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Author Topic: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies  (Read 8845 times)

steve-hazel

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Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« on: June 06, 2007, 06:51:40 AM »
Hello again,
I just posted a message in the introduce section, but i have lots of questions to pose as well :)

I'm reading the book RV vacations for Dummies.  Chapter 6 talks about the cost of RVing.  It says this...

"a family of four traveling in their own motorhome, staying in camp grounds and preparing all of their own meals in camp, spends an average of $647 for 3 days, $1491 for 7 days or $2996 for 14 days"

Do you think this is a true summary of the cost involved?  It is far higher than I had envisaged.  We will be trying to keep the costs as low as possible.  Our plan is to view the spectacular scenery of america, not visit theme parks and eat out in expensive restaurants.  We want to hike, relax and spend quality family time together.  How much do you think a week of RVing should cost??

Thanks
Hazel
« Last Edit: June 06, 2007, 07:03:09 AM by steve-hazel »

Ned

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2007, 07:09:27 AM »
Those figures sound high.  Look in our library for some trip reports that have cost summaries.  Our Alaskan trip report from last year has a summary page showing the daily averages for our travel expenses.  We averages $114/day for the 99 day trip and that included both eating in and dining out.
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edjunior

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2007, 07:24:32 AM »
The people that put that section together must be the same people that produced the Motor Mansions II show!!   ;D ;D  Wow.  Must be staying at luxury RV resorts and eating T-bones every night!  Our typical 3 day weekend outing costs us maybe $300.00.  That's a likely high estimate, since I've never really sat down and tracked it.  But just figuring in my head on our last trip, including eating out twice, I can't imagine we spent over that.  I'd sure like to see a breakdown of their figures.
Ed.....KF5INW
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2006F350

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2007, 08:23:29 AM »
Our last 5 day excursion including site rent, diesel, gobs of trips to Walmart, and not eating out (well, we stopped at Sonic on one Walmart trip) cost less that $500 - a $100 a day all expenses is not bad - try that using motels.

Larry
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Phil

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2007, 01:57:34 PM »
Those figures sound high.  Look in our library for some trip reports that have cost summaries.  Our Alaskan trip report from last year has a summary page showing the daily averages for our travel expenses.  We averages $114/day for the 99 day trip and that included both eating in and dining out.

Ned,

His numbers are for a family of four.  That's about right for family vacation travel.  Full timing for two people should be much less. 

Phil

Ned

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2007, 02:17:26 PM »
Even for 4 people, then numbers still sound high.  They don't even include any eating out, which a family will do when on vacation.  Even if you doubled our dining out and grocery expenses, it only adds about $32/day to the total. 
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Ron from Big D

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2007, 04:25:03 PM »
Without a clear definition of the costs included, there is no way to know how good the numbers are.   If you don't take into account any of the costs of ownership of the RV, then the numbers appear high, but with everything else in the mix, they could actually be low.

The major cost per day w/out ownership, includes camping fees, food, drink, entertainment, fuel, on road maintenance, etc..  You can come up with a pretty good estimate of that on your own.   Most of the time, I average $100 plus or minus a day and that includes all of the above, with some eating out.  I've been a lot higher and sometimes lower.  I drive a 40' Wanderlodge that averages about 5.5 mpg of diesel.

When we add, maintenance, repairs, modifications, insurance, license fees, tires, original cost, financing, depreciation, taxes, etc. to the mix, then the cost per day is considerably higher.

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Phil

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2007, 04:33:20 PM »
Even for 4 people, then numbers still sound high.  They don't even include any eating out, which a family will do when on vacation.  Even if you doubled our dining out and grocery expenses, it only adds about $32/day to the total. 

