Well, the approximate totals are in, in order of high to low costs:
- purchases (groceries, vitamins, a new GPS, toilet articles, books, gifts, entertainment etc.) $1450
- gasoline $922
- camping fees $489
- eating out $175
- Total: $3036
So my gas-guzzler van consumed 30%, camping fees 16%, eating out was a minimal cost, and my biggest cost was groceries and shopping at a whopping 48%. I did luck out with quite a few days of free camping at various locations.
- always good to not travel and use gas when possible- stay in one place!
- get as much free camping space as possible- mooch off others, avoid RV campgrounds which are horribly expensive (typically $25-35 per night even if you don’t use the electricity or water), and camp in rustic, national forest campgrounds for around $10 (this was difficult to do very often because these campgrounds take you way far away from freeways and cities and other places you want to go in a short trip)
- you can save a lot by NOT EATING OUT and cooking your own food (I’m proud of my restraint in this regard and the rather tasty meals I did prepare for myself on the road. The little kitchen worked well!)
- TRACK your general purchases more than I did. I was not careful about discretionary purchases, resulting in almost half of my expenses!
In reality, my costs were actually $1000 less than this, since my friend and neighbor Mark rented my apartment while I was gone for $500 per month plus (excellent) cat care. However, I had no part-time teaching income this summer, so I didn’t have my normal cushion either.
Conclusion: this was a FABULOUS TRIP and I don’t regret it and next time I set off on a big camping road trip, I will consider:
- purchase of a different RV that uses less gas (this will be a big decision, so probably not an immediate one!) Dharma, my van, seems to chugging along nicely otherwise. And I do so love her sweet little cozy interior.
- traveling with a companion who can help share expenses
- spend less time in RV parks and more time in national forests
- spend less on STUFF!