Full Time RVing Costs: Van Life Edition – July 2017

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What does it cost to live out of a camper van full time? In this post we share the third month of variable van life costs for full time travel. Continue reading for a detailed breakdown of costs.

For a six month average, watch the video below.

Full Time RVing Costs: Van Life Edition – July 2017:


Total Miles Driven: 2,241
Avg. MPG: 12
Nights of Paid Camping: 2 (Mazama Campground at Crater Lake National Park)
Nights of Free Camping: 29 (Dispersed CampingStreet Camping, Driveway Surfing)
Meals Eaten Out: 3

Variable Costs Breakdown:

Food $407 – groceries and dining out
Gas $322
Campground Fees $44
Gym Membership $22
Dog Food $23
Misc $92
Total Variable Costs: $910
Cost Per Day: $29

MPG on the camper van dropped down to 12 due to all the hills and mountain roads. The average is 14 MPG on city streets and major highways.

Gas and grocery costs were higher this month because we drove more miles and bought a large supply of food. Our goal is to travel slower this year, but we made the long drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles to attend classes at YouTube Space LA and visit with family.

As we hoped, miscellaneous costs came in under $100 this month. Although I did buy another pair of shorts and items like razor refills and deodorant that should last a while. I know Kait will be ecstatic if we can get this category under $50 each month.

Fixed Costs

Costs such as cell phone plans, health insurance, vehicle insurance, club memberships like Costco, Escapees, Harvest Hosts, and Elks are not included. The reason for this is we’ve found that fixed costs for RVing can vary dramatically depending on your situation. Below are some examples for reference.

If you pay cash for a used RV, you won’t have an RV payment and insurance will be lower on an older vehicle.

We pay about $150/month for an unlimited cell phone plan that we need for all the content we upload. You may only need a pay as you go cell phone or not even need one.

If you work for a company that pays for health insurance, you won’t have that as an added cost. Since we work for ourselves, we pay for our own health insurance.

Being avid readers, we have the Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription which runs about $11/month. There are other subscriptions and services that you may choose to have that can increase fixed costs.

We did share our fixed costs when we started out. If you’d like to get an idea of what those costs were for us, head over Cost of RVing in a Motorhome for One Year.

View More Van Life Cost Reports or click on the banner below.

Cost of Living Full Time in a RV

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5 thoughts on “Full Time RVing Costs: Van Life Edition – July 2017”

  1. Hello Kait and Joe,
    I have been following your videos now for about a month or so and have to say that I really enjoy them. Camper van life is something that I would absolutely love to do and in the process of financial peace. The only debt I have are my home and car; God is good. So I have a notebook which looks atrocious with all my pen scribbles but it’s a plan that I hope will come together sooner than later. I would like to ask if it’s not to intrusive about health insurance. Do you have a plan that crosses state lines? Can you pick options to keep down costs? I know a lot will be changing in this category but I don’t seem to find videos that discuss this issue. Can you shed any light?

    Thanks Christen

  2. Hi Joe, Kait and Leo…I have just started following your camper van travels and so love it! I have been searching the internet for over a year now and had my choice down to an RV a bit larger than your van but now that I see how awesome the van is I could easily change my mind! Sadly I have no means to buy anything like this for awhile yet but it’s my dream to own and live in my van/rv…with my two aging cats! You two are my role models and I so enjoy your travels! I have watched the beach videos and the Yosemete video over and over again! Congrats to you for following your dreams! I am working on getting mine in motion asap! xoxo Ellie from Quesnel, BC, Canada! (forest fire BC…so sad but it’s burning all around us)! Vancouver Island would be a great place to camp…Tofino area would be great! I used to live on the Island.

    • Thank you Ellie! Keep working on that dream and it will be a reality before you know it 🙂 We hope to explore Canada in the near future and will definitely check out Vancouver Island.

  3. Hi Kait and Joe, I have a question about your Berkey. I saw that you secured the Berkey to the headrest of the dinette but do you drive with it (top or bottom) full of water? Doesn’t it splash out? I don’t see any kind of seal between the top, bottom, or lid sections. When the top is full but the bottom isn’t do you worry it could topple over when you’re driving (stopping, turning, bumpy gravel or roads, etc)? We all know that water is the enemy of any RV and a gallon and a half can go a very long way when spilled.

    • Hey Lisa – we don’t drive with the top full, the most we’ll drive with up there is about 3/4 and we do drive with the bottom full. We don’t have any spillage and the strap keeps it from budging when we go around corners, etc.


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