How long has it been since you took a family of four on a vacation to Disneyland?  ;D


Ned

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2007, 04:36:07 PM »
Phil, we did better than Wally World, we went to Alaska :)
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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cuts_up

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2007, 04:57:12 PM »
Our trips are expensive, but so were our camping trips before we had an rv.  We eat better (and more) and drink more when we camp.  Why not?  We're on vacation!  Today I paid $26/lb for 6 pieces of beef tenderloin for our trip.  I don't do that on a regular basis at home, but I buy it every time we go camping.  And I dang sure don't put beef tenderloin on nachos at home.   ;D  I also try to save our axis venison for camping.  DH won't even tell me what that meat costs in dollars, but I know we have a really good time on the trips when we get it.



Kathy

BigEdW

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2007, 05:10:41 PM »
If it cost me an average of $200 - $300 a day I would never get to leave home! And as they said in the beginning they intend to camp, hike, and see the sights they probably are not going to be traveling every day.  By eating in most of the time, and buying groceries in major food markets they could cut down considerably on food bills. Seeing America and not just the Disney Worlds and Dollywoods will also help keep costs down. Granted I have not yet had any unexpected repair bills, but my travels cost me overall less than $100 a day. (And I try to keep it a lot less, PA, COE etc.).

Phil

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2007, 07:28:10 PM »
Phil, we did better than Wally World, we went to Alaska :)

With a family of 4?  I'll be the kids were really happy about a trip like that.

Carl L

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2007, 08:06:57 PM »
Hello again,
I just posted a message in the introduce section, but i have lots of questions to pose as well :)

I'm reading the book RV vacations for Dummies.  Chapter 6 talks about the cost of RVing.  It says this...

"a family of four traveling in their own motorhome, staying in camp grounds and preparing all of their own meals in camp, spends an average of $647 for 3 days, $1491 for 7 days or $2996 for 14 days"

Do you think this is a true summary of the cost involved?  It is far higher than I had envisaged.  We will be trying to keep the costs as low as possible.  Our plan is to view the spectacular scenery of america, not visit theme parks and eat out in expensive restaurants.  We want to hike, relax and spend quality family time together.  How much do you think a week of RVing should cost??



That number is high and may well conceal some bad counting.   You have three general families of costs:  subsistence,  ownership, and vacation.  Subsistence is the cost of groceries, clothing, and laundry.   Ownership is composed of amortization of the cost of the RV and maintenance of the RV.    Vacation includes the cost of motor fuel, propane, campground fees, and vacation activities. 

Subsistence costs can be omitted from the analysis.   You would spend that grocery and laundry money no matter where you were, home or on the road.   If dining out is one of your regular expenses then it factors out also.

Ownership costs vary widely.  You can do tent trailers, or Class A rolling palaces.   A good rule with RVs is to consider an operating life of 10years -- which by no coincidence is the term of most RV financing -- at least towards the lower end.   Again maintenance can very less widely but motorized RVs like motorhomes are in one category while towed RVs (trailers) are in another.   If your tow vehicle was purchased primarily to tow the trailer you have to count it in.  If not then you should prorate at least the maintenance.   What you prorate it over is a matter of some consideration.   I would use the total number of days you use it per year.

Vacation costs are the crux of the matter.  The fuel to move the RV to your location and heat it and the cost of the campground when you get there.   What you are comparing to is the cost of non RV transportation and hotels to RV transportation and campground fees.

Finally there are the intangibles.  Do you like campground experiences?  Is using your own bedding and toilet facilities, instead of motel beds and gas station johns, of some significance to you.  Would you rather have your own kitchen and cooking or live with Denny's and hotel dining rooms.   Is making and breaking camp more or less aggravation than packing and repacking suitcases?  Do your hobbies have a outdoor orientation or a city orientation.

If this is more questions than answers, then so be it.  At least, I hope that I have defined the significant questions.


« Last Edit: June 06, 2007, 08:09:23 PM by Carl L »
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Wendy

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2007, 08:34:35 PM »
I think $647 is way high for a family of 4.

You know how much you spend on groceries and if you're eating in the RV, it probably won't cost much more camping than it costs at home to feed the family.

Campgrounds, from what you say you want to do, should average around $25 (yeah, I know high end cgs would be in the $35 range but you can AVERAGE $25 or less).

