By Julie Chickery
Traveling by RV is a great way to see the country and it has many advantages. You can cook your own meals, sleep in your own bed, and use your own bathroom no matter where you are. You can save money, but it is important to note that traveling with an RV might be more expensive than you think. Many families purchasing an RV for vacations only consider the cost of the RV itself, and not the other expenses that go along with RV ownership.
RV ownership expenses
Obviously, the purchase price of your RV is the first thing you think about. But have you considered insurance, extended warranties, and property tax as part of RV ownership expenses? These are all decisions that are typically made before you drive your new RV away from the dealership. Hopefully, they are expenses you have researched before you even go look at RVs. Did you know you can often save money by customizing a warranty from Wholesale Warranties rather than purchasing one at the dealership? You can also save on insurance by shopping around.
Another part of ownership that eager RV shoppers may not consider is storage. Do you have an HOA that doesn’t allow RV parking in your neighborhood? If so, you’ll want to find out how much storage runs in your area. When we bought our first RV, we didn’t do this until after the fact. We were shocked to learn the going rate was $150 per month for outside storage in Northern Virginia. In many places, it’s even higher.
RV gear and gadgets
Your RV will likely come with a power cord and maybe even a sewer hose, but there is a lot of other gear you need as an RV owner. Some of the critical safety items – like a tire pressure monitoring system, and electrical management systems, and an RV GPS – are not inexpensive. As a matter of fact, you could easily spend a few hundred to several thousand dollars on RV gear right off the bat.
You’ve purchased an RV, bought all the gear, and are ready to hit the road. Where will you stay? For most travelers, a campground is the answer. That leads us to the next question: How much do campgrounds cost? Well, it depends. There are many different types of campgrounds and associated fees. The least I’ve paid is $12 per night with a 50% off disabled veterans discount, and the most I’ve paid is more than $100 at Disney World’s campground. Watch my video below to learn more about this.
Okay, now you’ve picked the campground, so the next big item is fuel. Whether your RV (or tow vehicle) runs on gas or diesel, one thing is universal: You won’t get great gas mileage. To give you an idea, our diesel truck gets about 11 miles per gallon towing. Our best friend’s gas motorhome gets about 8 miles per gallon. Now figure out the cost of fuel per gallon along the journey using the GasBuddy app and you’ll have a rough estimate of how much you can plan to spend on this RV ownership expense.
Budget RV ownership expenses appropriately
The key to getting the most enjoyment out of your RV is to budget appropriately. Know the costs associated with RV ownership and travel before you buy an RV. Making an informed decision will allow you to choose the RV that you can afford not only to own, but to take out on vacations.