Budgeting for your first RV trip can be challenging. It’s easy to overlook or forget expenses, which can throw your budget out of balance and lead to a frustrating first experience. To help you feel more confident as you hit the road in your RV, we’ve assembled a list of significant RV trip expenses to consider.
After travelling hundreds of kilometres, you and your family will be anxious to get out and explore. Knowing which activities you want to participate in and the cost of each exercise will help you make the best choices for your interests and budget. Before you plan your activity budget, research the areas you plan on travelling through and look for activities and attractions that interest you the most.
Campground fees vary significantly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a budget for them. Call the campgrounds you’re interested in booking ahead for costs or look for their website online. Most campgrounds and parks list their fees on their websites and may even allow you to book online.
If you’re planning on cooking most of your meals, your budget for food on the road should be similar to your budget at home. If you’re planning on eating out, you’ll want to allocate more money to this category, even if it’s only occasionally.
You’ll need trip history to determine how much to budget for fuel. For a basic estimate, look at how many kilometres you typically travel per trip, add all trips together, and divide the total by the number of trips. Joining RV groups will help determine these costs if you’re heading out for the first time.
While the items listed above cover the main expenses you can expect to incur as an RVer, we recommend you consider the additional costs listed below to help you create the most accurate budget.
An emergency fund for unexpected repairs or healthcare needs: Dealing with an RV that won’t start or a family member who needs urgent healthcare while on the road is stressful. Consider leaving room for an emergency in your travel budget; hopefully, it never occurs!
Internet and phone costs: Both services are necessary RV trip expenses. Before you assume how much each will cost, check with your providers to get an accurate estimate.
Laundry: Once you’re away from home for more than a few days, washing and drying clothes becomes necessary. We recommend budgeting for the cost of coin-operated washers and dryers, laundry soap and fabric softener.
Personal care costs: Consider things like haircuts, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, and clothing.
Propane: You’ll need to buy one or more propane tanks before leaving on your trip for heating, cooling, and cooking purposes.
Roadside assistance plan: No one likes to think they’ll be stranded on the side of a road due to a malfunction with their RV, but it happens. With a roadside assistance plan, you have access to service professionals who can help you tow your RV or get you back on the road.
RV payments: Most people cannot afford to buy an RV outright, so don’t forget to include the monthly payments in your overall RV budget.
RV maintenance: Oil changes, tire rotations, and other routine RV maintenance can add up quickly. Be sure you know what type of maintenance your RV needs and include it in your budget.
RV insurance: Canada requires drivers to purchase insurance for all types of vehicles. You also want to ensure your fifth wheel, tent trailer or travel trailer is adequately insured to protect your investment. You can speak to a Wayfarer Insurance broker for a free quote or learn more about our various policies.
This may seem like a long list of expenses; however, it’s better to prepare for as many RV trip expenses as possible when planning your budget rather than dealing with frequent unexpected costs while you’re on the road.