Rving is the way to travel, but its not cheap.
RVing costs can really add up, and end up being more than the cost of traditional car-and-hotel travel considering your eating out every meal.
Lets get to the facts down first.
How to Go RVing on a Budget
As someone who’s traveled tons by RV, I know exactly how much of a burden RVing can be on your budget. Here’s what I’ve learned.
The first thing you need to go RVing … is an RV. And depending on how you purchase it, it can be very pricey. More than a free standing home.
Travel trailers tend to be less expensive than motor homes. Keep in mind, though, that you need a vehicle capable of towing the trailer around.
Rental option. Expect to see per-night prices of $250 or more, which can easily out price a hotel room. Additional fees for mileage and insurance can make it not affordable, quickly. But try it once or twice, because if RVing isn’t your thing, best to find out now, before you have purchased your rig.
No matter what you do, you’re going to have to pay for your RV, and chances are you’ll pay a decent amount of money.
As far as buying is concerned, shop around — and consider shopping used. You don’t want to go too old, because maintenance starts to become a problem, but something five years old even up to 10 with low miles could save you big money.
The appeal of RVs is simple: You get to bring everything along with you for the trip, including the dogs.
But all of those accommodations and extras are weighty, which means that all but the smallest RVs are pretty big gas guzzlers. Case in Some as little 4-6 miles to the gallon.
Usually the smaller the RV, the better the fuel economy .You might consider taking a vacation closer to home or narrowing down to a single destination. We never fill ours up until we are at our destination. The water in the tanks are costly. Then stop by a Costco on our way to load up the groceries. Less weight, less gas.
Campsite Accommodation Costs
Many people think you can load up into an RV, hit the road, and just pull off to the side when you’re ready to catch some sleep.
But in most cases, that’s not true. Although some rest stops and big box store parking lots allow overnight RV parking, many do not. Casinos are a great option if you just need to rest.
The most comfortable campgrounds — the ones where you can hook up to electricity, water, and sewer connections — can cost a pretty penny, especially in highly sought-after destinations. During peak seasons, you’re looking at about $100 per night for a basic site, and up to $230 for a premium location.
Depending on where you’re going, you can find resort-style accommodations for $35 to $50 per night, often with discounts available for veterans, military members or those staying a full week or longer. There are also a variety of camping discount clubs such as Good Sam’s that can help you find lower-cost campground accommodations.
You’ll also want to look into state parks, which often offer RV sites with hookups for prices much lower than privately-owned campgrounds. In my experience, they are wonderful. I would always opt for a state park if available.
Finally, there are places you can camp for free (or super cheap), but even in an RV, you’ll kind of be roughing it. On BLM-managed land and in certain other wilderness locations, you can do “dispersed” camping, otherwise known as “boondocking” or “dry camping” — basically, camping without any hookups. If you have a generator, be sure to check to see if you can use it.
But you need to double-check ahead of time to make sure that cool-looking space is actually okay to park in and not privately owned. There isn’t always appropriate signage, and if you accidentally end up in someone’s backyard, you may be asked to move or even ticketed. Some great resources for finding spots include Campendium and FreeCampsites.net.
If you buy an RV of your own, you should be prepared for costs associated with maintenance — and, if you can’t park it on your own property, storage. I pay $85 a month to keep my travel trailer in an uncovered lot. A secure storage is over $200.
Maintenance, well need I say more. We all know what that is like. Just costs a lot of money and usually when you least expect it. Be prepared.
If you’re going to buy an RV do your homework. Always have a pre-purchase inspection. We thought we would save a few dollars on our first one, and broke down on the freeway about 500 miles from home. Big bummer.
I still love it. We went from the RV to the travel trailer and it fits us. Enjoy your ride what ever you choose.