How Much Will Full Time RVing Cost You?

As an RV budget is dependent solely on your camping area, it is hard to pin down one budget as the be and end all of Full Time RVing Cost.

Here’s our basic list of amenities that is the core of a Full Time RVing budget:

  1. Food, grocery and Beverage: $500
  2. Camping: $500
  3. Insurance (RV): $100
  4. Gasoline: $500
  5. Storage and Emergency: $500

See More from Technomadia for a detailed list of fulltime RVers cost of living: http://www.technomadia.com/costlog

If you’re a full time RVer, we would love to know the Full Time RVing Cost of your lifestyle too! Tell us about your smart RVing money-saving tips  in the comments below.

 

  • My wife and I are planning on full time RVing once our youngest leaves the nest and this was pretty helpful and gives us a good idea what to expect. Thanks for the article!

    • I just started rving this year. My youngest is now a senior and will be going to college next summer. We decided to start a year earlier because we wanted to spend some time with our millennial son. He is always online and I didn’t spend as much time as I did with his older siblings. Empty nest is going to beer nice but this last year I’m hoping to bed special. Good luck

  • We began full-time RVing in August 2015. Our average is $1,800.00 per month. That amount will increase slightly when traveling from the North to the South and back to the North for added fuel costs.

    • I go to Florida about every year with tolls
      Gas I spend about $1,000 one way . 3.5 miles per gallon if I’m lucky

    • Why so high? I’m thinking of going full time RVing once I get my house sold. Find a seasonal job on each end in WI. and southern Alabama. $1800/mo. sound extremely high. I’m looking at a used diesel pusher.

      • Make sure you are aware of maintenance costs on the DP. We just paid $1400 for annual oil change, chassis lube, and generator service. Unless you are familiar with diesels/air brakes etc. I highly recommend hiring a professional inspector before buying. Tires aren’t cheap either. Almost all DP’s are over the 26000 lbs. GVWR for a standard drivers license so check with your state for license requirements.

        • I have been working for a shop in the Denver, Colorado area for the past 7 years. I do mostly interior work, and roofs. I do lots of roofs, due to poor maintenance. The avg, cost for a new rubber roof on a 37′ is $1400.00, without panel replacement, that’s the plywood under the roof material, in some cases I have even rebuild roof pars, even making them, or using replacement from the factor. I just finished one on a 2014 Jayco class C. I had to replace all the plywood, and installed a new rubber roof. The total cost was $17,000 and some change. Wasn;t covered under insurance, for by third party insurance, all out of pocket. I do a lot of insurance work. The labor cost at our shop for coach work is based on $178.00 per hour. Maintenance costs on the DP. can get expensive, the more you drive them the more they cost, brakes, generator, electrical, and oil changes get costly, hell just filters alone can run into hundreds of dollars in cost. Tires yes very expensive, and mess up a rim, there goes $1000.00. If you aren’t experience with RV’s have someone do an inspection on the unit before buying it. Another common trouble is people don’t winterize right, the water lines I have replaced over the years. Remember these RV’s are really build like shit, so it doesn’t take much for something to break. Good luck.

          • We were told one time by a repair man when getting our RV fixed, to just think of it as your house in a 24/7 earthquake. Driving down the road and all that shaking and moving, yes things are going to break. But you know I really miss RVing now. Wish I still could. It was a great life and met a lot of super nice people.

  • I hope that most people do not budget $100 for RV insurance. Otherwise there are in for a cruel surprise.
    Fulltime liability insurance is needed on top of your regular liability/ comp vehicle insurance. The cost will vary depending on your declared domicile as we’ll as the type and size of your RV.

    • Our insurance is less then that for full coverage (for a 36-1/2 foot Vacationer). You may want to compare rates at other companies. Or maybe older RV’s are way way cheaper to insure?

    • My agent told me that if my 5th wheel was attached to the truck then the truck insurance would cover it and if it’s on our property then the house insurance would cover it. We got insurance anyway. Just wanted to cover all bases.

      • I would get that in writing. I own a rv repair shop, and deal with insurance company’s on a daily basis. I have never heard that. I also rv and my Alstate agent would hang me from my toes if I told him that. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

        • This is definitely not true! Your home insurance will not cover your trailer unless it’s added onto your home policy. It’s best though to get a specialized RV policy.

      • Our travel trailer caught fire due to the fridge having an issue. The camper exploded and some of the backdraft caught our home on fire and we lost both. We had 5000 on camper with no content nor replacement cost coverage. Our homeowners covered a percentage of camper contents but could of got a whole more out of camper. Our new camper has full replacement and content coverage for around 600 year. FYI. Progressive paid really fast on camper claim. Homeowners took 8 months. If you have a 2000’s model their is a recall on domectic and norcold refridgerators. Please get these checked. Wished I would of known about it last year. The last 9 months has been a nightmare.

