Before setting off on this year-long journey, we did quite a bit of research and financial planning to figure out: 1) what this crazy trip would cost, 2) whether we’d run out of money because of unexpected expenses, 3) whether we’d need to pick up part-time work at a travelling circus along the way, and 4) if we could enjoy exploring the continent without counting every penny (Mama Bear’s stipulation). So after 8 full weeks on the road, which we figured was a reasonable sample, we did a financial review.
Turns out we’re in pretty good shape. Having read several blogs by full-time RVers who posted their monthly or annual costs, we’re probably not as budget-conscious as many (particularly some very thrifty full-timers in the US), but we’re keeping within our intended limits. Here’s the basic breakdown of general spending:
Fuel = 14%
Lodging = 19%
Groceries = 17%
Beer and wine = 9%
Kayak purchase = 18%
Miscellaneous = 23%
So far, during our zig zag route through BC and Alberta, we’ve covered 5883 kilometres (3655 miles), which is just about the distance between Vancouver and Halifax. So we haven’t exactly been sitting around. All in, we’re averaging $121.79 / day. If you take out the one-time purchase of the kayak and accessories, we’d be sitting at about 100 bucks a day. That projects out to a modest $40K annual cost to explore North America. Now this could all change if we decide to invest in a lakeside brewery or winery (hey, we just might), or if Mama Bear finds some decent shopping again – much to her chagrin, there’s not much excess space in MaBel. But we figure it’s a reasonably good indicator of what a year on the road will cost.
If you’re interested in a bit more detail, our lodging costs have varied between $52 / night (a ridiculous rate for ‘Todd’s RV Park’ in Peachland) and $0 / night – thanks to several friend’s driveways and a free night at Walmart. We fuel up with diesel and prices have ranged from $1.08 to .89 per litre. Our onboard computer is telling us we’re typically averaging 14 litres for every 100 km, which is pretty good fuel economy for a 25 foot, fully-loaded RV driving through mountain roads. In terms of food and drink, we eat mainly ‘at home’ so we don’t have high dining out expenses and if we were teetotallers, we’d really be living cheaply!
So for those of you thinking about cashing in, buying a motorhome and hitting the open road, there’s the numbers. We’ve done the math for you – don’t be in a rut, get in the groove!
[Editor’s note: if we’ve got any of this wrong, please look for directions to a go-fund-me site in the near future…]