Figuring cost of travel

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ant21b

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I added up fuel costs and rv park costs on a trip from San Diego to Knoxville Tn round trip vs fuel costs and hotel costs (moderate hotel) and they are about the same with high gas prices. So where do I save is it on food costs I think some hotel rooms come with a kitchnette so cooking in the room is possible instead of restaurant meals dont know which way to go. Any other things to consider?
 

Mr.Mark

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Ant21b, the one major thing to consider that you can't put a price on is having your OWN bed! As you go East, fuel prices get a little cheaper.  California is about a $1 more per gallon than TN (have homes in both places).  As of today, reg. fuel is about $2.69 a gallon here in west TN at my local BP station.

As an Accountant, there is really no way to justify an RV purchase and travel solely on costs and expenses.  If you are traveling alone, thats where it 'could' be a little cheaper traveling by car.  You didn't mention how many people are in your group or the type of RV that you will traveling in.  But, if you have family, the enjoyment of traveling in more comfort of a RV (assuming a motorized RV) as the passengers could get up and go to the restroom while traveling down the road.

So really, it's just a toss up on comparing costs.  If you have family with you, Hotels/Motels with kitchens usually cost a little more.


Safe travels!
Mark
 

Memtb

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ant21b said:
I added up fuel costs and rv park costs on a trip from San Diego to Knoxville Tn round trip vs fuel costs and hotel costs (moderate hotel) and they are about the same with high gas prices. So where do I save is it on food costs I think some hotel rooms come with a kitchnette so cooking in the room is possible instead of restaurant meals dont know which way to go. Any other things to consider?


    If you “crunch” the numbers too closely.....you “will not” enjoy rv’ing. Rarely is rv’ing inexpensive.....just another way to spend your hard earned money!

    If you minimize travel and maximize boondocking....you will save a few bucks! But not enough to finance your retirement! 
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Despite the propaganda from the RVIA and RVDA, RVing isn't bout saving money. Probably just the opposite. Depreciation alone will kill any operational savings, and those are scanty to begin with.

I'll ignore the advantages of convenience and comfort by bringing your own "house" with you and focus on your cost/savings question.  Yes, eat-in family meals is a significant source of savings vs restaurants.  Hotel room kitchenettes cannot compete because it isn't really practical to carry food with you to prepare at each nights hotel stop.  You would need a portable fridge in the car as well as a box of condiments and other cooking supplies that do not come with the kitchenette in the room.  However, you could go out at each stop and buy prepared frozen meals to heat up in the room. Beverages too.

It's also possible to find lower cost campgrounds if you aren't picky about facilities and services. However, with campground prices increasing dramatically, it is getting difficult to save a lot of money that way. Motel rooms are in over-abundance and heavily discounted, while campgrounds are crowded and often premium-priced.

A lot of the potential for cost savings (or not) will depend on what you consider your minimal standards. It's always possible to travel cheaply if necessary, but we all have our various wants & needs and simply won't consider some alternatives.

I'm assuming you already have an RV, so depreciation, insurance, and other costs of ownership are outside the scope of this question.
 

SeilerBird

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RVing and saving money do not belong in the same sentence. There is no comparing vacationing in a hotel vs vacationing in an RV. Both are luxuries. Both cost money. How much money each one costs depends on how deep that person's pocket is.
 

Optimistic Paranoid

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If you're just trying to travel as cheaply as possible, drop the whole "rv park costs" and just sleep in Walmarts and truck stops for free.
 

Memtb

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ant21b said:
I added up fuel costs and rv park costs on a trip from San Diego to Knoxville Tn round trip vs fuel costs and hotel costs (moderate hotel) and they are about the same with high gas prices. So where do I save is it on food costs I think some hotel rooms come with a kitchnette so cooking in the room is possible instead of restaurant meals dont know which way to go. Any other things to consider?

  There are many things to love about rv?ing. Some things to ?ponder?: You can travel and stay where you want ( some places have no motels, etc.), You know ?who? cooked your meal and ?how?, you know who slept in your bed last (hopefully)! If you have special needs, the RV may provide that much better than a rented room or purchased meal!
 

garyb1st

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Everything is relative.  We've spent the night in Walmart parking lots, rest areas, and even, a street in a city's industrial area, while waiting for an RV service facility to open the next morning.  We just returned from 10 weeks in the San Francisco Bay area.  Nightly was $95.00.  Saved a bundle by paying $1800 a month.  From what I read there are places that actually approach or maybe exceed $200.00 a night.  And if that's your minimum required level of comfort, then the cost of RVing is going to be expensive. 

