Our 1 year on the road report (Fulltime RVing)

Well,,, we have reached and passed the 1 year mark of being on the road!! We have lived in our RV for 16 months but these numbers only reflect on the time we have actually been traveling.

While we researched the possibility of living a fulltime RV lifestyle we found it very helpful looking at what others experienced cost wise while on the road. So we try to pay the favor back by sharing some of our expenses while on the road in hope it might help others that are researching this way of life.

You will notice there are no insurance costs,, health or auto because they can vary way to much from person to person. Lucky for us we don’t have high medical costs at this point. But that certainly needs to be taken into consideration.

You will notice that the categories I have listed I consider areas that everyone will have while on the road. But you should think about storage fees, a maintenance fund, License and registration fees, clothing and entertainment. All of these are also way to variable from person to person. And if you have any other payments that might add to your monthly expenses.

The underlined comments are what we made at our 6 month point report. What you see under it is our comments at the end of 12 months.


RV Fuel                                      $1619.00 = $269.83 per month

We spent $2168 the second half of the year, so $361 per month. Which makes it $315.58 average per month for the year. (UNDER BUDGET by $713 for 12 months.)  

Jeep Fuel                                    $1205.21 = $200.86 per month

We spent $1105 the second half of the year, so $192.50 per month. We budget $300 per month so … (UNDER BUDGET by $1290 for 12 months)

Food in                                       $2082.81 = $347.13 per month

We spent 2337.77 the second half of the year, so $389.77 per month. We budget $350 per month so… (OVER BUDGET $220 for 12 months)

Eating out                                    $1088.58 = $181.43 per month

We spent $1551.06 the second half of the year, so $258.51 per month. We budget $250 per month so (UNDER BUDGET $360.36 for 12 months)

Campground fee’s                      $2678.91 = $446.48 per month

We spent $5837 the second half of the year, so 972.83 per month. Which makes the average for the year $709.58. ($415 OVER BUDGET FOR 12 MONTHS) It can be expensive camping on the east coast.

Direct TV                                    $388.94 = $64.81 per month

We spent $371.94 the second half of the year, so $61.99 per month. That makes the average $63.40. (UNDER BUDGET FOR 12 MONTHS) The only reason we ended up under budget is that while unhappy with the service at one point Diane called them and threatened to cancel service. They started giving us a $10 per month credit at that point which has put us $10 under budget every month since! LOL!!

Phone & internet                        $929.13 = $154.85 per month (need to cut this cost)

We spent $835.84 the second half of the year, so $139.30 per month. That makes the average $147.08. When our Verizon contract is up we will be switching to a better plan. If we camped more places with WIFI we could cut this back a little. Uploading pictures to our blog use up some data I think.  ($108.97 OVER BUDGET FOR 12 MONTHS)

Propane                                       $57.00 = $9.50 per month

We spent $10.98 the second half of the year, so $1.83 per month. That makes it $5.66 per month. It pays to stay in warm weather!! (UNDER BUDGET FOR 12 MONTHS)

Mail service                                $170.00 (This includes our one time setup fee)

I might be a little off on this one but I think we spent about $40 the second half.

You will notice there are no insurance costs,, health or auto because they can vary way too much from person to person. Lucky for us we don’t have high medical costs at this point. But that certainly needs to be taken into consideration.

This has remained the same. But I think Obama Care is going to screw me up here.

You will notice that the categories I listed I consider areas that everyone will have while on the road. But you should think about storage fee’s, a maintenance fund, License and registration fees, clothing and entertainment. All of these are also way to variable from person to person.

The same holds true in this report.

We also have a washer drier on board our RV so that helps with laundry costs. Even though I didn’t list the cost of soap ect. Some of the laundry mats are pretty proud of their machines and charge accordingly. Plus they are a hassle in our book.

No change here either. We would not own a RV without a washer and dryer. But that’s just our personal preference. A lot of people would have the added storage space.


We treat this as a life style and not a vacation. If we treated it like a vacation I’m afraid we would be broke pretty fast and our fulltime RV lifestyle would come to a premature end.

No change here. We don’t go,, do things,, every day. We have our share of stay home days. If we are in a place we find interesting for a week we might tour for 3 or 4 days and stay home the rest. But staying home always include walks and bike rides. And touring does not always have to cost much money.

And we travel pretty slowly. We feel it allows us to really experience an area while we are there. So our fuel costs may be a little less than those that like to cover a bunch of miles each month. When we hit the road we budgeted 1 tank of fuel in the motor home per month on average and have not gone over that. In fact we are well under that on average. Even though I think that will change over the next 2 or 3 months as we plan to pick up the pace a little.

 No changes here. And we really never picked up the pace any after the first 6 months like I thought we would.

Just like while living in a house and working you can only spend what you have so budgeting is important unless you are one of the lucky ones with unlimited income,,, we are not LOL. And we only live on the income we have each month. We have made the decision to not touch any of the money we have in investments and to leave them in place for when we want or need to get off of the road.

