How to RV in the US for Less than $2500

If you are looking for information on how much a one week RV road trip costs, I wrote this blog post just for you! I’ll show you how to RV in the US for less than $2500 per week.

You’ll see there are numerous factors that go into the cost of a roadtrip in general but especially an RV road trip.

Factors like the distance you’re traveling, your miles per gallon rate, the season you travel in, and the amount you eat out vs. cook your meals, will greatly influence your cost. 

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Mount Rushmore in South Dakota – 1,988 miles from Maine

Here Are 3 One-Week RV Road Trip Costs Broken Down

In order to assess how much a RV road trip costs, I wanted to give you tangible examples. Here are 3 of our recent one week RV road trips to compare how much each trip cost. 

Not included: 

  • The cost to rent an RV or an RV loan payment. 
  • Extras that weren’t normal souvenirs. Ben bought a pair of binoculars for around $200 and I purchased local yarn in each destination as well. 
  • RV insurance since we own our RV, we have a separate policy with Progressive
Maine to West VirginiaMaine to Nova Scotia (Cape Breton Island), CanadaMaine to South Dakota 
Month of TripMayJulyAugust
Round Trip Mileage148215004162
Cost of Gas/Tolls4747801387
Cost of Campground Stay425335360 
CampgroundHarpers Ferry / Civil War Battlefields KOAWe weren’t huge fans so we’re not sharing this campgroundHeartland RV Park and Cabins in Hermosa, SD
Food427311415
Activities253130
Extras37491180
Total Cost of 1 Week Trip170015472372

Things to note:

  • My husband got sick on day 3 of our Nova Scotia trip so we didn’t eat out or get to do many activities. Therefore the cost of those categories stayed on the low side. 
  • We had a window break in South Dakota and had to repair, which, plus a few other repairs along the road trip, totalled to $180. 
  • We tow our RPOD 192 with a 2017 Toyota Tacoma so keep in mind our mileage will differ from yours.
  • I included our mileage we drove around a destination while there. For instance while in South Dakota we drove a TON around the national and state parks. 
  • Our activity costs stay relatively low because we stick to free or inexpensive activities like kayaking, hiking, and walking. When we do pay for activities it’s usually a museum, local tour, or national park. 

Read More: How to Pick Your Next Memorable Vacation Destination

A beautiful hike along the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park before we got Covid for the rest of the trip.

Click here for a FREE RV Road Trip Budget Template

Consider These Factors When Budgeting Your RV Road Trip Costs

  • RV Rental Cost
  • How Far You Travel
  • Eating Out vs. Buying Groceries
  • Activities
  • Souvenirs
  • Campgrounds
  • Emergencies/Maintenance

Do You Need to Rent an RV?

The cost to rent an RV will vary greatly depending on your location, size of RV, and length of stay.

If you’re looking for an RV check out Outdoorsy. They have rentals of all sizes and budgets!

How Far You Will be Traveling Will Directly Impact Your Budget

Of course, your costs will vary greatly if you stay within 100 miles of your hometown vs. if you travel 5000 miles cross country. 

Eating Out Will Add Up During a Vacation

This won’t come as a surprise but the more you eat out, the more money you’ll spend on food. 

We try to be very intentional with how many meals we plan to eat out. Although it’s sometimes hard to plan for, for the most part you usually know if you will need to eat our or if you can cook from home.

For example, on our Kansas City road trip we knew we wanted to sample delicious BBQ so we scouted the best restaurants to visit and picked a few to try. But we didn’t eat out for every meal. We had our breakfast and most dinners from the RV to keep costs low. 

You can do the same on your RV road trip. Find the restaurants you really want to try and plan to eat out at those. Not only will this save you valuable energy trying to decide where to eat. It will also save you money by preventing the impulse decision to eat out. 

Making your lunch while RVing will save you money!

The Activities You Do Will Impact Your Budget

To keep the costs low on your next vacation I highly recommend researching cheap or free activities to do. 

Most often outdoorsy activities will be free or cheap such as visiting a local beach or state park. 

These are the types of things we tend to do because it’s the best way to get a feel for the region’s landscape and you can often find areas only locals explore by using resources like Alltrails.com. 

If you’re looking for additional affordable activities, check out Viator for ideas like walking, historical, and food tours!

World War 1 Museum in Kansas City – museums are always an affordable option. Check if they offer free entrance days.

Any Souvenirs You Plan to Play Will Also Influence Your Cost

Again, this budget category will vary greatly depending on the type of traveler you are. 

I personally like to visit local yarn shops on my RV trips (any knitters out there!?). But I could easily not buy yarn if we wanted to watch our budget even more. 

If you are the type of traveler that likes to purchase a sweatshirt or hat for every trip you take, just build that into your budget. 

And if you have kiddos who also like souvenirs, consider giving them a budget at the beginning of the trip and use it as a lesson in money management. 

The Cost of Your Campground Will Be One of Your Largest Costs

When we are researching campgrounds, the price of a nightly stay is a huge factor. We like to keep costs below $60 if possible. 

Of course there are those campgrounds that are most expensive. For example, a one night stay at Normandy Farms in Massachusetts will be easily over $100. 

Likewise, we snagged an oceanfront site at Bar Harbor KOA in Maine for a whopping $150 a night! 

Of course, you can also find cheaper or even free sites. 

I love to use resources like Campendium to filter RV campgrounds based on price.

Read More: 7 One-Week Itineraries for the US and Canada You’ll Love

Remember to Budget for an Emergency Fund and any Maintenance Needed

You never think you’re going to have an emergency on your vacation, but it happens!

Our sliding window shattered in South Dakota.

We popped a tire in New York

My husband and I got Covid in Nova Scotia.

See that center window? It SHATTERED in South Dakota – there was tempered glass everywhere!

Is RVing Cheaper Than Staying in Hotels?

You may be wondering if staying in hotels is cheaper or more expensive than RVing. If you were to only consider the costs of a 1 night stay, you’ll most likely find that hotels are more expensive than a campground. 

According to Budgetyourtrip.com (a great resource!), the average cost of hotels in the US is $171 a night while you can easily find an RV park for $75 or less depending on the region of travel. 

How Much Does a 2 Week RV Road Trip Cost?

If you are trying to decide how long your road trip should be, consider comparing costs. 

You can use this template below to calculate the difference between a 1 week road trip and a 2 week road trip. 

Click here for a FREE RV Road Trip Budget Template

Just like your 1 week budget, a 2 week budget and beyond works the same. 

Calculate your gas costs, activities, your campground fees, etc. 

One sneaky thing I try to remember is that we have to buy groceries whether we’re traveling or not. So, keep that in mind if you feel like the budget is getting out of hand;)

Read More: How to Plan an Unforgettable Two-Week RV Road Trip

Final Thoughts

As you can see a one week RV road trip costs can vary greatly. Be sure to budget your costs so you’re prepared and ready to enjoy your vacation!

Happy Traveling!