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Author Topic: RV Expenses  (Read 2241 times)

B737doc

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RV Expenses
« on: October 10, 2017, 02:55:08 PM »
   I'm just now realizing how expensive this "other life" is now that we've had our motorhome a couple of months, so all of you that are "on the fence" about buying a used Motorhome, here's my experience thus far. 
After what I thought was a thorough inspection, I get a good look at the inside rear tires, they are beyond serviceable.  The front tires are new, but all 4 rear will need replacing.  Quoted price...$1100.   The ad valorem tax we had to pay to get a tag was $475, Previous owner says he got 10-12 mpg. After our first trip of 60 miles one way, we got 5.1 mpg, but we were pulling a trailer with 2 motorcycles. 
   The State parks here in Georgia are beautiful, but will cost you $32 per night IF you can find a spot.  This to me is price gouging, and think a fair price should be no more than $20 per night.  My propane tank reads just above 1/4, and I'm not sure how much it holds, but was quoted 3-4 dollars per pound.  We live quite close to Atlanta raceway and Talladega raceway, but their prices are well over $300 per weekend. Whether we love this hobby enough to keep paying thru the nose is yet to be determined,  The motorhome is very nice, and I love working on it, so we'll see! 
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 02:56:59 PM by B737doc »
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Oldgator73

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2017, 04:26:32 PM »
We have never owned a MH but we did fulltime in a 37' triple slide 5th wheel. That was from 1998-2004. We were destination campers. In other words, when on the road we never stayed the night in a CG. We stayed at rest stops, truck stops or Walmart. Diesel back then was about $.90 gallon and propane was much cheaper than today. But we also made less money too. Fast forward to today. We now own a very small TT that we tow with a small p/u. We are still destination campers staying at the aforementioned places while on the road. Campgrounds are getting a bit expensive. We paid $75 per night at Ft Wilderness inside Disney World. We thought it was worth it since we had our own bed, cooking facilities, etc. We took our grandkids to Six Flags in MD and stayed at Ft Meade in a military Fam Camp. $50 a night. A few weeks ago we went a State park in the Catskills in New York. $20 a night but no hookups. But we look at like this; average per night for a hotel is probably $100-$200 per night, eating 2 meals a day at restaurants is at least $50-$60 a day for two folks (and I guarantee the meals we cook at our campsite are much better), we don't have to lug bags in and out of a hotel every day. If you just started RVing and are this disappointed, maybe you should look for a new hobby.
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beaverfever

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2017, 04:48:50 PM »
it is only going to get more expensive. if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen now.
your first loss is the smallest,sorry may not like what i am saying but camping will never get cheaper and a 25 year old rig will continue to nickel and dime you.

HappyWanderer

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2017, 04:50:52 PM »
We could fly anywhere in the country and stay in 5 star hotels, and it would be cheaper than owning a motorhome. However, we have no desire to do so.
I don't have gray hair. I have wisdom highlights.

ChasA

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2017, 07:11:09 PM »
B737doc, propane costs $3-$4 a GALLON. A gallon of propane weighs about 4.5 pounds.
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RVRAC

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2017, 07:17:40 PM »
You don't do this because is cheap, as it is not, but you want it and choose it.  I spend as much camping in my MH as I do pay for my condo and related expenses.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2017, 07:40:59 PM »
Good feedback. Many people think RVing is a cheap way to travel or live, no doubt due to the propaganda circulated by the RVIA.

Quote
This to me is price gouging, and think a fair price should be no more than $20 per night.

Why is it fair for the rest of the state's taxpayers to subsidize your stay in a luxurious RV? Sorry, but even $32/night is inexpensive for a full-hook-up campsite at todays prices. Similar private campgrounds will exceed $40.

The 4 rear tires on my [former] coach cost about $2100 for a set. Sounds like yours are a bargain.
Gary
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McKannick

