My wife and I took the kids to Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA this past weekend. The problem is, there are no campgrounds close to Sesame since it’s a Philadelphia suburb. My options were either Quakertown, PA which was 25 miles/55 minute drive or Jackson, NJ which was 30 miles/45 minute drive. I picked Butterfly Camping Resort in Jackson, NJ and made reservations for a 50amp/water/electric/sewer site for $60/night. Once I told my wife, I got “the look” that told me I made the wrong choice. She said she didn’t want that length of a drive and that I should find a hotel closer.
“It’s often cheaper to hotel vs. RV. However it’s seldom as much fun.” – Lantley, RV.NET
The Cost Factor
My initial fear was that hoteling it it would be more expensive that RVing. But, truth be told- Butterfly Camping resort asks a premium for their sites and we could end up in an inexpensive (but still chain) hotel at only slightly more at $64/night. Even more so, the fuel cost differences were pretty astounding:
- RVing is about 450 miles or $180 in fuel (getting camper to/from storage, alternate routes due bad turns in my neighborhood and propane restrictions, and distance to/from campground to Sesame)
- Hoteling is about 310 miles or $45 in fuel (straight shot, close to Sesame)
The general idea is that the RV is cheaper from a meals perspective, but using the RV just as a place to sleep- our meal costs didn’t change much. Friday night dinner was bought out and would have either way. Breakfasts were the hotel’s complimentary fare. And lunches were packed (sandwiches, fruit and snacks). Saturday’s dinner would have been the wild card, but with being at the park until 7pm- it would have been bought out in either situation.
Hotelling it cost us approximately $173 in fuel and lodging vs. RVing would have cost us $300 for the same.
At the end of the day, Lantley from RV.net was right, “It’s often cheaper to hotel vs. RV.” But, he goes on to add, “However it’s seldom as much fun.” There are pros and cons when deciding to hotel it or RV it.
The Fun Factor
The pros for this weekend’s hotelling:
- More convenient to attractions
- Easier parking at the park (vs. parking out crew cab/long bed dually)
- Ability to go to the park on Sunday (vs. having the camper and no where to park it)
- Surprisingly good shower
- No dumping of tanks
The cons for this weekend’s hotelling:
- Lack of privacy from the kids (just 1 room with all 3 beds in it)
- No lounging comforts (no sofa, no table to eat snacks at)
- Not our beds or pillows (we’re “particular”)
- Funky lobby and hallway smell
- Crappy toilet paper
- Hiding my work laptop and iPad (camper just feels more secure)
- No freezer in the mini-fridge
- Getting on the floor to get in the fridge
At the end of the day, I greatly prefer to take our camper but for this trip, hotelling it really did make sense. If there had been a closer campground (like Knoebels has!), the camper would have been easier to pick.