Fuel you can figure out based on how far you plan on traveling.

Even if you go to touristy places and buy souvenirs, that $647 amount is still way high. And a day at Disneyland for 4 would cost $312 for park hopper tickets so the $647 is still high.

Wendy



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Shayne

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2007, 09:42:45 PM »
Not when you add the cost of staying at Fort Wilderness.  It's more than that.
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Bob Buchanan

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2007, 11:05:54 PM »
Hello again,

"a family of four traveling in their own motorhome, staying in camp grounds and preparing all of their own meals in camp, spends an average of $647 for 3 days, $1491 for 7 days or $2996 for 14 days"

Do you think this is a true summary of the cost involved?  It is far higher than I had envisaged.


If the MH was new, and they only used it those 3 days for their annual vacation -- and that MH depreciated $15,000 the first year, then they would need to add $5,000/day to their daily expense totals. Depreciation is one of the most overlooked expenses involved in RVing or Boating. Especially if the days per year one is actually in and using that depreciating asset is calculated. Those that complain of the high cost of renting an RV fail to realize that the renting agency must put that rental on the road many times to recover that expense.
Bob (fulltimer - Rocklin, CA residency)
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Ray D

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2007, 11:14:17 PM »
If I thought about depreciation, or worse, calculated it by days of use, I wouldn't do this hobby!  :o

Pretty near ruined my life, one day, when I calculated the cost per pound, of venison. Promised myself I'd never do that again!  ::)

If I was going to calculate it by days of use, I would also factor in the "grin factor." That's the value of the grin I do, when I walk by it and see it waiting there to take us somewhere.

647 is high. It could be done, but not by us. Now, if you factor in depreciation, all bets are off.  :D

Ray D  ;D
Boise, Idaho. U.S.A.F. Vet. Damon Challenger, Workhorse/Vortec, 2005 towing a Suzuki XL-7, 2003.

Bob Buchanan

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2007, 11:44:15 PM »

If I was going to calculate it by days of use, I would also factor in the "grin factor." That's the value of the grin I do, when I walk by it and see it waiting there to take us somewhere.


Either way, at the end of the year, the total expense is the same. The grin or happiness factor "is" real -- as you say. I used to have a boat on Folsom lake and kept it in a slip at Brown's Revine. I was exactly 47 minutes from leaving my office on Cottage Way in Sacramento to being in the boat with the beer iced down and ready to ski. :)

Other days I would just drive up by myself and not even take the boat out. There was a sign over the boat shop at the marina that read, "There is nothing quite so enjoyable as just messin' around with your boat". The pleasure that boat gave me during those years of my life was worth the daily usage cost.

However -- it "is" money out of ones pocket that must be considered when figuring the cost of ownership and cost per day of usage.
Bob (fulltimer - Rocklin, CA residency)
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Jeff

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2007, 12:19:45 AM »
Fixed costs aside I think there is something else to consider:

We have 4 grandchildren with us at the moment and while Ned & Lorna or Sue and I will pace out our trips the kids are here for 6 days and they are trying to do everything! While an excursion every day or two would be enough for us followed by a day of travel or rest this group is out every day (in the rain even!) seeing what is here since they will not be back for a looong time! They will incur more entertainment expense in a week than we will in a month in Alaska.

Without doing Disney World there are still admittance charges for just about everything you do on vacation. At Whistler one of the big summer attractions is riding the Gondola up to the snow level, 2 hours and about $50.00 for a family of four. Our rate of eating out also seemed to go up when we were on family trips. It would be really silly not to plan these expenses for a two week family trip.

