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2022/2023 monthly site availablity and average of cost


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Hi friends,

I'm trying to put together a full-timing budget/plan. Please tell me what you're currently paying, on average, for a monthly site at a campground/RV park. Also curious to know how much of a shortage there is right now for monthly spots. Geographically, I'm in the eastern part of the US but am open to anywhere.  I wonder where all of these costs are headed in the coming years. Based on everything happening in the world, I can only see it getting worse, but maybe I'm being overly pessimistic. There are discussions about this topic on here, but I'm not sure how current the comments were and times have changed over the past few years. Thank you!

 

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I don't see how anyone can zero in on monthly site costs for you.  Everyone is different as to what kind of park/site they are happy with.  What may please them won't please you and vice versa.  Prices are all over the place depending if you're near a big city, special attractions, popular area seasonably... beach/mountains, out in the country, etc.  It may be more helpful if you would just go to a park site that you're considering and see what they charge.

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Not many of us are in the eastern USA so our costs might not be relevant to you. I spent a lot of free nights without hookups in the Arizona desert, for instance. You really do need to check out the type of parks you are interested in where you expect to travel. You can do a lot of that online.

Linda Sand

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Hey Jules,

Congratulations on the soon to be FTing.   The cost of CG's has become a law unto it's own in the past 3 years.    Prices in some places have tripled or worse and availability is all over the place from having to book a year almost in advance to comments lately that some places are showing open spaces more so than last year.

 Again as mentioned the facilities, location you pick ie; LA versus No name town, and much more will come into play.   There used to be advantage to using Passport America for a reduced often 50% off rate, but with high demand we've found that the choices of CG options on it now have made it of no interest to us any more.  

You might want to plan out with Google maps or RVParky or some other preferred mapping software a route, and approximate places you want to stop at and check out CG's along that route to get a good idea on actual today's rates.    Remember they won't be the same a year or two from now so allow a moving budget.

One thing I have found, whatever your budget is within reason, you can make it work by compromising on some boon docking/dry camping or a lower priced area CG.    We boondocks almost extensively, but we've also in many years gone by paid triple digits per night to stay at Newport Dunes in CA.    You can balance it out for sure with tweaking, changing, compromising and when necessary sitting still/cutting back.   Flexibility will be key to keeping you rolling with everything when you are out there.

FWIW:   Budgets we've read of many FT'rs are all over the place from under $2,000/month (lots of boon docking little eating out if ever) to well in excess of $6,000 a month (CGs, Resorts most time and more eating out often, alcohol etc) = depends how you spend and how much you move.

Plan some routes with overnights and check out prices of CG's you'd be happy with and that should give you a ball park to work with.   Almost everything else (except gas if you travel or sit long periods) should be same as you spend now habitually.

Enjoy.

PS:   Typically your first year will be a lot more moving and in "vacation mode", than following years as it's all new to you.

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The biggest issue in determining the cost of an RV site is the location of it. We stayed in a nice park in Kansas for $30/night and in one not much different near Nashville that was $74/night. If your RV is completely self-contained you can save a lot while traveling by spending nights in parking lots and truck stops. A good way to find rates in places that you expect to visit is to look at parks on RV Campground Reviews as there have pretty accurate data. For monthly parks, you will find the TX Rio Grande Valley much less expensive than most parts of Arizona. If you don't plan to travel a lot and wish to adjust your travels to visit parks that save you money you may want to consider a membership in Thousand Trails Campgrounds or something similar.  Another option is to spend part of your time in volunteer service at places that supply a campsite in return for your assistance. We lived the RV volunteer lifestyle and found that we loved the experiences and preferred that to most commercial RV parks. You may also want to consider spending a significant part of the winters in one of the Bureau of Land Management long term visitor areas (LTVA) as those cost very little.

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Corps of Engineer and Tennessee Valley Authority campgrounds often have hookups at reasonable prices and are generally on a lake or river if you like waterside camping. City and county parks are also often good deals--some even offer free electrical hookups.