      • I just made a homeowners claim for a hailstorm. They would not cover the damage to my 5th wheel.
        Also, my brother had a breakdown pulling his camp trailer. His insurance would pay to tow his truck to a shop but they would not tow his trailer. Luckily he was close enough his siblings could come help out.

        • Check out the Good Sam Club Roadside Assistance plan – we bought it specifically because they will tow the RV as well as the tow vehicle. We used it many times for just our vehicles when not towing the trailer. We love it!

        • Get RV insurance through good Sam and being a member of good Sam entitles you to fuel discount at Pilot and Flying J’s. Discounts at Camping World also. But definitely need to have emergency fund. I have extended warranty on my rig that I just used to replace all the seals on my 5 slides. $4200 to replace seals I paid $2500 for the plan.

      • I can tell you what type of insurance you have while towing if you’re agent told you that. They are looking at your 5vr as any other flat bed trailer. Basically your RV will have no coverage for anything RV related and absolutely no coverage while camping or personal property coverage. I had to purchase RV insurance with Progressive because my car insurance provider (Liberty Mutual) doesn’t offer RV insurance. My RV insurance is like a mini-homeowners policy, with liability coverage while camping and other coverages.

      • So, what would happen should the RV become unattached to your truck in an accident and then headed straight into another vehicle. Who would cover the damage to all involved then?

      • Not with progressive. RV and vehicle are each separate with 2 deductibles, 2 separate claims adjusters. Very frustrating to deal with them.

      • We were told the same thing by one agent but another told us it has to have its own independent policy so you are covered if it becomes detatched from your vehicle for some reason while traveling down the road.

    • Our insurance is just over $300 for 6 months on our 2017 33 foot pull behind. Full coverage with $24,000 replacement cost.

  • We started in the end of September ’15, we have a diesel sprinter (avg 14.69 mpg) fleetwood icon 24a:
    Our monthly average:
    2,515 – miles
    11.3 – generator hours run
    $376 – diesel fuel
    $43 – LPG fuel
    $392 – camping fees
    $842 – maintenance (bought used)
    $1,653 – total

  • I start full timing May 1st, pick up my MH Wednesday the 27th of April. I’m hoping to keep it as inexpensive as possible, while having a good time. Also checked with my insurance agent AAA / progressive, policy covers everything liability & property.
    Happy travels, hope to see ya on the road.

  • We are not full time but we do track expenses on our trips and thought it might be of value for someone thinking about RVing. January 2016 took us to Gulf Shores State Park (Alabama) for 5 days then on to Fort Myers. We were gone 10 weeks, drove our 36′ Cruise Master Coach, (Cummins Diesel Pusher & Allison Transmission) 2997 miles with our Jeep Wrangler towed behind.
    With fuel prices down from $1.81 to 2.48 a gallon and averaging 11 miles to the gallon, all of our lot rentals and electrical bill and our LP fuel expense we averaged $288 per week for the 10 weeks. This does not include food or entertainment, shopping, Cardinal Games etc. When we factor in the reduced utility bills at home from turning down the heat and no water usage we saved another $160 thus reducing our total coast for the trip per week to $272.

  • My parents rv a lot. They keep costs down by staying at national and Corp of Engineer parks. They are much cheaper, and just as nice as any other. They stay away from state parks and chain campgrounds as they are much more expensive. He also has a golden access pass for federal parks (there is one for those over 60 as well) that gets him 50%discount. Corp of engineer parks are $9-18 per night for water and power site with the discount.

  • What about depreciation costs of the motor home or 5th wheel and vehicle? My experience with most is those drop like a rock in price. If you have the means it may not matter but since this article is about costs I think it should be included, especially those selling their home to fund it. You’re going from a hopefully appreciable asset to one losing money.

  • We have a 42 foot totorhome. Insurance is $600 a year. Diesel is 10mpg. We dry camp/boondock. What’s the point of having solar/hen power if you don’t use it. We have 300gal water tank and a 20gal drinking water tank which enable us to say off the grid for 3 weeks very easily. Food cost is the same as when we are not in the RV. And the best part is that there are countless places to camp in North America without a camper 10 feet from yours.

  • It cost me 450.00 per month to rent a site. And insurance. Which is under 100.00 6 months out of a year. Food….the most i spend is around 75.00 month. And we are a family of 4. Everything we spend on living expenses is tax deductable. I dont use a generator or propane. I use electric all the way. Including for hot water. Smarter that way.

