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Greetings Future RV'er Friends!

My name is Lily,  my Hubby is Nate.  

We're either considering a motorhome by either Newell or Country Coach as FULL TIME RV'ERS!  We'd like to get a cost estimate, along with any WISDOM you may have to offer!  If we could?  So we can make some judgements on whether or not to choose this lifestyle!

We're considering whether to have a pull trailer or not, whether, that would present some issues in camping sites or any other possible issues?

Vehicle/RV Insurance Company recommendations?

Any RV Solar Companies that you would recommend?

We've bought a book called, "Retire to an RV"., published in 2012 by Jamie Hall Bruzenak and Alice Zyetz, to figure out RV cost of living.  from there I've created list of RV expenses.  Would it be possible to obtain an est.  "average" based on some information you might have received from full time RV'ers for the following?

 Please and THANK YOU in Advance!


Food (including restaurants) $___________
Health/Medical Insurance $__________(We currently have BC/BS.  Hubby has Medicare, I will very soon)
Average Camp Fee's (average across the country) $__________
Est.Fuel for Diesel  $__________
Insurance, in case of towing $_______
License & Registration  $_________
Maintenance $_______
Telephone $________
Internet/ mail $_______
Television $________
Laundry costs in the event we access a campsite laundry facility $______
Propane $________
Life Insurance $________  ( There are so many out there.  Not sure which to trust, any ideas?)
Any other considerations? _____________________________________


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I suggest that you visit some of the websites hosted by members of this forum to get a feel for what we do and how we do it. I invite you to start with mine, found in a link in my signature and then do the same for a selection of others who post here. For things like food and other living expenses, track what you spend now as your eating habits will not change much when you live in an RV.

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure



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Most full-timers spend about the same as they did before going full time. You pay camping fees instead of a mortgage payment. You buy propane and vehicle fuel instead of having utility bills. You pay the same for your cell phone unless you buy a booster system but that's a one time cost. You eat out about the same amount. You hang around home more than you think you will because it's too exhausting to go sightseeing every day. Etc.

For me, life insurance is intended to support the survivor. At retirement we decided we had enough savings for that to no longer be an issue so we stopped buying life insurance. Vehicle insurance? Yes, absolutely. You need a full-timer's policy to replace your former homeowner's policy as your vehicle is now your home.

Budgets vary widely among full-timers because lifestyles vary widely. If you do checkout peoples posted spending amounts be sure to also check out their lifestyle. How closely does it match yours?

Linda Sand

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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Welcome to the Escapees Forum!!!

I'll comment on a few of your budget areas.

Health Insurance

If you plan on travelling much outside of your home area, you will probably want to consider the traditional Medicare Plans rather than an Advantage Plan which often requires service from in network providers. Whether you also want a supplemental plan to cover what Medicare doesn't is another personal decision.

Diesel Fuel

Fuel costs are controllable by limiting how much you travel. Right now in the Southeast, diesel is between $2.59 and $3.29/gal depending on the state and locality. Where we are right now it varies from $2.82-3.29/gal depending on the individual fuel station. A few years ago we paid $4.45/gal in West Yellowstone.

Internet and Telephone

Internet service costs will depend on how many and what type of devices you have and what you plan/need to do over the internet. If you need a lot of band width, internet service may cost a couple of hundred dollars per month. Many internet plans include telephone service.


This cost also depends on what level of service you are looking for. Many locations have multiple channels available over the air. Satellite TV costs depend on the level of service desired. Some folks like to stream their TV. Relatively few campgrounds have WIFI that can consistently support streaming and some block it. Streaming using a cellular connection can get expensive unless you get a data plan with truly unlimited data that is not throttled at some level of usage.

Camping Fees

Camping fees are controllable in a number of ways. Some folks spend a lot of time in free sites such as parking lots and public lands. Others reduce their out of pocket camping fees by volunteering or workcamping in exchange for a site. 

Monthly rates are usually the most economical, but can vary widely from $250/month up depending on location and sometimes time of year. One also needs to know if electric is included as it can add a significant amount if much cooling or heating is needed.

