RVs Enthusiasts Trim Costs, Keep On Traveling according to RVtravel.com

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RV enthusiasts are finding ways to keep traveling despite high fuel prices, according to the website RVtravel.com.

RV enthusiasts are finding ways to keep traveling despite high fuel prices, according to the website RVtravel.com. With gas prices at $3 a gallon or more and RV park fees commonly exceeding $30 a night, the cost of travel by recreational vehicle is at a budget-stretching high. But that isn't stopping most owners of motorhomes and travel trailers.

"Most RVers will travel no matter what," said RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury. "Many RVers dreamed for years of enjoying the lifestyle before buying a motorhome or travel trailer, and they'll find a way to use it in spite of how much gas or campgrounds cost."

One way they afford to keep using their RVs, said Woodbury, is to cut camping fees. "We've done surveys at RVtravel.com -- http://www.RVtravel.com -- to learn the ways RVers are making ends meet, and we've found that more than half our readers have spent at least one night during a recent trip in a truck stop or Wal-Mart parking lot, where the 'camping' is free. Many RVers routinely stay in these places, sometimes several nights a week.

"It's not a meaningful experience with nature, but the money an RVer saves on campground fees can help pay for the next day's gasoline."

And fuel can be a big expense. In a January survey at RVtravel.com, in which more than 2,400 RVers participated, two-thirds said they get less than 10 miles per gallon with their motorhome or tow vehicle. Only nine percent get better than 14 miles per gallon.

"RVers tell us that they are slowing down to improve their mileage," said Woodbury. "They are also keeping their RV or tow vehicle engine tuned, and the tires properly inflated," which also helps stretch fuel.

In response to the demand for more fuel-efficient RVs, RV manufacturers are rapidly introducing European-style motorhomes that can get up to 18 miles per gallon. Winnebago Industries' Winnebago View and Itasca Navion are among the most popular coaches powered with a fuel-stingy Mercedes engine, and built on the efficient Dodge Sprinter chassis.

Travel trailer manufacturers are increasing production of lightweight and ultra lightweight RVs. Most can be towed with fuel-efficient passenger vehicles or lightweight trucks.

Even though many public campgrounds now charge $15 a night and up, and RV parks double that, thousands of places allow RVers to stay for free or nearly free. The website FreeCampgrounds.com -- http://www.FreeCampgrounds.com -- lists more than 1,800 such locations. "Many small towns have campgrounds in their city parks and offer a free stay for a day or two," said Woodbury. "A few even provide utility hookups at no extra charge." Woodbury noted that most RVers are unaware of these places because they are seldom advertised or even promoted by their communities.

RVers interested in keeping up with the latest news about RVs and the RV lifestyle, including tips for stretching their travel dollars, can sign up for the free RVtravel.com newsletter. The online publication is posted on the Web every Saturday and is in its seventh year with more than 73,000 subscribers. Information and a sign up form is at http://www.RVtravel.com .

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CHUCK WOODBURY
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