  • We have been Rving since March 2016 we manage with what our living income is per month. No credit cards nothing. Anyone can if you budget correctly. And you can feed a family of four cheaply. We do not eat out, maybe once or twice but mainly eat in. Our insurance full coverage is $60 a month. Towing our vehicle the tow bar was $70 at Harbor Freight, after everything total was $175. We tow a pickup, just disconnect the drive shaft. We stay 3-4 months in one area to sight see then plan our next adventure. You don’t need thousands of dollars to full time RV, live within means. We are a family of 3 with a dog and I homeschool our son all on a $1400 monthly budget.

  • Greetings… we are the creators of the video you have embedded in this article (which is totally cool to do – thank you!).

    However, the link associated with the words ‘this clip’ goes to another website, and is not related to our video.

    You can find the post we wrote that goes along with this video at http://www.technomadia.com/costlog (a correction and credit for the content shared would be appreciate. Thanks!)

    Thanks!

  • A lot depends on what you are doing – if you are snowbirding and staying in one spot – that spot can be 450 and up a month. You will pay extra for propane and electric – figure about 100 at least in the winter. Then there is wi fi and satellite tv extra and mail forwarding expense.
    If you are travelling then costs will be higher unless you boondock!

    It is cheaper than a home – no taxes and no yard work!

  • This all BS. We’ve been halftiming for about 7 years. Camping costs <$7.50 per night. Gasoline cost about $450 per 90 days. Food and etc costs high end 400 /month usually less than that. If you are smart enough to know how to make it work with minimal costs you can manage quite nicely.

  • It will vary greatly on how you camp and where. I recently looked for a space for one motor-home and one tent on the Oregon coast and everything was full except the KOA and a camp site whos only indication of it being there was a small sign similar to a yard sale sign. The KOA was $76 and the other was $25. We chose the $25 place and it was wonderful, two shower and bathroom facilities, horse she pits, a big social building which was at the time hosting a wedding and after party, it was awesome and not at all spendy. For the rest of the trip we stayed on rivers edges in free campsites where the sceneries were breathtaking.
    If it were full time, there are plenty of places that do not cost much or are free and the two of us eat for less than $300 a month at home, so I suspect a $500 for food includes a few eating out meals and expensive foot choices.

  • We have insurance throughGood Sam. It’s 149.00 a month. That’s a Ford 150. Truck, a 2011 Chevy hhr and out 37 ft. Airstream. We belong to Thousand Trails and that is a huge savings on camping. We also belong the Campground America which gives 50% off csmpgrounds. We save more money traveling than we do staying home. It’s been wonderful . You can do rving in a small or big way depending on your budget. We found a way for us in a smaller way.

  • we are in the beginning stages of full time rving and have become road show venders at craft shows and bike ralleys in the Midwest lot of our vending spots include elect hookups for the rv . we pay a vender fee and that includes or camping spot and we also stay at a lot of casinos that have hookups at a discounted rate. we make our income on the weekends at that dictates what we do and where we stay during the week. we are making exspenses plus a small income in a 40 foot pusher at 8mpg pulling a 14ft vender trailer with a 2011 Harley street glide inside. very fun and profitable

  • Lot rent …$317
    Water…. 37
    Electric…..200. In Florida we run 2 A/C
    Foods …. 550
    Ins………. 90. National General
    Gas …… 0 we stay full time now in one spot
    CSP. ………90 Continued Service Policy Good Sam

    We have a class A 1999 Monaco and live in Florida
    A lot of the insurance is based on where you are

    We stay in a very nice park with many amenities and activities
    Wide paved roads and big lots

    Sun Communities

  • Joke! I have been a full-time rv’er for 3years now. I still work a full time job. Rving is in no way cheaper than rent or owning a home, unless you are living in one of the major US hubs. Whatever budget is listed up there is some fantasy land for those who dry camp or otherwise park in friends yards and use their utilities and services for a few bucks. Any seasonal campground in the Northeast from may through mid October is about 3grand and up plus your amenities. In the keys it’s even more. Beware of the selective memory of rv’ers, they forget all the dyi projects, breakdown and/or paet replacements consuming fair amounts of time. Rvs are not made for full-time living. that’s not their purpoae, either. The maintenance costs of an rv can be pretty high depending on make and model as well. All considered a budget should include at least a couple of grand worth of repairs and modifications.

  • Uli, I agree. Those budget figures are for the cheapest of cheap. I have a very nice class A and use all of its features. Dry camping and/or staying in places without sewer is not for me.

  • To avoid campground rentals which is a major part of expense, install solar panels to power your everything, plus propane gas and gallons of water, you can boondocking for a week, with monthly membership $20, take showers at gym Planet Fitness which is nationwide and over 1000 branches, some are 24/7.
    Gas or diesel from point a to point b or have a free charging Tesla X that can tow 5000 lb capacity so no gas.
    RV/trailer/5er Insurance is around $600-$800/yr depending lots of criteria.
    Food : home cooking is better, cheaper and healthier.

