Last Updated on April 26, 2022 by Jessica Lauren Vine
If you’re asking, “How mhow uch does it cost to own an RV,” let me congratulate you on getting ready to embark on one of the most exciting journeys you’ll ever take.
Owning an RV can be a lot of fun and give you some unique experiences. You could go to the same cities you’ve visited before, but it’s so much different when you go there and stay in a hotel than when you go there and stay in an RV.
Even if it’s exciting and you are looking forward to it, you might have that little bit of worry—or a lot—about how much it will cost you to own an RV.
Depending on the type of RV you have as well as other factors, it can vary. So, what I am going to do is tell you about the cost to own our RVs, and then I’ll give you some variables to work with so you can figure out how much it would be to own an RV for your situation.
What are the main costs of owning an RV?
The main costs for owning an RV are:
- The monthly payment for your RV (If you have one)
- Maintenance & Repairs
- Storage fees
- Camping spot fees
- Fuel (For either your RV or your tow vehicle)
- A Tow vehicle (If necessary)
- Travel expenses
Monthly Payment for Your RV
Okay. So, if you already bought your RV and paid cash for it, I wouldn’t figure this into your overall equation of how much it costs to own an RV. The reason I say this is because you’ve already paid it and you won’t have to pay it again.
So, if you don’t have a monthly payment, skip to the next section.
However, for those of you that didn’t have tons of cash to plop down on an RV, stick with me.
Our 2018 Forest River Cherokee Wolf Pup 18TO was our first purchase and that was before the insane RV prices we see today (yikes.)
We had a lot of fun in our little Wolfie. We only kept it for a year, though because it got a bit too small. However, that payment was around $300 a month because we didn’t have a great credit score, and that really killed us on the financing. Ouch.
I would highly recommend doing anything you can to increase your credit score before financing an RV.
Our next RV was a 2019 Prime Time Avenger ATI, and we had about the same monthly payment of $300 because our credit was better. Those extra points on your interest rate are truly a beast.
This RV was a much better size for our crew, and since our credit was better, it made sense for us to pay the same payment for a bigger space for our family. Since we were full-time RVing at that point, every inch of space counted—especially with me working from home.
Now, the bigger your RV, the bigger the payment will be unless you put down a nice-sized downpayment. Honestly, if you plan on full-timing it on the road, I would recommend getting your payments down as low as you can so your time in the RV is as stress-free as possible.
I found this RV payment calculator that can help you figure out how things will work out depending on how much your RV will cost and your interest rate factors, so you can check it out and see what you’re working with. RV Loan Calculator
Maintenance & Repairs for Your RV
If you have a towable vehicle, the maintenance won’t cost as much, but if you have a motor in your RV, you’ll have to service it, which can add up.
If you have a class A vehicle, most owners go with the rule of thumb for 1,000 per wheel since you’ll need someone else to do it for you. If you have a smaller vehicle and can do it yourself, then it might not cost as much, but if you want a good tire for your class A, you’re looking at $800 or even higher in some cases.
If you want to average it out per month, you might spend around $300 per month on maintenance and common repairs on a class A motorhome. If your RV is something less expensive, then you’re looking at less than $300 per month for RV maintenance and repairs.
Insurance for Your RV
Insurance for your RV doesn’t have to break the bank if you have a good driving record. With our small RVs, it only cost a couple of hundred dollars a month for RV insurance. However, if you have a big class A that is expensive, you’re likely to pay a pretty penny more.
It’s always best to shop around with a couple of different RVs you’re considering buying and see which one would cost the most as well as which insurance company would give you the best rate.
Just shopping around could save you hundreds of dollars. Keep in mind that not all insurance companies like insuring RVs that are a primary residence if you’re planning on full-time RVing, so that’s one thing you’d need to ask about.
Storage Fees for Your RV
We stored our RV for a little while and paid around $45 per month. We didn’t leave it long, and we had it in outside storage, so if you want to have covered or enclosed storage, that’s more than $45 per month.
Camping Spot Fees
What fun is having an RV if you don’t get out there and use it? Camping spots fees are avoidable, but a lot of times, the spots you want to go to will require a camping fee. The nicer the spot you want to camp, the more money you have to pay.
There are some spots that don’t have a lot of amenities that only charge a few bucks a night for you to stay. However, you could decide to stay at an RV resort and it might cost a couple of hundred dollars per night depending on how fancy the campground you chose is.
Before you buy an RV, look at the types of places you want to stay and see how much they cost per night. You can also see if there are any membership programs that will give you a discount if you sign up with them, and that could reduce the amount of money you spend on camping fees.
When we were RVing full-time, we had a Thousand Trails membership. Each membership is different, depending on when you signed up and at which level you want to look into. We were able to go around to different campgrounds and stay for two to three weeks without having to pay anything extra due to our membership level.
Assume an average of $65 per night if you don’t skimp on amenities, but you don’t want to overdo it. That’s been my experience.
Further Reading: How Much Does It Cost to Stay at an RV Park?
Fuel for Your RV or Tow Vehicle
If your RV has a motor, you’re looking at the high cost of gas or diesel to fuel it. Depending on the gas and diesel prices, these costs will be higher or lower. Make sure to pay close attention to how many miles per gallon your RV gets so you can budget for that whenever you’re ready to take off on a trip.
We didn’t have an RV with a motor, but it still was pretty pricy to tow around our RV. We got about 10 miles per gallon, and it definitely added up on those long travel days.
When you’re out having fun in your RV, it’s easy to rack up travel expenses. We’re talking food on the day of your trip, things you want to go see or activities you want to do, and anything else you impulse buy when you’re out having a good time.
All of these expenses add up and should count toward the expense of the RV unless you would travel any way but without an RV.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much should I pay for a used RV?
Depending on the market, RVs might be hard to get your hands on. If production is low, you might find yourself up against some pretty steep RV prices. At this point, it’s really how much you can stomach and how badly you want that RV.
What is the downside of owning an RV?
The downside of owning an RV is that it’s something else you have to take care of. It’s also another cost weighing on your pocketbook.
Question: Is owning an RV cost-effective?
Answer: If you have a big family and want to save on vacations, owning an RV could be the perfect thing. You don’t have to pay for flights and hotels for everyone, and you can even fix food in your RV.
The best thing you can do is to use this list and write out your own cost estimation so you can get a good idea of how much you’d have to pay to own and keep up your RV.
Owning an RV can be a great experience, especially if you have friends that also have them. Just look at the numbers and see if owning an RV is worth it to you.