We’ve recently completed the first month of this years travel adventure and have been working on our monthly expense worksheet. We track what we spend and categorize our expenses so we can see where we are spending our money. That way we know how much we spend on fuel, food, camping fees and so on. We did this last summer and learned how much we need to budget for future years.
When we tell people we travel the country in a camper they are full of questions. I think they share our dream to explore and seek new adventures in a RV and they are curious to hear what we’ve learned. The most commonly asked question, other than …maybe… how the two of us manage to get along while living in such a small space, is “How much does it cost to travel in an RV?”.
In this post I am going to share what it cost us for our adventures last summer. Keep in mind this is what it cost us during this particular time period. To say that someone else would have the same expenses during their travels would be misleading. There are an infinite number of variables. For instance, we like to camp in state and national parks. You may prefer RV resorts with full hookups and all the amenities. Also, we generally moved locations every three or four days which increases fuel cost. You may like staying put a little longer. And although we did eat out at restaurants more than we normally do, we still cooked the majority of our own meals. My hope though is by sharing our cost you will get an idea of what it may cost for you to start your own adventure knowing that you could spend more or less depending on how you travel.
These numbers only include our day to day expenses while traveling. It does not include the purchase of the camper or the truck nor does it include the insurance coverage we keep on both. It does however include maintenance cost incurred while traveling and a few accessories and upgrades we felt we needed such as a new mattress. It does not include our medical insurance or any of the cost related to maintaining our sticks and bricks home in Florida. These are expenses you may need to consider when creating your own budget.
Our adventure began on May 17, 2019 and we arrived back in our own driveway late in the evening on August 28 of the same year. That’s 103 nights of camping. We traveled 9,309 total miles through fourteen states. We stayed at 25 campgrounds plus we stayed on family property twice. One was on our daughter’s driveway for three nights and the other was at grammi’s cousin’s farm for ten nights. We are very thankful to have family where we could “mooch-dock” for those nights.
We have the Thousand Trails Membership. It was included with the purchase of our camper from Lazy Days RV. Without going into a lot of detail, because there are so many different membership packages, we were basically given a one year membership which includes free camping with some limitations at campgrounds located around the country. We added a couple different zones to our package for a total cost $108.00. That amount was added to our total campground fees. We stayed at six different Thousand Trails campgrounds for a total of twenty-two nights with no additional cost to us. Not a bad deal at all.
Early on, we kicked around the idea of selling everything and living full-time in an RV. This, as we envision, would give us the freedom to move around indefinitely without the burden and expense of a house. But on the other hand, we hear of so many full-timers who come to Florida to spend their winters. So we thought, if we can make it work, we would maintain our house as a home-base and just winter there. So if you plan on having a home base you would need to consider that cost as well.
We consider this past summer’s adventure as kind of a practice run for our future trips. We didn’t set a budget but rather lived like we would normally do. Then at the end of the journey we’d take a look and see what we spent. My hope was that we could live this lifestyle somewhere between $100 – $125 per day. With that we could still maintain our house and other expenses while having a little buffer. So let’s look at the numbers and see how it all came out.
|Camper accessories and upgrades||708.79|
|Entertainment and admission fees||747.86|
That works out to be $89.84 per day. That’s below what I had anticipated so obviously I’m happy about that but more importantly if gives me a gauge to measure what we can do in the future.
I hope this information is useful to you. I encourage everyone to consider doing what we are doing. We had so much fun last summer and can’t imagine stopping at this point. We are hunkered down now (see previous post) but even with all that is going on with the COVID-19, we look forward to restarting our adventure as soon as we possibly can. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments.