A TRAVEL BUDGET is your best GPS.
You KNOW YOUR WAY but do you have ENOUGH MONEY to get THERE?

As an exercise, let's do together a travel budget for two people traveling and RVing full time as a couple.

This is a budget sample to make us think of the costs involved while RVing.

Nowadays as you know, everything is getting quite expensive. It adds up quickly but there are some ways to lower the expenses.

One method is being aware of the principles of frugal RVing

However, it is very important to remember that this travel budget is based on a couple starting an adventure debt free.

This means that all the up-front costs:

  • the purchase of the RV
  • all the other vehicles used (tow, toad , motorcycle etc...)
  • all the options installed in these vehicles
  • all the material carried (computers, bicycles, boat etc... )
  • etc...

PLUS

  • all the sales taxes (0 to 13 %, depending on residence)
  • all the registration fees
  • all the high-end campground memberships

have been paid in total without financing before departure.

No monthly financial payments are accounted for.


In my opinion, to be debt free is almost a prerequisite to go full time RVing. It is certainly highly recommended.

In breaking free from a house , we should hopefully have sufficient equity left to pay for all these up-front costs.

If you start with a debt, be very careful! You may have fallen into a trap.

RVing has a cost and it is not different than anything else, we need the financial capacity to do it.

Where there is a will, there is always a way!



MONTLY BUDGET (sample)

For two individuals traveling together RVing full time, we have a full list of expenses.

1) Campground fees

A good part of the budget is to pay for the camping site every night. This is the area where you can save.

At the extremes, you can stay at a resort camping for $100 a night or go to a National or State Park for 15$ or less. You may also camp free finding places to 'boondock' without services.

Since there will be some diversity in a full month, an average of $ 25/day seems adequate. This means $25 X 30 days = $ 750 /month

There are three basic options to choose from to stay at night:

  • private RV parks ($20 to $50 / night or more)
  • public campgrounds and RV parks ($8 to $25)
  • dry camping free or at very low cost i.e. boondocking .

Personal note: My choice is to 'boondock' as much as I can, selecting the proper RV and equipment to lower the expense to $50 /month.

2) Fuel

Again, this is an expense of your travel budget that varies a lot.

You may decide to have a motorcycle, a scooter or simply bicycles (electric maybe) to tour around sightseeing and doing all your errands instead of using the big pickup truck or motorhome itself.

A lot of people tow a car for this purpose. It also depends if you are on the move every day which will add substantially to the fuel bill of your travel budget.

Traveling short distances with the RV from one campground to the other, staying at the same place three or four days to relax and explore the surroundings with another vehicle will lower the expense.

The budget travel calculation here is based on an average of 40 miles daily (65 kms).

This means 1200 miles (1900 kms) /month or 14,500 mi. (23,000 kms) /year .

Taking an average fuel consumption of 12 mpg (19 kmpg), it means 100 gallons / month at $4.25 /gallon (diesel or premium), this equals to a monthly expense of $425.

Adding another vehicle for errands and an extra $75/ month to the travel budget fuel bill, this brings us to a total of $ 500 /month.

Wow! We are already at $1250 monthly just for campgrounds and fuel costs. We have not eaten yet and done anything.

Personal note: I really like the idea of carrying good bicycles and a middle sized motorcycle on a bumper hitch to travel around. It is more economical and a lot of fun! It also helps to lower the travel budget.

3) Food

You have to eat. $450 to $600 per month seems reasonable. Let's go with $600 / month including some wine and beer.

4) Propane

$30 per month

5) Vehicle insurance (RV, pickup, car, motorcycle etc...)

$ 200 /month or $ 2400 /year.

Become a member of a RV club to have access to some discounts.

6) Permits (driver's license)

Around $12 /month ( $150 /year)

7) RV Club membership (for 2 clubs)

Around $ 8 /month or $100 /year

8) Dump station fees

None.

You should be able to dump free at campgrounds or find a free station on the road.

