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Cost of RVing
Old 04-13-2010, 07:57 PM   #1
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Cost of RVing

There have been a number of threads on RVing in the past. One of the questions that comes up quite frequently is "How much does it cost?"... and, of course, the variation: "Doesn't seem like a good investment to me." I will start this thread to try and answer that. (Therefore, it will not/should not be “travelogue”-like … there are already way too many of those floating around.)

Last month, we took a "spur-of-the-Moment" trip to Annapolis Maryland. Well, serendipitous in that a person DW worked with for many years (they started at the same time and are the same age) was given the “choice” to retire… after forty years. He was given two months to “be gone.” (Which, actually, was a better offer than DW was given three years ago.)

Anyway, we took thirteen days to go out and back.

Annapolis 2010 Map.JPG

Mileage = 3,935.1

Fuel:
Used = 274.4 gallons
Fuel Economy = 14.3 MPG (from onboard computer)
Fuel Cost = $727.16 (Average $2.74 per gallon)

Meals = $255.52
At home = $162.29
Restaurant = $93.23 (One meal with friend)

Hotel (campground) = $240.09
(11 nights -- High of $37.12, low of $12.00; 2 nights in friend’s driveway)

Cultural Fees = $42.95
(Antietam Battlefield CD, Mammoth Cave Tour, and Blue Grass Museum)

Kansas Turnpike = $5.00

Total out-of-pocket = $1,270.72
Fuel = $727.16 - 57.2%
Meals = $255.52 – 20.1%
Hotel = $240.09 – 18.9%
Fees = $42.95 – 3.4%
Tolls = $5.00 - .4%

Yeah, it is more than that –- for instance, 3,935 miles at 55˘ is $2,164.25 and is probably more realistic than the $727.16… but than it becomes much too complicated as things like opportunity costs of the money tied up in the RV becomes an issue.

So it is probably just as well to say that we spent $97.75 a day for a two week trip and leave it at that.

So… is that good or bad?
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Old 04-13-2010, 08:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
So… is that good or bad?
I would consider it very good.

Ha
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Old 04-13-2010, 08:36 PM   #3
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14.3 MPG? What are you driving/towing? That is very good compared to my motorhome's 8-10 mpg.

I've stopped analyzing and justifying RV costs. While some scenarios make it very cost-effective, often it is comparable to hotel-based trips. By varying the type of campground, length of stay, nature of the destination (big city v. national park, for example), and a zilllion other things you can control, you can usually create scenarios where one or the other is less expensive.

The advantages for us are not financial. We enjoy being able to eat what and when we want, clean surroundings, and always having a comfortable 1-bedroom apartment at our disposal, usually pleasant friendly surroundings. The sharing of RV stories with fellow-campers is priceless.

Cost effective? Sometimes but not always; throw in depreciation, insurance, and maintenance and it is downright expensive (less if you are a full-timer). More enjoyable: usually, for us. We've stopped trying to convince ourselves it is cost-competitive - it's a unique lifestyle that gives us great pleasure which we are willing to pay for.
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Old 04-13-2010, 10:00 PM   #4
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Hopefully, we would take more than 13 days for that trip. Travel days are expensive, and 13 is more than we would do in most months.

I recall hoping to average $100 a day 10 years ago for car vacations that were that quick.

Your cost sounds fine to me. And you had your "stuff".
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:02 PM   #5
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Thanks Ron for posting this. I have been curious about this for a long time since I want to RV some in ER. Not full-time, just enjoy time.

It does look good to me, but I have no experience with RVing and I know that car trips using hotels (even Comfort Inn) cost me MUCH more than that.

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Old 04-13-2010, 11:31 PM   #6
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Per diem RVing has always been way cheaper for us.

That is, until you try to amortize the cost of our RV over the years we expect to travel in it, and then it becomes quite expensive.

Unless you get a great deal on an RV or buy one of the very few brands that resell for almost full value, it's almost impossible to RV cheaper.

But for most of us RVer's its not about saving money - it's about enjoying travel.

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Old 04-14-2010, 12:53 AM   #7
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14.3 MPG? What are you driving/towing? That is very good compared to my motorhome's 8-10 mpg.
From his previous posts, I know RonBoyd owns a RoadTrek. I do not know his engine size, but that gas mileage is reasonable considering it's a class B. On the other hand, I would have guessed your class A gasser (isn't it?) to average around 5 to 8 mpg, just from reading on the Web about people's experience. Why, the typical class C also gets only 8 to 10 mpg!

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... Unless you get a great deal on an RV or buy one of the very few brands that resell for almost full value, it's almost impossible to RV cheaper.
Don't all vehicles depreciate, RVs included, although some less than others? What brand of RVs hold their values the best? Just wondering, as I am going to drive my used class C to the ground and can't see myself buying another one...
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:59 AM   #8
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...Last month, we took a "spur-of-the-Moment" trip to Annapolis Maryland...
Your 4,000 mi unplanned round trip is already 1/2 of my future planned trip to Alaska.

