Cost of RVing – Living in an RV on the Road
The Real RV Living Costs on the Road
RVing is an excellent way to travel, see the countryside and have some fantastic adventures, but it’s worth knowing the actual or real cost of RVing ownership. Beyond the initial purchase price of the RV, there are ongoing fuel, maintenance, and storage cost.
Depending on the type of RV, these costs can vary widely. For example, a small RV or travel trailer may only cost a few hundred dollars per year to maintain, while a large Class A RV motorhome can easily cost several thousand dollars per year. You may want to factor into the RV you buy the ongoing cost before deciding which type of RV is best for you.
RVing is also a great way to save money on accommodations. But, like anything else, RVing will really cost you some dow, and your budget will be one of the things you will need to continue monitoring. In this article, we’ll explore the cost of RVing, including the cost of living in an RV when traveling.
What Does It Cost to Travel in an RV?
Life on the road is also an excellent way to save a few dollars on travel expenses. But what about the everyday expenses or cost of living in an RV? What does it cost to live in an RV when traveling?
RVing can be a cost-effective way to travel, especially if you are retired or do not have to worry about taking time off from work. On the other hand, if you are employed, you can work on the road while RVing full-time. On the low-end, RV average costs start at $35,000 to $300,000 on the upper end, with the higher-end RVs costing well into the high six-figure range, and luxury Class A RVs can cost millions.
Living costs can vary greatly depending on your RV lifestyle, travel, and the amount of time you stay in one place if you’re full-timing it and constantly moving. For those that are full-timing it and continuously on the move, the costs will be lower than if you’re stationary most of the time.
However, some basic costs are relatively constant no matter where you go. On average, for the cost of full-time RV living, you can expect to spend thousands on monthly expenditures.
Monthly RV Living Expenses to Consider
There are many things to consider when budgeting for monthly RV living expenses. The RV payment or cost is only part of the RV life expenses. First, you’ll need to pay for an RV resort if you choose a campground. You may also need to pay a monthly cost for utilities, like electricity and water. If you select a free campsite or boondock, you’ll need to be self-sufficient with your water and power sources.
Your fuel and camping fees will be your most significant expenses if you’re constantly on the move. You can save money by boondocking (camping for free on public land) as often as possible and only staying in an RV park when necessary.
Boondocking is an option for those who don’t mind roughing it. Dispersed camping on public lands is usually free, but you’ll need to be self-reliant and have a water supply and bathroom facilities.
However, here are some ballpark figures for different types of RVers: Overall, for full time RVing, you can expect to spend around $2,000 per month on food, gas, utilities, and other essentials. While it may seem like a lot at first, living in an RV can be more affordable than living in conventional housing in the long run.
No matter your budget, there’s a way for you to afford to live in an RV and make it work for you. With some planning, you can enjoy all the freedom and adventures that come with hitting the open road.
RV Parks and Campgrounds
RV parks and campgrounds provide an excellent option for budget-friendly travel. Many of these parks offer monthly or weekly rates, saving you significant money on accommodations. Additionally, many RV parks and campgrounds provide amenities such as laundry facilities, pools, and playgrounds, which can further reduce your travel costs.
When choosing an RV park or campground, it is vital to consider the location and climate. Some park locations are remote areas with limited access to groceries and other services. Other park locations may be in regions with extreme weather conditions that could damage your RV.
You must research to find an RV park or campground that meets your needs and budget. If you are living in an RV full time, you will need to factor in the campground fees, ranging from $20-$100 per night.
What is Boondocking?
Boondocking is a type of camping where you park your RV in a remote location, typically without hookups for water, electricity, or sewer. Many people enjoy boondocking because it allows them to escape crowded campgrounds and experience the quietness of nature. Boondocking can also be another way to save money on camping fees.
If you’re considering boondocking, there are some things you’ll need to consider. First, you’ll need to ensure your RV is self-sufficient in terms of power and water. That means having enough batteries to run your lights and appliances and a generator if you want to use air conditioning or heat. You’ll also need to have enough fresh water onboard to last a few days and if you may have a full bathroom, be prepared to deal with waste disposal.
