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Old 12-26-2013, 03:15 PM   #1
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The cost of living...

Good afternoon,

I just began posting on this site today. Without repeating much of what I posted on the "Trailer" site, bottom line up front is that we're thinking about the purchase of a Flying Cloud and then seeing the good ol' USA for a year or so. Understanding that everybody has different spending habits/needs/desires, and that having one's room and board traveling with you reduces some costs, is anyone aware of some analysis showing what is the daily or monthly cost of hitting the road? I expect that we will ocassionally pull up in front of the home of a friend or relative for a few days, but at other times we will want to spend a few weeks in a city to which we might consider retiring. Which would necessitate finding a place to hook up, etc.

Please excsue this most basic of questions. I have just begun exploring this possibility, and so my ignorance level is at its highest!

Thanks,

JackKerouac
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:22 PM   #2
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I have seen an analysis in the Good Sam mag. I will see if I can find a link for you. I know they are out there and you might even find some on manufacturers web sites.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:27 PM   #3
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If you are able to pay cash for your truck 'n' trailer, it is a very economical way to travel- 1/2 - 1/10 the cost of hotels- groceries on board from the grocery store is 1/2 the cost of eating at restaurants-
If you finance your truck 'n' trailer, it is for love of RV'ing- my truck is nearly paid off (4 payments left- woohoo!), but I have a $562 trailer note- hotels would be less expensive, but are not shiny and silver...
At some point in the future when my trailer is paid off it will be the most economical way to travel.
We chose this lifestyle because we enjoy it. I did spend many years working/traveling/sight-seeing staying in hotels and tent camping. A trailer is just the next logical step for someone who has tent camped already for nearly 40 years.
Then there is the draw of owning an American icon- a thing of art deco, 30's aircraft style nostalgic beauty- priceless-
Then there is the fact that I have wanted one since I was old enough to want...
The same reasons why I ride a Harley- it takes me back to a time when things had style and pizzazz...
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:34 PM   #4
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Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel? - Early Retirement & Financial Independence Community

This link has several post by individuals regarding your question. I guess it boils down to the pros and cons of staying in motels and eating out vs. having your own bed, refrigerator full of food and drinks and your nice clean shower and potty. My preference will always be an rv. Buying a used one has worked well for us and with the cost of motels today I believe that I am coming out ahead by using an rv.

I went to bing.com and typed in "break even analysis of rving versus motels, etc." and found several good sites.

Good Luck and see you down the road!
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:02 PM   #5
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Jack, the savings isn't all that great, especially when you consider the big cost of medical for people of a "certain age". The other big surprise for a lot of people is the cost of fuel. A good figure for either a gasser or diesel is 12 mpg. At $4 per gallon a 100 miles will cost you $72 in fuel alone. Of course that will vary considerably... much higher if you're going uphill or facing heavy headwinds.

Another big "varies" cost is actual camping - your commercial campgrounds can sometimes run $70 per night for full hookups (That's the reality in Va. Beach - a "family touristy" vacation spot during the summer season). Hard to find full hookups here for less than $35 per night except on a "weekly" or "monthly" rate. However on the other end there are MANY free or nearly free parking spaces available. Moose Clubs often offer a week free to members, and I understand some of the other social clubs do the same. There's always the odd night at WalMart, and Cracker Barrels often have reserved RV parking - you are expected to have breakfast with them as a simple "return courtesy".
There are also Senior discounts at Federal lands - but most have no hookups. States and cities also have campgrounds that can be real bargains too.

If you have a small generator or solar panels you can keep your batteries charged - and with care easily go a week before you need to dump waste or refill your white water tank.

The real "must have hookups" hits when you must have AIR CONDITIONING - Seal Level in the south! (Of course you CAN get a Honda 3000 or pair of 2000's, or a couple of other good quiet generators, but those take gas or propane which isn't free.... and hauling 70 to 150 lbs. of generator around cuts your gas mileage.... adds wear to tires and engines and....

