The first thing many people do when researching full time RV travel is look into the average cost of full time RVing. This makes sense. Knowing this bit of information helps tremendously when it comes to deciding whether full time RV living might be right for you and whether you can afford it.
Unfortunately, as you can see from this article, there is no clear-cut answer to this question. There are many factors that might make one person’s full time RV budget different from another’s. Therefore, it’s best to create your own personalized full time RV living budget and go from there.
Wondering what to do once you’ve come up with an idea of what kind of full time RV budget you might be looking at? Our suggestion is to do everything in your power to lower that number.
How to Afford Full Time RVing: Two Sides of the Same Coin
When looking at how to afford full time RVing, many people get stuck on how to make money on the road. This is, of course, something you will need to think about. However, it’s really only one side of the coin.
Those who also look at lowering the cost of full time RVing will likely have a much easier time creating a solid financial plan so they can experience full time RV travel. After all, the lower your full time RV expenses are, the less money you will need to be bringing in. This makes the job hunting aspect a bit easier, and will likely mean less time spent working and more time spent exploring.
These benefits are why we highly recommend doing everything in your power to lower your full time RV budget. They are also why many RVers revisit their budgets regularly to make sure they are still doing the most logical thing financially and keeping their living in an RV full time cost as low as possible.
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Tips for Lowering the Cost of Full Time RVing
Not sure where to begin making cuts to your RV living financial plan? We’ve compiled our best money-saving travel tips below. Using these tips, you should be able to cut travel and RV living costs significantly.
Invest in Camping Clubs
One of the biggest RV living expenses is the cost of campgrounds and RV parks. Fortunately, this cost can be cut down quite a lot through the use of camping clubs and memberships.
Clubs such as Passport America offer discounts on nightly stays for those short stops along your route. Meanwhile, a Thousand Trails membership is perfect for saving on slightly longer stints. Other great camping clubs include Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts. If your goal is to meet people Xscapers a sub group of Escapees is a great place to do that. Of course a membership at Fulltime Families also does this.
Investing in a few of these clubs can save you thousands of dollars over time.
Learn to Boondock
Another great way to save on camping fees is to learn to boondock. Boondocking (also known as dry camping) is free in many places across the US. With just a little bit of know-how and a few special pieces of gear, you can boondock for decent stretches of time, camping for free and saving tons of money while doing so.
Save Money on Food
Many find that full time RV travel makes their food costs a lot higher than they once were. In fact, eating out on travel days and during field trips can be among the biggest RV living expenses. Depending on where you camp and what kinds of grocery stores are around, grocery store budgets can go up as well, adding to this often-unexpected full time RV living budget buster.
To save money on groceries while traveling, we recommend meal planning, cooking meals in advance and freezing them, packing lunches, and leaving dinner to cook in the slow cooker while you’re away. Planning grocery trips for times you’ll be near discount stores (such as ALDI) is also super helpful, as is using coupon apps such as Instacart.
As far as eating out goes, you can save a bit by seeking out special deals such as “kids eat free” nights. Groupon and Livingsocial can also be pretty helpful in this respect, and travel coupon books often have worthwhile deals.
Often, one of the best answers to how to afford full time RV living is to slow down. Slow travel helps reduce your monthly fuel costs, because fewer miles are traveled each month. It also means you can take advantage of monthly campground fees, potentially lowering your average monthly cost of full time RVing even more.
Slow travel also means more time to explore. This will mean fewer field trip days per month, resulting in less money spent on attractions and eating out.
Lower Fuel Costs
As mentioned above, traveling slowly will reduce your monthly fuel costs. That said, slow travel is not the only way to cut back on the amount you spend on fuel. RV Trip Wizard is a great resource for route planning to avoid excess travel and avoid burning fuel. It also tracks your mileage and fuel costs.
Apps such as GasBuddy will help you lower this part of your full time RV budget significantly. Additionally, gas station and grocery store loyalty cards—as well as membership such as Good Sam Club—will often give decent discounts on gasoline.
Reduce Propane Usage
If you usually stay in campgrounds with electricity wrapped into the nightly fee, you should be taking full advantage of that electricity. Switching to electric space heaters and using them in lieu of the propane furnace will save lots of propane, reducing your cost of full time RVing by quite a bit.
You can also save propane by heading somewhere warm for the winter, meaning the heater is run less often. Yet another option is to skip the propane stove or oven and switch to electric cooking appliances such as the Instant Pot.
Seek Out Free Wi-Fi
If you need internet access for work, you will likely need to pay for good solid cell service. However, those who only use the internet for leisurely activities such as checking email and watching videos might find that this method of getting free Wi-Fi in their RV works just fine.
Cutting out an internet hotspot will cut down your full time RV expenses for sure, so be sure to give this one some thought.
Find Free Fun
One of the tricks to inexpensive RV living travel is knowing how to find free fun. Sure, the majority of the most popular attractions will cost you a pretty penny, but you might be surprised at just how many hidden gems you’ll find when seeking out entertainment that doesn’t cost a dime.
Look for an awesome playground, check out local libraries for entertainment offerings, see what’s going on at your campground, and watch for “free days” at local zoos and museums. Festivals and other community events also make for some great free entertainment.
Keep your eye out, because you never know what you might find when you’re watching for it.
Pick Up Reciprocal Memberships
Last but not least, we highly recommend picking up a few reciprocal memberships. These memberships will give you access to affiliated attractions across the country, essentially removing the need to include sightseeing in your full time RV family budget.
Reciprocal memberships are available for museums, zoos, national parks, theme parks, and more. Check out this post to learn how to pick the best membership options for your family.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to lower the cost of full time RV living and make RV living an attainable goal for your family. Want to learn even more tips for reaching your full time RV living goal? Join Fulltime Families today!