Budget for Families Traveling Fulltime

What will life on the road cost? Are the expenses the same as living in a stick house? What are the hidden expenses.

Several families have shared their real life budgets with us. These are families who actually live on the road and their expenses reflect a typical month. Most families have found that our full-timing expenses are very close to our fixed-lifestyle expenses. Only the distribution changes. Your mileage may vary!

Monthly Expenses

Families share their monthly expenses
Family size 3 3 4 4 4 4 5 6
RV year & type 2003 A 1995 C bicycles 99 Hitchiker 5th Wheel 5th wheel 2005 A 5th Wheel

RV/Vehicle Related

Gas/Diesel $350 $594 $0 $400 $500 $600-800 $1,000 $500
Vehicle Insurance $175 $35 $0 $240 $120 $90 $140 $330
Propane $10 $40 $0 $25-150 $20 $30 $30 $40
Vehicle Maintenance $150 $205 $50 $50 $0 $150-400 $50 $250
Vehicle Payments $1,200 $0 $0 $270 $800 $0 $0 $600
Camping $250 $90 $300 $400 $600 $100-200 $1,000 $600
RV Maintenance $150 $27   $0 $100 $50 $200 $50

Communication & Business

Business $10 $500 $0 $0 $75 $0 separate $0
Electronics $10 $20 $0 $0 $125 $15 $10 $40
Mail Box & Forwarding $25 $45 $0 $25 $10 $0 $20 $15
Phone $25 $72 $0 $114 $120 $83 $280 $300
Internet $150 $0 $40 $30 $60 $0 $70 $60

Living Expenses

Educational $150 $45 $50 $25 $60 $30 $150 $400
Entertainment $150 $107 $20 $25 $120 $50 $300 $800
Laundry $0 $40 $30 $80 $30 $40 $40 $100
Groceries $450 $788 $750 $500 $600 $200 $1,000 $600
Dining Out $240 $50 $50 $100 $450 $100 $200 $300
Household $15 $90 $0 w/groceries $150 $5 w/groceries $100
Medical, Health & Grooming $120 $120 $350 $25 $300 $600 $600
($480 for insurance)
$600
Storage $95 $56 $4
(safe deposit box)
$0 $235 $0 $125 $110
Clothing $50 $30 $10 $50 $90 $75 $50 $70
Pet Care $0 $0 $0 $20 $50 $20 $20  
Maintaining Stick Home $0 $0 $0 $0 $155 $0 $0 $0
Miscellaneous $1,900 $115 ? $0 $400 $50 $105 $700
TOTAL $5,676 $3,069 $1,654 $2,380-2,505 $5,170 $2,305-2,755 $5,390 $6,600

Notes about the categories

  • RV Type A = A class, C = C class
  • Vehicle Maintenance includes parts, repairs and road side maintenance.
  • Camping site fees or memberships, may include motels
  • RV Maintenance (interior or household)
  • Business (faxes, pager, postage, printing, merchandise)
  • Electronics (Cell Phones, batteries, laptops
  • Educational (books, museum passes, instruments)
  • Entertainment (movies, theatre, attractions)
  • Household (detergent, cleaners, toilet chemical, paper towels, dishes)
  • Medical, Health & Grooming (insurance, doctor, dentist, YMCA, hair cuts)
  • Miscellaneous includes: paying off debts and credit cards, church/tithing and other things

Those who can live on $28K generally skip most forms of health insurance; skimp on doctor, dentist, and vision specialist visits; do without life insurance; decide against supporting a storage unit; avoid eating out;

Budgets elsewhere on the Web

  • A proposed budget from the Hopalog Family (1/2 year in U.S., 1/2 in Mexico)

We have been RVing in Europe for almost a year now and finding it even easier and cheaper than we planned.

We are figuring out our budget for the year and it was between 20 and 25 K for the year. We did put money into pounds and Euros when the dollar was high as we guessed the dollar would start and continue falling, so that also helped.

Yes, that includes all of our MANY splurges like the endless admissions, our many hotels (even when we have to double pay for them and the RV parked somewhere like we did for a month in Turkey), our sattelite (which cost a bundle but did not work that well for our travel), endless books and homeschool supplies that we bought for our voracious reader (bought them in US and had my mom send them last winter), fuel, 5 month winter rental in Spain in four bedroom village house, insurance, income taxes, internet, medical, dental (lots of dental work which is much cheaper in Spain), gifts, xmas etc etc.

We LIVED on that and could have lived on less.

We found the Greek Islands and especially Turkey very cheap and exciting places. We did not RV in Turkey and parts of Greece, but it is actually a wonderful country that would be great to RV in (we met a friend from Florida who did RV it).

I just thought I would mention these possibilities to those who are considering coming to Europe. We find that we can travel the world for MUCH, MUCH cheaper than when we lived in California.

You can get some ideas if interested on our blog.

As I sit here at a campground with every nationality except American, (including those from Australia and NZ) I can't help but think too many are missing how easy this is. The educational opportunities have been amazingly rich for our child.

So far, I think Morocco and Turkey are our favorite countries (and lots of RV's in both ..some stay for the winter), but we also have not found a place that we have not liked.

We are on a fixed income, so we want to live on as little as we can and make the most on our investments as we enjoy travel. We tend to live like locals and that saves money, we buy at hypermarkets and local markets.

We had hoped we could do it for cheap, but were not sure until we did it. I just wanted others to know that Europe can be done for cheap. Part of the key is not spending a lot of time in the most expensive cities, but even our two weeks in Paris was pretty cheap.

I think you have a good plan of going to Europe first, that is what we decided too because there is so much to see here that we wanted to see. It helps to have a language, but English is widely spoken everywhere as the universal language.

Carpe Diem!

Soultravelers3