No changes here. We still have not touched our investments to support our traveling life style.

I’m happy to say that we have had a great time on the road and not only been able to stay under budget but have been able to add money to our savings. It’s nice to see that after 6 months of travel we have more money in the bank than we did when we left. So if things keep going as they have been I could see this life style continuing for some time.

We are still happy to say we have lived within our means and have not dipped into our investments at all. We certainly have not gone without but we don’t spend just to spend.


Here are some interesting tid-bits.


* We have camped at 30 different spots since on the road

At the end of Oct. we have stayed at 57 different camping spot for the entire year.

* Our shortest stay has been 1 night and our longest stay was 17 nights

The shortest stay is still 1 night and the longest stay still holds at 17 nights. I will admit that we are looking forward to finding a nice spot and staying for a month. That holds more true with me than Diane. Go figure that one!!

* That makes our average stay 6 nights

Our average is still 6 nights in each spot. How did that happen!!

* We have camped in 7 states. Our 8th state will come in less than a week (Arkansas)

We have stayed in 16 states at the end of October. And Florida will be our 17th in early Nov.

* We travel a lot slower that we thought we would.

Still holds true.

* Our cheapest stays have of course been while boon docking at $0 cost

Of course we can never get any cheaper than $0 so this has remained the same.

* Our highest campground fee per night was $25.97

Our highest now was $61 in Nashville Tennessee. We could have found a cheaper spot but we chose convenience over price.

* Our average nightly cost is $15.91 after leaving the spot we are at now. Our budget is $750 per month or $25 per day,, so not bad.

 At the end of 12 months our average cost per night has jumped to $25.52. We are pretty happy with that I guess. We budget $25 per night. Campground fee’s in the eastern states are way more expensive that the western states.

* We have dry camped 59 of the 183 days we have been on the road

It’s a lot harder to find places to dry camp in the eastern states. At the end of 12 months we dry camped 65 day. We hope to do a lot more the second year when we get back west.

* We are extremely happy we have solar!!

We are still happy we have solar but once we made it to the east coast states it has been pretty useless. There are just fewer places to boondock. But we will be using it a lot more again once we start moving back west.

* We have found state parks to be our favorite places to stay. And they are best mid-week when most everyone has gone.

We still like state parks the best but we have certainly found a couple privately owned parks out east that have been very very nice. And we do like a good mix of little or no creature comforts and the more plush parks. If all we did was one or the other I think we would get tired of life pretty soon.

* Large RV parks with all the bells and whistles have been our least favorite places to stay. We just don’t use or need all that stuff.

We still don’t use all that the larger parks have to offer and we still don’t like the really big parks. But we have found that we like the more pampered feel now and again of a resort setting. When we first hit the road we just wanted to boondock and live as cheap as we could. But we have decided that variety is a key factor to our happiness.

* We have found our food budget to be the hardest thing for us to stay within LOL!!

This is still true but once we got to the east coast state we have also found it very difficult to stay within our budget for campground fees per month. And not knowing just when we might make it out east again we have decided to just not worry about it so much and enjoy ourselves while we can.

* From memory,, the highest diesel cost was $4.25 and the lowest was $3.69

Still the same except I think the lowest price we have paid now is $3.49. Diesel and gas is about the only thing we have found to be cheaper on the east coast.

* It’s easier to say follow the weather than it really is. But within reason,, doable.

No change to this comment. You’re still going to get caught in some rain or a storm now and again but just knowing that overall you can stay in areas with good weather is priceless.

* We are extremely happy we have a washer and drier onboard!!

We still feel the same. Everyone has their own ideas on this topic but for us we would not be without a washer and drier in our RV.

* We don’t miss all the ,,stuff,, we had while living in the house for the most part. Diane does miss working in the yard,,, WHATS WITH THAT!!!

The same holds true now.

*We packed way to many cloths to bring with us.

Even after purging a couple times since we have been on the road we STILL have cloths with us that we have never worn. How can that be?? When we get back to Grants Pass we will be having a sale of a bunch of stuff we have in storage and maybe we will get rid of some more cloths at that time.

* It would be easier to fulltime without a dog. Hate to say that but true and we wouldn’t trade Jack for the world.

I’m afraid it’s just a cold hard fact.

* We like small town America compared to larger cities

This is probably even truer after spending some time on the east coast.

* We put too much stuff in storage. Need to purge some

Still holds true. We plan to sell off a bunch of stuff once we get back to Grants Pass.

* We don’t seem to,, want,, stuff like we used to. We don’t just buy because we can.

No change here.

* We meet some great friendly people while traveling

Still holds true. We have met less grumpy people in the year we have been on the road than I would deal with in just one month while I worked. Or maybe we just don’t pay the grumpy people any attention now LOL!!

* I wish I had left work sooner instead of waiting around trying to make life easier for others. The world moves on with or without you.

