Ah, the open road. What carefree retiree wouldn’t want to spend at least part of their time rolling from one spot to another and enjoying what America has to offer? When I was working in the hospitality industry, I met many retirees that spent all year traveling across the country in their RVs. I have to admit, I was more than a bit curious as to how they had managed to pull it off. So, I made a few inquiries. Most were more than happy to share their knowledge with me. And now, I’d like to pass what I learned on to you. Here’s how you can spend your retirement years traveling on the cheap:
Believe it or not, there are a lot of places where you can camp for free or on the cheap. For example, there are retail establishments like 24-hour truck stops and Wal-Marts that will allow campers to hunker down for the night. Personally, I am not a big fan of camping in parking lots but it will do in a pinch.
Thankfully, there are other options like dispersed camping on public lands. Many dispersed camping areas may be found through the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and the USDA Forest Service. Of course, the sites do not have hook-ups. As such, campers making use of the sites will also need to find out where the nearest dump station, store and fuel station are so they can replenish supplies and refill their tanks.
Some long-term campers also score free campsites at private campgrounds by signing up for work camper programs. Work camper programs are offered all across the U.S. Those interested can find out which campgrounds offer such programs through the Workamper News website. The campgrounds I worked for had such programs and the people loved them. They would mow the lawn, take campground reservations, clean the shower rooms and fold laundry in exchange for free or reduced campsites each month.
Handling Your Business
One of the things that I was most curious about was how long-term campers manage everyday tasks like maintaining residency, getting mail and paying bills. I learned that there are services available that will set up residency and a post office box for campers as well as forward their mail upon request. Through the use of such services, campers are able to keep in touch with family members and keep their driver’s license current. The Good Sam Mail Service is one of those services. Most of the campers that I talked to were also using automatic bill pay and direct deposit services through their bank as well as paying bills online directly through the creditor’s website.