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2017, 07:57:03 PM »
Doc, you picked a doozy to get your 'RV expenses' learning curve started! If you like to travel around and have your bikes handy, a "toy hauler" camping trailer would have been the way I would have suggested to explore the RV life. Most of those rigs would be towable by a 3/4 ton pickup and could be found pretty cheap used and in good condition. But, you may get used to it.
By the way, state parks, no matter what state, are going to be 'basic' in commodities (power and water, with a dump station) and about as low a fee per night as you'll ever find. Some fancy 'resort' campgrounds will come close to motel nightly fees, but you get a lot more as well. 
Ever been campin' in a VW Westfalia camper van? Then, you're 'bout as old as me.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2017, 08:06:45 PM »
Georgia has a lovely park system and many sites are easily as luxurious as an upscale campground. Some GA parks even have upscale resort hotels, golf courses, etc.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

scottydl

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2017, 08:25:46 PM »
Everything you mentioned does indeed sound pretty standard as far as RV expenses go.  ;)  Always make sure you shop around on repair items and fuel costs.  And, the previous owner NEVER got 10-12 mpg's in that Class A (unless that was coasting downhill).  I guarantee you that!  7-8 is more typical for a large gas rig, and 5-6 for towing heavy loads and/or big hills as you experienced.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
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SargeW

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2017, 08:48:23 PM »
There are folks here that span the whole range of RV camping. Everything from BLM land and Walmarts,  to 5 star Class  A resorts. Most of us fall somewhere in between.  You get to choose where your nitch is. It's tough finding many places with $20 a night fees. Often they are dry camping, or maybe  30 amp electric. If your lifestyle is tht you  don't need hookups, you can find those more inexpensive places to stay. As soon as you start adding amenities, the costs go up for the campground operators. And many folks also want free Wifi on top of the usual utilities. All that has to be paid by someone, as well as wages for whomever keeps the place clean and serviceable. 

As already mentioned, it's not a cheap way of life, but it is always an adventure.   
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Graycat

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2017, 09:11:42 PM »
Where are you finding $20 per night sites?  That's on the low end of parks we have visited, usually Army corps of engineers parks.  State parks are a few dollars more.  The nicer parks are $30+
Marti, Lee, and an old gray cat named Buddy

Isaac-1

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2017, 11:18:53 PM »
$20 or less per night with any hookups is hard to find, but not impossible, just generally don't expect nice scenery for that price, though if you go up to $25 you are likely to start finding COE campgrounds with water and electric hookups, state park camp grounds, etc.  Some of which have various discount passes available, that may be worth buying into.
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Pugapooh

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2017, 12:29:42 AM »
$20 a night?  I assume these spots have some type of hook-ups. No doubt the roads are maintained.  Probably some employees.  Perhaps some amenities and activities.  Should taxpayers subsidize all that?

Nope,it's not cheaper to RV.  It's about taking the pets,not sleeping on the ground or some bed bugged mattress.  Sitting around a campfire.  Not relying on restaurants.

Sorry it's not going as you hoped.
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BinaryBob

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2017, 12:39:54 AM »
We could fly anywhere in the country and stay in 5 star hotels, and it would be cheaper than owning a motorhome. However, we have no desire to do so.

"5 Star" might be a stretch, but the point is well taken.  :)
We learned early on, that the RV lifestyle is not a money saver. $30-$40 buck a night is a bargain.
We've been to places that didn't work out. Pull in the slides and roll. For us, the versatility and comfort of your own home are worth it.
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camperAL

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2017, 01:21:35 AM »
Greetings B737doc,

I guess it is all how you look at things. Four tires at $1100 will (should) go for 6 or 7 years, that is a cost of $39.29 per tire per year.
I purchased LP for my tank 12 gallons when it was half full for $16 ( roughly 26 pounds ) I am sure they tend to over charge a bit for RV'ers in certain places. Our average campground costs were $24.54 per night BUT we stayed for a month in one place and got discounts with FMCA and other clubs we are in. Cheapest stay was $12 per night and highest was $46. Some areas are just more expensive due to demand, and I think that is true of your area. Head out west and you can boondock for free. Stay in a spot for a week or month and cost goes down quite a bit.

Part of the cost is keeping your home on wheels serviced. The 6 plus week trip I took cost an average of $58.38 per day and that included eating. Divide that cost by two people and it comes down to $29.19 per day. I think that cost is reasonable. I haven't factored in maintenance costs but think $5 to $8 per day would be a reasonable cost.

I'd shop around for CG's, LP and other items you need to RV. I'd also look at it as a vacation you take that will cost you while on the road. There are so many advantages by being in your own home away from home. Places to see, people to meet and the enjoyment of your motorhome.
CamperAL (Indiana)
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JudyJB

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2017, 02:12:48 AM »
Wait until you have to replace your refrigerator if you think tires are expensive!  My last set of 6 tires cost $1,300, by the way.  And I recently spent $1,800 on brakes for front and back. 

