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Driving around the country in an RV is one of the most American things you can possibly do. But how much does it actually cost to travel across America in an RV?
I never in a million years would have thought I’d spend my entire honeymoon RVing around the country, but that’s exactly what happened. As you may (or may not) know, Alyssa and I just got back from our 48 state RV tour. It was a ton of fun and the most adventurous experience of my life to date.
We faced a broken refrigerator, leaking roof, being struck by lightning, and even breaking down in middle-of-nowhere, Arizona. We had so many reasons to bail on our goal of visiting all fifty states, but somehow we managed to keep going. Above all, I’m probably most proud of the fact that we somehow managed to fund our entire seven-month honeymoon without going broke.
Finding a way to make money on the road wasn’t easy. We aren’t rich and contrary to all the comments on news articles about us, neither of our parents wrote a big check before we left on this trip. We had to pull together, get creative, and have a little faith when it came to making the moolah.
However, this post isn’t about how we made money.
This post is about how much we spent while on the road so that you can have an idea of how much it might cost to RV across the country.
So how much does it cost to travel America in an RV?
The cost of RVing or driving cross country will be different for everyone. It all depends on your spending habits and how much comfort you need to get by. Are you willing to boondock your RV and cook a lot of meals, or do you need to eat out at all of the local restaurants when visiting a new town? There is no right answer, it just depends on your own preferences.
For us, we didn’t have much money to spend. Our goal was to enjoy as much travel as possible for as little spent as possible. Sometimes this meant passing on experiences we would have loved to go on, but it was the tradeoff for being able to continue traveling full-time. So without further ado…
Here are our final travel costs from RVing across 48 states in 2014:
All costs are for two people, just my wife and I.
- Gas: $6,593.57
- Lodging: $2,710.84 (We’re able to keep this so low mostly because of using membership clubs like Passport America)
- Groceries: $2,053.05
- Country-wide Gym Membership (Planet Fitness): $344.84
- Phone Bill: $1,311.22
- Eating Out: $512.88
- Giving: $210
- Maintenance: $1,955.72
- Miscellaneous & Entertainment: $3,432.60
Total Cost to Visit 48 States: $19,124.72
We did work on our trip as well, it wasn’t all fun and games (though it was fun). The majority of our income came through a sponsor we were able to get before hitting the road for our Hourly America documentary. Below is a rough breakdown of our income while on the road during our first year of travels.
Related Post: How Much Does It Cost to Live in an RV Full-time?
(A Little) Income
- Sponsorship (check out our course on how to create partnerships with brands): $8,171.35
- GoFundMe campaign (asked our family to donate to our wedding vs. give gifts): $4,175
- Consulting: $2,400
- Guest Blogging/Freelance Writing: $775.37
Total Income: $15,521.72
Update: We’ve since started multiple businesses while traveling full-time. Listen to our RV Entrepreneur Podcast for more on how to build a business while traveling.
Fun facts from our 48 state road trip:
Our out-of-pocket expenses for seven months of travel was $3,603.28.
Our average nightly cost was $13.55. (When we weren’t staying in driveways or on farms, we used Passport America to get 50% off at campgrounds. They have a $44 yearly membership that pays for itself within the first couple of times you use it. You can sign up here.)
Our average daily food cost for both of us was $12.82
All in all, the trip covered 18, 280 miles, and cost us approximately $1.03/mile.
What is it really like to RV full-time?
In our latest book, we share what it’s like RVing across America—breakdowns, bear encounters, stunning hikes, beachfront camping and all.
Other costs associated with our travel not included here:
Update: The only cost not calculated into this mix was the cost of the RV we bought for the actual road trip. A few comments below asked for more details about the RV so I wanted to include that here.
The cost of our RV was $11,500. It was a 1994 Leprechaun Coachmen that we renovated and eventually named Franklin. At the end of 2015, we actually sold our 94′ motorhome for $9,700 and upgraded to a 2016 Winnebago Brave.
What to do with this newfound information?
I hope you hit the road!
Since you were interested in the cost of RVing across the country, I presume you’re interested in taking a truly epic road trip. That being said, I put together a free seven-day email course to outline everything we learned in our first year of full-time RVing. You can download that course below!
Plus, when you sign up I’ll add you to a private Facebook group of full-time travelers and we can all hang out and be best friends!