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Our Actual RVing Costs

I have always maintained that RVing is an economical way to travel and vacation. This page shows you the actual dollars we have spent over the past 16 years so you can compare it to your vacation costs.

Of course most RVs don’t float or fly so keep that in mind if you like to go to Europe or Hawaii every year.

While most RVs don’t float (for very long), this one does!

So, what does it really cost to go RVing? The answer, of course, is “that depends”. The capital cost of the RV ranges from a few hundred $ for a well used pop-up tent trailer to a million $ or more for those with very deep pockets.

An RV is a trailer (tent, travel or 5th wheel) or motorhome (Class A, B, C, or bus conversion).

As with anything with wheels, there are expenses to be paid, even if you don’t use it, like licence plates, insurance and storage. Then there is maintenance, repairs, fuel and of course, campground fees.

The more nights out, the cheaper each one becomes. As you can see below, our long term average is about $80 per night. That includes everything except the capital cost / depreciation which I freely admit can be substantial and is why we buy used rigs.

Operating costs vary widely depending on The type and size of the RV and how handy you are. A small tent trailer needs only a wheel bearing repack every year or two while an unreliable and leaky old diesel powered motorhome could be a money pit.

The numbers above are for our large-ish (35 foot) gasoline powered Class A motorhomes. We currently have a 2004 Fleetwood Bounder 35E.

Since the majority of fuel burned in an RV is to overcome wind resistance, the length and weight of a rig and even running the generator while driving don’t make a huge difference - road speed and the wind have the biggest influence on fuel economy.

Average is about 8 - 10 miles per (imperial) gallon.

Even towing a 2,500 pound car drops the economy by only about 10% (about 1 mpg) - from bad to slightly worse.

A Class B motorhome will get significantly better mileage but are too small for us. Even a diesel powered 40+ footer will get about the same mileage as ours.

When you factor in the ability to sleep in your own bed, the freedom to go where you want and that you can even get a midnight snack of fresh home made cookies and a glass of cold milk, RVing has lots of appeal to millions of people.

Of course, you do need to actually like spending time with your spouse!

Consider renting one and trying it for a week.

Year

Gasoline & Propane

Maint, Ins & Repairs

Operating Subtotal

Kms Travelled

Nights Out

Camping Fees

Average Fees

Total Cost of RVing

Total Cost Per km

Total Cost Per Night

1999

$854

$937

$1791

4,847

39

$702

$18

$2493

$0.37

$64

2000

$787

$1228

$2016

3,260

34

$646

$19

$2661

$0.62

$78

2001

$1135

$2371

$3506

4,704

43

$860

$20

$4366

$0.75

$102

2002

$1259

$3369

$4628

4,710

28

$384

$14

$5012

$0.98

$103

2003

$1100

$1737

$2837

4,213

38

$624

$15

$3461

$0.67

$74

2004

$2243

$1804

$4047

6,462

47

$795

$18

$4842

$0.63

$103

2005

$7427

$2277

$9704

16,506

166

$2521

$15

$12225

$0.59

$74

2006

$899

$1048

$1947

1,442

115

$514

$4

$2461

$1.35

$21

2007

$100

$779

$879

367

0

0

0

$879

$2.40

0

2008

$651

$847

$1498

1,024

17

$426

$25

$1924

$1.46

$113

2009

$874

$1038

$1912

2,052

10

$231

$23

$2143

$0.93

$214

2010

$505

$860

$1365

1,348

28

$766

$27

$2131

$1.01

$76

2011

$1705

$1153

$2858

3,345

17

$349

$21

$3207

$0.85

$189

2012

$1205

$2012

$3217

3,007

36

$913

$25

$4130

$1.07

$115

2013

$1055

$811

$1866

2,858

21

$410

$20

$2276

$0.65

$108

2014

$1034

$972

$2007

2,836

23

$616

$27

$2623

$0.71

$114

2015

$1507

$1994

$3502

3,574

124

$2230

$18

$5950

$0.98

$46

2016

$970

$2381

$3351

2,610

49

$1065

$22

$4416

$1.28

$90

2017

$2518

$1742

$4260

4,025

65

$1690

$26

$5950

$1.06

$92

Average 1999-2017

$1465

$1545

$3010

3,852

47

$828

$19

$3839

$0.97

$81

Year

Gasoline & Propane

Maint, Ins & Repairs

Operating Subtotal

Kms Travelled

Nights Out

Camping Fees

Average Fees

Total Cost of RVing

Total Cost Per km

Total Cost Per Night

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