When your bon voyage party is over and it’s time to drive off into your full-time RVing adventure, one thing becomes clear within the first month or so: this lifestyle can throw you under the bus if you’re not careful!
Why Full-time RVing Can Be Expensive
Here are some reasons why full-time RVing can be more expensive than you thought during your first year on the road.
- The newness is so exhilarating! You want to start crossing destinations off your bucket list to prove that you’re actually living the fabulous RV lifestyle you’ve always dreamed about.
- With nothing but the road ahead of you and a million great restaurants between the Pacific and the Atlantic, it’s easy to justify eating out all the time because you’ve never had a chance to enjoy so many different cuisines.
- The same holds true for attractions you’ve always wanted to experience – you could die tomorrow without ever seeing Graceland, so you’d better get there, pronto!
- You probably don’t know anything about how to save money on camping fees.
When Jim and I were about eight months into our year-long road trip, we knew that we wanted to keep on full-time RVing indefinitely, but we realized the savings we put aside for our sabbatical wouldn’t last more than a year. We had to put the brakes on our crazy spending and learn how to save money from the frugal RVers out there (of which there are many!). This is what we did.
First, we got our housing expenses under control. We paid off our RV so we wouldn’t have the burden of debt hanging over us.
Next, we got camping fees to a reasonable level by joining discount camping clubs and learning how to take advantage of free campsites on public lands.
Finally, we learned cheap ways to have fun when full-timing by researching fun and free destinations and attractions. Scouring each issue of RV Life Magazine is a good place to start. Since the magazine’s writers understand that we RVers are a frugal bunch, there are many great travel and destination tips that don’t cost much money. Dave Hegelson’s Adventures in RVing blog is one of my favorite places to turn to for free and cheap camping ideas.
Another great way we find fun and offbeat free and cheap attractions is the Roadside America website. No matter where you are in North America, chances are good that Roadside America can point you to a quirky destination full of great campfire tales to tell your friends.
Sometimes these remote attractions bring back childhood memories, like Grampa Jerry’s Clown Museum in Eastern Colorado.
And oftentimes you’ll find insider tips on America’s most popular destinations, like Graceland.
Graceland is pricey but we saved money with tips like this:
Park for free at the Graceland Crossing strip mall. Easily found by looking for the Harley Davidson store. — [Aero, 04/17/2011]
After eight years on the road, there’s still so much we haven’t seen in America. This lifestyle is a constant learning experience and with each new mile, we discover new ways to enjoy it without draining our bank account.
Whether you’re a full-time RVer or not, I’d love to learn from your experiences.
How do you save money when you’re traveling by RV? Share in the comments below!
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.
Jerry Dixon says
Do you have a list of discount camping clubs, and maybe a chart comparing their benefits and costs?
Rene Agredano - The Full Timing Nomad says
I don’t Jerry but that’s a terrific idea. Watch for it in an upcoming post. Thanks for the feedback!
Just found this magazine… contemplating full-time RV’ing. Trying to figure out health insurance and other cost (Do I keep my home in my home state? Snail mail? State of record?). Definitely sick of snow 🙂
Rene Agredano - The Full Timing Nomad says
Yep, there’s lots to consider. Remember that every RVers situation is different, but the best way to begin your research is by talking to other RVers. Good luck and happy travels!