Getting your first caravan (or, as it’s less colorfully known, RV), is very exciting. The places you’ll go, the people you’ll meet! But it’s smart to go into it knowing your expected expenses. Repair, maintenance, fuel, water… all these costs can add up, and it’s good to know the bottom line.
1. Repair and Maintenance
Annual maintenance is around $1000, but can vary, depending on the age of your vehicle and how much you want to do. The first few years will usually cost much less, but as your caravan gets older, it will need more things replaced and kept up.
Obviously, this varies according to use. The average class-C caravan (characterized by truck looking front, the typical starter caravan) gets up to 10 miles per gallon, but can also hover around 6 or 7. Class-B caravans (similar to large vans) get more around 20 mpg. Lastly, class-A caravans (the biggest, look like buses) also get slightly above 10 mpg, or lower if you’re driving faster. Asking your dealer about your specific model is the way to go.
3. Title, Registration, and Taxes
This really varies depending on where you live. In Florida, for example, this expense will be only about $50 per month, but in California, it can be in the thousands. These are both extreme examples, but it’s a wide margin, so you will have to check with your local DMV.
Insurance ranges from $800 to $1500 annually. This is definitely needed, not only for regular accidents and legality, but also because caravans are often driven at the riskiest times or situations, such as when the driver is tired or in unfamiliar territory.
Costs like water, waste, and propane also vary according to use, but are usually minimal. Water and waste are almost always provided by camps, and are therefore included in the camping fee. Propane is not used for much, as most things in your caravan are run off of electricity from your engine.
All these costs are compounded when you start talking about what is known to caravan owners as “fulltiming”– living completely in your caravan, away from camps or amenities. A generator, if you get one, will cost about $200 to buy, and about $3-5 daily in propane. Water and waste might also cost you, if you live completely off of camps or hookups, but that’s unusual. If you are fulltiming, it will cost you about $40 a day, or $1.50 a mile, which includes maintenance, fuel, and everything else.
Caravans can be expensive to own and use, but the average caravan owner feels that it is worth it, and trips only last for so long. Nevertheless, the average cost of using a caravan comes in at about $15 day, or 55 cents a mile. Honestly? That’s not too bad for the freedom and mobility that a caravan lifestyle can give you.
Alice Hendrickson is a caravan owner who loves the mobility it gives her and her family. If you are looking to offset some of the costs of owning a caravan, you can read a cheap caravan insurance article here. You can also click here for more information on caravan insurance costs.