When you consider living full-time as an RVer, you need to know every aspect of expenses you need to spend. Most of your money will go towards staying in RV parks when you want a rest from being on the road for too long. Whether you plan to stay for a month or the entire year, RV parks can run from affordable to downright expensive.
The average cost of RV parks per month can run from $250 to $1,000 a month. The price, of course, would depend on the RV park that you are staying in. If you want maximum savings and plan on staying longer on RV parks, choose annual or seasonal rates instead.
Knowing your expenses, especially when you live full time as an RVer, is important to know the cost of RV parks per month. In this article, I will discuss the long-term RV park rates that you should know, the cost of staying in state and national parks, and memberships that are worth looking into. Lastly, I will also talk about the things you need to consider when choosing an RV park that is best for you.
Long-Term RV Park Rates You Should Know
It would be best to keep in mind that the longer you stay in an RV park, the more it will save you the cost of the normal daily rates. With this said, when you want to see many areas of the country, staying a month in one park will stretch your budget while letting you explore each area in depth.
RVers that want to escape extremes of hot and cold weather, the seasonal stay is the way to go. You can stay in the park for three to six months at a time and do all the activities you enjoy in most parks. If you are the type of person that usually stays in the winter (winter seasonal park guest), you are commonly known as the ‘snowbird.’
Plenty of full-time RVers have their own full-time jobs, which will require them to stay all year in an RV park or campground. There are also parks that offer yearly rates, which is typically the cheapest overall monthly rate.
Monthly RV Park Rates
The monthly rates that most parks offer are typically about half or a third of what it would cost for you to pay the daily rate. For instance, at a park in Wyoming, per night usually costs $86, so the total amount for the entire month would be $2,580. The park offers a monthly rate of $1,000, but they do charge for extra electrical usage.
Even if they do have additional charges, it is still a good deal rather than paying the daily rate. Imagine the savings that you will get when you pay the monthly charge instead.
Seasonal RV Park Rates
In most RV parks, they offer a seasonal rate that you want to consider as well. You can stay in the park for three to six months, and you should receive a larger discount on your total monthly bill for the more months you stay in the park. You should also expect electric usage to be added to your bill each month as a separate fee.
Other parks will also expect you to pay additional fees for your cable TV if you want the service. Let’s say you found a perfect RV park in Arizona that has a large pool and plenty of activities that will charge you $315 a week. However, they only charge $500 per month when you stay at least four months.
In this case, it is $910 cheaper than you paying the daily rate and $760 less when you would pay the weekly rate. Imagine the savings that you will have when choosing this option, especially when you are planning to stay in one place for a few months.
Yearly RV Park Rates
If you fell in love with the area and want to stay permanently, or you even have a job in that particular area that requires you to stay put, this is the best option for you. It will provide you the most savings possible rather than paying the monthly or daily rate.
Let’s say you work at a park in south Florida that charges $ 1250 a month for their seasonal guests and $90 for a nightly rate, and they do not offer a weekly or single month rate at all. However, they allow year-round visits that broke own $725 a month, which is a great steal, consider the location.
Now, every RV park that you might encounter expects the resident to pay additional for the electric and cable use. Plenty of residents will also pay to have internet service since RV park internet tends to be bad. Yearly RV guests also need to upkeep their site to the park’s standards.
This means that they won’t let their patio become unsightly with excessive or worn furniture, plants, decorations, etc. Other parks will mow and rake the surroundings of your park. Many will expect you to maintain your site 100 percent since you get to have a good break on your rental rate.
Cost Staying in State and National Parks
State and national parks do not offer special rates, but they offer discounts for senior citizens or military veterans. They are still a good place to stay whenever you want to rest and not be on the road for too long. They also have annual park passes, extending their campground rates, but they do not allow a camper to park longer than two weeks.
Now, don’t be bummed about this since there’s a trick to extend your stay more than two weeks. When you are traveling with a spouse or another person, you can book spots in each of your names separately for a two-week consecutive stay at a single park.
It might be likely that you will have to move to a new site after the first two weeks. Make sure to be careful with this since parks do not allow this tactic.
The state and national parks rates are quite reasonable and usually play around $20 to $35 a night. Most of the parks now offer full hook-up, which is great since emptying your waste tanks at the dump station can be a hassle.
For those who can afford around $1,000 a month for campsite rental, state, and national parks is the best option for you. The cost can be less than half the original price for those who have senior or veteran passes. These types of RV parks are great in locations and will provide you the serenity that you will not find in regular RV parks.
You will have more time to explore nearby attractions, and they do not charge an extra fee for electric usage, which will provide you savings in the long run.
Memberships That Are Worth It to Consider
There are parks that offer memberships aside from the monthly, seasonal, or yearly rates. RV membership parks like Escapees and Thousand Trails are great to consider. However, there are a few advantages and disadvantages to the two memberships.
Escapees: Enjoy Discounts On Overnight RV Parks
Escapees have a big group of followers that pays $39.95 a year for membership. With the membership, you can enjoy different discounts on overnight RV park stays in many country parts. You can get a 15 to 50 percent discount at more than 800 partner RV parks throughout the United States.
When you are a full-time RVer, Escapees also have co-op parks where you can go for amazing deals. Some RVers purchase this membership because of this reason. It is the best way to snag a permanent spot wherever you want to stay.
Now, the main advantage of Escapees’ membership is they do not have many parks. The parks that they do have are not known to people or isolated park areas. However, if you find an Escapees location that you like, you can beat their prices with this membership!
