had playmates, we’d travel to places that were related to our history books. It was a great time. :)
    Debby recently posted…Day 208 – Conversation – It’s an Art.My Profile

  3. Great food and games tips, Mel! Had many great camping trips as a kid growing up and with my own kids. I really think it is fun for kids 12 and under. Even hubster and I had one weekend away by ourselves once. We love to play board games like Balderdash and Scattegories. There’s a few more but I can’t think of the names right now and they are at my Dad’s cottage.
    debt debs recently posted…Mother Money MomentsMy Profile

  4. You are probably a camping expert with all of this experience! I’ve never been. I want to go and part of me is nervous lol. I wonder what is in the wild, will I get attacked by a raccoon…you know…things like that :) I love nutella so this looks like it is so yummy delicious. Thanks for sharing this one with us at Countdown in Style, too!
    Brittnei recently posted…6 Ways To Get Exercise Without Going To A GymMy Profile

  5. As much as I love saving money, I HATE camping. I hate being dirty and the feeling of dirty. This is a great post ~ for others! Thanks for sharing for Countdown in Style.

  6. Hopping over from Motivation Monday! I had never gone camping until I was an adult, and I was very reluctant. I’m glad my friend convinced me, because I had a great time and now we try to make our family trips camping trips sometimes! We are board game geeks also (and actually search for new games on boardgamegeek.com. LOL), and really like Pandemic, 7 Wonders, and Munchkin. Check them out!
    Shannen recently posted…How to Get Your Kids to Hate GeographyMy Profile

    • Awesome. There was definitely an interesting amount of freedom last year when I had to drive all over the country after I bought a tent. I stayed in some really unexpected but cool places.

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