If you are over 62, you can get a senior pass and stay half-price at a lot of COE campgrounds.  One of my favorites is Old Federal on Lake Lanier, which is not too far from where you are.  You will get water and electric, but no sewer for $15 per night there if you have a pass, but will have a gorgeous view right on the lake.  There are quite a few other COE campgrounds in Georgia--just check recreation.gov.  And shop around for propane.  I have paid as little as $1.99 per gallon and only have to refill mine about every 6-8 weeks depending on how cold it is.

Most of us travel in RVs because we like the lifestyle of having your own bed, bathroom, and furniture, and because we like not having to pack and unpack a suitcase or fly on cramped planes--not because it is cheaper than hotels and restaurants.  It is nice to pull over somewhere and be able to fix a meal without having to find a restaurant with decent food that you like.  Need a nap in the middle of the day? Your bed is right there.  And you will never forget anything because it is all with you--extra change of clothes, shoes, heavier jacket, boots, etc.

It certainly is NOT a cheap way to travel when you add repairs and maintenance costs, but the luxuries make up for it.  And as the others have said, sorry you did not research travel and camping costs better before you bought so you weren't so surprised. 
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John Beard

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2017, 06:32:18 AM »
I am at best an occasional RVer, but what I have learned is that when traveling everything is an expense. Cheap travel, I don't think so. Convenient, no. But, I am in my own place, and I have my own bed, toilet and a handy shower. I don't stand in lines at airports, but I do get to wait through traffic and road construction delays. I don't have to mess with airport security but I do get to endure careless, thoughtless, and dangerous drivers.

With the expenses and other downsides of RVing compared to other forms of traveling...RVing wins hands down.
John & Susan
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decaturbob

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2017, 06:57:54 AM »
   I'm just now realizing how expensive this "other life" is now that we've had our motorhome a couple of months, so all of you that are "on the fence" about buying a used Motorhome, here's my experience thus far. 

If you were expecting to "save money" owning and operating an RV, especially for very short periods, not sure what you were expecting.  Now I bought one 16 months ago, a 2008 Class with 32,000 miles on it at the time. I did a thorough inspection myself and found no issues as the tires (all 6) were 2 years and newer.  My out of pocket expenses have been for a new radiator which I bought and installed,  a complete transmission drain and refill which my truck mechanic did and I added cell booster system, a wifi booster system and TPMS system.  We took the RV to Arizona for 2 months in March and April (high season) which included renting a house for 28 days,  The total cost (of 70 days out) which included 2 months of car rental, the house rental, tickets to spring training games, other tickets for attractions, RV spots while traveling, all food, all gas, the 30 days at a RV park outside of Phoenix was approx $90/day.  I dare say, it would be tough to go to Arizona and find hotels, meals for 2 people and their pets for $90/day in March and April.  So when my friend asked me of RV'ing save us money, I gave him the numbers....
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 07:00:28 AM by decaturbob »
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FunSteak

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2017, 07:24:33 AM »
As first season RVers, we have been pleasantly surprised that the costs aren't quite as bad as we expected.  We've had good luck finding places around $30 per night or less, and since our rig is new, maintenance hasn't been much so far.  I usually cruise around 65-68 on the interstate, and we've managed an overall average, including genny time, of around 8.5 mpg. 

While we have seen a bit less overall costs compared to nightly hotels and meals out, we didn't necessarily get into this as a cost saving venture.  For us, it has been more about comfort, convenience and adventure, and I'm here to tell you that in each of those categories our expectations have been far exceeded!   We have quickly come to love the lifestyle and the somewhat decadent comfort of having our home with us.  After tent camping my whole life, it's a real treat to have the amenities and ease of a motorhome.  Perhaps that's tougher to quantify. 

For us, it really came home the first couple of mornings we woke to cold temps and pouring rain, and we were warm, dry and happy, with the kettle on the stove and no need to "suit up" to head to the restroom or have breakfast.  The Admiral and I looked at each other and both said "worth it!" 

Half tank of gas, $60.  Campsite, $28.  Groceries and a bottle of nice wine, $50.  All of the above comfort and happiness, PRICELESS!

Safe travels and downhill grades to you.   :D
JP & Karen
2017 Minnie Winnie 26a

QZ

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2017, 10:46:53 AM »
I would have to ask why you bought an RV and especially a MH. When I was working an older co worker said he was going to retire and pull his 16' TT to Arizona for the winter. Some of the others laughed and sort of considered him a dirt bag. As I got about 5 years from retirement and started researching I visualized hitting the road from Wisconsin and mapped a days travel and searched fro an RV park in that area. To my surprise it was about $30 a night. At that rate it is obviously about $900 per month to pay by the night. At that point I concluded that anybody who can retire and do that and pay for everything else probably isn't a dirt bag.