Check to find free stations :

9) Vehicle (s) maintenance (RV and others)

Around $ 100 /month (or $1200 /year)

10) Laundry, hair care, grooming in general

Around $ 80 /month. You may have to forget about going to the hair salon and spa every week.

11) Entertainment (admissions: museums, movies, parks etc...)

You have to visit a few things and do something while traveling. This is the idea of traveling, isn't it ?

Around $ 200 /month added to the travel budget should be adequate.

Note: This is another area where you can save money. You may do a lot of things for free or at very low cost helping you in your travel budget.

12) Health, dental and life insurance

This is a very personal subject. You may eliminate dental and pay per visit instead. Every situation is different. It is certainly very different for Canadians.

We can say $ 250 /month for Americans. It would be about $100 /month for Canadians.

13 ) Personal property taxes

Again, the situation is different for Americans and Canadians.

For Americans, there are only a few States having no property taxes if you establish a residency there. You need to see the requirements. For example, Florida, North Dakota, Texas do not have property taxes.

In Canada, there is no such thing as property taxes on RVs.

Based on the value of the RV and the your State of residency, let's consider $ 50 / month for Americans. No expense for Canadians.

14 ) TV, internet, cellular phone

Again, it is very personal but we may nowadays consider the cellular phone as a necessity for many reasons including safety.

With a national plan including long distances, it would probably cost $ 85 /month.

For internet, the 'aircard' and usage of Wifi hotspots is in my opinion the way to go instead of a satellite connection which would obviously bring the bill up.

Personal note: As the TV is concerned, I personally eliminated it a long time ago. I would not have a satellite TV dish antenna installed (TV Direct for example) being entirely satisfied with Netflix and internet TV.

A cable hookup offered in a campground or local stations viewed with the help of a regular antenna and a booster could be sufficient to please many RVers.

$120 /month can be considered for the expense concerning TV, internet and the mobile phone bills.

Finally, $50 /month could be considered a buffer.


MONTHLY BUDGET( sample)

  • Moderate budget
  • $3000/month
  • Frugal budget
  • $2000\month

  • RV PAYMENTS---------nil
  • CAMPGROUND-------750
  • FUEL------------------500
  • FOOD-----------------600
  • PROPANE--------------30
  • INSURANCE----------200
  • PERMITS---------------12
  • RV CLUB----------------8
  • DUMP STATION-------nil
  • VEHICLE(S)----------150
  • LAUNDRY,HAIR--------80
  • ENTERTAINMENT-----200
  • HEALTH,INSUR.------250
  • PROPERTY TAXES-----50
  • TV/INTERNET/CELL--120
  • EXTRA-----------------50
  • nil
  • 50 (boondocking)
  • 500
  • 575 (coupons, discounts)
  • 33 (using less AC)
  • 200
  • 12
  • nil
  • nil
  • 50 (do it yourself)
  • 80
  • 100 (free activities)
  • 250
  • 50
  • 80 (no satellite TV)
  • 20

Obviously, every travel budget is different, each item can vary so much depending on your choices and it is hard to exact figures.

To repeat, this is just an exercise to make you aware that full time RVing is not FREE!

Also note that we have not consider any income tax payment, any special expense due to a problem occurring on the road (break down, unplanned airfare, purchase of equipment etc...).

There is no expense for equipment or new clothes in this travel budget and we did not have to pay to keep up for a house left behind. (rented or not)

You quickly realize after looking at these travel budget numbers that having access to a fixed income while being on the road makes it a lot easier.

If you do not have access to it, you will probably have to find work on the road.

You are the only judge of how much money you need and how much work you have to do on the road to supplement your income in order to cover your daily living expenses.

Things are not impossible. You know if you can pursue your dream with your current financial situation. You need some equity you have access to, in order to make it more feasible.

Keep in mind that starting heavily in debt is a big obstacle to your travel budget.

You may have to postpone your dream for a little while in order to start on a good foundation later.


OTHER TOPICS (6 total ) directly related to FULL TIME RVing


Return from travel budget to the Home page: RV-Travel-Lifestyle