Hidden Costs Of Fulltime RVing

Hidden Costs Of Fulltime RVing 2I knew before we decided to travel the USA in our RV that there were going to be hidden costs of fulltime RVing that I could not anticipate. However, because we planned to sell the house we were saving so much money. No more HOA. No more mortgage. No electric bill. No more lawn care. Sounds awesome right? Well it totally is. However, there are costs associated with fulltime RVing that I didn’t expect, so I wrote them down so you can prepare yourself.

Insurance: Insurance for my RV when I only used it during the summer was around $50 per month. Now that all of our belongings are inside the RV and we move it often, we required a better policy. A policy that will cover our things inside the RV that are not normally covered, like my DSLR, all of our clothes, all my jewelry, etc. This policy also covers a hotel room if our RV is in an accident or we sustain damage from a flat tire, like our friends over at ‘Mann, There They Go‘ did. My policy now is $110 per month.RV tire blow outHotels: If our RV is in an accident, our insurance will reimburse us for a hotel room like I stated above. If something inside the rig (or outside) breaks and the shop needs it for a few days we have to cover the cost of the hotel. Last time we had warranty work done, they needed our RV for two weeks! That was a $1000 hotel bill.

Repairs: Deciding what is ‘worth’ using your warranty for and what is worth fixing yourself is never easy. However, after our $1000 hotel bill, we quickly became more familiar with our tools.

Travel Day Food Costs: I knew that travel days would be a bit more expensive than normal days because of fuel and potential tolls. I had no idea how much food costs would add up though. Finding somewhere to park with 42 feet of RV behind you isnt the easiest task and the kids get real sick of fast food (did I really just say that?). We try to make sure about half way through our trip we can find a Cracker Barrel. Their food is delicious and they always have parking for RVs. We also try to keep drinks in a cooler in the back of the truck and a bin of snacks up front under my feet, but sometimes forget and gas station snacks and drinks add up fast.rv-at-cracker-barrelHealth Care/Medicine: My husband is a disabled veteran who takes medications daily. One of them is a controlled substance and changing the shipping address is a real pain in the ass for that one. So we have it shipped to our mail forwarding address (more about that can be found here) and then pay for it to be shipped to the campground we are at. So far our healthcare costs have been minimal. We did have to pay an urgent care $150 and a pharmacy $20 after Caleb got a scratch on his arm and it got infected.

Groceries: I was really hoping our food costs would remain the same moving from our stick and brick house to our RV. We still make home cooked meals and try and eat healthy, but we have to buy less every time we visit the store. This means we visit the store more often and make so many more impulse buys. Because our fridge is so small, and opened frequently I also find that fresh meat goes bad faster than before.RV FridgeAccessories: I used to love the word accessories. Accessories were fun things, optional things like watches, hats, bracelets, scarfs… When it comes to RV accessories, big bucks are needed and most of them really aren’t optional to make your life easier. You need leveling blocks, wheel chocks, awning stabilizers, a good level, sewer hoses, a dehumidifier, an ice maker, a y-splitter for your water connection… Much like fun accessories, just when you think you have them all, you find another you must have OR one of your favorites will break. Most important accessory? An EMS system

Pesticides: You no longer have to worry about lawn care, but the pest care does not stop when you move into an RV. Ants, mice and other creepy crawlers can make their way into your RV just as easily as your home. We have only had ants so far (knock on wood) and to combat them we use Terro ant bait inside and Ortho Home Defense outside on everything that touches the ground.

Water: What used to be a free commodity from my fridge is now killing my wallet. Some campgrounds have awesome tasting water, some not so much. Weeks we are at campgrounds with icky water we can use upwards of 150 bottles of water. With 6 people in the RV drinking at least 4 bottles a day, that’s 7 cases of water, or around $25 per week not counting the water we give the dogs.

Laundry: Big blankets and beach towels I have always washed at the laundry mat. I never considered visiting the laundry mat to be expensive, till I started relying on laundry mats for all of our clothes washing. I can easily spend $40 on one trip washing all our clothes from the week, towels and two sets of sheets a week.


  1. Wow, you have given me a whole lot to think about when RV traveling.

  2. I have never thought about the extra costs associated with owning a RV!

  3. For your water cost, figure the math on buying a big Berkey and how long it would take to pay for it. We went from buying 12-15 gallons of water a week to none. We also bought some good water bottles and have slowed our buying of cases of water to just about monthly.

    • The problem with a Berkey is that it doesnt keep the water cold, and everyone in my house requires the water cold to drink it. We tried ball jars and cuppow lids for a while, using distilled water but I kept forgetting to fill them.

      • We have that exact issue and concern. We fill 2 gallon jugs from the Berkey and put those into the fridge. Fresh cold water on demand, still not buying water weekly. We keep the just on the bottom shelf off to one side. And, we have a small RV fridge- nothing big or fancy.

  4. shelly peterson says

    I have never traveled in an RV before. It would be a lot of fun to travel in one though. There sure is a lot to think about when RV’ing full time.

  5. Julie Wood says

    It can get really expensive while traveling in an RV. I bet it is a lot of fun, but hard to keep the perishables cold. I think if I Rv I would do it once a year for a couple of weeks.

    • Not hard to keep the perishables cold at all! I made chili in Florida and we had the left overs two days later in Tennessee!! The RV fridges now a days are miracle workers!

  6. I Have Always Wanted To Live And Travel In An RV. Thank You for your post.I Loved Reading about Your Life..

  7. Wow, you’re additional…. accessories or cost surprise me. My husband & I became … full-timers at the end of June of this year & find that we’re saving quite a bit. One in particular that caught my eye, was the water. We are now using two filters, filtering out 90-95% of the YUCK & putting a glass bottle in the refrig to enjoy. Yes, we re-fill it often and it seems to work. A much better choice than the bottled water we were enjoying, as there are so many health risks associated with it.

    We’re so new to this, and it’s only the two of us, so… it might look different down the line. I wish you & yours the best & do keep in mind…. the positives of full-time RVing it probably far outweigh the negatives. 😉

  8. I use Ibotra, receipt hog and Shopkicks to earn points to get gift cards for eating out. I just got a $50 card for Cracker Barrel last week. I also save my change and buy restaurant gift cards when I have $50. Then when we travel it doesn’t cost quite as much out of my budget.

  9. Sorry, that first one is Ibotta.

  10. We use a brita water picture for filtered water, to be used fir coffee ,tea and such. As for insursnce we use formost full coverage and it’s under $100. a month. We pack a lunch for mobing day and stop at a rext area and use restroom, picnic tables and watch other traverler for enterment.we also bought a small frigidaire refrigerator for over flow such as water juice plus we now have a extra freeze. I hope this helps some one. Thanks for reading.

  11. ellen beck says

    We had an RV for a short time and the gas killed us! We had the kind you drive not a pull behind. It was fun, and all but it for sure is not nice when you dont have a car in tow to take into town. We arent picky eaters, and it wasnt the water, it was just gas was way to expensive at the time.

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