There’s nothing wrong with this of course and I too have stayed in places for only one or two nights and paid a more premium price for that. If you are traveling day-to-day or staying in paid campgrounds for short periods of time, it’s unlikely that you will have to incur utility costs such as electric, sewer, water, or cable charges as these costs are usually included in your fee as a short time visitor. As it turns out… whether you are actually traveling in your RV or staying in an RV resort, the cost of day-to-day life is about the same. We’ve been from Florida to Alaska to Baja and nearly everywhere in between in our pursuit of Abundant Life. The daily rent at RV parks or campgrounds can get expensive each month, depending on each campground of course. Entertainment doesn’t have to be about paying for activities, sometimes the best entertainment can be walking through the woods and collecting morel and oyster mushrooms to sauté with a bit of butter and a breast of duck raised and harvested by a local farmer. Living and traveling full-time in a RV is of course not free, but I was surprised how affordable it can be. This helps to keep their accommodation costs to a minimum because most campground owners prefer to discount a site price than take the chance that they may not make the revenue renting it as a transient site. For example, you or your partner are retired and have differing healthcare options offered by your retirement programs. For the occasional RVer, financing a nice RV in the last few years before they retire and taking good care of it during that time would be the way I would go if you were considering living in an RV full-time or seasonally in your retirement. Then we look into our discounted options. If you happen to know Everybody and be driving through Somewhere then there’s a decent chance Somebody will let you stay with them for a night or two! When you combine this expense with the cost of daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal lot or site rentals, this expense … Links on this page may be affiliate links, meaning we will receive a small commission for referring you. There are our go-to when we are deciding on where to stay. I also recommend purchasing a pet insurance plan if you are like me and traveling the country with a furry friend. These include insurance, roadside assistance and discounted retail purchases at places like Camping World, Gander Mountain and Flying J. This helps us keep what we call ‘ticketed events’ to a minimum. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'calledtowander_com-leader-3','ezslot_18',116,'0','0'])); While it is hard to live in most places in the US and Canada for that amount, I’d still rather spend that on other things – like local food and experiences on the road! For example, I don’t have a monthly RV payment, but many people do, so I wanted to include in this worksheet if you’re currently paying off a new RV or used RV. Even still, we spend far less traveling per month on accommodation than we ever did on our mortgage or rent. Spending the night in a rest stop or pulled over at a trailhead also counts as boondocking. I love local cuisine and I cherish eating locally grown foods. 1. And, once again, there is no provision in the Thrifty or Moderate budgets for RV or Tow/Towed Vehicle payments. Add in food costs and gas, and you’ve got a hefty chunk … All camping is 100% FREE. If you’re in colder climates you made need to run a heater or furnace and this will also affect the cost of your utility usage. All Harvest Host properties will permit you to stay for FREE. Another thing to consider when living the RV lifestyle is whether your healthcare program will work in other states than your declared home state. The first way to save money when RV camping on a budget is to join any number of RV clubs and memberships. Ok, that may have been a little confusing. Initially, we budgeted $25 per night for camping fees. to look for when buying a RV and which RV brands have good reputations with customer care and which are not reputable. I’m drawing a pension right now. This is another area with how much living in an RV cost that you can be drastically changed by your travel style. For example, you may choose to finance a top of the line class A motorhome or trailer and your monthly payment may be $500. Copyright © 2021 whereyoumakeit.com - Made with ❤ from Somewhere, traveling the country with a furry friend, Understanding Campground Etiquette and Being a Good Neighbor, How to Figure Out What Size Inverter Works for Your Needs. Van life Costs: June 2017. Sometimes we find ourselves stuck and need to pay for a night or two. But we quickly learned that you don’t have to spend your full camping budget each night. It depends on your budget and you can live in RV parks, state parks, do boondocking, or take the service of an RV host website. You may find that some of these expenditures apply to your situation while others may not. Join us in our journey as we hope to inspire you to pursue Abundant Life on the road! You actually have a lot flexibility when it comes to expenses – depending on your budget and how you like to travel. If you plan to camp for at least 7-10 days per year then we suggest that you consider investing this amount. When we started living full time in our RV we were naive to the options we had for camping on a budget. Or maybe it’s a friend of a friend. We were excited because this was exactly $1 below our nightly budget. But, to help you to make informed guesses, we are providing our actual fulltime RVing numbers for you to use. It is a basic math formula: your new RV lifestyle costs will be equal to your current household budget, minus the expenses of living in your house, plus the costs of living in your recreational vehicle. This is an app that is starting to really grow in it’s functionality. Full-time RV Campsite Budget . Okay. Our biggest monthly expense is our land lease, which is $4000 per year, equaling out to about $333 per month. Either way – moochdocking is a great option if you take the time to stroll through your social media and let people know you’re looking for a place to stay! For entertainment, I might spend $100 to $200 per month here, but obviously this differs a lot by person. In the end, we decided that this information is important to a lot of our followers and it could help someone take their own leap. Stephanie, her hubby, and their two cats enjoy living and traveling full-time in their RV, often camping off-grid to stretch their budget. If that means I have to pay $3 to get into a small local museum in Iowa to witness the history of harvesting corn, or pay $15 to take a tour of a shipyard in New Hampshire that supplied the original colonists with wooden pegs to repair their ships to fight the British…then I’m all for that cost. Therefore, we are going to use this article to help break down the real cost of RV living for you. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'calledtowander_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_4',106,'0','0'])); But even if you own a Class A motorhome it is still possible to camp for less than $10 per day. In simpler terms, ‘Moochdocking’ is the affectionate RV term for staying for free in somebody’s driveway. If you don’t have that personal connection nor the brave and extroverted personality to make friends on the fly, then you can also give boondocking a try. Read about every line item on the budget and see our average monthly expenses after 3 years on the road. Living in the RV is 75% cheaper than living in our old condo. We LOVE boondocking. And you should now feel confident about your ability to go camping on a budget!eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'calledtowander_com-leader-4','ezslot_19',117,'0','0'])); Have ideas on how to go camping on a budget that we didn’t mention? For us, RV living was worth it. If you have more than 1-2 devices you need to hook up, consider an RV WiFi Extender. We’re confident that if you combine your RV clubs and memberships with an openness to allowing mobile apps direct you to some boondocking locations then you’ll not only enjoy the places you camp but also save money in the process. This also varies by RVer and depends on such things as their preferred diets and whether they cook in their own rig or eat out. We’ve made it intentional to try and see as many friends and family as we can as we travel. In fact, knowing what we know now about using RV clubs and memberships to our advantage we average much less than $10 per night in camping. Healthcare premiums are going to differ by person, but budgeting for around $100 a month is a good average to shoot for. It is a game to us now, to see how many days we can go without paying for camping. Here are some tips for free fun and cheap entertainment practiced by budget-minded RVers: Where to Find Cheap Entertainment: Make the Visitor’s Center or Chamber of Commerce Your First Stop. And it can also be obnoxious yet practical. We want to provide these monthly budget reports for three main reasons. eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'calledtowander_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_3',105,'0','0'])); But this wasn’t always the case. Fixed Annual RV Living Costs: $15,755 ($1,313 Per Month) RV Payment: $7,200 Medical Insurance: $5,832 Plan for two adults RV Insurance: $1,200 Full Time RV Policy Tow Car Insurance: $1,008 Auto Policy Club Memberships: $215 – Costco Executive, Escapees RV Club, Harvest Hosts, and Boondockers Welcome Vehicle Registration: $205 – Class A RV $132, Tow Car $73 So How Much Does it Cost to Full-time RV? But even then we hardly ever pay full price for camping! We’ve been living full time in our truck camper for nearly 3 years as we’ve traveled throughout North America. If you don’t know where your money is going, you CANNOT live on a budget. So as we travel we try to spend at least 3-4 nights per month moochdocking. iOverlander is a wiki app where fellow campers have indicated they have found great places to camp. We currently travel full time in a camper van. Having been in the hospitality business for a few decades I really don’t get much of a thrill anymore by eating in restaurants. Sometimes one person has a better prescription plan yet the other has a lower overall deductible than their partner’s policy. Author: Stephanie Henkel. In this sample worksheet are some examples of what you may need to consider when creating your own budget for full-time RVing. Also, learn what signs of problems (water leaks, mold, etc.) Just because you may not have to pay for camping one month, you may still find that the added fuel costs or eating out more often may actually cost you more that month than if you had stayed in one or two different locations for more extended periods than nightly. Those amenities come at a cost: They spent $160,000 on the RV, which was listed at $204,000. And you closest camping neighbor will likely be deer or bears. "http:":"https:";if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=d+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var