  • My wife and I are about to begin full timing and we will be volunteering with the Fish and Wildlife Service at two wildlife refuges in the Florida Keys for a total of 8 months in 2017. Our condo in CT is rented out for the year and in exchange for volunteering 24 hours per week, the FWS allows us to camp for free, utilities and laundry included. This allows us to live on our Social Security and my pension incone. There are many such opportunities available on volunteer.gov.

    • Is there discounts available for disabled persons or widows of Veterans. If not I need to find a travel partner before I begin life on the road.

  • Costs are all over the board. No one, (or few], mentioned healthcare, repairs, dues (Thousand Trails, Passport America, etc.), maintenance, gifts, cell, satellite TV, wifi, entertainment, or hobbies. We have been full time 4 years. Our monthly expenses run $3,000. To $3,500. We have met people that get by on as low as $1,000. A month. Others, more. If you like to boondock, the SW USA has 1000’s of places. If you like comforts…your costs will be higher.

  • My wife and I are 1 week away from full timing. I’m not sure we know what we’re in for. We got the fever for it after an episode of a particular, minimal-living show… a month later, we purchased a 32′ tt. We don’t know exactly what our budget will be, but we anticipate saving more than $600/month on the house and utilities alone.
    Tips and tricks are welcome… because, I feel that this could get rather interesting.

    • Walking in without a budget does not sound like a good idea. Yes, you won’t have a mortgage payment or rent but repairs and upkeep can be costly. I have not read any mention of roof maintenance which is one of the most crucial things to do to keep your RV dry. Some assume their RV will eventually leak but the risk can certainly be minimized with some pre-planning and budgeting for such preventive maintenance. In the long run your RV will retain its structural integrity and therefore its useful life and resale value.
      Other expenses I don’t see listed but should be included in full time RVing:
      Storage fees
      Bank or ATM fees
      Laundry
      Babysitting or pet sitting
      Pet food & vet fees or boarding
      Taxes, registration & tolls for vehicles & RVs
      Pest control (diy or service)
      Cleaning supplies
      Emergency and incidental fund (you know for when you drive off without your sewer hose or jack handle, etc).

  • I don’t see where anyone as included depreciation cost for the vehicle. That is a hidden expense for new MH that can run 1000/mo easily.

  • I have been full time for 2 years. I keep my costs minimal. How you ask. I volunteer host for state parks (pick a state) and now National Forest. Most states have a program and you don’t need to be a resident of that state.
    You not only get to see and know OUR country. Hours to volunteer are usually 20 per week total . 1 or 2 people 20 hours.
    Cost ,whatever I spend on food or transportation

    • We r nearing retirement and are considering filing timing. We have heard of the host program at state parks. How do we get more information on this program?

  • Everyone has kind of raised my doubts about RVing. I’ve wanted to do it for years , but after reading all the reply’s I’m having doubts. All I want is a small RV for my dog & myself but it seems more costly to travel & live in an RV than my home. Any thoughts?

    • You can live cheaply in an RV. I would look into solar panels for electricity and check out freecampsites.com for places to camp for free. That is what a lot of people do. Most people do it on less then $1000 a month. Check out cheaprving.com he is great and has great tips. Hope this helps. Don’t give up on your dream might take a little bit to figure out how to make it work but it is possible

  • We ANYTIME and are often away a total of 8 months a year. I have yet to spend less than $2900 monthly and 2 months in a great FL resort Jan/Feb nears $5K in fees alone. A $350 site in season ~~ I’d rather stay home.

  • We have been full time for 4 years..We bought a thousand trails membership that we pay by the month coat us 150.00 and we camp for free…We have three weeks and then we have to move parks..So our actual camping cost is very cheap..We have also workamped and paid no lot fees.have insurance through Nationwide pay 60 per month for insurance anly get about 5 mph in our 97 national tropical motorhome

  • We have Passport, RPI, coast to coast and Thousand Trails elite, TT allows us 21 days free each visit, c-C and RPI $10 a night, we have all the RV parks savings you can get including The Corps parks senior pass and we boon dock some. Subscribe to “overnight Rv parking.com” and still average $24 a night in 2016.
    Now we are travelers, don’t stay in one place very long, kinds thought that was what you were supposed to do when you are full time.
    Throw in necessary RV repairs (you better plan on it) make sure your insurance covers unlimited towing, roadside, oh, fuel, food, and agreed we don’t eat cheap, tires etc and we are probably close to $3490 a month over the last 6-7 years
    Each to their own but if you really want to travel and not sit on your butt in one place best factor in extra
    We have a 2016 f350 and piece of junk forest river Columbus 3650TH (never another F.R. For me)