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Key Takeaways

  • RV living costs include mechanical maintenance, RV parks, and insurance
  • Gas is one of the bigger expenses if you intend to drive around often
  • You can save money by preparing your RV to get better gas mileage or buying a small RV
  • Maintaining your appliances well is also a great way to save money long term

RV owners can speculate about the thought of living in an RV versus a home. What are the true costs of living in an RV?

The typical cost of living in an RV can cost $1200 per month or more. These costs can include fuel for the RV, propane, and campsite fees. Costs for fuel tend to change week by week. The price of living at an RV campsite starts at around $500 per week. Memberships help reduce this price.

We’ll review the expenses you’ll likely pay for driving an RV part or full time. Be prepared to learn a lot more about living on the go and RV living costs.



How much does living in an RV Cost?

Cost of RV Parks

When it comes to the cost of living in an RV, RV parks tend to be expensive and are like living at a hotel for a night. Nightly rates can range from $50 to $70 per night, and they can go even higher depending on the location and amenities offered. Most RV parks offer discounts for weekly and monthly stays, which can help reduce the overall cost.

For example, we stayed at our favorite RV park for $695 a month, but their rate per night was $65. It's important to note that the cost of RV parks can vary greatly depending on the location and season.

In popular tourist destinations or during peak season, RV park rates can be significantly higher. To give you an idea of the cost, here is a breakdown of the average monthly rates for RV parks:

Type of Stay Average Monthly Rate
Weekly $500-$2,000+
Monthly $500-$1,500+
Seasonal $300-$1,800+ (based on a 6-month stay)
Annual $3,600-$20,000+

As you can see, the longer you stay, the better the price you are likely to get. It's also worth noting that some RV parks offer additional amenities, such as Wi-Fi, cable TV, and laundry facilities, which can add to the overall cost.

Overall, RV parks can be a great option for those who want to live in an RV but still have access to amenities and services. However, it's important to budget accordingly and research the cost of RV parks in your desired location before making a decision.

Gas Prices

One of the biggest costs associated with living in an RV is fuel. As someone who has been living in an RV for several years, I can tell you that gas prices can vary greatly depending on where you are and how much you travel. On average, I spend about $3.50 per gallon for gas, but this can go up or down depending on the location.

When planning your RV lifestyle, it's important to take into account how much you plan on traveling. If you're someone who wants to hit the road and explore different parts of the country, you'll likely be spending more on gas than someone who stays in one place for longer periods of time.

However, there are ways to save money on gas while living in an RV. One of the best ways is to plan your route ahead of time and try to avoid areas with high gas prices. You can also save money by staying in one place for longer periods of time and taking shorter trips from there.

You could also invest in a more fuel-efficient RV. While these may be more expensive upfront, they can save you a chunk of change in the long run. You can also consider downsizing to a smaller RV or even a van, which will be more fuel-efficient than a larger RV.

Cost of Mechanical Maintenance

One of the biggest expenses of living in an RV full time is the cost of mechanical maintenance. As a full-time RVer, I have experienced this firsthand. Regular mechanical maintenance is necessary to keep your RV running smoothly and prevent expensive breakdowns on the road.


One thing to keep in mind as an RV driver is that the RV typically takes 6 tires instead of 4. These are also truck tires which tend to be more expensive. You might find yourself spending $3000 or more on tires especially if you travel frequently, though depending on the number of miles you put on per year, you might not buy tires real often.

General vehicle maintenance

One major living cost of RV life will be the small (and big) repairs that come from having a vehicle with a lot of accessories and attachments. You might find yourself having issues with the awning or electrical, or problems if any part of your RV slides out to extend the length of the RV.

Appliance Repair and Replacement in RVs

Appliances in RVs are subject to wear and tear just like any other appliance. However, they can be more expensive to repair or replace due to their specialized nature. For example, a refrigerator in an RV can cost upwards of $1,000 to replace. Therefore, it's important to budget for appliance repair and replacement in your RV living expenses.

One way to minimize the cost of appliance repair and replacement is to purchase an extended warranty when you buy your RV. This can provide peace of mind and save you money in the long run.

Another way to save money on appliance repair and replacement is to perform regular maintenance on your appliances. This can help prevent breakdowns and extend the life of your appliances. For example, cleaning the coils on your refrigerator can help it run more efficiently and prevent the need for costly repairs.

Overall, it's important to budget for mechanical maintenance when living in an RV full time. This can include regular oil changes, tire rotations, and a small stack of other routine tasks for maintenance. Additionally, it's important to budget for appliance repair and replacement to avoid unexpected expenses on the road.

Insurance Costs

As a full-time RVer, insurance is a must-have expense. The cost of RV insurance varies depending on what you feel you want for coverage. Liability-only RV policies can start at just $125 per year, while full-time RV insurance often costs more due to the additional protection you have against liabilities.

When I was researching insurance options, the average price for a 1 year RV insurance policy at Progressive Insurance in 2010 was about $500 for a travel trailer and $850 for a motorhome. However, these prices can vary depending on the type and age of your RV, your driving record, and other factors.

It's important to note that RV insurance is not the only insurance expense you'll have as a full-time RVer. You'll also need health insurance and possibly additional insurance for any vehicles or equipment you tow behind your RV. Medical insurance can cost up to $250 per person per month, while additional vehicle insurance can add hundreds of dollars to your monthly expenses.

To save money on insurance costs, it's a good idea to shop around and compare quotes from multiple providers. You can also consider raising your deductible or lowering your coverage limits to lower your premiums. However, be sure to carefully weigh the potential savings against the risks of having inadequate coverage.

Full Time RV Living Costs vs Part Time Costs

When it comes to RV living costs, whether you're living full time or part time can make a big difference. As a full-time RVer myself, I can say that the costs of living in an RV full-time are generally higher than those of part-time RV living.

One of the biggest expenses for full-time RVers is campground fees. While part-time RVers may only pay for a few nights or weeks of camping per year, full-time RVers need to pay for a place to park their RV every night. This can add up quickly, especially if you prefer to stay in more expensive RV parks with amenities like swimming pools and hot tubs. Another factor to consider is the cost of maintenance and repairs.

Wear and tear

Full-time RVers put more wear and tear on their RVs than part-time RVers, which means more frequent repairs and maintenance. This can be a significant expense, especially if you're not handy with DIY repairs and need to pay for professional services.

However, there are also some cost savings associated with full-time RV living. For example, you may be able to save money on housing expenses since you won't need to pay for a traditional home or apartment.

Saving money

Additionally, you may be able to save money on travel expenses since you're already on the road and don't need to pay for flights or rental cars. Overall, whether full-time or part-time RV living is more cost-effective for you will depend on your individual circumstances and lifestyle preferences. It's important to carefully consider all of the expenses associated with RV living and make a budget that works for you.

One way to save money generally is to use national parks when you can. National Parks offer both a beautiful glimpse at nature and are generally cheaper per night than some RV parks. These can help keep RV living costs down by a few hundred dollars per year.