Regarding depreciation, no argument that purchasing new or near new can bring the cost of RVing in line with paying for a hotel room.  Maybe much more.  But buying used can eliminate maybe 80% of that expense.  And when talking about a new $300,000 motorhome, a first year depreciation of maybe $20-30,000 even amortized over a year is going to cost $55 - 75.00 a night.  But that doesn't include the down payment and maybe 120 to 180 monthly payments of whatever the balance equates too.  If you have the money and would like to drive a Newell or Prevost, $150 to $300 a day in travel expense will be pocket change.  But honestly, what does any of it have to do with the cost of travel.  It's like saying the cost of commuting is 50 times that of public transportation because I need to drive a Rolls to work.   

You can make any argument you like.  The cost is based on needs, wants and ability to pay.  I have the ability to pay much more.  But my needs are not great and I don't want to pay any more than I have to.  For me, traveling is a means to an end.  Getting out of the city an enjoying the beauty of the country. 
 

grashley

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DO NOT get an RV to save money traveling.  It will not happen!  Unless you will spend 2 or 3 months per year traveling.

The advantages include sleeping in your OWN bed each night, having your own kitchen and pans and supplies and food with you, sitting in your OWN recliner in the evening, and staying in beautiful natural places without hotels.
 
G

Guest

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This is my 2nd year fulltiming.  I too made the mistake and believed the rumormill about RVing being inexpensive.  Traveling is expensive any way you slice it. It did not take me long to run out of money on my trip.  I had planned a cross country trip but turned out i could not afford it on what i make every month.  If i continued to travel i would have to go 1 place at a time, stay there till my next payday (1x amonth) and then move down the road and stay there for a month.  That is the only way i could do it..

However i found this place that i am living full time at now, its $1500 per year, yes per year.  All i pay is electric which is about $80 a month.  That is about has cheap as i have ever known anyone to live and still have proper utilities and not have to hunt for food every day.    I live about 70 yards from a beautiful lake.  However,  i cant afford a boat until i save up alittle at a time which will take me a few years more to save that much. 

Regardless of how you choose to live, you must live within your means.  If you are traveling all the time or at least a few months a year you still have to save up for it just like you would on any vacation.  I know many years ago it used to be alot more inexpensive, but now days its a merchants market and so property owners get prime dollar for their services anymore.  Especially with the drastic increase and market flooding of new RVers...

Save up and remember your taking the trip to have fun, so make it fun and dont get bogged down about what stuff costs too much, everything is expensive now days.
 

camperAL

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Indiana
Hi ant21b,

You have received a lot of good comments. I crunched a lot of numbers before I purchased my RV. Depending on if you buy new or used has a lot to do with costs and how much you actually use an RV. The less you use it the more it will cost per year. As said if you travel 4 to 5 months per year then you start to gain some. Also staying for a month at a time at a campground gives you good savings or boondocking with travel can save you money and make travel more affordable. Eating in is cheaper than restaurants but we figure both eating in and some restaurant costs in travel.

I crunch some numbers based on my situation and I have traveled extensively and stayed at cheaper motels. You mentioned staying at moderate motels which would cost more than what I spent. I am taking into account price increases of motels I stayed in. I also figured the cost of a car or van and costs related to that form of travel. Based on my situation RV travel is probably cheaper than car or van travel but requires me to travel for 4 or 5 months at a time to accomplish this. Here are my number to consider and keep in mind cost for others will always be more or less.

Travel by RV per day cost

$15.00    fuel per day (average for 2 1/2 years)
$21.20    Camp Grounds Per day (includes some boondocking and staying for a month to cut cost)
$10.00    RV Cost Per day if 10 years of travel
$14.00    Food and Cooking in RV per day (includes eating out some)
$ 5.48    Maintenance per day
$ 2.47    Plates Insurance

$68.15 Total

If RV newer more cost on RV, plates and Insurance. This can double or triple cost per day of RV.

