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Millions of Americans do full-time RVing. If you are thinking of following their suit, you must know how much living in an RV full time cost.
Most people move into an RV lifestyle because they want to travel across the country, have more freedom in their life, or enjoy being a digital nomad. But, many of them have no clue about the cost of living in an RV. You think it a cheaper way of living but it is not a practical decision to uproot your life for something that you cannot afford.
How much does it cost to live in an RV? If you are thinking of going full time, you should know if it costs more than living in a house. The truth is it is quite affordable and the expenses are flexible.
Here’s a breakdown of the costs of living in an RV year round:
How much does it cost to live in an RV park? 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.
The average cost of RV park with full hookups is between $30 and $50. Some sites offer shower, dumping, and pot water facilities with no extra charge. The monthly expense will be anywhere between $900 and $1,500 if you live in these campsites year-round.
State Park campgrounds with partial hookups are available at $15 to $25 per night and no hookups sites charge $10 to $15. The monthly expenses for partial hookups camps will be more or less $600, while it will be down to around $350 for no hookups sites.
There are many RV host websites that allow subscribers to stay on the locations of their members for an annual fee. These locations have semi or no hookups and charge less than $100 per year. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has many lands where you can dry-docking at free of costs. Also, many state parks have free campsites.
Since you are driving a vehicle, expenses for gasoline should be included in your RV living costs. It varies from person to person depending on the miles they have planned to travel. You can map out your travel route for a couple of months and calculate the mileage by pinning the stops on Google Maps. Then multiply the total mileage with the gas price for the area you will be traveling. Make sure to count the mileage during towing if you have a tow-behind car.
The average gas price in a month can range between $200 and $600 depending on your travel plan. You won’t have to spend a penny if you decide to spend the whole month in a campsite.
Grocery expenses are almost the same no matter where you are living. A family of two may have to spend $400 to $500 per month and a $100 more if you like to eat out sometimes.
RVers use propane tanks for cooking and heating. You don’t need to fill up the tank more than once per month for two people. So, it will be $5 to $10 per month.
Two smartphones and a jetpack with 20GB data from Verizon will cost nearly $250/month. If you work from RV, you must need a Wi-Fi hotspot with a reliable network because the Wi-Fi of most campgrounds is annoyingly slow. Verizon is a good choice because it provides network coverage across the country.
Living in an RV full time cost must include health insurance. The costs depend on the provider and the coverage. A decent plan for two will be less than $300.
Similarly, RV insurance also depends on the provider’s coverage and the type of vehicle. It will be between $1,000 to $2,000 per year and an extra $500 for the car. A roadside assistance service, which every RVer should subscribe to, will cost an additional $80 to $100/year.
The budget for maintenance and repair is the essential cost to RV full time. Things will break and you have to spend some money on purchasing new parts and fixing broken components. The expenses depend on which part of the vehicle is damaged. A transmission replacement will take almost $2,000 while a fuel pump replacement is around $500. Basic maintenance does not take more than $50 or $100 a month. The cost will be a little less if you can fix most of the things and you have subscribed to a good roadside assistant service and a good RV insurance coverage.
There are several RV or travel trailer brands to avoid which could save you a good amount of money from regular repairs. Go for good-quality RV models from reliable brands at the beginning.
In addition, you have to pay for utilities and laundry that depend on the campsites you are living and personal washing cycle of clothes. For two people, both services are unlikely to cross $100/month.
While living in an RV full time cost is lower than the monthly expenses of a traditional household, you may still love to have some money-saving ideas.
Plan the itinerary in advance. Drifting along the road and camping in the middle of nowhere sound romantic but not practical. Having a travel plan means you know where you are going and how much money you may need.
Fix a budget and stick to it. Make a realistic budget and try to avoid spending more than the set margin. Track your expenses to know if you are spending too much on any section.
Stay on a campsite for longer periods. Most RV parks offer discounts if you stay there for weeks or a month. Subscribing to campground membership is another way to cut expenses. Also, camps on the west coast are more affordable than in the east.
Cook at home. This is a no-brainer. Eating out is expensive and you will soon find your food budget soaring to the sky if you dine out often.
Carlos Perry’s passion for outdoor activities can be traced back to 5 years ago when he spent a significant time to conquer beautiful pristine lands and experience different cultures with his best friends. Currently working as a blogger, he takes pride in providing comprehensive contents about camping knowledge, survival skills based on his own experience. A lot of his work was published on well-known travel magazines like: Travel+Leisure, Thrillist