Thousand Trails: Great One-time Investment
With Thousand Trails membership, you have to pay an initial $6,000 one-time investment for the new Elite package. They offer zone camping packages for around $500 a year. Here you can stay at a set number of campgrounds in one area of a particular country.
You may think that the prices may be too much. However, if you camp a lot, which you will be doing when you want to live in your RV, the average nightly cost overall will go down the more you use it. When you buy in, your stay at Thousand Trails park will be free as long as you pay your current monthly dues on time.
If you are planning to full-time RV for many years, the membership investment would be worth it. Let’s say you spend three to six months every year at Thousand Trails and other affiliated campgrounds; the membership price will be well well worth it.
Outside of their initial buy-in price, they would just pay under $800 a year for about 90 to 180 nights of camping, which would come out to about $4.50 to $8.88 a night. Imagine all the savings that you can get with this membership program!
Aside from that, they also have a wide range of upgrades and packages for purchase. You can also transfer and resell your membership when you want to end your camping days, which is another great way to recoup the initial investment you spent.
The main disadvantage of Thousand Trails membership is it’s becoming so popular that getting a reservation at a park your want can be hard to come by. With the sales of annual sites, RVers are left with fewer rentable campsites available. Also, when Encore Resorts bought out Thousand Trails, there have been complaints about the rudeness of park staff, the condition of sites, as well as enforcement of rules.
Things to Consider When Choosing RV Parks
The main factor that goes into the RV park cost is the length of stay, which I’ve mentioned above. The length of stay will have a big impact on your overall spending. A good rule of thumb that you need to follow is that the longer you stay, the better price you will get.
There are parks that charge seasonal rates for under $1,500 in the North, which will cover the entire spring and summer stay at the RV park. Seasonal up North usually covers the months from April or May to September or October, with opening and closing dates depending on the park. Seasonal in the south is usually from November or December to April or May.
If you stay in one location for longer periods, you can also save on the cost of fuel while being on the road. You will also save time spending on un-hooking and hooking up your rig.
You Need to Consider Your RV As Well
The size and model of your RV will be a factor in how much you will pay for your spot at the campsite. The charges will vary based on the type of site, back in or pull-thru, and whether your rig has no slides, singles slides, or slides on both sides. If you are not familiar with the pull-thru sites, this type of site will allow campers to enter the site on one and simply pull forward to park their RV for their stay. Then, all you need to do is simply pull out forward to exit.
Other campgrounds will also charge based on the size of your rig, where smaller sites are available at a lower charge than large sites.
Make Sure to Consider Your Location
The choice of your geographic location plays a big role in the price that you will pay for an RV park. The place where you will choose will depend on you and your individual requirements. You have to consider if you want to be close to your family or friends or close to work or the climate or if the price is the main factor.
Plenty of people choose the location for different reasons rather than the price itself. All you need to keep in mind is smaller towns will have lower rates while larger cities will have higher rates. Also, less touristy areas will be less expensive as well.
RVers Consider the Season
Now, if you are the type of RVer who is in favor of the weather, you are likely to be a snowbird or a sunbird. You are heading south to avoid the cold northern winters, or you will head to the North in the summer to avoid the scorching heat of the summer sun in the south.
If the season is why you choose where you park your rig, you will likely pay the premium season rates to stay in RV parks in desirable areas. Now, supply and demand dictate that the RV park in sunny Florida is going to cost more than in winter when everyone heads south.
The same thing will be true for the beautiful parks up north in the short summer season.
Additional Payments You Have to Consider
Here, I will discuss the different additional fees you will need to pay aside from the daily, monthly, or yearly rates. All of the following should be considered since you would have to consider these when you are budgeting your money.
The Electric You Will Use
As I’ve mentioned above, you will have to use electricity during your stay in the RV park. Most of the overnight or weekly stays will include the cost of the electricity. However, if you are planning on staying in the park monthly, seasonally, or annually, you will have to pay an additional cost for the use of electricity.
For Your Entertainment: Cable or Satellite
Some RV parks offer cable TV, and it can either be included in the rate provided or an extra cost. Satellite TV packages are a very popular choice among RVers since you can pay for a package and connect with the dish on your rig from wherever you may be.
Now, the cost would depend on what satellite supplier you may choose.
Internet: Great for Work or Catching Up With Family or Friends
Nowadays, most RV parks offer wireless internet right at your site or in designated areas. It will either come for free or with a fee. If you are uncomfortable using the public internet on site, you might want to think about getting an increased package for your cell phone data, which is another cost you have to think about.
Getting an upgrade for your mobile phone data can add up, especially if you like streaming Netflix or other streaming apps unless you have an unlimited plan. There are also some things that you need to take note of when it comes to the internet connection on some RV parks.
Since you are not the only one using the internet, there might be times when the speed might be slow, and it can be frustrating. Also, it’s not very secured to use public Wi-Fi, so it might be best to get your own data plan instead.
Propane or Fuel That You Will Use
Whenever you are hooked up in an RV park, the costs of your fuel will decrease. The reason for this is you are stationary and not moving about. If you are moving from one place to another, then the higher your fuel costs will be. With the fuel costs decrease, you can allot the money that you save on groceries, other travel plans, etc., instead.
Propane costs are technically pretty low even when you are using your fridge and stove on gas. However, once you are hooked up to electricity, you can set the setting of your fridge over to the electric setting. You are giving you a greater chance to save propane.
When you are on the road for too long, you would want to spend some time and rest. RV parks are the best way to go since they will provide serenity and adventure at the same time. However, you have to be careful about which RV park to choose because you can end up with a park that will cost too much. Being on the road will take a lot of budgeting, and knowing the cost of RV parks per month is the first step to make sure you have exceptional savings.