Why Our Latest RV Road Trip Cost 3x More (and Was Worth It)

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aerial shot of rv and truck on side of road and rvlove in middle of road in texas

Despite best intentions, the cost of an RV road trip can often break the budget. And our latest journey from Tucson to Texas for the total solar eclipse was no exception. Spoiler Alert: this spring RV trip ended up costing us THREE times more than our recent winter adventure. But, it was also worth it! In this article, we dive into the juicy details and stats: sharing the campgrounds we stayed at, miles we covered, our fuel expenses, and the average daily cost of each trip. 

Come along for the ride, see our travel highlights, and be prepared to be surprised by the different ways RV camping styles and pace can impact your wallet! Read to the end to learn some of our top tips for RV travel and saving money.

See more from our related social media videos and posts

We posted about this trip daily on social media – sharing reels, stories, and photos of where we stopped, where we stayed, and what we saw along the way. Our top highlights were witnessing the total solar eclipse, visiting Big Bend National / State Parks in Texas, and staying at some great RV parks and Harvest Hosts in New Mexico and Colorado. You’ll find those on our Facebook and Instagram. 

Now, let’s dive into the article!

marc julie and sunny riding in the truck

Trip Destination and Travel Dates

This “Tucson to Texas” RV trip is actually the second leg of our big 5-month RV road trip. We broke the trip into two – winter and spring – as each journey showcases very different travel styles, pace and expense. And that’s the focus of this post. 

For context, part one of our winter RV road trip began when we left Colorado on December 4th, 2023 and wrapped up in Tucson, AZ on March 27th. We spent 111 days in southern California and Arizona. You can get ALL the details of our Arizona winter RV trip and costs here. It makes for an interesting comparison! 

Part two of our RV road trip began in spring when we left Tucson, Arizona on March 27th, and headed east to Texas in search of “totality” and the total solar eclipse. This trip ended when we returned home to Colorado on May 2nd. We drove almost the same number of miles, but in about a third of the time. And yep, we sure paid for that! But being a destination adventure trip, we had a lot of fun, too. We’ll sprinkle in photos from this adventure amidst travel stats and money saving tips.

driving tucson saguaro national park

We visited Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona the day before heading to Texas

What were our RV trip budgets and goals?

We didn’t really set a specific budget amount for either trip. But our winter goal was to travel slowly, and as inexpensively as possible. As you’ll see in this post, mission was accomplished, and even better than we imagined!

On the other hand, our spring RV trip goal was to witness the total solar eclipse in Texas… and also visit Big Bend National Park for the first time. We knew this trip would cost quite a bit more – both for RV camping and fuel – and were fine with that. It was a conscious choice! We stayed mindful of costs, without making it our #1 priority. We made a few reservations in advance (for the eclipse), but most RV stays were booked ‘on the fly’ during our travels. 

Upon returning home, we added up our expenses, and while the final spring tally was a shock compared to winter (ahem, 3X) we wouldn’t change it for anything! 

Buckle up for the details – and the learnings – as we share notes from both legs of our five month RV road trip and see exactly where those spring expenses blew out.

marc and julie wearing eclipse glasses pointing at sky by fifth wheel

The #1 goal of this spring trip was to see the total solar eclipse in Texas: totality or bust!

How travel style and pace can make all the difference

Both of these RV trips were in the same RV and within the same year. However, for our spring trip, we stayed in different types of RV parks AND traveled at a much faster pace. These differences added up substantially!

There are many variables that can impact your RV lifestyle, in terms of preferred travel style and costs. But the beauty of RV life is also that you can design it to fit your own preferences. Your choices will depend on your personal goals, budget, and desired experiences.

Marc filling truck with fuel towing Tandara

Traveling at a faster pace also means having to fill the gas tank more frequently

As you follow along, pay attention to how much travel style and pace impacted our RV expenses and adventures. This is essential when budgeting for your own RV lifestyle. Understanding the many variables allows you to adjust them to meet your personal travel and financial goals.

Remember, there’s no one way, right way, or wrong way to RV – just what works best for you. This was our approach, and it worked out great for us.

PS. You can also keep up with our RV living, tips, and travels via our email updates and social media on Facebook and Instagram

pen road white truck hood scenic rocky mountains ahead
RV Trip Wizard route for second part of trip 2

Our RV Trip Wizard travel route for our spring RV trip to see the total solar eclipse

Overview of Our Tucson to Texas Spring RV Trip

Here’s the route our 2024 spring RV road trip which we alternately call ‘part two’, the ‘Tucson to Texas’ trip or ‘solar eclipse adventure’. 

To offer a quick snapshot, we stayed at 10 locations over 36 days. This was a MUCH faster travel pace than our slow and relaxing Arizona winter trip. Which resulted in huge increases in camping and fuel costs, so let’s dig deeper into the details.

truck and fifth wheel parked on road outside of. terlingua tx

How many miles did we drive?

Let’s start with distance. For our spring solar eclipse RV road trip, we drove 2,900 miles in only 36 days. Around 2,300 of those miles were towing the RV, which is a significantly higher percentage compared to our winter trip. Naturally, this led to a lower average fuel economy for the truck and, consequently, a higher fuel cost.

rvs parked at voyager rv resort tucson tx

We departed from Voyager RV Resort in Tucson, AZ where we stayed for two weeks at no nightly fee, thanks to our Thousand Trails membership

Spring RV Road Trip Stats

Here are stats from our total solar eclipse Texas trip and return home to Colorado: 

  • States visited: 3 (NM, TX, CO)
  • Miles traveled: 2,900 (2,300 towing the RV; 600 miles exploring in the truck)
  • Average miles per gallon: 7
  • Nights stayed: 36 – a combination of private RV parks, city park, and Harvest Hosts. We stayed at NO Thousand Trails parks, as they weren’t on our route.
  • How long spent in each state: 12 nights in New Mexico, 11 nights in Texas, 13 nights in Colorado.
By comparison, during our winter RV trip we drove 3,200 miles (1,600 towing the RV) and averaged 9 miles per gallon with the truck, visiting 4 states, over 111 nights.
marc smiles and drives with sunny pup in back smiling

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rv parked on side of road by welcome to marfa tx sign

We spent one night in Marfa, Texas on our way to Big Bend National Park 

Where did we stay?

