We’ve met many new people during the course of this great RV Adventure of ours and often get questions like:
“OK, so how much does it cost to do a trip like this?”; “Doesn’t the fuel cost a fortune?”; “Aren’t campgrounds expensive?”.
This post is intended to shed a little light on these questions while providing you with some ballpark estimates for future planning should you ever decide to do something similar.
Since there are so many different RVs and at such different price points, we will skip that part of the equation. Its easy enough to learn about that on your own by attending a local RV Show, visiting a local RV dealership, checking out RVTrader.com or just browsing the web. Lets just leave this up to you, your choice based on personal preferences and budgets.
We opted for a gas-powered RV. It was 34′ long and required 12′ 10″ of clearance. That should give you an idea of its size since that impacts fuel consumption.
Also, who knows how far your particular travel plans will take you. We drove about 16,000 miles during our seven month adventure throughout the US while visiting 35 States and 37 National Parks.
With that in mind, our approximate costs were:
Campground Fees = $4,200.00
Fuel = $5,500.00
RV Maintenance = $700.00 (Important to note that our RV was under warranty and Tiffin Motorhomes provides an unparalleled warranty that covered almost everything we needed addressed throughout the entire adventure.)
National Park Entry Fees = $80.00 (Important to note that these fees could add up rapidly at $25 to $30 per park. Take advantage of the National Parks Annual or Senior Passes that allow two people entry to all the National Parks for a full year. More info is available at https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm)
Activity Fees = $1,800 (Remember to budget for expenses such as canoe rentals on Jackson Lake while visiting Grand Tetons or bike rentals to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and taking the ferry out to Alcatraz Island for a tour while in San Francisco or riding the High Roller ferris wheel while in Las Vegas or taking an Open Bus Tour through Hollywood or touring Graceland to learn more about Elvis Presley while traveling through Memphis or, well, you get the idea. Once you spend the time to travel to these places, you want to experience all that it has to offer. You will need to set aside some funds to do this.)
Of course, there are many other expenses to consider (RV storage costs while you are not using it, RV insurance, extended warranties, tow vehicle equipment, satellite subscriptions for the four TVs in your RV, wifi hotspot equipment and data plans to stay connected to the internet and your family and friends, mail forwarding services, trip planning software, camping club memberships) if you decided to jump into RVing. However, the expenses listed above are the big hitters.
So, excluding the cost of the RV we chose, Siobhan and I had the incredible opportunity to experience a steady diet of one beautiful place after another for seven full months while traveling throughout this amazing country for roughly $12,000.
Not bad for a bucket-list item, especially when you compare that with the cost of a one-week cruise or a 10-day active vacation for two!
Hope this is helpful.