This adds a lot of dollars to a two week vacation! (Incidentally the senior rate for the Gondola was $14.00)

edjunior

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2007, 07:16:59 AM »
Well, it all seems to come back to the one thing about statistics that always holds true.  They can be manipulated.  How one person sees the numbers is not how another person sees it.  One sticks in his values (or beliefs), another sticks his in, and the results change.  So while it seems for the majority the figure in the book seems high, there are a few that can and do match that figure.  So I suppose for someone just starting out in RVing, that number could be a little scary.  But thanks God for this board, which is always so helpful in generating some real numbers based on a lifetime of experience, not just one outing to write a book.  Can you really put a price tag on fun?  Maybe, but I'd venture a guess not.  Sometimes, as the old Visa commercial says.....PRICELESS! 
Ed.....KF5INW
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Wendy

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2007, 10:28:31 AM »
One could also argue that the cost of an RV, if it's paid for, is a "sunk cost"....it's paid, it's gone, it's done.

And I believe that Hazel, in her original post, said that they weren't planning on going to theme parks or eating out at expensive restaurants. You CAN keep your RVing costs down if you want/need to. And scenery, blue skies, and sunsets are still free in many places.

Wendy
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rclark

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2007, 10:31:59 AM »
cuts-up if you get through the Shenandoah Valley of Va. I'd like to sell you some beef tenderloin!!! :)
where do you pay that much for fillet????  ???

Randy
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cuts_up

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2007, 12:46:13 PM »
Beef tenderloin is $25.99/lb at a local grocery chain.  It's HEB if you are in Texas.  I got 6 small pieces for just over $55. 
Kathy

Ned

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2007, 12:58:29 PM »
For that price it better be well aged steer and completely trimmed.  We buy tenderloin quite often and have never paid anywhere near $26/lb., even for aged and trimmed.  Steer tender is hard to find.
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Ron

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2007, 01:47:16 PM »
One can buy a full tenderloin at Sam's Club or Costco for quite a bit less than half $26 a pound.
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Ray D

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2007, 04:07:57 PM »
Well, I'm going to split with the majority, here. Sorry folks.  8)

There are some cuts of some meats that are worth the big bucks, done right. Almost as good doesn't get it. You don't eat that stuff to satisfy hunger. You eat it for the experience.

Sauteed Salmon cheeks, anyone? Works with trout cheeks, too, but not enough there get excited about. Certain fresh salmon and fresh tuna - Ahi or even Albacore, and of course certain cuts of some beef. I'm sure there is more. Those are my favorites, when I can get them. I use a serving size of 4 oz. I'll pay what they cost.

Ray D  ;D
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rclark

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2007, 04:09:08 PM »
Ron, I doubt that you can get a whole beef loin for that, you might be looking at pork tenderloin!!  ;)
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Wendy

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2007, 04:12:37 PM »
Certain fresh salmon and fresh tuna - Ahi or even Albacore, and of course certain cuts of some beef. I'm sure there is more. Those are my favorites, when I can get them. I use a serving size of 4 oz. I'll pay what they cost.

Ray D  ;D

I love fresh tuna. But the most I've ever paid for sushi-grade tuna is $15/pound, and I only paid that much because I just had to have fresh tuna and that was the only tuna available. I can't imagine not being able to find a darn good, cheaper, substitute for $26/pound beef.
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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Ned

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2007, 04:15:08 PM »
Ron, I doubt that you can get a whole beef loin for that, you might be looking at pork tenderloin!!  ;)

It doesn't matter how big the piece of meat is, we're talking about price per pound.

Right now, on the SamsClub.com web site, they have 16-6oz. filets for $95.57, that's about $16/lb. trimmed, cut, and bacon wrapped.  This is restaurant grade USDA choice tenderloin.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2007, 04:19:40 PM by Ned »
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Ron

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Re: Cost of RVing - RVing for dummies
« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2007, 05:30:05 PM »
Ron, I doubt that you can get a whole beef loin for that, you might be looking at pork tenderloin!!  ;)


Nope it is a beef tenderloin not pork, we sometimes buy the pork tenderloin too.  We just bought the beef tenderloin at Costco last week or so at as I recall 8 or 9 bucks a pound for a total of around $60.  Have seen them in both Sam's club and Costco.

Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE