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What does it cost to live out of a camper van full time? In this post we share the fifth 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 – September 2017


Total Miles Driven: 1,521
Avg. MPG: 14
Nights of Paid Camping: 0
Nights of Free Camping: 30 (Rest Area, Truck StopStreet Camping, Driveway Surfing, Hosted Campground Stay)
Meals Eaten Out: 2

Variable Costs Breakdown:

Food $553 – groceries and dining out
Gas $304
Campground Fees $0
Gym Membership $22
Misc $265
Total Variable Costs: $1,144
Cost Per Day: $38

Food costs went up 50% compared to last month. A large portion of that was due to us splurging on fresh salmon in Oregon since it was in season. We also stocked up on local beer and coffee before leaving the Pacific Wonderland which, coincidentally, is also the name of one of my favorite Oregon beers.

Since we decided to drive down from Oregon to the CA RV Show in Pomona, fuel costs also increased significantly.

Kait’s goal to keep our miscellaneous costs below $100 each month was crushed in September. We spent the majority of the $265 on teeth cleaning and a massage for my neck.

Thanks to a hosted stay, we didn’t spend any money on campgrounds in September, which helped offset the increased food, fuel and health care costs.

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.

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Cost of Living Full Time in a RV