Full-Time RV Living: Where to Cut Costs and Where to Splurge
Have you taken the plunge into full-time RVing or are you still dreaming of touring the world as a full-time RV owner? Many people choose the RV life for the sense of freedom and adventure. Tired of being tied to nine to five jobs, mortgages and “things” in general, more and more families are trading city streets for the open road.
As companies become more open to telecommuting, full-time RVing is an increasingly viable option as RV living can cost less than living in a traditional home. There are lots of ways to save money on basic expenses, but there are also areas where splurging a bit can be a good thing. Learning how to cut camping and fuel costs allows you to put a little more into things like insurance coverage. Check it out.
When it comes to parking your RV for the night, you can choose to stay at a state or national park, a privately-owned campground or you can “boondock” it. Parks and campgrounds charge varying fees, so it’s a good idea to research what’s available in the area and choose accordingly. Boondocking is also known as “dry” camping because there are no amenities—no water, electricity or sewer hookups. It could be in a parking lot or a friend or family member’s driveway and is usually free.
One great way to save money on camping costs is through club memberships. Camping clubs usually charge an annual fee of $25-$50 in exchange for discounts rates on camp sites, fuel, RV accessories and sometimes even mail-forwarding services. Here are the four most popular:
- Good Sam
- Harvest Hosts
- Passport America
By Splitting time between park camping, private campgrounds and boondocking, as well as by using club discounts, you can reduce your camping costs significantly. Remember to research sites ahead of time to find the best option.
As a full-time RV owner, you’ll spend a large portion of your monthly budget on fuel for your RV or tow vehicle and your generator. Across the U.S. gas prices can vary by as much as a dollar a gallon, and since the mileage on RVs and tow vehicles is around 8-12 miles per gallon, the costs can really add up fast. You can lower your fuel expenses by following these tips:
- Lighten the load by filling fresh water tanks when you arrive at the campsite instead of before you leave
- Keep your RV/tow vehicle tuned-up and make sure tires are properly inflated
- Clean your air filter regularly
- Keep your speed to 60 mph or less
- Avoid idling for long periods of time
- Monitor emissions as bad sensors can lower fuel economy
- Use the GasBuddy app to find the cheapest fuel in the area
- Use gas cards with rewards points
- Monitor your mileage for signs of problems
- Change your oil and oil filter regularly
Performing regular maintenance as outlined in the vehicle owner’s manual is the best way to ensure the highest fuel efficiency and to save money on fuel cost and on vehicle repairs.
Insurance is the one area of full-time RVing you may want to splurge on a bit. RV insurance is more than just auto insurance. It’s also a kind of homeowner’s insurance. Not only do you want coverage for auto accident and injury, you also want coverage for the contents of your RV. This includes personal belongings, as well as awnings, air conditioners and satellite dishes. Coverage for weather related accidents (tree branches falling on the RV, wind and hail damage) and theft coverage should be included, too. When you’re shopping for RV insurance, ask these questions:
- Does the insurance meet the requirements of the state where your RV is registered?
- Does it cover the cost of a rental car if one is needed?
- Are lodging expenses covered in case of accident?
- Is the coverage valid in Canada and Mexico?
- Will it cover the cost of replacing your RV or tow vehicle?
- Does it include roadside assistance?
Of course, you want an affordable policy, but you also want coverage that protects your RV as your primary residence. RVInsurances.com offers all the coverage you need for full-time RVing with personal liability, medical payments and loss assessment. Call 1-844-727-7207 for a quote today.