This year for our trip, we are going to save money on our camping fees. We prefer staying in federal or state campgrounds at parks, forests or lakes. Sometimes, though, there aren’t any of these where we are traveling.
In the past, we used Kampgrounds of America (IKOA) as our fallback camping solution if none of our preferred type campgrounds were available. With campgrounds all over the country , we’ve found KOA to be relatively dependable for our needs over the years.
(The horse sculpture in the photo is in the Four Aces Campground in Kinsley, Kansas.)
Now, though, I am fully retired and we need to watch our expenses a bit closer. KOAs prices start at somewhere around $35, depending on location and can go quite a bit higher in popular areas. That can add up, particularly on an extended trip.
Before we left on this trip, we joined Passport America. The annual fee is $44. The main draw, for us, is that campground fees at Passport America member campgrounds are 50% of their normal fee. For instance, the fee for the campground in Kinsley, Kansas, our stop after visiting Fort Larned, is normally $38. We paid $19. That one stop recouped almost half of the annual fee.
Another way that we’ll be saving money camping is through The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. Priced at $10, this pass is good for lifetime entrance to national parks and recreation areas and reduced prices for many amenities, including camping. If we’d had the card at Kaw Lake, the camping fee would have been $9 instead of the $18 we paid. With this kind of price federal campgrounds will be our preferred stops.
Some people will suggest stopping overnight at a Walmart or other big box store, a truck stop, or a highway rest area.
In all the time we’ve been camping, we’ve done that exactly once – at an I40 rest area in western Oklahoma.
We prefer to get a good night sleep. Camping in a parking lot, whether it’s a Walmart, truck stop, or rest area won’t be restful for me. That’s the only thing I have against that kind of overnighting on the way to somewhere.
Some images from Kinsley, Kansas:
We stayed at Four Aces Campground in Kinsley, Kansas on August 4th, 2014.