r=e.createElement("script");r.async=1,r.id=s,r.src=i,o.parentNode.insertBefore(r,o)}}(document,0,"infogram-async","https://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js"); In this worksheet you will also see that I have included items such as healthcare, utilities, cell phone, internet costs, and lot rent or the average cost of campground fees. The cost of a motorhome or travel trailer is by far the biggest investment of an RV lifestyle. It’s not worth it. There are other costs associated with the cost of RVing such as toiletries or cleaning supplies, internet, and cell phone costs, so you will find that your expenditures will include other things that I have not mentioned here. Since purchasing the Hymer Aktiv, it's much easier now to stealth camp in places and not need to incur that fee since I'm entirely self-contained. You don’t even have to spend half of that amount. reply. Whether you are looking for free places to camp or want to find a campground that accepts any of your RV clubs and memberships, Campendium is a great resource. Just how much does it cost to RV? When you boondock you are at the mercy of your environment and your own self-contained resources. Then try to break it. As a rule, your biggest living expenses will be accommodations and fuel. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'calledtowander_com-box-3','ezslot_0',104,'0','0'])); Full-time RVers know that the concept of a budget in itself takes on a different meaning once you realize that you are living full time in your RV. If you frequent RV parks while traveling, you’ll have to consider the cost of full hookups to shore power as well, which can get expensive quickly if you’re using full hookups at a campsite every night. In total for utilities, this will run you about $30-$80 for non-digital services and a little over $100 a month typically for stuff like your cell phone bill and internet service (if you want it). While AllStays does not focus on many of the free places to camp, it will allow you to filter the results to match your RV clubs and memberships. Our budget is a lot higher than many families and couples we see posting their budgets, but we typically stay in RV parks with full hookups. In 2017, we pulled a 44’ Fifth Wheel with our Chevy 3500 HD Truck. But finding camping, especially if you are like us and do not make set plans, can be a challenge. Not all circumstances are the same so yours may vary, but this some give you an idea of how best to layout a budget while RVing. I try to minimize my cost for food by purchasing things such as bottled water, dried pastas, flour, sugar, and other staples at discount grocery outlets. Yes depreciation is a factor when purchasing an RV, as with anything. There is no easy answer to this question, and the truth of the matter is, you can make RV life as expensive or as affordable as you see fit. I have met many folks that stay in the northern states during the summer then travel south during the winter. It can be as much as $150K or less than $10K a year. Probably one of the most important costs for an RVer is having a savings account that is a dedicated emergency fund. But know that we live out of our flatbed truck camper. This step will be trickier, as you will have to make some guesses. However, I prefer to explore where I am at, so when I stay at paid sites or campgrounds, I usually pay for a week or longer as this gives me an opportunity to explore the area and take in the sights. Some sites offer shower, dumping, and pot water facilities with no extra charge. Some campgrounds may also charge you a fee for TV or internet access, so these are all things you should research before staying at a campground. eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'calledtowander_com-box-4','ezslot_9',107,'0','0'])); The most well known clubs include Passport America, Good Sam Club and Harvest Hosts. Some can be inexpensive, but others can run in the hundreds and even thousands of dollars. In a future article, I will share some of my experiences working and camping and how it might work for you too. Regular maintenance will prevent major problems and reduce costs overall. It shaped how we view the world and put into perspective what’s really important in our lives. Of course, at $500 per month this is a sparse life, but I am just showing you that it can be done. He estimates their total cost of living at about $75,000 a year. We went against the flow. Whether you pay monthly or yearly, average the amount over 12 months to include in the monthly budget. Get your free download to establish your full-time RV budget. Every now and then we’ll “splurge” on camping in a place we really want to visit – such as inside a National or State Park. For example, if you’re RVing in a class B van conversion it’s unlikely that your fuel costs will be anything near as those that are traveling in larger motorhomes or pulling heavy trailers. RVing on a Budget: RV Camping for Free or Cheap. How to Budget for RV Travel: Activities. Another option when RVing full-time is to pay seasonally for your site, and for many, this is a good alternative. Now we diligently work, save and budget in order to remain on the road indefinitely. Living this way I’ve found that (even with the high cost of fuel) RV travel is easily attainable — even on a modest income. Mobile apps are constantly improving. The goal is to provide resources that benefit the RV traveler. The products are always better and, in most cases, less expensive than those sold by high end grocery or discount retail chain stores. As a full-time RVer, you need to understand that the more you travel, the more likely you will need to make repairs