When Heath and I moved into our RV, we had no idea how much camping would cost, how high our Verizon bill would be (aka what we use for internet), or how many thousands of dollars in gas we’d pay to visit all 50 states in a year (learn our exact finances from visiting all 50 states here). If you have a million questions about living in an RV, we have a book on Amazon called A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV. You can check it out here on Amazon. It’s also the expense you can most easily control by traveling less or traveling shorter distances.
To save on lodging costs at RV parks and campgrounds, you can always opt for fewer hookups. When we want to save a couple of bucks, we choose sites with electricity and water only and use the dump station when we leave the park. Or you can use an RV membership like Passport America or Good Sam for great discounts. We have a whole (free) course on how to save money on camping costs that you can sign up for here.
It offers a 10 iscount on 2400 plus parks in the US and Canada, plus their roadside services and other benefits. Thousand Trails memberships are by geographic zone, so depending on your travel plans you may only need one zone, or you may want to add it to your membership. Stays are free, but are limited to 14 days. Join over 10,000 VIP members for practical, entertaining and inspirational resources and step-by-step articles on motorhome travel destinations, motorhome gear and full-time motorhome living for stress-free living in your motorhome.
Cristy Howitt is a long time RV owner. She and her husband began their RV adventures after graduating from college at a time when all of their friends were opting to backpack overseas. Instead, they decided to hit the road and travel across the United States, Mexico and Canada in a classic 1974 Centurion A-Class. Today, many years later, they still use the motorhome to escape Canadian winters and enjoy summer travel in Canada.
Next on the bucket list is touring the Northern States and seeing Mount Rushmore in their restored Country Coach. The latter is crazy, but I think people get that for a well maintained and running van with a campervan. As you can see there are a multitude of options and budgets for how you can live full time in your RV. You can live in RV parks full time for much less than the cost of conventional housing, depending on your choices.
This budget for living full time in a motorhome includes the motorhome payment, car payment and all family expenses. You can also look into workamping (exchange work, which can range from building barns to simply checking in campers ), which you usually do in exchange for a free spot in a state park, national forest or private RV park, or sometimes you even get paid a little. Brittany and Charlie from Trading Travelers tracked their monthly expenses for their first month of travel in their Grand Design Imagine camper. Volkswagen vans and older Class B motorhomes might be within your reach, though keep in mind that a cheaper vehicle comes with more maintenance.
Still, it can be helpful for those thinking about living full-time in an RV to get an idea of what other people in situations similar to yours spend, to know how to budget for things like camping fees and propane, and to be aware of potential expenses you haven’t thought of yet. But the point is that living simply, even in a nice but modest motorhome (or even better, if you can swing it, van) is infinitely less expensive than owning a house. Tom and Cait are frugal travellers who preferred to live a frugal lifestyle even before becoming motorhomers. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I’m reading and calculating, the monthly expenses of a purchased condo are less than those of a purchased van.
If you’re interested in buying a motorhome and hitting the road, but are afraid the timing isn’t right or it’s too expensive, you’re in luck.