A common question we've received and one of the most popular on RV'ing forums is “How much does it cost to RV full time?”. The answers typically vary as wildly as the daily weather in Idaho. Why? Simple. Different people do different things – sort of like the never ending debate on how to hang toilet paper.
For us a few things to know: We rarely boondock. Not because we don't care to but because I'm still unsure and when it comes to taking a new RV too far off the beaten track I would prefer to have a mentor handy (and some solar, got to get solar). Sure, we'll do a Walmart lot in a pinch and we even did a rest area in Marfa Texas while looking for the mystery lights but as for a regular adventure, it will have to wait a while. A few other things to know are:
We are camp hosts and volunteer at national and state parks. In return we usually receive a free, full hookup site for the duration.
We are members of Thousand Trails (TT) and pay yearly dues for camping in system campgrounds for no additional cost. (Nominal surcharge for 50 amp service in some select parks). Great deal for us when staying on the WA, OR, CA coast.
We do utilize Passport America, Good Sam, and Escapees memberships which give discounts ranging from 10 to 50% off campground fees.
What we budget for comes out to $1860 per month (except campground fees). This includes saving for anticipated expenses such as new tires in 7 years, replacing batteries as they go and other general maintenance. Some months we spend to the budget but most months we come under, banking the surplus for special nights out and stuff. (Can never get enough stuff)
Some examples of our expenditures last year:
Fuel: 7236 miles. 9Mpg at an average cost $2.49/gallon yields $2002.00 for the year.
CG Fees: $1431.59 (includes yearly TT dues). This equates to $286.32/month (Hosted seven months no charge)
Gas (jeep toad 28mpg): $511.68
Propane: $120.35 (two notes here: avg cost: $2.59/gal (ouch!), significant use increase due on-demand hot water and colder weather)
RV oil and filter change: $500
Of course there was more such as insurance, toys, gifts, gift toys and mandatory ice cream but I'm sure you get the idea and hopefully that will answer the question in part.
We began this year surprising ourselves and ending up in Yuma Arizona. Originally we had planned to hit up the San Diego area, visit some friends in SoCal (yes, Pam and Erica I mean you!) and generally vagabond it around the southwest the first two months awaiting for my sister and brother-in-law to make it down south but as seems to be the case with plans and us, they flew out the window - just a little bit. It began with our intended to stay at the Thousand Trails Pio Pico campground outside of San Diego. We had reservations for 3 weeks but upon arrival were so disappointed we quickly cancelled, turning it into only one very unpleasant but thankfully short overnight stop.
We ended up in Yuma the next day at the Kofa Ko-op and luck was really with us as we were able to get a site on arrival. Pure luck at the height of the season as it was. Nice site, full hookups and some of the most friendly people you'll ever meet are here. We've enjoyed it so much those plans of vagabonding around aren't even a consideration anymore. So, we'll make ourselves at home, grab a date shake and kick back, enjoying the 70+ degree temperatures and loads of sunshine.
For hosting this year we'll be once again at the Lincoln Rock State Park outside of Wenatchee Washington. We hosted there last year and were very fortunate to have been invited back for the months of April and May.
In June we'll be moving up the road just a bit to outside of Pateros Washington and hosting at Alta Lake State Park. We've never been there so hope to sneak a peak sometime while at Lincoln Rock.
While not hosting at all we'll still have some very packed months come July, August, and September. July we'll return to the RV dealer to begin the process of finalizing our punch lists prior to our first year warranty expiring. Not a lot on the list right now, just stuff that wasn't cleared before we left last year and are a bit bothersome. I'm sure we'll be staying sort of in the area (+/- 500 miles), while this is going on but we have “planned” some breaks to attend our family reunion the first weekend of August and of course, being over in Oregon to observe the total eclipse and a forced visit to some hot springs.
That leaves September where we may not have clue where we'll be but we do know we'll be celebrating our 38th anniversary and my lovely bride's (mumble)th birthday. I do believe we'll try for the Canyonlands, Bryce, and Zion parks for short stays as we make a grand loop back to Coos Bay Oregon where we'll be hosting again at Sunset Bay to close out year.
I made the new year's resolution of writing a blog entry once a week and promptly failed at it for the month of January. As a mitigating circumstance please know just how difficult it is to become motivated when the sun is out, the weather warm and the to-do list has been “misplaced”.
Sunrise through the windshield Kofa Ko-op