I also explored mobile and modular homes in retiree parks down south and out west and figured it would run about $500 to $600 a month even when we are not there and that did not include the purchase price. That would solve our winter snow problem but we were still 1000 and 2000 miles from our kids so back to the RV scenario and the discovery of boondocking and dry camping. For us that solved three problems, it got us out of the snow, let us visit our kids and cut the costs substantially.  Two of our kids have a couple acres more in the country so we are able to spend a good deal of time with them. We also spend a few months on BLM and other free land.

If I average out a 7 month season that includes BLM, city parks, COE and RV parks such as $45 a night places in Moab I probably spend $5 or so per night. If we add in dump fees and propane I might be closer to $10. I have never tracked it closely and it varies with the weather and the availability of free spots and the areas we pass through.

With a MH and using it at by the night prices you are probably doing it as expensively as possible. I assume you have street bikes so you are probably not into dirt roads and camping areas. I would guess that a cheaper option would have been to own a pickup which could be used as a daily driver and a toy hauler. To keep the TH from being huge you do compromise on space and comfort but it is also cheaper and easier to store and maintain. A tow behind RV does much better when stored for long periods too. At this point about the only thing you can do is try to cut your nightly cost and you may be able to do it by checking out boondocking options or renting a seasonal site. 

You cant just go on sites like freecampsites.net or Campendium and pick a spot and expect to drive in there with a MH and trailer. Some of the reviews that people leave tell you how wonderful the flowers are and not what size rigs can access it so you have to use things like Google Earth and street view to plan it out. On the other hand you may be able to come up with a few places that will work for you and maybe end up enjoying it more than RV parks. A good point that you made is that you love to work on it and that can be not only a huge savings but also much less hassle from incompetent and lying dealers.  Good luck to you, maybe you will be back here asking about solar options :)

https://freecampsites.net/#!Georgia&query=region    https://www.campendium.com/georgia
 



OLDRACER

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2017, 11:48:47 AM »
Unfortunately, many people still take the leap into RVing first,and do the research later. This does not work any better than it would in any other area of endeavor.

If you spend years working up from small RVs or even tents, as many people do, you already know the answers you need. But there are still those who sell their house, put the money into their first RV and hit the road.

Good luck to them!


garyb1st

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2017, 12:20:11 PM »
Wonder if the OP hasn't listed his RV at this point.  Hopefully not.  But as is evident by the various responses, the cost of RVing is highly variable.  For example, a Long Term Visitor pass at a Bureau of Land Management location is maybe a bit more $1.00 a day.  $180 for about 7 months.  But then there are propane and fuel costs which are dependent on location.  Too cold = lots of propane to heat the RV.  Too warm = run a generator to power the AC.  That takes gas. 

I like privacy and prefer not to watch my neighbors TV while camping.  Therefore, I avoid RV parks if/when possible.  That reduces RVing cost since the places we visit are less costly than RV parks.  Think Walmart, rest areas and many other free or very low cost places to spend a night.  If I had to spend $40.00 a night to camp, I'd very likely quit RVing.  At least until my wife got her $.02 in.  Then we'd pay the $40.00.  But I'm cheap and I don't like to spend money.  At least not when I can accomplish the same thing for less or sometimes nothing. 

I'm a senior and have all the various discount cards.  So National Park entrance fees, $.00.  BLM, Corp of Engineer Parks, National Forests, Bureau of Land Management and more are half price.  Example on last trip.  BLM land along hi way 395 in California.  Senior rate, $2.50 a night.  It's gone up to $4.00 since our last trip. On that same trip, we paid $46.90 for two nights to park at an RV park in Mendocino, CA., on the coast.  It was hands down, one of the worst RV parks we stayed at.  A year ago, we camped at a County park on Lake Superior in Minnesota.  $50.34 a night.  We'll do that one again.  But just like real estate, Location Location Location.  And more importantly, that's where the wife wanted to stay. 