In my experience, nightly rates and weekly rates usually include electric. It may be helpful to know if the average rates are based on a membership like thousand trails, Coast to Coast, etc., and whether the membership fees and any annual dues are averaged into the nightly cost.

Rather than trying to find someone with a camping style that matches your parameters, perhaps looking at the per night cost for paid nights and then predicting costs based on your projected plans would help you estimate camping costs.

In 2014 and 2015, our campground costs for paid stays averaged $27 and $29.  In 2016, our nightly costs for paid stays averaged $25.54 (including the cost of a nonresident New Mexico Camping Pass and Passport America membership).  Costs ranged from $5.00 to $57.00/night. In 2017 (travelling through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee), we had more trouble finding vacancies than any year since 2004. Our nightly average for paid stays was $33.99 and included 3 nights at $70/night which is the most we have ever paid. This year travelling in Florida and Georgia our average cost is $31.01. It has been mostly weekly stays which cost between $99 and $350/week.  All of this travel has been in the lower 48 and we had no monthly stays. We had at least water and electric at each site.

Again, Welcome to the Escapees Forum!!!!

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You do not say if you are already RV's. You did not say new or used RV. If new to rving and buying used there is a pretty steep learning curve on the rigs you are looking at. Cost of maintence on these two rigs can be pretty aggressive also. Good luck at what you do!

2002 Beaver Marquis Emerald   C-12 Cat 505 HP

2014 Volvo 630 D-13 I Shift SOLD

2017 New Horizons SOLD





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There are too many variables to even begin to estimate your expenses.  Some folks start off by having their RVs paid off plus all their other bills.  That only leaves them with RV traveling/living expenses.  Many of these folks find that they have tons of money left over each month.

Some folks have large RV loans, travel a lot, and pretty much spend what they want to spend.  Many of these full timers will tell you that the full time adventure is more expensive than living in a sticknbrick.

You are probably starting out the right way by doing research.  We looked stuff up and researched for months before even deciding on what type of RV to begin with, then it took another couple of months to find the right floor plan and manufacturer.  

Some will suggest you rent an RV and do some short trips to see if the life suits you.  Depending on your situation and history that could be a good idea.  We never did that because we were always boaters and lived aboard and traveled a lot, so we knew we would be okay with living in less than 400 square feet.

Joe & Cindy

Newmar 4369 Ventana

Pulling 24' enclosed (Mini Cooper, Harley, 2 Kayaks)

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The idea of an "average" cost for full time RV living is just silly.  There are high end choices where just buying the RV and associated gear can cost a half million to well over a million.  Fuel costs depend on how much you travel, the weight and fuel efficiency of your rig.  Camping costs can vary from living for free on BLM lands to spending over $100/night for resort level camping. 

Rather than look at some hypothetical average, I would recommend first looking at your budget.  Then decide the rig and the lifestyle you can afford.  Then do some thinking about your goals and whether that lifestyle will mesh.

I have an additional recommendation.  Think SMALL.  When you start to look you will certainly find sales people who are expert at up selling.  As a starting point you do need to consider the type of RV lifestyle that you want.  If you content to stay in one location for weeks or months at a time, then a bigger unit might be the best choice.  If you want to do a lot of travelling then you definitely want to consider something small.

I can give you a quick summary of our choices and costs.  We wanted to travel a lot and spend only a few days or at the very most a couple of weeks in each location.  We roamed throughout the West seeing many of the national parks and lots of other scenic areas.  We picked a truck camper for full timing living for my wife and I and 2 cats.  We sold the house and 2 cars and bought a new pickup truck which was expensive.  The RV was used and cost $15K in 2010.  Since then the RV industry crashed and has recovered.  I suspect an equivalent unit would now cost in the $20-25K range.  We did travel a fair amount and probably averaged $500/month for fuel.  Add another $200/mo for insurances and maintenance.  With a solar system, we rarely stopped at an RV park or any campground with hook ups.  We typically stayed in national parks, state parks, forests, BLM land.  When driving major distances we often stopped for the night at Walmart or a truck stop.  On occasion we also stayed in very expensive locations.  Overall, with a senior pass, camping cost us $7/night.  That would probably be equivalent to about $10/night at current costs.  We used propane for hot water, cooking and occasional use of the furnace.  We averaged about one 20# refill/month; i.e., $15-20/month.