Linda Sand

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Thanks for these tips and considerations. I understand there is a lot of variability depending on so many elements, so I should have been more specific. I guess I'm just trying to see how much I might save on a monthly site (with a monthly rate) in comparison to paying 1500.00-2000.00/month plus utilities for rent somewhere for a house or apartment, which seems about the rate these days for a small place. I'm sure I'd do some boondocking too, so it's too hard to estimate. If one is not careful, or doesn't care, it would be easy to spend more than most people do when living in s/b. 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, jules2go said:

I guess I'm just trying to see how much I might save on a monthly site (with a monthly rate

In most parks there will be a nightly rate and a weekly rate and some parks also have a monthly rate. Weekly rates are usually about equivalent to 5 nights at the daily rate and the monthly is typically about 3 times the weekly rate. Not all parks will have monthly rates. The lowest cost per night is to stay in a park that has a seasonal rate. In most cases, monthly rates do not include electricity. Do not overlook the Escapee parks both owned and the co-op parks as they can be quite a bargain as well. We have spent anywhere from a week to as much as 2 months in co-op parks and we really like them. You can go on the Escapee site and find links to each of the parks and get current rates that way. 

The rate you will pay to winter in Florida, to spend time in a tourist city, on the west coast near the water, will be very expensive while parks in the middle west are still pretty reasonable. Arizona is not as costly as Florida and Texas is better than Arizona in my experience. 

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According to your posts you've been exploring this for a few years.  Hope you succeed on your plans!!

One thing to do is to Google for a 'full-timer's rv budget'.  There will be old ones but hopefully, new also.  If you can look at actual budgets you may see some things that you didn't think of which would help prepare yours.

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9 hours ago, jules2go said:

I guess I'm just trying to see how much I might save on a monthly site (with a monthly rate) in comparison to paying 1500.00-2000.00/month plus utilities for rent somewhere for a house or apartment,

If you are looking to RV in a specific place to save money on the rent there, you might want to think again. This seldom works because of all the variations in things like insulation and electric/gas fees. Needing to heat or cool an RV can be surprisingly expensive.

Linda

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Here are a few examples. 

Mission West RV Park, Mission TX  monthly $650 or 4 months $1500 and $250 for each additional month.

Cocopah Bend RV Park, Yuma AZ monthly $656 plus electricity

Sun Outdoors, San Diego, CA    monthly $1800 best rate

Hillcrest RV, Bismark ND    monthly $800

Flatland RV, Abilene KS, no monthly but $32/night

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As you can see, the rate will vary widely depending on where and when you stay.  Monthly and weekly always cheaper than daily rates.  What discount programs and type park you are looking for.  Are you looking for full amenity luxury parks or very basic parks or even boondocking?  What area of the country do you plan to travel and are you hitting the tourist areas?

We have RVed since 1984 and full timed for the past 10 years.  We are now off the road and selling the rig.  But in the last few years, the cost of a campsite has gone up drastically.

Monthly sites with water and electricity can run from $700 per month to as high $2000.  Daily sites can run from $10 or $15 per night to over $100 per night.

Ken

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On 1/17/2023 at 1:15 AM, sandsys said:

If you are looking to RV in a specific place to save money on the rent there, you might want to think again. This seldom works because of all the variations in things like insulation and electric/gas fees. Needing to heat or cool an RV can be surprisingly expensive.

Linda

I don't need to remain in one location. I'd go where I could afford to find a spot. Some places require separate utility bill, I do understand that. Thank you for your thoughts on this reply and the earlier one. Much appreciated. 

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1 hour ago, GlennWest said:

one in now $450.00 monthly with electric. But have paid $700.00 plus electric. But we have never paid any higher. We happy with mom and pop parks.

