So, you would like to fulltime RV, but have no idea what fulltime RV living costs? Look no further, my friend, we have compiled all of our RV living related costs for a full year of fulltime RVing to help you realistically make your plans!
Before we take a look at the numbers, let’s consider our goals and factor that affect our fulltime RV living cost. This is NOT a post on how to save money RVing, it is a realistic view of what you can expect to spend if your lifestyle is similar to ours.
As younger RVers, our primary goal is to cover as much ground as possible. We did not become fulltime RVers because we wanted to RV, we became fulltime RVers because we wanted to have new experiences in America. RVing is a means to an end for us, not the end in itself. We set out with no RV experience and hoped to make it three months. It has now been over a year, but we never know when our trip will be ending. So, we want to see as much as possible while we can. Please keep our goal and how it differs from yours in mind as you review our numbers, because your goal will affect your cost. Even if your goal is different, I think you will still be able to use our numbers to accurately gauge the cost for yourself. Now, let’s take a look at some of the factors of our cost.
Campgrounds: Where and for how long you stay is probably the biggest factor of your cost. In our first year, we were in 29 different states and covered over 24,000 miles. Our typical stay was 3 to 4 nights, except for the winter months, when we stayed in the same spot for 2.5 months in Florida and then in Alabama for 1 month in the same spot. We also spent an entire month moving around California, without comparison the most expensive state we stayed in. We stayed in 66 total campgrounds for the first year.
Fuel: Again, since we move a lot, our fuel cost is a major player for our budget. We put 24,633 miles on our truck, and 12,334 of those miles were towing Aunt Glady. We have a diesel truck, which definitely helped with our cost.
Vehicle Repair & Maintenance: Both our Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel truck and our fifthwheel are 2006 models. We payed for them outright, so we have NO MONTHLY PAYMENTS! What? No mortgage? No rent? No vehicle payment? Nope. We pay as we go at campgrounds, that is it. (Can you hear Mel Gibson shouting “FREEDOM” as William Wallace? – Just kidding, real freedom certainly has nothing to do with money, but I wanted to illustrate the feeling of no debt a little.)
Hook-ups: We mostly stay in campgrounds with full hook-ups. Chris works. We need reliable electricity and cell phone service most of the time. We only did 7 free night stays in our first year, and 4 or 5 nights with partial hookups. Our number is accurate for people who want to spend the majority of their time with full hook-ups like us. The good news is that if you have full-hookups, then your campground cost includes ALL OF YOUR UTILITIES! That means trash, water, electric, sewer, cable TV in most places and some form of internet. Our air conditioning runs off of electric, and we have a small electric space heater that has been sufficient for us to heat our entire RV. Therefore, we do not pay anything extra for heat or air conditioning. We do have propane which we use for cooking, our water heater and our fridge when it is not hooked up to electric.
Now that you have a better understanding of what you are looking at, here are the actual numbers…
Full Time RV Living Cost Breakdown
- Campgrounds $12,149.84 (average of $33.29/day)
- Fuel $4,986.66 (average of $13.67/day)
- Truck Repair/Maintenance $2,800.00 (includes all new tires)
- Fifthwheel Repair/Maintenance $2,888.00 (includes all new tires)
- Tolls $85.25
- Propane $100.00 (not used for heat, have electric space heater)
- Vehicle & Fifthwheel Insurance $904.00 (includes renters insurance for items in fifthwheel)
*Remember that these are just the travel expenses related to fulltime RVing. For your total budget, you would also need to include any other expenses you have such as food, health insurance, laundry if you do not have a washer/dryer like us, phone, etc.