Saving Money with Free Camping When RVing
The attraction of the open road is hard to resist. Many people dream of living and traveling on the open road in an RV. Camping for free is always easier on the wallet and saves you money while RVing. Below we list a few ways to do this:
-Look for boondocking spots. Boondocking is dry camping on public land, away from developed campgrounds, and can be done for free or at a minimum cost. You can find boondocking spots by searching on the internet or talking to other RVers.
-Join a membership club like Thousand Trails or Passport America. These clubs offer access to discounted camping at private campgrounds across the country. Membership usually costs around $100-$200 per year but can save you hundreds of dollars on camping fees.
-Camp at state and national parks. Many of these parks offer free or discounted camping for seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities.
What is the Cost of Gas and Propane for an RV?
Regarding the cost of full-time RVing, two of the most significant expenses are gas and propane. Here’s a look at the expenses you can expect to spend on these two items when traveling in an RV.
Gas prices vary widely across the country, so it’s hard to give a definitive answer regarding the cost of gas for an RV. The weekly estimated cost of gas is $150 to $250, depending on the travel distance and the RV’s mile per gallon.
Propane is another expense you will need to account for, and it’s also one that can fluctuate in price. Again, it’s hard to give a definite answer regarding propane costs, but you can expect to spend around $30 per week on propane if you’re using it for cooking and heating. If you are boondocking and not living in your RV full time, you will spend around $30 per month on propane.
What are Some of the Interior Accessories for an RV?
A few critical interior accessories are essential for any RV owner. These include a:
1. Comfortable Bed
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most vital comforts to have in your RV, especially if you are doing a lot of traveling. There are various types and sizes of beds available, so you can find one that fits your needs.
2. Kitchen Area
Even if you don’t plan on cooking complete meals in your RV, having a small kitchen area is still important and will allow you to store and prepare food and wash dishes.
This is another essential for any RV owner. Having a bathroom in your RV will make life much easier, especially if traveling with children or elderly family members.
Being able to take a shower in your RV is also essential, even if you don’t plan on taking showers daily. Showering enables you to get clean and refreshed after a long day of traveling.
5. Storage Space
Storage space in your RV is vital for keeping things organized, such as storing food, clothes, and other essentials.
Having a generator is crucial if you camp or travel in remote areas during the winter.
RV Maintenance and Repair – How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of RVing can vary greatly depending on your lifestyle or if you travel full-time. For some people, the cost of maintaining an RV is comparable to the cost of maintaining a second home; for others, the cost is more like owning a car. Here are some factors that will affect the cost of maintaining your RV:
1. The type of RV you own: Many RVs are available on the market, from small travel trailers to large Class A motorhomes. The type of RV you own will significantly impact the maintenance cost. Smaller RVs generally require less maintenance than larger ones and tend to be less expensive to operate in terms of fuel costs and other costs related to RV upgrades.
2. The age of your RV: Most manufacturers design RVs to last for years, but inevitably they will need to be repaired at some point. You may not have to pay for significant repairs or upgrades if you have a warranty or have a new RV versus a used one.
Unexpected RV Expenses You Need to Consider
Be aware of the unexpected costs associated with RVing, and there are many things to think about when you’re RVing – from the initial cost of your RV to gas, campsites, and more. However, there are also a lot of unexpected RV expenses you need to consider. Here are just a few:
1. Maintenance and Repairs – Nothing like middle-of-the-road breakdowns; just like with any vehicle, your RV will need regular maintenance and repairs. Be sure to factor this into your monthly budget.
2. Towing – If you’re not careful, towing your RV can be very expensive, with a hitch for your RV costing $200-$500. The cost will depend on the hitch type you need for your particular RV and the tow vehicle. The average cost to tow an RV generally ranges between $4 to $7 per mile. Make sure you research the best options before making your final decision.
3. Campsites- While many free or low-cost campsites are available, you may want to stay at an upscale campground or resort with a higher price tag. Be sure to account for this accordingly in your RV budget.
