In this article we’ll share our expenses for the year of full-time RV travel across three major categories: campgrounds, fuel, and entertainment. We’ll provide our average monthly costs and explain what occurred in the high and low months as well.
We stay exclusively in full hook-up (water, 50 amp electric, and sewer) campgrounds. We read reviews and typically stay in those that have good WiFi (to save on our hotspots), pools, and fitness rooms. We are typically near cities with a major airport due to frequent work travel.
This year we stayed in 11 different campgrounds: 4 Military, 6 Private, and 1 State Park. We post reviews of our stays on our YouTube channel. We travel slowly and take advantage of monthly rates when we can.
- Average Monthly Cost: $575
- Highest Monthly Cost: $1500 This was at Fort Belvoir, VA in the Washington DC metropolitan area. While it was an expensive campground for us, we think it is worth it because our oldest son and future daughter-in-law live nearby!
- Lowest Monthly Cost: $495 We spent the month of July at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL.
We pulled a 44’ Fifth Wheel with our Chevy 3500 HD Truck. We typically stayed in place 4-6 weeks before moving which helps keep costs down, but the truck is also our only vehicle for local drives. In addition, Sean has to travel quite a bit for work and we are typically about 1 ½ hour away from a major airport and have to drive there and back a couple of times a month. Next year, we plan to keep a separate log of mileage from moving with the Fifth Wheel, driving in the local area travel, and traveling to and from airports.
- Average Monthly Cost: $365
- Highest Monthly Cost: $793 This was in September when we had to evacuate southeastern Florida due to Hurricane Irma. We moved from Jupiter, FL to Valdosta, GA; Auburn, AL; Millington, TN; and finally back to Cocoa Beach, FL in that one month. Luckily we maintain an emergency fund as part of our financial strategy.
- Lowest Monthly Cost: $233 This was in October. We were exhausted from our adventures the previous month and stayed put. The weather was lovely and we rode our bikes around the local area and hardly used the truck. We did have to make 2 trips to the Orlando airport.
We also spent $52.76 on propane for the whole year. We stayed at full hook-up campgrounds in warm climates and only used propane for cooking (stove top and oven) on a daily basis.
- Average Monthly Cost: $210
- Highest Monthly Cost: $294
- Lowest Monthly Cost: $119
Our highest month was August in Cocoa Beach, FL. We both went on a bioluminescence kayaking tour which was $84. Also, Julie got the deluxe adventure package at the Brevard Zoo which included an aerial adventure obstacle course, zip lining, and kayaking for $57. We discuss how much fun we had on the Space Coast and what 5 activities we recommend in this article. Our least expensive month was again at Fort Belvoir because there are so many free activities in the Washington DC area (i.e., Smithsonian museums, monuments, and hiking galore).
What’s the Bottom Line?
If you add together all of our expenses, our average monthly cost to RV Full-Time this year was $3,576. We are both working and are fortunate that we are able to live on one income and put the remainder towards debt and savings. Our savings are further broken down into categories for things like retirement, vacation fund, holidays, etc.
In December 2017, we set a goal of being debt-free by the end of 2019. In addition to our income, we employed 3 other strategies to help us pay off $91,000 in debt in under 12 months.
We also created a program called Full-Time RV Finance to help others financially achieve their full-time travel dreams. Over 25 videos we help you chart your course towards financial freedom, create a realistic full-time RV budget, and learn how to make money & save money on the road.
Can you be more frugal?
Yes! It is possible to have a more frugal budget for sure. For example, we know folks who dry camp the majority of the year. This is very low cost and sometimes even free. Many others who are trying to cut back on expenses will reduce their budget for dining out and cut out the streaming subscriptions and extra hot spots. You can read our tips for saving money here. And just remember, it is completely up to you and how you’d like to live.
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