How Much Will You Really Travel?

This travel trailer kitchen is bright and open.  I'd take out the love seat and extend the kitchen counter. That love seat isn't big enough to be useful for anything.

This travel trailer kitchen is bright and open. I’d take out the love seat and extend the kitchen counter.

The RV lifestyle is almost infinitely flexible in how it can be arranged. That can be good and bad as it means there are an infinite number of ways to structure your RV lifestyle and your preferences may change over time.

The most common factors you’ll be balancing are your budget, space and the amount of time you want to spend on the road. Unless you have a lot of money, you probably won’t be doing a lot of traveling in a big Class A. Diesel is $4 a gallon and diesel Class A owners report gas mileage in the range of 9 to 14 miles but some get less, few get very much more. If your Class A gets 10 mpg and you drive 300 miles a day, your fuel bill is going to be $120 per travel day at current prices. Plus there are going to be flat tires, maintenance, lot rent and your normal daily living expenses.

Some days lot rent is not going to be a factor. If you slot up in a truck stop parking lot or Cracker Barrel parking area, then lot rent is not an issue. You’ll need to find a park at some point to empty your tanks and stock up on fresh water, but most campers and Class As can go days between paid stops.


Even though they’re expensive, I never met anyone who regretted buying an Airstream.

Due to fuel expenses and the inaccessibility of many campsites, most people who want to do a lot of traveling opt for travel trailer/pickup truck combination. The type of camper and truck you select will depend on your budget. I recommend picking the truck first, then let the safe tow weights narrow your choice of travel trailers.

Another factor to consider is that your travel preferences may change in the future. I recommend being financially ready to replace your camper or RV every five years. Most will last far longer with proper maintenance, but with a five year window you’ll have the option to change campers if you feel like you’ll be traveling less in the future.

You need one of these to set the right angle for your septic hose.

You need one of these to set the right angle for your septic hose.

When RVers first take to life on the road, they want to travel everywhere. Once they’ve made the circuit of the country a couple times, they’ll start finding places they like and spend progressively more time in a fewer number of places. Most RVers that we met travel less over time. A few will get down to two or three parks they spend the bulk of their time, traveling maybe once or twice a year. A few others will find an ownership park, a place they can purchase their RV space, and spend the bulk of their time there with occasional trips that become fewer and fewer as they get older.

If that sounds sad, it shouldn’t. By the time my wife and I hung up our RV shoes we had pretty much been there and done that. A couple of our friends started stashing older campers in different parts of the state and use them like their own personal hotel network. So they can travel around the state and don’t have to worry about towing their 5th wheel.

One thing you can count on is the longer you full-time, the more likely it is your preferences will change. So plan for that change; start saving your pennies and give yourself the budget room to make a change once you’re out there.

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