Our course, one of the big questions we get is “what kind of mileage do you get?” and the way we view mileage and fuel costs is by combining our driving across both the RV and MINI. Individually, the RV gets, on average, 7 mpg as long as we stay under speeds of 60 mph. After that, the RV sucks the fuel down like crazy and since we’re in no hurry, we usually stick to driving in the sweet spot of 55-60mph. The MINI gets around 28 mpg on average, and as you can see, we do around two-thirds of our actual driving miles in the MINI as that’s what we go out exploring in. Of course, the cheap fuel prices of the last 12 to 18 months have been fantastic for people like us who like to drive a lot, and fuel is a variable expense. If you want to spend less on gas, you simply stay longer in one location and don’t drive very far to the next one! But, while gas prices are cheap, we’re taking advantage of the opportunity to see as much of the country as we can! 

We’re really more glampers than campers, but we also aren’t afraid to spend the night in a Walmart parking lot to break up a cross-country drive or hang out in the middle of the desert for a stint of dry camping, either! However, we prefer to mostly stay at campgrounds with hookups, and as you can see, we stay within the Thousand Trails (TT) network as much as possible to keep our campground costs down. We don’t stay in TT exclusively – we enjoy staying at higher end places in popular locations (like Niagara Falls) as well, but the way we see it, our cheap (free) TT stays help to offset the more expensive campground rates, which brings our average nightly fee down substantially to just $15 over the course of a year. 

We share the details of what it cost us to keep our RV running and taken care of in our blog post, 2 years of RV repairs and service costs. We didn’t include expenses such as eating out, entertainment and groceries as a part of our first year costs as that can be such an individual thing, depending heavily on what, how much and where you like to eat! 

We also didn’t include our RV payment as again, this will vary widely depending on the rig you choose and whether you pay for it outright or have a payment on it. But, our RV payment is substantially lower than what our mortgage, HOA and utilities cost back when we had a stick and brick home! 

We hope this snapshot gives you a good sense of the kinds of expenses to consider and just how affordable the full-time RV lifestyle can be – if you plan according to 

Infographic created by Julie Bennett of RVLove.com using Piktochart