House expenses go down which can be applied to RV'n (Electric/Gas)


Travel by Car and Motel

$  5.71    Car cost per day *(modest price car or van)
$  1.43    Maintenance for car per day
$  3.29    Insurance plates
$  5.34    Fuel per day (based on two month trip 4.5 k miles)
$55.00    Motel 6 cost per day
$30.00    Food costs (eating in motels and restaurants) 2 meals per day

$100.77  Total

So much depends on individual preferences, how much you spend on RV, Car, Motels, food, and a host of other things.


 

Arch Hoagland

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On all of our trips, be they five days or two months, we put everything on a credit card. Everything means Gas, RV park, food, tours, clothes, etc. We carry about $300 in cash for emergencies but everything else goes on the card.

When we get home we pay off the credit card and divide the total cost of the trip by the number of days.  It usually averages $100 to $120 a day.  These trips will cover several states, sometimes going across the country.

There are some things in life you can't put a price on, traveling in an RV is one of them. About once a year we have to stay at hotels for special events where taking the RV is not convenient.  We dread those times!
 

jackiemac

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You have a Jayco trailer I think looking at your early posts. I presume you have been out in it on some trips already.

I am wondering if you haven't been enjoying camping in the TT?

We love not having to pack and unpack a suitcase, having our own bed, toilet, shower and living space. We eat in mostly.  The TT gives us a lot of flexibility and so far hadn't been too costly on maintenance.

 

ant21b

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Jun 11, 2017
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Yes I have traveled in it already (jayco travel trailer) this particular trip from San Diego to Knoxville Tenn I will be traveling alone going to a convention. I figured 50.00 per day for rv parks and 3.00 a gallon for gas and 80.00 a day for hotels. It comes out about even there is the hassle factor vs own bed hitching and un hitching the trailer and set up vs just get in the truck and go. Food can just be fast food meals vs cooking in the trailer better but on the road its ok either way (5 days).
 

garyb1st

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jackiemac said:
We love not having to pack and unpack a suitcase. 

This is one of the two reasons I keep thinking about full timing.  The other is, we KNOW we would love not having to pack and unpack a suitcase.  ;)
 

grashley

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For a 2000 mile one way trip by myself for a convention, personally, I would fly and stay in a hotel.  I would pull the camper ONLY IF there was a significant vacation element in the trip.  It would be a 2 day trip driving the car at 70 mph and 30 mpg --  or a 5 - 6 day trip pulling the camper with the truck at 60 mph and  12 mpg.    Or a 4 hour flight.
 

blw2

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Saint Johns, FL
this is sort of a niche area I've thought a little bit about, regarding the smaller van type class B's...Winnebago trevato and similar...

for a single person or couple on a road trip.  Seems like they could be a good blending of the advantages of an RV and a car or SUV.... RV advantages enroute but easy to park at the destination and not so odd to stay in hotels sometimes too.... 

Even if a person hoteled it every night, it would still be wonderful to have the fridge/bathroom/TV/kitchen/bed for rest stops and day stops along the way and the ability for an overnight in it if needed.
 

Bruce M.

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Jun 2, 2012
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Boston
My best friend of 51 years Terry, had a fatal heart attack five months ago. Gone in the blink of an eye. We worked side by side in a professional office and we talked endlessly about the motor-home each of us would own one day. Six weeks ago I purchased our dream Class A Winnebago and quit thinking about the money part of it altogether. I love driving a big rig and seeing what's around the next corner. I expect the next 10 years of ownership, God willing will cost us a lot and will chip away at my daughter's inheritance but it has now become a very easy lifestyle choice. Terry's wife/widow texted me about a half hour ago to say hi, I texted back and said I was reading about RV's and thinking about Terry. If you can afford it and want it just do it.

Cant wait to post some pictures,
Bruce
 

JudyJB

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Am I right that this is a five-day trip?  Or is it five days each way?  Either way, that is a very quick trip, and you could travel faster and do it in fewer days in a car. 

Knoxville to San Diego is a 2,200 mile drive each way, so if all you are doing is driving straight through, I would think a car would be the best way.  And it might even be a lot cheaper to fly and save quite a few nights of hotel rooms and gas costs.  Less stressful, also.

That assumes you do not want to enjoy any of the sights on the way. 
 

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