based upon that constant movement of your home and you should budget for that accordingly. In my travels, I have met all these types of RVers and have formed several nice friendships along the way. I did this to represent what a month of boondocking yet driving long distances may cost you. As a rule, your biggest living expenses will be accommodations and fuel. However, many campgrounds have sites with electric meters and if you stay there for longer than a week, they will read your site meter when you check-in and then again upon check-out and charge you accordingly. Call us high maintenance, but we like daily showers and the conveniences that most parks offer. eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'calledtowander_com-banner-1','ezslot_12',108,'0','0']));eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'calledtowander_com-banner-1','ezslot_13',108,'0','1'])); The minimum discount you will receive is 10% through Good Sam Club and 50% through Passport America. Full-time RV living is a wonderful way to spend more time with your family, travel the country and explore places you’ve never seen. A budget is a tool and a guide, and we don’t alwa… How much does it cost to live in an RV park? If you are traveling more frequently and staying at pay RV parks or even boondocking, you will see that a major cost of that travel will be tied up in fuel costs and vehicle maintenance. eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'calledtowander_com-leader-2','ezslot_17',115,'0','0'])); The first night on the road we stayed at a state park that charged us $24. You should never have to pay full price for camping again. Free camping near national parks and state parks are a great way to boondock and save money from the usual RV park full hookup fees. Also, you will notice that I included a 10% cost for savings. Think of campsites like your mortgage or rent. Camping on a budget means different things to different people. Free camping on public lands. Since I enjoy cooking, I like to absorb the area I am staying at and if possible, buy some of those local foods and cook them myself. As you can see, using the figures in this sample budget, the RVer usually comes out ahead, but in the month of March you will see a spike in fuel costs but a drop in the cost of lot rent. For me, boondocking is usually the way I travel and since I have a solar energy system in my RV, I spend very little on campsites or utilities. Often time you will travel for miles down bumpy dirt roads. I also prefer to cook larger batches of dishes such as soups, chili, casseroles and some pasta dishes so that I can eat them periodically through the next following days. My colleague Lindsey wrote a great article on the best free campsites near national parks that you can check out. Even with that price tag, Neil says they’re still spending about the same amount they would have staying in the Virginia house. Naturally, eating out at restaurants everyday will be more expensive than preparing your own meals and that is not something I would do or even recommend. Or you could find yourself somewhere nearby a Harvest Host location and decide to stop in for the night. They also consider such things as security and if you are willing to pay for a seasonal or longer term site then they are usually willing to lower their site fees based upon the assumption that you will be more likely to maintain the sites aesthetics and light maintenance such as proper garbage removal or occasional fire pit upkeep. Another major expense to consider is healthcare. But some other ancillary benefits as well. You can also sort through the results to show you BLM land and Army Corps of Engineers land – both free or very low fee. Which program will best work for you as a couple? What’s the biggest expense of RV living? All in for lodging and lot rentals, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500-$600 per month. In addition, Sean has to travel quite a bit for work and we are typically about 1 ½ hour away from a major ai… However, some people finance their RVs and that payment could very well be their biggest expense per month. !function(e,t,s,i){var n="InfogramEmbeds",o=e.getElementsByTagName("script")[0],d=/^http:/.test(e.location)? Other times it can be taking an airboat ride in the Everglades or just seeing a movie in some old town theatre in a place like McCook, Nebraska. It all depends on how you want to live. Although in many cases it seems the money we saved in camping was spent elsewhere. Many of them have sites they stay at in both locations and they pay seasonal fees for each of those sites. All offer some sort of camping discount. Since we are always looking for ways to save money, we always start with trying to find FREE camping first. All situations can be different. For example, you may choose to finance a top of the line class A motorhome or trailer and your monthly payment may be $500. However, if we are traveling somewhere with a special experience like a chuck wagon dinner, we think it’s usually worth a splurge. You don't have to wait until you retire to "live the dream." As I said earlier, this is merely an example of some costs you may have as a full-time RVer. The most well known clubs include Passport America, Good Sam Club and Harvest Hosts. Camping Styles. And every so often we will find ourselves exhausted from boondocking or otherwise not being plugged in and cleaned up. The range, depending on variables like size of RV, number of meals eaten in restaurants and whether or not the RV is towing a vehicle, was between $1250-$5,000. This can sometimes become