I like tracking expense.  Here are the actual expense dollars from a 103 day trip we took last year.  Camping, average paid per night, $22.43.  Fuel, average paid per day, $27.03.  Here's another.  Note it's much shorter which can impact fuel costs.  Camping, average paid per night, $17.36.  Fuel same trip $56.05 (per day).  Both trips were since we purchased the motorhome in April.  We like driving and usually don't stay at one spot long.  That causes the cost of fuel per day to increase.  So if you plan on driving a lot, think the cost of fuel not campgrounds.  You'll never get free fuel or even half price.   ;)

Other variables, amount of time we run the generator.  On our last trip we encountered both high temperatures and lots of smoke from area fires.  Consequently we used the generator quite a bit.  That increases the daily fuel costs. 
Gary B1st

2005 Pace Arrow 35G
2016 Jeep Wrangler

Sun2Retire

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2017, 01:17:16 PM »
Gary, which park in Mendocino?
Scott
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Gods Country

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2017, 01:45:38 PM »
If you get into RV'ing because you think it's affordable, you better find another hobby.  Of course it can be very affordable if you dry camp. 

Oh and 10-12 mpg with a motorhome?  Come on did you even do a tad bit of research?  I'm happy with 10mpg avg with my PU pulling a mid size trailer.

Rving is a choice.....a lifestyle......a preference.   I could hitch hike and travel super cheap, but that come with different risks. 

Isaac-1

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2017, 04:18:09 PM »
I think another factor here is amount of expected use per year, for people with 2 weeks of vacation time per year cost of ownership (insurance, storage, etc.) will be a much higher burden, than for retirees, snow birds, and full timers.     Personally I am somewhere in the middle of that specturm, semi-retired, but my wife still works full time, but gets a good many vacation days per year (over 30 days per year, and growing by a bit over 1 day per year).     In my first year of  motorhome ownership I have spent about 50 nights in my motorhome, about 1/3 solo, about 1/3 with my wife, and about 1/3 on weekend trips with my college age son.

In my first year of ownership of a 15+ year old coach, I have spent something over $6,000 on maintenance and upgrades, plus about $1,200 on insurance, and road side assistance plans, and group memberships (good sams, america the beautiful pass, FMCA), thankfully I have free storage in a shed on the family farm about 15 miles from my house.   Of the $6,000+ I would categorize only about $1,800 as absolutely necessary  (brake repair, dash air conditioner repair, fluid change, new spark plug wires, marker lights ...)  The rest I would consider optional upgrades of varying levels of importance, TPMS system, new shocks, sumo-springs, SeeLevel 709 Tank Monitor, LED headlights, spare tire and hitch carrier...    I am hopeful that year 2 will be cheaper, as I now have most of the major upgrades I want to do done, though I will likely need new house batteries before long, and new tires in 2 or 3 years, so there is always some ongoing expense.     As to daily expense on the road, it will of course vary, but so far I am averaging somewhere between $25 - $30 per night, with $10 (well $0 for a few nights in truck stops, or on private land) being the lower end and $125 per night being the highest, but that was for the big solar eclipse, otherwise $55 is about the most I have spent for a single night in tourist areas.

2002 Safari Trek 2830

gwcowgill

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2017, 04:45:15 PM »
I loved camping as a kid growing up in WV, I love the outdoors and I am fortunate or should I say blessed with enough retirement to be able to continue my love of the outdoors even though at my age I don't believe I could tent camp anymore, I will continue to pay the  price as long as I am able. It is all about what you hold dear to your heart.
2009 Bounder 36B, 2014 Honda CR-V, various grandchildren when school is out. KG4LHS
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garyb1st

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2017, 05:02:12 PM »
Gary, which park in Mendocino?

Casper Beach RV Park.  The beach location is the biggest plus.  Another plus is the management and their store.  Great people and good selection of stuff.  Unfortunately, the park is old and has not been updated.  The electric utility for our site was a disaster. 
Gary B1st

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garyb1st

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2017, 05:06:35 PM »
One minor correction.  The park in Mendocino was $46.90 per night. 
Gary B1st

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2016 Jeep Wrangler

RedT

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Re: RV Expenses
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2017, 05:08:20 PM »
We've been part-time RVing since 1998. The last long trip we took, our average daily expense was $100. That included food, which we would have purchased anyway. When you add the licensing, insurance, maintenance costs, your per-month expenses tend to get large.

In March 2016 we sold the motorhome, thinking that, at age 80 it was time to hang up the keys. Problem is, we discovered we were RVaholics, and bought it back! Seriously. Yesterday I paid the bill for a transmission overhaul. $6440  So, sometimes it seems like RVing ain't too cheap!   :-[ 

Are we continuing?  YEP! 
RedT, US Air Force Retired
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