What Is the Actual Cost of Owning an RV?


The excitement of living life on the road for a period of time is enough to draw anyone into buying an RV. Recreational vehicles are a great way to access the beauty of the road while having a measure of comfort throughout the process.

How much does it cost to hit the open road in an RV, though? We’re going to talk about the cost of owning an RV today, exploring the costs you’re aware of as well as some of the ones that you might not be.

Let’s take a look.

What’s The True Cost of Owning an RV?

The first expense that will come into play and likely dictate a lot of the next expenses is the RV that you choose to buy.

RVs offer a very wide range of options, with extremely luxurious vehicles to ones with just barebones features. You’re looking at anywhere from $10,000 for a basic functioning RV, all of the way up to $200,000 for one that will have you living like royalty.

Something to consider in this stage is just how much you actually need from your vehicle. Are you looking to purchase an RV so that you and your family can take extended vacations and hike through America’s national parks?

In that case, you might not need a whole lot of amenities to work with. Alternatively, are you retiring and plan to travel through North America in your RV? In that case, you might need a little more comfort.


You also have to factor in insurance for your RV. Typically, rates don’t go too high for these, although you’d expect them to be a lot more than the rates for normal cars.

In reality, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1000 per year for insurance on your RV. If you have a fancier RV, though, you might want to get a little extra coverage in case something gets stolen from you.

You might have televisions, nice grills, and other accessories that you depend on and are valuable.

Gas and Upkeep

Next, you have to consider the distance you’ll be traveling and the fact that RVs aren’t great on gas mileage. This is just a fact of the road, and it’s something we all have to deal with.

In reality, you can expect to get something like 15 miles per gallon in your RV if you average out time on the highway with time in cities and small towns. Your distance traveled will determine this aspect, but it’s a significant factor in the price of living in an RV over a period of years.

You must also consider the fact that there are a lot of elements involved in a properly-running RV. You have bathrooms, heat sources, various appliances, and the normal features of any vehicle that require maintenance.

In that scheme, you should certainly have around $200 per month set aside in the event of something breaking down. Naturally, there will be periods of time where nothing goes wrong and those where things are falling apart left and right.

The frequency of the repairs you need will depend on the quality of your RV when you buy it. A new one might not be as susceptible to the ups and downs of the road.

Additionally, costs will be specific to the particular issues that you’re experiencing. It’s important to shop around for different RV parts and find the ones that are most affordable and work for you.

Nightly Stays

When you hit the road, you’ll want to park your RV in an RV park or similar location that offers access to electricity and other amenities. Those locations can vary in price, but the average should be something around $20-35 per night.

This isn’t too significant, considering that the average hotel is something around $100 per night and you’ll be sleeping in some of the most beautiful national and state parks that the world has to offer!

Costs of The Road

The next factor to consider is the sort of lifestyle that you’ll be living on the road. RV camping isn’t typically too expensive, considering that you can live well off of affordable fresh foods and cook for yourself just like you would at your house.

That said, it’s tempting to buy a lot of fast foods and quick options while you’re out there. The purchase of a lot of food on the road can quickly become one of the most expensive pieces of the entire RV lifestyle.

If you’re disciplined about how you eat and spend money while you’re out on the road, you can keep the entire process pretty affordable and cheap throughout. There are always going to be stops along the way that you have to pay a few dollars to see, but those visits are part of what makes RV living so exciting.

It just takes a little while to get used to the process of cooking for yourself on the road, avoiding unnecessary expenses, and keeping your budget under wraps.

Storing Your RV

When you’re off the road, you might not want to have the RV sitting in your front yard for months at a time. Many people take the initiative to store their RV while they’re not using it.

Doing this might cost you somewhere around $50-100 per month. This is a smart move for people who live in extreme climates where the RV might be sitting for a long time.

Storing the vehicle in a covered and climate-controlled garage can help to prevent rust and the slow breakdown of various pieces of equipment. If you don’t want to pay for a storage unit, you can always invest in some kind of covering for your RV, which typically costs around $200.

Hitting The Road Sometime Soon?

Figuring out the cost of owning an RV is just the first step in getting your life on the road started. We’re here to help you with more ideas on how to live your best life from the comfort of an RV.

Explore our site for more insight into RVs, different traveling ideas, and a whole lot more.


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