confusing because most people have varied circumstances. We enjoy a lot of free activities like hiking, biking, and kayaking. We did something hard and new and abnormal. But for the most part it is possible to spend less than $10 per night on average if you are willing to take advantage of RV clubs and memberships, moochdocking and boondocking. Let me prove to you right off the bat that you can live the free life. We only recommend our favorite products! Total Monthly RV Living Costs: Ranges from $1,400 to $3,000 per month. The first way to save money when RV camping on a budget is to join any number of RV clubs and memberships. Just as you would if you were living in a traditional home, you’re probably going to want to establish a budget and understand how much you could expect to spend based upon such circumstances as accommodations or RV payments, RV insurance, travel miles, utilities, food, beverages, and entertainment. So whether you are intentionally heading off-grid for a few days or find yourself swinging into the next rest stop, make sure you have plenty of fresh water and room in your tanks! If you look at our $25/night budget, we were essentially planning to pay $750 per month in rent to various campgrounds. This is important when it comes to some kinds of RV clubs and memberships. Living full-time in the RV will increase the rate and by not advising the insurance company of that fact may make the policy void. And take a moment to flip through your social media and give a shout out to see who you know that lives in the area you are visiting. When you combine this expense with the cost of daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal lot or site rentals, this expense will in all likelihood become your costliest. This 30-something couple is living—and running a business—from their RV. However, I do enjoy sampling local cuisine and will always eat at a local restaurant once or twice during a visit to a specific area. So, that Thrifty budget is really, really, really tight. We list our general costs of living, not the cost of our RV (all costs are variable per person, especially RV’s). However, there is one last item I want to share with you and that is the importance of having an emergency fund. My Cheap RV Living Experiment. So you are on your own if you need to tweak things for debt payments. This could be a personal friend or relative. Here’s a breakdown of the costs of living in an RV year round: Campsite Budget. And not just because we’re becoming experts at camping on a budget. For our first six months on the road we averaged less than $10 per night in camping expense. Once you become a member of an RV club you will receive access to the various resources each club offers. Whenever I travel, I plan on entertainment. You won’t have any hookups. Now we are well under that because we really don’t pay for camping unless we absolutely WANT to. We have found that the best way to find the best camping spots is to take advantage of the great mobile apps available. Hit the Road Full Time RV Living. In nearly two years of living in our RV across North America, we have learned to be very frugal with our expenses. But there are a lot of variables, like how much you travel, where you stay (and for how long), how much your rig costs, and how much you spend on groceries/eating out/fun. While the manufacturers of most RVs will offer some warranty on certain components of their product, it’s unlikely that they will cover the cost of something like a bad hinge on a kitchen cupboard or a broken water line to your shower. I recommend that any couple traveling full-time that find themselves in a situation such as this consult a financial advisor or an insurance specialist to best determine what works for them. Another cost to consider is how much to budget for food and beverages. We’d love to hear your ideas so we can share them with others! But these are the ones we turn to on a regular basis. Here is a budget showing just how little money you need to live and travel full time. However, I sometimes will stay at a campground seasonally if I am work camping. It could fluctuate a bit, but the average monthly expenses are virtually the same. Living on tight budgets, full-time RVers have learned that there are frugal ways to enjoy the things they love: nature, camping, social activities, hobbies and entertainment. While some of the locations are campgrounds, MOST are boondocking spots. Set a goal for yourself in your camping budget. eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'calledtowander_com-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_16',112,'0','0'])); If you are a member of Harvest Hosts you will have access to their 1,200+ camping hosts across North America. READ OUR REVIEW OF RV CLUBS AND MEMBERSHIPS, SAVE 15% OFF YOUR HARVEST HOSTS MEMBERSHIP, Harvest Hosts Review: The most affordable RV Camping in America. Unfortunately, that answer doesn’t tend to be very satisfactory, and it certainly isn’t helpful. We researched and surveyed a wide range of budget RV travelers to find that $25 was a pretty realistic number, on average, for campground fees across America. But boondocking is a great way to save money when you are camping on a budget. As a single traveler that purchases my own healthcare, I have encountered this problem several times and in a future article I will share some of the ways I have minimized this problem as well as a healthcare insurance underwriter that gladly insures full-time RVers for a reasonable cost. Van Life Costs: May 2017 . 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