Eager to start planning your next RV trip? Experienced campers know that expenses for vacations like this can add up quickly, so make sure you and your budget are prepared. To help you cover all your bases, we’ve put together a quick guide for calculating the four biggest expenses you’ll need to account for.
The first thing you should do is research which campgrounds you’d like to stay at during your trip. The easiest way to do this is to hop on Google, run a search, and take a look at the campgrounds closest to the area you’d like to visit. A quick search for items like RV Parks in the area you are traveling to, local RV Parks, or local campgrounds, can return a number of results. To make sure you’re getting the best deal, explore their pricing pages or call for a breakdown on how much you can expect to pay per night.
Doing this will help you to estimate an average cost per night. So, take that number, multiply it by the number of nights you plan to spend in campgrounds, and you’ll have an estimate for how much you can expect to pay in campground fees. Add this number to your budget.
Next, calculate how much you can expect to spend on gas. Determine how many miles per gallon your RV typically gets. If you don’t know, check the manufacturer’s brochures. Then, find the average price of fuel and start setting up your equation. Search the internet, call highway patrol, or ask AAA if you need help determining average fuel costs for the areas you’ll be visiting.
Now that you know which campgrounds you’ll be staying at, you can calculate the distance between them and estimate the total number of miles you expect to drive during your trip. Then, calculate the total cost of fuel. For example:
- Your RV gets 10 miles per gallon.
- Fuel costs $3 per gallon.
- You plan to drive 1000 miles.
- Divide 1000 by 10 to get 100, then multiply that by $3.
- Your fuel expense will be approximately $300.
If you want to be extra careful about your budget, round up in your calculations. This can help to ensure you don’t run out of gas money in the middle of your trip or cover you in case of an emergency.
Just like you do at home, you’ll have options out on the road. Generally, buying groceries and preparing food in your RV is going to be the best option for saving money. Eating out is expensive, and—depending on how many people you brought on your trip—the costs can add up quickly.
So, budget for your grocery trips. If you know you’ll want to eat out and try some local cuisine, hop online and research menus and pricing so you have a good idea of how much money to put in your dine-out budget.
Part of the beauty of RV trips is experiencing the outdoors and other local activities. Research the areas you’ll be visiting to start building a list of the things you’d like to do and explore. This will help you to get a better idea of the cost and plan ahead.
If you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants and find these activities as you’re exploring, a good rule of thumb is to set aside $50 per person for each activity.
You’re All Set!
Now that you’ve estimated the costs for the four biggest expenses, you’re ready to start budgeting for your RV trip. Save up, plan ahead, and have fun!