I'm also going to guess that if a plot of dirt to camp costs $50-75, you're not going to find a $30 motel room on priceline or anywhere else. If you're talking about the weekend of a special event, there can be times were the cheapest hotel room in an average town will be close to $200.If you want to camp in my area on a race weekend, you're going to pay $50-75 (depending upon how close you are to the track) for just a tiny spot of dirt, no trees, and access to a bathhouse.
If you are looking at staying at mid-priced hotels, then you probably aren't looking for the least expensive room. While you can occationally find deals, Mid-priced hotels generally don't equate to budget trip. And again, I can make a pretty cheap breakfast at a campsite, along with a pretty cheap dinner and lunch. That's a huge savings compared to getting a "free" breakfast and then eating dinner at a family restaurant. Not having to do dishes might be worth the extra money to you, and make it a good value for what you are looking for, but that's not the same as keeping costs to a minimum.When did you last stay at a mid-priced hotel that offers breakfast? I've not had anything but a hot breakfast at one recently.
Sure, I'll spend $5 a night for firewood, a couple bucks for bug spray, and maybe $10 for a summer's worth of propane, but that adds about $10 to the cost of a campsite for the night. Room/Sales/"we needed that new stadium" Taxes seem to always add at least $10 to even the cheapest motel room.Once you've transported your equipment, bought propane or batteries for your lantern, firewood, convenience foods that're quick to cook over the fire, you've spent more than the campsite fee.
I'm not sure what convience foods you are using, but I can cook fresh meat, like burgers, steaks, chicken, and some canned veggies for far less than what I could get a comparably filing meal at a restaurant.
Judy has plenty of experience camping with kids, and I've got an 8 year old at home. She usually helps out, but even in the worst case sincerio, we'll let her go run around at the campground playground before we get in the car while we pack. She gets to burn off energy before getting in a car, certainly a big plus compared to watching TV, when you're going to be back on the road for several hours.I'm guessing you're not sharing the trip with children -- even older kids like mine add to the workload at camp.
I don't think anyone here as ever said that RV travel is cheap, or a great option for a budget trip. RVs are almost always more expensive than motel travel.We did run the numbers; initially we assumed we'd rent an RV, but WOW were we surprised at the cost!
Value is certainly in the eye of the beholder, and clearly for your trip's enjoyment, the money you could save by camping isn't worth the extra hassles/time/work involved with camping. To others, camping only add to the enjoyment of a roadtrip. There is certainly nothing wrong with either, an both are options that everyone should consider as a part of their overall enjoyment of their roadtrip.I think it's a mistake to make a blanket statement that camping is always the best value (reference the thread's title);
However, if simply saving money is more important than sleeping on a matress, having someone make your meals, or the few extra minutes you'll spend setting up and tearing down camp, its pretty rare when using hotels will cost fewer actual dollars than setting up camp.