Mom and pop is good enough for me, too :) 

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Thanks again everyone for these most helpful replies. Seeing the country is one reason to full-time, and for me that is somewhat the case, but I'm also trying to take a break from home ownership and hoping to reduce my cost of living. There are a million variables, I know. I'm not needing anything fancy and don't care to be in expensive vacation destinations. Maybe now and then, for a short time, but I prefer to be off the beaten path. 

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20 hours ago, jules2go said:

Mom and pop is good enough for me, too :) 

We found a great little campground outside of Sealy, TX.....Kathy's Kampground.  60 sites, all concrete, back-in, Wi-Fi, ethernet (hardwired) to each site, most back up to a wetlands lake, fantastic staff, rules are enforced, good laundry and showers, not far out of Katy/Houston area....last year $600 per month with all utilities included.  They stay full so reservations are needed.

https://www.kkampandstorage.com/

Ken

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Here in Pahrump, NV Saddle West Hotel/Casino/RV Park posts their monthly RV rate on their marquee.  Last year it was $499 a month, now it's $699.  There are about a dozen other RV parks in town with similar rates.  Pahrump is on the other side of the Spring Mtns an hour due west of Las Vegas via NV 160, a 4 lane divided highway.

Escapees Co-op parks can also provide an affordable home base.

I have a space in the Pair-A-Dice SKP park.  Although Escapees Inc. helped start it, the park is a non-profit co-op owned and operated by Escapees members who purchased a share in the co-op.  This gives them use of their space on a year round basis along with travelling Escapees who are welcome to stay when spaces are vacant.  When I bought in 5 years ago the cost was $7k plus another $3k in depreciated improvements made by previous lot holders - things like landscaping, finishing off the interior of the storage building, etc.  Now the buy-in is $10k plus improvements.  These will be returned to me if/when I decide to leave and the park resells my membership.

Owning a share in the park lets me qualify for NV residency for things like voting, drivers license, vehicle registration, etc.  NV does not have a state income tax, taxes on tourist activities and casino profits are enough to fill the state coffers.

An annual fee covers the other costs (good well water, septic, trash pickup, maintenance of the common areas and taxes),  Currently it's $1200 a year payable quarterly.  The only other expense is the actual metered electricity I use when I'm there which is in the range of $50-90 a month.

Other Escapees co-op parks operate in a similar fashion although the amounts and amenities vary from one park to the next.  Most of them have waiting lists so membership transfers and refunds can be accomplished quickly.

Edited by Lou Schneider
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We budget about $300/month for campground and our annual maintenance fee for our lot here at The Ranch (SKP co-op). We're going to be hosting for three months, so no costs then, and we'll have a month at a commercial park so we pay the monthly rate which includes electricity. We like to stay at COE parks, city/county parks, State parks, etc. We have the "geezer" pass, so COE parks are mostly half price for us. We have sometimes stayed at more expensive parks, but generally we keep costs closer to $20/night.

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  • 2 weeks later...
18 hours ago, hemsteadc said:

Quartzsite dry camping would about as cheap as you can get.. $180 for 6 months in the  LTVA areas with garbage, water and  dump.  Bring your own  electricity.

It's $180 from the date you buy the permit until the April 15 end of the LTVA season, so whether or not you get the full 6 months depends on when you arrive and leave.  If you buy the permit when the LTVAs open on Sept 15 you can actually stay 7 months until April 15th for the $180, if you buy it later in the season (or leave earlier) you'll be charged the same but it will only be good for a shorter term, which raises the monthly cost. 

Quartzsite and Yuma get hot outside of maybe December to the end of February, if you'll be staying 8 weeks or less it's cheaper to get the renewable $40 for two week permits.

Edited by Lou Schneider
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The break even point at the LTVAs is 9 weeks. So, if you are staying for more than two months, the rest of the time is free. I always bought an annual permit so I could come and go at will all winter. I was usually somewhere in the area from November through March so even if I was just passing through I could stop overnight with no more expense. Sometimes I just stopped to dump and fill and drop off trash on my way to a different boondocking spot. 

Linds Sand

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