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Here's an excellent write-up on budgets.  Note to read Part 1 & Part 2.  Search this site for other topics of interest. She's an awesome writer and delves into details.


As you hear from others you'll soon find out that one size doesn't fit all.  Everyone travels differently and would have different costs.  Once you get going you can easily whittle down your costs, if necessary.  Stay longer at places and in more reasonable or free places.  Eat out less. Cut down on admission prices by not going to those types of entertainment all the time.  You'll soon get the hang of it. When we took off (quickly within 3m time) we had absolutely no idea of costs and didn't even inquire about it.  We just figured it could very well be comparable to living in a house. (We ultimately found it to be even more reasonable than living in a house.)  However, we've always been frugal; no debt and live simply.  Everyone is different.  Best of luck!!

Full-timed for 16 Years
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Motorhome
and 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

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7 hours ago, Michael Shatto said:

My consultant spent a decade on the road and said;

I would suggest that many in this thread have a decade or even more time as fulltimers and several of them still are. The only thing in your advice that I would dispute is #2.  Since the truck you tow one with is the key to what the noise factor is, that can vary just as widely as do motorhomes. I have never done any decibel tests to be sure but the diesel truck that I tow with now seems to be about the same noise level as was the gasoline-powered motorhome we had previously. Since most diesel motorhomes have the engine in the rear, the driver's area likely has less noise than a diesel truck towing a fifth wheel. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure



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My 2011 F250, diesel, longbed, CC, RWD, 48,000 miles is about as noisy as a gas truck and there is no smelly black exhaust. Had they not improved the diesel trucks I would be driving a gas truck.

The older diesel pickups where noisy, smelly black cancer causing exhaust and they vibrated. Until the DEF engines I had only owned gas pickups for more then 40 years. Good Luck

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Sorry for the long post but I did want to give some detail. It was detail posts like these and the answers I received in the forum that really contributed to our decisions on whether we could pull it off and quit working early, what rig to buy and ideas what to do if we did it. Here's what we budget. Not all but most things:


Section is for budget purposes:

RV Expenses Full Estimate Amortized Cost
Tires (6 @ $725ea) 7yr cycle $4,350.00 $51.79
Oil Change - yearly $251.95 $21.00
Air Filter $205.00 $5.69
2 12v Battery – Engine $300ea $600.00 $7.14
Batteries – Coach (4) $620.00 $7.38
Insurance $1,756.00 $146.33
Roadside Assist $0.00 $0.00
Registration $122.00 $10.17
Thousand Trails $637.78 $53.15
FMCA $44.00 $3.67
Storage Rental    
Operating Costs    
Propane   $11.06
Diesel   $260.44
Misc   $211.18
DEF   $5.18
  total RV exp $794.17


This section is based mostly on actual costs. Food and clothing vary greatly month to month.

Utilities   Ammortized 
    or monthly
Vehicle Insurance $592.28 $49.36
Amazon Prime/year $107.02 $8.92
Food $500.00 $500.00
Clothing $100.00 $100.00
Gas $35.00 $35.00
Vehicle Registration $68.75 $5.73
Cell Phone   $165.21
Mailbox $314.00 $26.17
Jeep Tires 3yr rotation $544.00 $15.11
Totals   $905.49

So our monthly real budget/expenses are:

Current Monthly Exp Current Exp
Household $905.49
RV $794.17
Prescriptions $12.67
Contingency $200.00
Park Fees  
Dental $80.15
Total Exp $2,373.46

Park fees from January to date is: $1,371.75
We bought a new motorhome in September 2016 so here's the moving expenses: What surprised me was just how close the actual was to the budgeted estimates.

In Service Totals:


Misc (oil changes, repairs, etc)
Mthly Avg:
$11.06 $5.18 $211.18 $260.44          
  Mth Avg Fueling Cost $265.62 MPG 8.73            
Berkshire XL 40QL

Camphosting and touring

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