I don't know why people I know expressed astonishment when I announced my grand travel plan. Why, a guy even did it on a moped 30 years ago, when the Alcan highway was just a gravel road, pitching a tent by the side of the road. Here I am, "boondocking" in a motorhome with hot water, generator, and TV. Is it that much of an adventure?
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:16 AM   #9
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14.3 MPG? What are you driving/towing? That is very good compared to my motorhome's 8-10 mpg.
Yes, that is an advantage to having a RoadTrek Class B. (It is a 6.0 liter gas engine Chevrolet.) It gets a little over 16 MPG at 65 MPH on the highway and in the 12-13 MPG range in city/stop & go driving.

We have a Shunpiker's philosophy so our mileage is a little less than it could be if we took direct routes. On the way out we took Old Route 66 north at St. Louis for a short bit and then took Old US 40 (the National Highway) as much as we could and on the way back mostly followed US 64 but through Kentucky it was mostly County roads. (We were caught for several hours in the traffic jam caused by that truck/van collision that killed 10 members of a single family.) These roads, particularly in West Virginia, are quite curvy and require much speeding up and slowing down. In addition, these roads go through many small towns and their red light/stop signs. On the way back we went south on Old Route 66 for a bit. Couple all that with two days of driving in Baltimore/Annapolis brought the overall mileage down.
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:24 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
Per diem RVing has always been way cheaper for us.

That is, until you try to amortize the cost of our RV over the years we expect to travel in it, and then it becomes quite expensive.

Unless you get a great deal on an RV or buy one of the very few brands that resell for almost full value, it's almost impossible to RV cheaper.

But for most of us RVer's its not about saving money - it's about enjoying travel.
Yes, this is exactly what I am saying... and what has been said in all those previous threads that I referred to. My intent is to put actual numbers to it. That way potential RVers can determine for themselves what adjustments (to their thinking) they can make -- old/new, big/small, FT/PT, etc. -- before deciding whether this lifestyle is right for them.
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:27 AM   #11
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And you had your "stuff".
Yeah, we traveled for thirteen days, seen many wondrous things... and "never left home." Ain't life grand?
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:30 AM   #12
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Your 4,000 mi unplanned round trip is already 1/2 of my future planned trip to Alaska.

I don't know why people I know expressed astonishment when I announced my grand travel plan.
We have put around 55,000 miles under our belt since September of 2008. Interestingly, in retrospect, that feels like way too few. Shoulda/coulda been more.
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:47 AM   #13
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Last year we traveled ~3,200 miles and spent 50 nights on the road, seven of those were boondocking. We used 459 gallons of diesel at an average of $2.41/gal totaling $1,105 for fuel.* Our park fees totaled $761, an average of $15.22 per night. We don't track food expenses on the road.

* This would indicate we averaged just under 7 MPG but is not accurate as it also includes the fuel used to power the generator while we boondocked. When not using the generator we've been averaging between 7.5 and 8.
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:55 AM   #14
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I'm looking at this with interest. Do you use your class B as a daily driver to?

I make that trek in 5 days in my car round trip but no loitering. With the higher gas prices it costs me about $1000 so you took twice as long at only a little more money.
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:03 AM   #15
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an average of $15.22 per night.
Yes, that's much better than our $21.83 average. However, I was somewhat surprised at how much more expensive everything was in the east -- fuel was 25˘ to 30˘ more there than here. Many Campgrounds back there have pricing comparable to those around Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The $30 plus a night was very unusual for us.

We, also, had the disadvantage of still being "winterized" so "boondocking" (or more accurately, "dry camping") was a non-option. Access to water is a major issue... particularly to running water.
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:23 AM   #16
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Do you use your class B as a daily driver to?
No, I have much more agile 1992 Caravan (short WB) that I use in Denver... it gets around 25 MPG. We also have a 1999 Town & Country that mostly just sits. (Yeah kinda dumb -- and it cost over $35,000 new.) Nevertheless, there are many whose Class B RV is their only means of transportation. In fact, I am quite often heard to say that "I can go anywhere a car can go with our Roadtrek... except for the 8'6" height restriction." I should mention that our's is the largest model at 23' in length so it does take some little skill to go everywhere a car can. However, the shorter models are, in reality, nothing more than regular vans.

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I make that trek in 5 days in my car round trip but no loitering. With the higher gas prices it costs me about $1000 so you took twice as long at only a little more money.
Yeah, we considered making it a "slam bam" trip but decided the opportunity for exploration was just too great -- if only for the hike up Monks Mound to look down on St. Louis -- and the cost so little. (in opposition to the time > money theory.)
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:55 AM   #17
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Don't all vehicles depreciate, RVs included, although some less than others? What brand of RVs hold their values the best? Just wondering, as I am going to drive my used class C to the ground and can't see myself buying another one...
Actually no.

Very old RVs don't depreciate much - hardly at all.

Casita travel trailers! They really hold their value. When we sold our new Casita trailer 2 years after we bought it, we got our full price back less the sales tax. We could (should?) have asked more.

So we really made a killing on those two years of travel! As the camping had been really inexpensive, maintenance costs non-existent. We had added a few inexpensive upgrades but mostly just had had fun using the heck out of it.

Audrey
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