Budget Bravery: the real cost of 2 weeks traveling in an RV

Our Traveling Vacation Budget

I’ve never blogged about our budget before or how much it actually costs to live full time in an RV traveling for work. It’s a pretty scary thing to do, putting your business out there. But since we just took two weeks to get from Nebraska to California, I kept close track of everything using my Fudget app. We had to come out here for work anyway, so we get paid for the direct route, mileage and drive time, just not all the side trips we did. Allen said we were scouting for retirement when we will have more time to see everything. We had to make quick work of lots of places we could’ve explored for weeks in order to see it all in such a short time.


This app is super easy to use. I’ve had it since January, and it’s helped tremendously in trying to figure out where our money goes.

We didn’t pick the cheapest or most expensive RV parks we could find, but we did pick nicer ones than we usually wind up staying in when we are working. We also typically pay weekly or monthly when we can, which is usually a lot less than nightly rent.

Our total rent for 13 nights on the road was $625.

I usually cook most days and we maybe go out for dinner once a week or so, if that. But since this was OUR vacation, I didn’t want to spend so much time in the kitchen when we could be out exploring. So we went out more than we normally do. Our total expenses for restaurants and bars was $534. If you’re curious about what I normally cook in the camper, or just want an idea for dinner tonight, you can check out some recipes here.

We spent $86 on national and state park passes. Totally worth it to explore all the Montana State Parks around Flathead Lake, see Glacier National Park, as well as the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

We bought a KOA Kard for $30 that has already saved us some money and I think it’ll save us a lot more when we head out of San Francisco in a couple months.

We went crabbing on the Oregon coast and visited some local shops in Washington for a total of $138. (I have a blog post coming soon about our coastal adventures.)

And finally the cost of diesel to pull our home across 7 states: $787. We actually got really good fuel mileage, close to 13 mpg! Which, for hauling a 43′ 5th wheel that weighs probably close to 19,000 lbs with all our stuff in it, isn’t too shabby!


So if we minus mileage and drive time that we get paid from work: $937.

That makes our two week trip cost a grand total of $1,263

It wasn’t a cheap trip, but it was really fun and very memorable to say the least! We saw a ton of neat places, met some colorful people, reunited with an old friend, and spent lots of quality time together.


Maybe this will help me get my nerve up to post our normal budget… We’ll see!

As a sneak preview, just in case I do, currently at Novato RV Park in the Bay Area, we are paying $486/week! Yikes! But it’s the only place that would let us stay, (I called EVERYWHERE) and it’s still 45 minutes from the tower site, so we don’t have much choice! So with that being said it doesn’t make our rent vacation spending look all that bad!

6 thoughts on “Budget Bravery: the real cost of 2 weeks traveling in an RV

    • VERY hard… It’s so full of tourists passing through, coupled with the local laws and taxes, that nobody has room or wants to let you have a spot for longer than a few weeks. Add that to our hugely long camper and it’s extra tough.


    • That’s great! This was a vacation so more than we typically spend. Our rent right now is a whole lot more than $900 by itself! (But we don’t get to choose where we go since we travel for work.) Everyone is so different, that’s what I love about this lifestyle.


  1. Hi Rachel, just subbed love the blog. Thanks for the accounting info very informative.

    You could help monetize with amazon links like some of the other folks do (check out RV Sue and Crew and Love Your RV and of course Gone with the Wynns), that might take a small bite out if expenses. You guys take great pics you blog can stand up as well as others!

    Question: Do you wish you may have got smaller 5th wheel? I know your full time in it but it seems you had some size issues lately?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind words! I’ve looked into Amazon links before (quite a while ago) but maybe I’ll check that out again, not a bad idea! As far as the size of our camper, no, I’m happy with what we got. We don’t want to lose room in the garage because we plan to fit a car in there one of these days, and I wouldn’t want to compromise any living area. This last trip we took was really the only time we’ve had an issue with size, and that was mostly on the west coast nearing California (which to be honest is both of our least favorite state)!


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