How Much Does it Cost to Live in an RV?

Most people consider RVing and living in an RV to be a temporary situation – most often during a one-time vacation or sporadic weekends throughout the warmer months. But for others, RV living can be their life – as in, they choose to live full-time in their RV. Sometimes, this means staying in the exact location for extended periods; sometimes, traveling to a new place every week.

While living in an RV may seem extremely untraditional to some, it’s easy to see why it is an attractive option. Living in an RV means that you get to enjoy:

  • Exposure to nature at all times
  • Ability to live in different areas of the country
  • Freedom from property ownership/renting constraints, tasks, and upkeep
  • Lower cost of living

The last advantage is one that people may enjoy the most, as being free of more extreme financial burdens often brings with it a sense of happiness. But what is realistic in terms of cost? 

How Much Does it Cost to Live in an RV? 

Those looking to make the move and live in their RV can easily expect to pay less than most people do in mortgage payments or rent. Depending on the situation, living in an RV can typically cost between $500 and $1500 per month, not including electricity and any other amenities. 

But so much that plays into the range of cost depends on factors decided upon by the individual. Here are the main elements that determine how much it costs to live in your RV. 

rv park family vacationLength of Stay. How long you intend to stay in one specific location will dictate how much your monthly rate is. RV parks typically charge better rates the longer you stay. So, if you are planning on staying for a few nights, the rate you pay per night will be much different than the rate per night if you commit to a year. There are often different rates for nightly, weekly, monthly, seasonal, and annual campers. Nightly stays can range from $20 to $100 per night, and annual stays can range from $3,500 to $20,000-plus per year. 

Location. Also directly related to the fluctuation in cost that you could experience per night is how much the actual RV park charges, and if it has different rates for different lengths of stay and type of site you are in. Depending on the size of your RV, you may need a larger stall, or a drive-through stall, which will likely cost more. Preference can also come into play here, as you may desire a more secluded location, which could potentially cost more than other sites. The popularity of the RV park itself will also factor in greatly – as some parks are so busy at certain times of year that they may not allow long-term guests. 

Time of Year. As mentioned above, camping has a major seasonality factor when it comes to price. If you are staying during peak season in a popular RV park or campground, then you can expect to pay a higher rate, and a long-term stay may not be an option. On the other hand, if you find yourself a lesser-known park and hit it during an off-peak time of year, you could find yourself an excellent deal that you are able to lock in long-term. 

Amenities. If certain amenities are a must for your stay, you are likely going to pay a higher price. Electricity and facilities, or full hookups, are going to be necessary at some point. But if you pick and choose your spots and don’t commit to a particular place full-time, you can avoid it as long as you are comfortable. In addition, things like RV park internet and even basic things like picnic tables and firepits will add to your overall cost as well. 

Living in an RV Isn’t for Everyone

While it may sound like a good time, you’ll want to make sure you do your homework on where and when to stay and that you are ready to take on a less traditional life. For many, simply enjoying an RV on vacation or during the summer months is enough. But if you are ready to do it, living in an RV can be a fruitful experience that allows you to get back to nature, meet new people, and experience another part of life. 

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