Traveling In An RV Is Way More Expensive Than You Probably Think

by Jeremy

Nearly a month ago, I set off on an 8,000-mile cross-country road trip from Los Angeles to Maine and back. With about a week left in my journey, I’ve racked up many unique experiences, photos, memories ― and credit card points.


Many people assume that buying or renting an RV is a cheap way to travel. And it can be. But there are also a lot of expenses that come up, especially if you’re putting many miles on an older vehicle like I am. I knew I’d have to invest some money into getting my RV ready for a long road trip, but I didn’t realize how much I’d end up spending.

So before you join the thousands of other RV enthusiasts hitting the road this summer, get an idea of what you’re in for. I spoke with a few fellow RVers to find out their highest costs and how to mitigate them.

You burn through a boatload of gas.

I didn’t expect my 30-year-old Winnebago Warrior to be fuel-efficient by any means, but I was surprised at how often I needed to fill up. On a good day, I may get 10-11 miles to the gallon. But if I have to drive along with an uphill grade, against headwinds, or in a high-speed limit zone, my efficiency drops to about 8 miles per gallon.

Plus, I’ve been traveling through areas that reach 100-plus degrees during the day, which means I need to run the generator to power the air conditioner and keep my dogs cool while they hang out in the back. That’s another fuel-suck, albeit small.

Bionca Smith, who travels in a 1989 Class B Ford Econoline, agreed that gas is her most significant expense, often spending $200 per week on fuel. “I get 11 mpg, so we travel slow and strategically budget and map out almost every mile using GPS,” she said.

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