There are several reasons why people choose to live in an RV full-time, including cost savings, travel, freedom and flexibility, downsizing, and the opportunity to work from anywhere without requiring a "home base." It's common to wonder what living in RV costs, whether you want to live there permanently (or even just for a short while) or are just curious.
Here is a breakdown of some of the primary pricing to assist you in responding to that inquiry. It's crucial to keep in mind, though, that everyone's average prices differ significantly. Boondocking enthusiasts may not spend nearly as much monthly as RV park visitors, but daily costs for a family of travelers will be far greater than for a single traveler.
Brief Overview of the Growing Trend of Full-Time RV Living
The full-time RV lifestyle is becoming more and more popular as an alternative to regular housing, providing independence, adventure, and flexibility. Remote employment, downsizing, and valuing experiences over material belongings drive this trend.
The fact that RVs are frequently less expensive than conventional residences results in significant cost savings. Living nomadically fosters a sense of adventure, a connection to nature, and continuous exposure to new environments—a robust online community of full-time RVers exchanges stories, knowledge, and companionship.
More freedoms do not exist, but there are certain restrictions, such as space constraints and budgetary planning. However, the growing popularity of full-time RV living indicates a shift in society away from customs and toward a focus on experiences, community, and leading an unrestricted life.
What Is the Cost of Living in an RV Full-Time?
The cost of living in an RV full-time would likely run you between $3,000 and $5,000 a month if you have a medium-sized vehicle and travel frequently. Naturally, this is only an approximate figure for single or married RVers; your expenses may vary based on your unique circumstances. On average, RV families spend between $6,000 and $8,000 monthly.
Type of RV
Class A motorhomes
$100,000 to $500,000 or more
Class B and Class C motorhomes
$60,000 to $150,000
Travel trailers and fifth wheels
Starting Price $10,000
Essential Equipment and Accessories
A solar generator is one of the most critical pieces of essential RV gear for a hassle-free and pleasurable trip. Solar generators lessen reliance on conventional electrical hookups by offering a sustainable and environmentally friendly power source. Although it may cost $500 to $2,000 upfront, it's a wise investment in the long run because of the savings.
Maintenance and Repair
Ensure you include maintenance costs in your fixed expenditures because your RV will require frequent oil changes and brake repairs.
If you put money aside every month for maintenance and repairs on your RV, say $100 to $200, you can build up a nice emergency fund of about $5000.
You must consider monthly variable expenditures in addition to fixed costs.
The cost of camping includes using all facilities, including internet, electricity, water, and a dump.
Sewer, water, and electrical hookups (shore power) are the only utilities that essential RV parks offer. Some opulent campgrounds have clubhouses, swimming pools, tennis courts, marinas, children's play areas, and fitness centers.
While luxury campers range in price from $70 to $120 per night, cheaper campgrounds charge roughly $25, and some as low as $20.
RV park costs can vary, but more ways exist to cut costs. With portable power stations, you can eliminate the requirement for shore power and electrical hookups. These let you power your RV off the grid even when traveling if you combine them with solar panels.
The Cost of RV Insurance and Registration
RV insurance should cost you roughly $1,500 yearly or $100 to $200 monthly. Larger RV models typically have higher insurance costs. A large down payment or a clean driving record could qualify you for discounts from your RV insurance provider. RV registration costs vary based on the class, weight, and registration state.
The most significant variable expense for most full-time RVers is gas or diesel. Numerous things influence your fuel expenses, including:
- Monthly distance traveled:Your gas cost will increase in proportion to the amount of travel you do.
- Fuel efficiency of RVs:For diesel vans, most rigs get between 18 and over 25 mpg. An RV will get more excellent mileage the lighter the weight it carries.
Your monthly gas bill will typically be between $300 and $500.
Additional Lifestyle Expenses
There could be unforeseen and additional hidden costs along the way. It can help lessen the financial burden of having an emergency fund for these expenses. We'll go over a few things below that you might want to consider:
Food and Groceries
Eating out might be costly, but cooking will help you save money on food. For two individuals, the monthly cost should typically be $1000, but if you buy less expensive goods, you can keep it under $500.
You must consider the cost of propane for cooking your food. If your solution uses propane, you should budget between $30 and $100 for propane to fuel your central heating system, oven, stove, and water heater.
Some campgrounds offer free Wi-Fi, but it can drain battery quickly and be unreliable in remote areas. A Wi-Fi hotspot and router with a signal booster provide reliable connections. Purchasing a solar power system like the Growatt INFINITY 1300 Solar Generator reduces electricity bills.
Not every RV has a dryer and washer. Coin laundry costs will apply if yours doesn't.
When traveling cross-country with an RV, there's a considerable possibility you'll come upon toll roads. You may get an RV TollPass for around $95.
Storage For RVs
You must pay for storage if you park your RV while visiting relatives or taking a few weeks off from traveling. While interior storage costs $100 monthly, outdoor RV storage costs only $50.
Hospital Care And Medication
While visiting a doctor may be necessary, medication should be included in your fixed costs. Maintain an emergency medical fund at all times.
You could need to make unforeseen repairs to your engine, air conditioner, refrigerator, brake system, slideouts, leveling system, transmission, etc. The typical cost of repairs ranges from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
Factors Influencing RV Living Costs
Numerous factors affect the expense of living in an RV.
Location and Seasonal Variations
Seasonal fluctuations and location are important factors; costs vary according to fuel prices, campground fees, and weather.
RV Size and Class
The size and class of an RV affect prices; larger, more opulent vehicles typically have greater operating and maintenance expenditures.
Lifestyle Choices and Personal Preferences
Personal lifestyle decisions and tastes, such as eatingout or selecting expensive campgrounds, might increase living expenses.
Budgeting Tips and Cost-Saving Strategies
The RV lifestyle is financially sustainable regarding effective budgeting and cost-saving techniques, such as route planning, using free or inexpensive campgrounds, and adopting energy-efficient technologies.
One can significantly reduce the cost of living when traveling by exercising awareness and making wise decisions.
The Bottom Line
Living in an RV full-time has numerous expenses, but setting aside money for necessities and sticking to a budget is manageable. RVing offers several advantages, including the freedom to choose your destination and the duration of your journey. You may drive less the next month and save money if there is a significant expense one month due to events beyond your control, such as a pet becoming sick.
There are few experiences quite like hiking to the beach at sunset or waking up to breathtaking views of the mountains and forests. RVing is the way of living that makes all of these things possible and less like dreams.
Is Full-Time RV Living Worth It?
The value of living in a motorhome full-time depends on your choices; although some people find it liberating and enjoyable, others might miss the comfort of a typical home.
What Is the Best RV for Full-Time Living?
The ideal RV for long-term residence depends on personal preferences, but well-liked options frequently include roomy Class A motorhomes or comfortable fifth-wheel trailers.
Is Full-Time RV Living Cheaper?
Living in an RV full-time can be less expensive for some people than traditional housing because it eliminates expenses related to housing; however, expenses might vary depending on fuel, campsite fees, and upkeep.