cheap last minute holiday travel

Cheap Last Minute Holiday Travel in an RV

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Two months in a row we’ve traveled around a major holiday. We drove 350 miles on Black Friday to get from Las Vegas, NV to Lake Isabella, CA. Then we left Lake Isabella to get to our next destination on Christmas Eve Eve to avoid a snowstorm along our route. Because the storm warning came so quickly, we didn’t have enough notice to plan for a reservation, and traveling another 300 miles in stormy weather all in one day was not an option. So here’s how we did our cheap last minute holiday travel.

cheap last minute holiday travel

This view is beautiful, but this mountain pass gets hit with a snowstorm shortly after this picture. We narrowly made it through before the storm hit.

Cheap Last Minute Holiday Travel

cheap last minute holiday travel in an rv

We actually wanted to stay in an RV park. It was cold, windy and rainy. Our generator wasn’t working and our batteries weren’t doing well either (more about that in a future post).

cheap last minute holiday travel

A lot of snow on the mountains surrounding Palm Springs!

But we called multiple parks, and none of them answered. We drove by some and found them to be full. It was dark, and we were tired. The Walmart lots were full because it was right before Christmas and it was a Friday. So we went with our old standby.

The best place to park for free over a holiday (if you can’t make it to public lands)

If you remember our post about traveling from northern California to Oregon over a holiday weekend, we utilized casinos as places to stay. Many casinos have free boondocking for RVs, and have convenient amenities on-site for free or a low price.

We’ve stayed at casinos that offer free parking, free dump stations and free water. They have gas stations on-site or nearby. Of course the casino itself may have amenities and activities such as free shuttles for guests (if there’s a large parking lot) restaurants, shows, and of course gambling.

As a bonus, surprisingly casino RV parking is a lot quieter than you’d expect.  The designated areas are typically at the edge of the lots, or there is a completely separate lot. Most people who drive in want to park as close as possible to the casino, so there won’t be a lot of traffic coming through. As for other RVers, they are either gambling all night or they are truly just want a place to sleep and they’re inside their RVs not making noise.

Our pick for a cheap place to park on a holiday weekend

On December 23rd, we ended up the the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, CA. This casino is on the Morongo Indian Reservation along I-10, only about 30 minutes northwest of the Palm Springs area.

They have a designated parking lot for RVs and large trucks. We didn’t know this on our way in, but they also have a courtesy shuttle that you can call for and it will drive you anywhere on the property.

We got buffeted by the wind and rain overnight, but woke up dry and reasonably warm. And it cost us nothing to stay in their parking lot. So our cheap last minute holiday travel with no plan worked out well.

cheap last minute rv travel

Rainy morning at the casino gas station.

From what I’ve seen, unless you really know what you’re doing it’s a bad idea to go to public lands (called BLM lands) at night, in the dark, when it’s raining. It seems like a good way to get your tires stuck. And since we don’t really know what we’re doing, we decided that was not an adventure to take that night.

The next morning we got up, moved between storm fronts, and made it safely to our next home for the month. But that is another post…

Before you go…

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