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Old 03-21-2015, 11:27 AM   #1
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How much does it take? $$$$$

Alright folks, I want as many opinions as I can get. If I were to ask you the cost for "frequent" camping? OK what does that mean?? If I wanted to take frequent trips after retirement, not full time travel, but just pick up and go type traveling. As I plan for retirement, I know what my expected expenses will be, so I can calculate these (healthcare etc). What is hard to figure is what is the cost to take the AS on a relatively frequent basis. So... Give me a number I want to camp frequently, nothing extravagant, what will this add to my monthly budget?

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Old 03-21-2015, 11:35 AM   #2
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Too many variables. Cost of State vs. private campgrounds, distances travelled, cook or eat out, types of activities and their costs, etc.

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Old 03-21-2015, 11:47 AM   #3
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Danielle and I refer to this as any-timing as compared to full-timing and weekend camping. As you might imagine, there are a variety of approaches to any-timing. Some people focus on short distance trips even if the duration might be long. Some people focus on longer distance trips even if the duration is short.

Our version of any-timing falls somewhere in between. Other than weekend camping within our state or nearby states, we find our trips tend to be 6 - 12 weeks, with round trip distance from 2k - 8k miles.

We keep an accurate account of our expenses (while on the road and otherwise) so we have a good amount of data to go by. As I said, your situation may be very different.

We spend in the range of $70 - $100 per day on our trips. Our single biggest expense is fuel. The second biggest, but much smaller than fuel, is campground fees. Groceries, eating out, admission prices for sightseeing, etc. all add up but equal the typical daily amount for campground fees. The $70 - $100 total includes everything associated with the trip but does not include fixed costs such as insurance, tires, tow vehicle repairs and other significant maintenance.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:51 AM   #4
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Everyone's different. We travel a lot far from home using rv parks and resorts, national/state parks, as well as Walmart, truck stops, rest areas, etc wen stopping just for the night on a trip. Budget $50 a night for paid camping, plus fuel, meals, sightseeing, tourist traps, admissions, and fun. Money well spent.

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Old 03-21-2015, 11:51 AM   #5
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That is one of those impossible questions as only you know your limitations and expenses. Some trips only cost me a bit of gas and food. I boondock at a couple of spots not far from home on Federal forest lands with nice quite spots by a fire tower and small ponds. Usually I am the only trailer there. Other trips can easily exceed a couple of hundred just for the camping spot, plus several tanks of gas and more for food. For longer trips gas is the largest expense.
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Old 03-21-2015, 12:01 PM   #6
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Depending on how far we travel in a day. Usually 300-350 miles. And how much we eat out. We figure between $100.00-$120 a day.
Now that fuel prices are down somewhat. One may be able to knock $20-$30 a day off.
It is less expensive to stay in one spot. Since campground fees are fixed. Fuel cost will be determined on how far and how often you travel.
Traveling during peak seasons is always more expensive.

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Old 03-21-2015, 08:23 PM   #7
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great responses. The daily averages is what I was considering. I too figure 100-150 daily for the directly associated type expenses. Fixed costs are what they are.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:02 PM   #8
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Your question is a good one, just hard to answer. I am working on this too looking at reduced and free options, state parks, campgrounds, etc. My two cents is based on an overview of my findings. Vary your camping during your stays. Go for some free then state parks and then a night or two in a campground full hook up resort if on the move. You will probably benefit the most that way depending on what is in your path. Right now in FL, for example, there are a few free options for a night at a time. Then the state parks are $18-30 a night with regular taxes, then there is the private parks which are about double the cost but offer full hook ups, perhaps a pool, and charge resort tax, etc. If you can stay a few nights for free, then hit a park or two for some nights; dump, OR go to a private park a night and dump, that saves a lot.
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:12 PM   #9
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We are fortunate to have a beautiful Airstream only park within a two hour drive of our home. The park gives us a place to inexpensively position our Airstream through the late spring and summer months when we aren't on the road with it. By leaving the Airstream sitting in a wonderful mountain setting it serves as a low cost second home in the cool mountains during the hot and humid summer months. While at the park we often use our more fuel efficient automobile for transportation, instead of the tow vehicle, which affords us additional cost savings.

For members of the park, the overnight fee is negligible, and the annual dues are extremely reasonable when computed on a per day basis. If you live within a few hour drive of an Airstream park, you might consider membership as a way to enjoy low cost camping as well as make some terrific new friends. Even if you don't want to join, the overnight rate for guests is lower than most private parks and there are discounts for stays of more than a week at many parks.

