The Real Cost of Full-Time RV Living [2023]: Budgeting for Life on the Road

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Looking to hit the open road and live a life of adventure? Maybe full-time RV living is for you! But before you pack up and hit the road, make sure you understand the costs associated with this lifestyle. Our team of expert RV enthusiasts at RV Brands™ has surveyed the full-time RV community to bring you this comprehensive breakdown of full-time RV living costs.

Full-Time RV Living – Main Costs

RV and Truck Loan and Maintenance

The biggest expense for most full-time RVers is the cost of their RV and truck. When selecting an RV or trailer, keep in mind that bigger isn't always better. Before you make a purchase, ask yourself how much space you really need. Do you value luxury finishes and amenities, or are you more interested in functionality? Once you've selected your RV and truck, be sure to budget for ongoing maintenance and repairs.


  • You can make the RV your home.
  • You can have a flexible home that can travel with you.


  • RV breakdowns can be costly.
  • Parking may be restricted.

Gas and Propane

Next up, fuel and propane. Your RV can guzzle gas pretty quickly, especially if you're taking long trips or driving through hilly terrain. Keep this in mind when budgeting for travel costs. Additionally, propane is used for heating, hot water, and cooking, so it's important to factor in the cost of refilling your propane tanks.


  • You can explore many different places.
  • You can choose a location based on weather preferences.


  • Gas costs can be high.
  • Propane tanks need to be refilled often.

Campsite Fees

While full-time RV living can be more affordable than owning or renting a traditional home, you'll still need to pay for a place to park your RV. Depending on the length of your stay and the amenities you require, campground fees can range from $10 to $100 per night. Be sure to research campsites and RV parks in advance to ensure they offer all the amenities you need.


  • You can stay in beautiful natural areas.
  • Campsites offer many amenities.


  • You need to pay for sites.
  • Availability can be limited.


Eating on the road can be affordable if you're willing to cook your own meals in your RV kitchen. However, if you're constantly eating out at restaurants or convenience stores, food costs can quickly pile up. Budget for groceries and snacks, and consider investing in a compact, portable grill for outdoor cooking.


  • You can eat healthy homemade meals.
  • You can save money on dining out.


  • Cooking takes time and effort.
  • Groceries and cooking supplies require storage space.


Your RV is your home, so it's important to protect it with insurance. Depending on your policy, full-time RV insurance can be more expensive than traditional car or home insurance.


  • Your RV is protected.
  • You can have a sense of security.


  • Insurance can be expensive.
  • Policies may differ among companies.

Phone and Internet

In today's connected world, maintaining access to phone and internet is important, even when living on the road. Be sure to budget for a reliable phone and data plan, and consider investing in a mobile hotspot for internet access.


  • You can stay connected with friends and family.
  • You can research and plan your next destination.


  • Phone and data plans can be expensive.
  • Coverage may be limited in rural areas.


One of the best parts of full-time RV living is exploring new places and experiencing new things. Be sure to budget for admission fees, tours, and special events.


  • Get to visit landmarks and locations.
  • You can budget for special events.


  • Entertainment can be costly.
  • Not all entertainment may be available in your area.

Best Time to Visit National Parks – Top Things to do each Month


Pro tip: You can also experience the lesser-known Bryce Canyon National Park.


Pro tip: Be sure to take a hike or a drive down the scenic Rim Drive.


Pro tip: Take a slow drive down Going-to-the-Sun Road and look for wildlife like bighorn sheep and mountain goats.


Pro tip: Visit the Old Faithful geyser at Yellowstone National Park.


Pro tip: Hike the trails in the Grand Canyon.


Pro tip: The Denali Visitor Center offers stunning views of the Alaska Range.


Pro tip: Get views of Mount Rainier and the iconic Space Needle in Seattle.


Pro tip: Hike to Mt Rainier and other nearby trails.


Pro tip: Go on a scenic drive to Maroon Bells, a popular and scenic area.


Pro tip: Take a scenic drive on the Skyline Drive or hike the Appalachian Trail.


Pro tip: Enjoy the sunrise over the Grand Canyon.


Pro tip: Go skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling at the National Park.

RV Living – Monthly Expense Breakdown [2023]

Monthly Expenses Cost
RV payment $300-$500
Truck payment $100-$300
Insurance $100-$400
Gas $300-$1,000
Propane $20-$30
Campsite Fees $200-$400
Food $200-$600
Phone and Data Plan $50-$150
Entertainment $100-$500
Maintenance $150-$500


What is a good budget for full-time RV living?

Your budget will depend on your personal lifestyle and travel preferences. While full-time RV living can be more affordable than owning a traditional home, it's important to budget for expenses like fuel, campsite fees, and maintenance. In general, expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 per month on living expenses.

Is it financially smart to live in an RV?

RV living can be a great way to reduce your cost of living and increase your opportunities for adventure. However, there are some financial considerations to keep in mind, including the cost of an RV and truck, maintenance and repairs, and ongoing living expenses like fuel and campsite fees.

Is it cheaper to live in an RV or a house?

RV living can be more affordable than owning a traditional home, but much will depend on your personal lifestyle and travel preferences. Factors like fuel costs, campsite fees, and insurance will need to be accounted for, as well as the cost of purchasing an RV and truck if you don't already own one.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • Be sure to budget for ongoing maintenance and repairs for your RV and truck.
  • Consider downsizing your possessions and furnishing your RV with space-saving furniture and decor.
  • Research campsites and RV parks in advance to ensure they offer all the amenities you require.
  • Be willing to cook your own meals in your RV kitchen to save money on dining out.
  • Don't forget to factor in the cost of laundry facilities, as most RVs do not have their own washer and dryer.
  • Don't underestimate the importance of staying connected with phone and internet – consider investing in a reliable plan with a mobile hotspot.
  • Entertainment costs can quickly add up, so be sure to budget for admission fees, tours, and special events.

Living on the road full-time can be an exciting and fulfilling lifestyle, but it's important to be aware of all the costs associated with this lifestyle. We hope this guide has been helpful in planning for your full-time RV adventure. Safe travels!

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