What does it cost to live out of a camper van full time? Well, we calculated the first month of camper van life expenses and we’re fairly happy with the numbers.

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


Total Miles Driven: 1,375
MPG: 14
Nights of Paid Camping: 7 (Rincon Parkway, Red Rock Canyon Campground, Elks Lodge)
Nights of Free Camping: 24 (Harvest Hosts, Street Camping, Driveway Surfing, Dispersed Camping)
Meals Eaten Out: 2

Variable Costs Breakdown:

Food $357 – groceries and dining out
Gas $252
Campground Fees $143
Gym Membership $22
Dog Food $30
Misc $178
Total Variable Costs: $982
Cost Per Day: $32

Free camping helped keep campground costs to a minimum. If you’d like to learn more about how to find free places to stay, check out our post on How to Find Free Camping in National Forests.

Miscellaneous costs were higher than we anticipated because we had to make several “getting started” purchases. To make sure we didn’t overload the van, we drove it to the CAT scale to have it weighed. Watch the weigh in video. We made custom sun shades to insulate the camper van. Purchased a compact, lightweight water hose to fill the fresh water tank. Picked up a tension rod to use as a paper towel and hand holder. Head over to 10 Hacks for Staying Organized in a Small Space to see it in action.

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 cost 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.

To view more van life reports, Cost of RVing.

Cost of Living Full Time in a RV

« « Previous Post | Next Post » »