-------------------------------------

Doing it with the least expense requires planning and tradeoffs.

If you must have ten gallon showers, a toaster, an electric coffee maker, 2 hours of TV or internet time every day, you're going to need full hookups or a generator. If you can conserve electricity and water you can easily stay in full hookups one day a week and be fine.

If you visit places that are touristy - do it just before or just after the height of their tourist season. Once the kids are back in school... means prices will be lower AND you'll not be in the middle of a mob scene!

Paula
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:11 PM   #6
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I am simply astonished by all the quick and very helpful thoughts and views expressed here - and on the other thread I was on earlier. If for no other reason doing this would have us run across the most interesting people. Thanks for the reality check, Paula. Also also for the touch of "romance of the road," M.Hony. It's a balance, I guess... And look forward to the link, mickie. JK
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:31 PM   #7
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:42 PM   #8
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One year trip begining MAR 1

Jack,
Well we are about to find out the costs. I am retiring in two months (for the third time). We are really doing it. We are packing some belongings in to storage and selling the rest. We leave from Lincoln City, OR on March 1st for a one year cruise in our 1958 Flying Cloud.

We will be saving about $1600 a month for rent and utilities. I have camping privileges on Military bases and will take advantage of my National Parks Access pass and other Federal campgrounds along the way. We will try and stay for free at Cracker Barrel and Wal-Mart about five nights a month.

I think I should start a thread when we get going.
Dick
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COLONEL View Post
Jack,
Well we are about to find out the costs. I am retiring in two months (for the third time). We are really doing it. We are packing some belongings in to storage and selling the rest. We leave from Lincoln City, OR on March 1st for a one year cruise in our 1958 Flying Cloud.

We will be saving about $1600 a month for rent and utilities. I have camping privileges on Military bases and will take advantage of my National Parks Access pass and other Federal campgrounds along the way. We will try and stay for free at Cracker Barrel and Wal-Mart about five nights a month.

I think I should start a thread when we get going.
Dick
Dick,

absolutely you should start a thread!! This W4 plans to do the same thing!

Dave
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Old 12-26-2013, 08:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackKerouac View Post
Good afternoon,

I just began posting on this site today. Without repeating much of what I posted on the "Trailer" site, bottom line up front is that we're thinking about the purchase of a Flying Cloud and then seeing the good ol' USA for a year or so. Understanding that everybody has different spending habits/needs/desires, and that having one's room and board traveling with you reduces some costs, is anyone aware of some analysis showing what is the daily or monthly cost of hitting the road? I expect that we will ocassionally pull up in front of the home of a friend or relative for a few days, but at other times we will want to spend a few weeks in a city to which we might consider retiring. Which would necessitate finding a place to hook up, etc.

Please excsue this most basic of questions. I have just begun exploring this possibility, and so my ignorance level is at its highest!

Thanks,

JackKerouac
I find that campsite rental fees and gasoline are the largest costs.

We spend $24-$50 per night for campsites. When towing we get 8 mpg. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.
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Old 12-26-2013, 08:37 PM   #11
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Again, it all depends.

When we looked into buying our trailer, we had the choice of financing a new model, or paying cash for a used one. I never liked debt much, so we went with the used option, purchased from a reputable dealer. Our 34' 1984 International came with brand new running gear, new brakes, a reconditioned furnace, a serviced Hensley Hitch, floor checked and sealed, a full service of all appliances, the entire trailer checked for leaks and resealed where needed, etc, etc. We ended up paying about $27k, after additional remodelling and renovations - like installing an additional bunk bed and remodelling the sofa , for a trailer that's just as good as a new one - at least as far as we're concerned.

It looks a little beat up from the outside, the clearcoat isn't in great condition, but it's still a handsome trailer and I can take care of the cosmetics when there's additional play money in the kitty.



Our tow vehicle routinely returns 14mpg when towing at 55, 16 on a good day with a following wind.

