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2016 Travel Expenses

Posted on Jan 2, 2017 by in Our Travel Notes | 0 comments

People constantly ask us how expensive it is to travel full time and make the assumption that it is super expensive.    Like anything else in life it is what you make of it.    There are people traveling in million dollar motorhomes with monthly budgets well into 5 digits, and people travelling with travel trailers they purchased on CraigsList for close to a grand with monthly budgets of a few hundred dollars.

Each person’s travel will be unique.   Just like people’s lives are different then their neighbors in regular neighborhoods.   Someone who eats out all the time will spend more then someone that doesn’t.    For that reason I am not sharing our expenses on what we spend for:   groceries, eating out, rv payment, etc. because we live our lives differently.

What I do want to share is what we spend on:

  • Campground Memberships
  • Campground Stays
  • Laundry
  • Propane
  • Generator Fuel

I hope that anyone thinking of traveling full time can learn from our expenses and maybe help with some of their planning.   We like to think we are conservative with our spending on the above topics, but I am sure there are many who can spend even less then us.


Campground Memberships

We have a few campground memberships.

You can read about why we have the memberships and their benefits HERE.

  • Passport America – $44
  • Thousand Trails – $744
  • Coast to Coast – $250
  • Good Sam – $50

Total membership costs:    $1088


Campground Stays

We really kept our average down this year, but there were a few things that really helped this.     Deseray’s parents have full RV hookups on their property and we spent a few months in the spring and finished out the year at their place.    Also we camp-hosted in the summer for a few months, so there were no charges for parking the rig there.   Add in some boondocking and the fact that when we pay to stay we are price conscious and we did okay.

Our grand total for space rent in 2016 was:   $2803.88



We opted not to have a washer and dryer in our fifth wheel.   Overall we are glad we made that decision, but that does mean an added expense of using laundry facilities as we travel, which we did not have when we were in a sticks and bricks as that had it’s own laundry room.   We were able to do some laundry with family when staying with them which helped.

Total laundry costs (did not included detergents, etc…just our costs to use the facilities) for 2016 was:    $214.50



We started 2016 in North Idaho during a cold winter which burned a lot of propane.   Also our spot for camp-hosting in the summer was a dry spot, so we used propane for our fridge and heat, as well as most cooking (very little microwave use) and for our generator (bi-fuel generator runs on propane and gasoline).

Total Propane for 2016:  $443.35



This is strictly the gasoline I have purchased to run through our generator when boondocking.  Again it is probably high this year due to the fact that we were camp-hosting in a dry spot for a few months.   When boondocking for a few days we may opt to not run the generator and never run the microwave and A/C, but when sitting in one place for a few months, we didn’t want to not have those creature comforts.   So we ran the generator more then normal.

Total gasoline for the generator was:   $214.50


Grand total:   $4,764.23.    That averages out to just over $397 per month or $13.05 per day.


We save money.

Many people are surprised to learn that we actually save money.    Before we took on this lifestyle we had a monthly house rent of $1000 a month, average electric bill of $85 a month and average natural gas bill of $60 a month and a water / sewer bill of $27.    That is $1172 a month.        Our trailer payment is $475 a month, so that along with everything outlined above comes to under $900 a month.

There are of course other expenses that we had not shared, but for the life choices we made those just about even out, leaving the core costs outlined above as the big differences.    Examples of other things that may be different for you are:

Communications – For us we cancelled satellite, so the savings of cancelling that and the home internet more then offset the increase in our cell phone bill which is definitely higher now.

Eating – We strike about the same balance of eating out and eating at home as before, so our food expenses have not changed

Fuel – We have always been big drivers.    Rather then bowling, or going out and drinking with friends, or golf or any number of other hobbies we have always enjoyed taking a drive out in the woods, or driving all weekend to explore.   So even when we had a house our fuel bill for our vehicle was larger then most people we knew, so for us we have seen almost no increase on what we spend per year on fuel.

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