We've visited three of the Airstream parks, and even though they all have different personalities and amenities, we've liked them all. For a low cost place to camp with some terrific folks, they are hard to beat.

If you haven't yet visited an Airstream park, I strongly recommend the experience.

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Old 03-21-2015, 10:24 PM   #10
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Way less then motels and dinning out.

Figure $20- $45 /night for full hook ups.

Fuel will depend on how many miles you drive and what MPG you get. Figure 10-14 mpg. Fuel is currently $ 2.80 - $ 3.40 for regular gas depending where you are.
Diesel slightly higher / gal. and mpg slightly better.

Food will be the same as at home if you eat in.
Dining out same as around home.

Entertainment whatever you want to spend.

Traveling with an Airstream, priceless
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:39 PM   #11
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Corps of Engineers has campgrounds in 44 states, so there are bound to be some within your preferred travel distance. Typical cost is $18 to $26 per night. If you qualify for the America the Beautiful Senior Pass (over 62) or Access Pass (handicapped) you can stay for half price at most of themó $9 to $13. If you plan your trip right, you could even travel clear across the country and back, and never stay anywhere else. Many of them will have water and electric hookups. Most have dump stations, not sewer hookups, but that's a small inconvenience for the price.

Remember this: When you're figuring your camping budget, don't budget for food. Why not, you ask? Well, if you didn't go camping, you'd still eat, right? So your camping meal budget is the same as your stay-at-home meal budget.

If you want to do the occasional restaurant meal on the road, consider this trade-off: one restaurant meal equals one night of camping. One fancy restaurant meal equals two nights of camping. Just for talking purposes; of course they're not exactly equivalent and some really high-end restaurants could even cost you a week's worth of camping! Anyway, if you want that restaurant meal enough to cut your trip short to pay for it, then bon appetit! This sort of trade-off means you don't have to budget separately for restaurant meals, the trip will cost the same either way; instead you're budgeting time.

Also, the more days you spend camped instead of towing, the cheaper it is per day. Fuel can be one of the biggest expenses of a trip if you spend a lot of time on the road. Plan your trips so only one day out of five is spent driving. Or one day out of four, or seven, or whatever works for you. The more camping you do for the least fuel burned getting there, the better your budget will like it.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by mwilliamsmd View Post
Alright folks, I want as many opinions as I can get. If I were to ask you the cost for "frequent" camping? OK what does that mean?? If I wanted to take frequent trips after retirement, not full time travel, but just pick up and go type traveling. As I plan for retirement, I know what my expected expenses will be, so I can calculate these (healthcare etc). What is hard to figure is what is the cost to take the AS on a relatively frequent basis. So... Give me a number I want to camp frequently, nothing extravagant, what will this add to my monthly budget?

This is our first extended trip with our Airstream....80 days and counting. Others commented on varying camping sites and agree. We have utilized primarily state and national parks with senior pass the national parks have been as little as $5/night; most state parks do not offer discounts and ranged from $15-$35/night; and independent campgrounds ranged from $30-$45/ night for full hookups. This trip has been adventurous but very affordable. We generally cook at "home" and therefore groceries are similar to costs at our "brick home" only views are priceless!
This year has been great for travel with best fuel prices in years.
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Old 03-22-2015, 05:08 AM   #13
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I agree with the 100-150/day response. This does not include fixed expenses at home and no payments on AS or TV. This is consistent for us from month to month and we've been on the road since 9/15/14. There are four biggies: gas,groceries,campground expenses and dining out. You can control gas by not moving as much. You can control campground expenses by where you chose to camp. The groceries and dining out you can control by how you eat.
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Old 03-22-2015, 05:10 AM   #14
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The actual cost for the first 50,000 miles on my Dodge truck is about $1.73 per costs of ownership. This does, however decrease as the depreciation factor becomes smaller. And, the Airstream has its own depreciation/cost factor.

While this may be a shock in terms of travel, it is not as severe as on my Tiffin Allegro Bus which cost about $3.15 per mile over 51,000 miles. Sold it to get back to an Airstream.

As has been pointed out, the other living expenses, assuming cooking "in" etc. should be close to that at home, with the exception of propane, campground fees which are added. I have a house which costs me whether I am there or not.

Happy trails and Good Luck
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