Camping, we tend to stay at Provincial Parks rather than at full hook up places, around $25/night. When travelling, we tend to avoid the main highways if possible, taking rural roads instead. We find that there's free parking most anywhere, to stay a night. Most folks, when asked nicely, will only be too pleased to let you park up on their property. We stayed in church parking lots, on farm yards, on car dealership forecourts, on the parking lot of a hockey arena, the list goes on.
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Old 12-26-2013, 08:45 PM   #12
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On the road soon thread...

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Originally Posted by wxbuoy View Post
Dick,

absolutely you should start a thread!! This W4 plans to do the same thing!

Dave
Thanks Chief. I will start one very shortly. Right now I am still working and trying to sort stuff out. Time is running out. We have given our landlord notice so the pressure is on.
More later.
Dick
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Old 12-27-2013, 01:37 AM   #13
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You might want to check out rvsueandcrew.net. She posts her monthly budget and its a great site.
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Old 12-27-2013, 04:45 AM   #14
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Jenny at aluminarium.com keeps track of their camping, but not their gas, expenses as well. So far, they average $9/day, but they boondock a fair bit.
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:33 AM   #15
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You might want to check out rvsueandcrew.net. She posts her monthly budget and its a great site.
LilNomad
Wow - that is a great site! The information on her monthly costs is detailed enough to be helpful and formatted in a way that's easy to think about personally. Thanks LilNomad.
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Old 12-27-2013, 02:47 PM   #16
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Love RV Sue!
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Old 12-27-2013, 03:12 PM   #17
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I figure if we are ever full-timing on a fixed income we will travel to a campground at the first of the month, stay there a month, and move on at the first of the next month- 12 locations per year never going back to the same spot twice unless we really liked it.
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Old 12-27-2013, 03:29 PM   #18
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Don't know if we'll full time once we retire, though it may be tempting. That said, based on one season of camping in our motor home before switching to an AS: You do it for love, not for money. If you want to save money on the road, camp in a tent, or drive a Prius and "camp" at inexpensive hotels, or hop into a VW Westfalia microbus camper van, or some combination. Many things are cheaper than driving and maintaining a motor home or trailer and staying in campgrounds that offer hookups.

That said, my parents did economize a little bit, by their math, in joining a club like Thousand Trails. They joined nationally at some level and made sure they got all the camping nights across the country to which they were entitled. When they did that, the felt they got their money out of the membership.

We could have "inherited" their membership, but given how little we're able to camp right now, pre-retirement, it seemed wiser for us to pay as we go vs. joining one of those clubs. If we brought the membership over, the annual $$$ commitment was significant and was for something like 10 years, so we weren't ready to sign that contract.
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Old 12-27-2013, 03:33 PM   #19
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There are other camping clubs, like Passport America, but I don't know much about them.
I think camping clubs work out better for retired people.
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Old 12-27-2013, 04:21 PM   #20
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As you search through the threads here, you may find that camping adjusts to fit the budget, instead of the other way around.. Figures like 35 to 45 cents/mile driven for fuel are in the ballpark, so fuel will depend on how much you move around. Related expenses like maintenance, tires, repairs, are also mileage-dependent.. Food can be cheap or pricey, depending on your willingness to eat simply and cook, or eat well at places with professional cooks.. some folks travel with solar and LED conversions and eschew Air Conditioning and snow country, and pay very little to boondock on federal or other public lands in places like Quartzite AZ in the winter, and Washington or Idaho in the summer.. Others enjoy staying at RV Resorts with pools, hot tubs, and golf courses.... As the common slogan goes, YMMV (Your mileage may vary..). It is still worth trying to pursue something which has become a dream, and from experience the costs do go down as you learn "tricks" to reduce costs, like the occasional Wal-Mart overnight or "work-camping" where you can stay free at some public campgrounds in exchange for working as campground host or other duties...
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