4. Gas – Gas prices fluctuate a lot, so it’s hard to estimate how much you’ll need to budget for this expense. However, do not underestimate the cost of fuel; use the law of averages.
Is There Any Additional Hidden RV Cost?
The cost of RVing can quickly add up beyond the purchase price and regular maintenance costs. There are a few additional hidden costs that new RVers may not be aware of that we listed below:
One cost that people often overlook is the cost of insurance. Insurance for an RV is generally more expensive than insurance for a car since the insurance industry classifies RVs as a vehicle and a home. Most people don’t realize they need to ensure the RV itself and their personal belongings inside the RV. Every RV needs insurance, and the cost is something you would want to budget for within your monthly expenses.
Another extra cost new RVers may not be aware of is storage expense. If you plan to travel frequently or live in your RV full-time, you must find a safe place to store your RV when you’re not using it. Storage can be costly, especially if you keep your RV in a secure facility.
What About RV Costs For Insurance?
The cost of RVing can be pretty expensive, especially regarding insurance, with a cost per year of around $1,000 to $1,500. We have listed a few things to bear in mind when considering the cost of RV insurance:
-The RV you choose, along with the type and size, will affect your insurance rates, and larger-size RVs typically have higher insurance rates than smaller ones.
-Your driving record will also influence the cost of insurance. If your driving record is clean, you can expect to pay less for RV insurance than someone with multiple accidents or traffic violations on their driving record.
-The type of coverage you choose will also affect the cost of your RV insurance. Basic liability coverage is typically the cheapest option, but it may not provide enough protection if you are involved in a significant accident. Full-coverage policies will be more expensive but will offer better protection in an accident or other catastrophic event.
How Much Does an RV Depreciate?
RV depreciation is a critical factor to consider when purchasing an RV. The value of an RV depreciates rapidly, and it is vital to factor this in when budgeting for your purchase. Many people are not aware of how much an RV depreciates, and this can lead to financial problems down the road.
It is vital to research the depreciation rates of different RVs before you purchase your RV and enable you to make a more informed decision.
RVs, like any other vehicle, will depreciate over time. However, because owners often use RVs as both a home and a means of transportation, they usually depreciate slower than cars and trucks.
RV depreciation is the amount by which the value of an RV declines from its original purchase price. Usually expressed as a percentage of the purchase price and is a predominant factor to consider when buying an RV.
On average, an RV will lose 20-30% of its value in the first year and 50-60% after five years. If you purchase an RV for $100,000, it will be worth $70,000 after one year and $40,000 after five years. After five to six years, most RVs will have lost about half their original value.
How to Save Money on RV travel
Ways to cut costs while on the road:
1. Stay in free or cheap camping spots, and several websites have free or inexpensive camping spots around the country.
2. Cook your meals. Eating out all the time can add up quickly, and cooking your meals will save you money and help you eat healthier while on the road.
3. Limit your shopping. It can be tempting to buy souvenirs and other items while traveling. Try to limit your shopping to only essential items, and you’ll save money in the long run.
In addition to these suggestions, it’s essential to make sure you’re paying attention to the prices of goods, take note of what you buy and how much you spend on everything.
Key Take Aways on the Cost of RVing
The cost of RVing can vary greatly depending on your travel style and needs. However, there are some general costs that all RVers should be aware of, such as gas, campground fees, and maintenance costs.
Gas is one of the most significant expenses for RVers. Depending on your RV’s size and fuel efficiency, you can expect to spend anywhere from $200 to $700 per month on gas. Campground fees can also add up quickly. Many campgrounds charge for days at a time, weeks, or more extended periods, and some also have additional fees for hookups and amenities. Finally, don’t forget to budget for routine maintenance and repairs. Even if your RV is new, things like tires, brakes, and batteries will eventually need replacing.
Many people choose to live or want to live this way, but affordability prohibits or influences their decision. Little do they know, you can finance your RV and perhaps consider a used RV to make it more affordable. However, there are costs associated with an RV and travel that you need to consider before purchasing an RV.