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What Are the Most Common RV Expenses an RVer Should Plan in Their Budget?

Owning an RV opens a whole new world of freedom and adventure for you and your family. But like anything, there are some costs involved! Fortunately, good budget planning means when it comes time to hit the road, you can focus on fun and relaxation. But what are the common RV expenses to budget for?

Read on to learn more about common RV expenses and tips to make budgeting your next RV trip easier!

RV Expenses to Plan Your Budget Around


The most obvious expense for any RV trip is going to be gas. First, you need gas to drive your motorhome or your tow vehicle. You’ll also need to stay on top of your propane. If you have a toy hauler for ATVs or other fun vehicles, you’ll need fuel for those too.

Fuel prices can add up, but there are ways to plan for this RV expense to minimize your costs. Depending on where you plan to travel, it’s worth it to spend some time looking up average prices along the route for your trip. You may find it’s cheaper in some states to top off before your trip, where in others you might want to wait until you cross the state line to fill up your tanks.

It’s important to know how far fuel can get you on your trip. This applies to actual travel distance, but also how much you can get out of your propane tank too. Budgeting for RV expenses can turn into a headache if you overestimate your fuel economy!


One of the most important parts of any RV budget will be maintenance. Like a home, an RV is full of appliances, electronics and components that all need to be kept in working order. RVs are built for the rough-and-tumble camping lifestyle, so they’re resilient. But they also experience unique issues that regular vehicles or appliances don’t.

Maintenance is an RV expense you can’t avoid, but it is one you can often keep reasonable through preventative action! Typical RV maintenance costs include things like:

  • Sealants and lubricants
  • Appliance upkeep
  • Tires
  • Licensing fees
  • Upgrades

Don’t fall into the trap of saving money today by putting off important maintenance efforts. Like any vehicle, taking great care of your RV will avoid most major repairs for years!

Campsites & Parking

Traveling in an RV is far cheaper than staying at a hotel, but it still comes with some costs. Many campsites and places to stay overnight will have a fee associated with them. Compared to hotels, you’ll save hundreds of dollars comparatively, but it’s still something you’ll want to plan in your RV expense budget.

The best way to avoid is a surprise is to do some pre-trip research. Look up websites for the campground you’re visiting. If you don’t have a specific campsite in mind, take a good luck at all the RV-accessible locations in the area to get a feel for prices.

It is possible to avoid basic camping fees if you’re willing to dry camp. Most public lands allow you a week or two of free camping. The farther west you go in the United States, the more options you’ll have for free camping on public lands. Otherwise, keep a line item in your expense log for campsite fees!


RV camping gives you the freedom to visit new locations all over the country. For many, camping alone is more than enough to make a trip worth it. After all, enjoying the peace and quiet of the outdoors is an experience all on its own.

However, for those looking to take in all the fun of a new city or town, there are always activities to be found! Whether these activities are hosted at the campsite or just around the area, it’s usually a good idea to save some money in the budget to treat yourself to something new. Especially for families with kids who get bored easily!


When it comes to RV expenses, food may be one of the most important things to budget for. Quick weekend trips or extended vacations mean you have to plan for several meals away from your home kitchen and grocery store.

Depending on the type of traveler you are, you have two options: packing food for the whole trip or eating out. Most RVers do a little of both! But that means food can quickly rise up to the top of your expenses for a trip, especially if you’re camping in a popular tourist town.

If you’re new to RVing, don’t underestimate the value of your RV kitchen! Normal road trips without an RV leave you with restaurants or pre-packaged food as your only options. But an RV kitchen gives you a lot of options, especially if you plan ahead with small appliances like a slow cooker.

Tips for Reducing RV Expenses

Pack Your Own Food

For day trips or weeklong ones, you know you’ll need to eat. Take advantage of your RV fridge and storage space by using it! Packing everything from lunchmeats to non-perishable foods will let you avoid costly restaurant bills.

In addition to buying helpful travel appliances like slow cookers, don’t forget that you can pack a cooler too! While your RV fridge will be a great help, a cooler with sandwiches and drinks can be easily pre-packed before you hit the road, and saves you some precious fridge space for the rest of the week. Park, set up and open up the cooler to eat!

Explore Nearby Areas

RV camping doesn’t mean hours on the road! It’s likely that your hometown is surrounded by amazing places to visit and camp that you never knew about because you didn’t own an RV! If you’ve never camped overnight at a state park down the street, it’s just as new as visiting a park two states over.

With your new found RV freedom, enjoy everything your region has to offer! While it may not feel like a “road trip” camping 45 minutes away from your home, it’ll still feel like a vacation once you’re set up and relaxing in front of a campfire. Your budget for activities will be a lot higher without spending so much on gas, too!

Learn Basic RV Maintenance

If you consider yourself handy around the home, you can take those same skills and apply them to your RV. Everything from cleaning to maintaining a water heater functions largely the same as it does in a house!

Be proactive about maintenance. Defrost your fridge every time you get home, keep an eye on your vehicle’s fluids and properly winterize your RV if you’re storing it for the off-season. Every small step you take today can save you hours of time and hundreds of dollars years down the road.

Contact RV Wholesale Superstore

The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (866) 640-9871

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