No change of heart here!!

* We do miss our family and friends but I think they are all happy for us.

Still holds true. Unfortunately we seem to have less contact with friends back home than we did the first few months. We do seem to stay in contact with more people overall however.

There are probably more things but you get the jest of it I’m sure.

  • – For us, I didn’t budget enough for Jack (our dog). I did not take into account that while traveling if you need to go to a vet for even a vaccine they will most likely require an exam because they have not seen your pet before. I basically budgeted for food.
  • – I didn’t take into account that keeping a blog would require a more expensive data plan to accommodate pictures being uploaded. This may or may not affect you depending on the campgrounds you stay at. However a lot of the places we stay do not provide Wi-Fi.
  • – Even though Passport America is a very good value we have found that being members on the east coast is not nearly as beneficial as while being on the west coast.


To put it simply,, if you have a desire to fulltime and the means we would certainly recommend giving it a chance.

  Yep,, it’s a pretty darn good life. You can make it as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You can stay put, live off of solar power in the middle of the desert, eat cheap and stay away from people if you want. OR you can move around all the time, stay in high end resort type RV parks, drink expensive wine and eat steak every night and attend every type of social event known to man. Or do as we have and mix a little of everything in.  But I’m sure it’s not for everyone. All I can say is don’t knock it if you have not tried it.

I’m pretty happy that we really for the most part have stayed within our planned budget for the year. But if we hadn’t spent as much time boondocking as we did the first few months on the road it would have been a different story I’m afraid. But then again we didn’t need to stay at some of the resort style campgrounds we did the second half of our year while in the eastern states.

While talking or reading about people that had been on the road fulltime for 2, 3, 5, 8 or even more years we though,,, how the heck could you do that!! But now that we have been on the road for a year we understand how. Time really does go by quickly.

I don’t think,, no I know that we could only live this life style as long as we stay in motion. Meaning we keep traveling like we have and not staying put in any one spot for extended lengths of time.

I could see us spending a month or maybe even 2 in one spot during the winter when the nice weather (we consider nice weather as warm) is restricted to the southern states. Or even 2 or 3 months while visiting family and friends back in Oregon. But if we had to stay put any longer than that I’m afraid we couldn’t do it. That feeling might change in the future,, who knows.

We are starting our second year while on the east coast and will be working our way back to the west coast where we started this journey and will spend some time during the summer of 2014 visiting family and friends. By the time we get there it will have been roughly 18 months since we had seen any of them.

We will probably stay mainly in Oregon between the Grants Pass area, Portland and the coast until probably Sept. at the latest when we will head out again. But as always,,, there are no set plans.

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8 Responses to Our 1 year on the road report (Fulltime RVing)

  1. Karen says:

    Happy anniversary! Our “1 year on the road” anniversary is coming up Jan. 1 (with an additional 2 months living in our Phaeton while we finished up our jobs).

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and budget. We are pretty much on the same page as you both are. We go over budget on groceries each month (budgeted $400). We don’t eat big fancy meals, so I’m scratching my head on how we go over so much. How do you stay in budget on groceries?

    Hope to see you on the road someday! 🙂

    • Dave & Diane says:

      Well we were actually over budget by $220 in the (eating in) area. Which is $18 per month overall. Not bad with a budget of $350 per month. I think we could do even better if I could stay away from the snack food LOL!! I also bought and drank a lot of the Arizona Ice Tea in the jugs but have now switched to the packets that I mix with water myself. That will do 2 things, help keep cost down and help with storage. Really 3 thing I guess because it is healthier as well.
      Otherwise I don’t know of anything special. We don’t do the coupon thing and Diane has a hard time NOT buying what I call expensive bread and peanut butter LOL!
      We do crock pot meals at least once per month that maybe helps. We hit Farmers Markets when ever we can and good deals can be had there.
      And remember that we have two sections for food, One eating in and ONE eating out. Could that be the difference?

  2. Jim says:

    Thanks for the year in review, great info for us to have.
    I really like the idea of staying in a place for several days and then venturing out to see stuff.
    There is so much to see that I think we just need to slow way down and smell the roses.
    We can’t wait form the next 48 months to roll around then we should be getting away for extended trips of a month or so.
    We still have our mothers in town and with their ages still need to be somewhat available for them
    But again, we can’t wait and are thankfull for your adventures.

  3. Harry Forrey says:

    Congratulation guys for one year on the road. You folks are having way too much fun. Thanks for all your information. I soak your information up like a sponge but unfortunately my memory is like a sift. Keep up the good work, er having fun on the road.
    Harry & Vicki

  4. Great blog Dave. We are at only 2 months on the road and I plan on updating our blog like you have. Good stuff!

  5. Richard King says:

    …………. and on top of everything else, it has probably been one of the best years of your lives!! Think of the memories that you would not have, if you had not spent the year on the road!

    Safe travels,

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