Here’s a summary of the kinds of places we stayed during our spring RV trip. We spent 12 nights in New Mexico, 11 nights in Texas, and 13 nights in Colorado and mixed up our travel style, as follows:

  • Private RV Parks (32 nights): Marfa, TX; Terlingua, TX near Big Bend National Park; Del Rio, TX (for the total solar eclipse); Lakewood, NM; Santa Fe, NM; Monument, CO and Grand Junction, CO.
  • City Park (1 night): Golden, CO.
  • Boondocking (3 nights): Harvest Hosts one in New Mexico; one in Colorado.

Read on for more detail on these RV camping stays, cost, and a brief description. 

rvs parked in parking lot by winery in las cruces with organ mountains behind at dusk

10/10 recommend this Harvest Hosts winery location in Las Cruces, NM

Our Itinerary and Camping Costs

Here’s where we stayed, for how long, what they cost, and a very brief overview.

Days 1-2: Las Cruces, New Mexico. We spent 2 nights at this lovely Harvests Hosts location. Rio Grande Winery has it all – food trucks, wine, pickle ball courts, fire pits, live music, good vibes, friendly folk and scenic views! These made for a wonderful visit, where we caught up with our friend RV Juliet and her pup Junie. We paid NO nightly fee, thanks to our Harvest Hosts camping membership. Of course, we supported our host, purchasing a wine tasting, drinks, and food truck dinners.
You can use this special link to SAVE when you join Harvest Hosts.

Day 3: Marfa, Texas. We rolled into town just before sunset, only to find our preferred campground Tumble In RV Park (below) was full. After calling around the limited options available, we snagged the last campsite in town, at Marfa Overnight Trailer Park which was… as you might expect, hence no photo. Our electrical post wasn’t working, so the manager allowed us to connect a 110v 15 amp cord from another occupied site. This sufficed for our needs, and they only charged us $20 (instead of $40). 

pink sky dusk shot of truck and fifth wheel by vintage camper check in office at Tumble In Marfa TX

Cute vintage self-check-in camper at Tumble Inn, Marfa, TX 

Love Marfa store funny postcards marfa tx

These postcards from the Love, Marfa store sum up the town pretty well

rvs parked at Paisano Village RV Park and Inn at Terlingua TX

Terlingua, TX was a great base for exploring the Big Bend area. We RV camped for a week with our friends who rented a Class A motorhome from RVshare

Days 4-10: Terlingua, Texas. We spent one week at Paisano Village RV Park and Inn (above) just outside of Big Bend National Park, and 77 miles from Big Bend State Park. It’s a convenient base for visiting both and a well-kept small family-owned park. It’s also scenic, with dark night skies, but can be VERY windy at times! We paid for 6 nights at $50 a night and got the 7th night free, which cost us $300. Our site was booked a year ago by our friends Mitch and Val of RV Lucky or What who invited us to join them for this solar eclipse road trip! But you wouldn’t normally need to book that far in advance.

Days 11-14: Del Rio, Texas. We spent 3 nights at the family-owned Hidden Valley RV Park. With few options in the area, this place was rustic but had decent reviews. So our friends booked two campsites 7 years ago, and generously offered one to us. We paid just $90 for the 3 nights which was a bargain, considering how many other places in the path of totality hiked up their rates for the eclipse. Despite a grey and rainy morning, the clouds parted at the last minute, and we all got to experience the darkness, wonder and awe of solar eclipse totality! It was incredible!

The campground was basic, but the location was ideal for viewing the total solar eclipse, and afterward, we celebrated with eclipse mimosas and a yummy cosmic feast!

Day 15: Lakewood, New Mexico. We left Texas for Santa Fe, NM and stopped for an overnight stay at SKP Ranch in Lakewood, NM. This is a friendly, and well-kept Escapees park that offers a discount to members. We paid about $22 for the night. 

Days 16–24: Sante Fe, New Mexico. After hearing many positive reviews about Santa Fe Skies RV Park in Santa Fe, NM, we finally experienced it for ourselves! We loved this RV park so much that we extended our 7-night reservation for an extra 2 nights. We stayed 9 nights, and with the “pay 6 nights, get 7th night free” deal, paid a total of $568, which averaged out at $63.11 a night (including tax). This beautifully cared-for park has scenic views over Santa Fe, snowcapped mountains, plus vintage vehicles and outdoor metal sculptures around the property. Definitely recommended!

Dark skies, scenic views, nice campsites, vintage farm equipment, and cool sculptures at Santa Fe Skies RV Park, NM

four goats smile up at camera at Johnson's Itty BItty farm in Colorado

We loved visiting the farm animals at this Harvest Hosts farm in Colorado

Day 25: Boone, Colorado. We stopped for one night at this Harvest Hosts location. Johnson’s Itty Bitty Farm is a family-owned farm and petting zoo. The family was so friendly, and we loved visiting the many animals – goats, alpacas, small cow, dogs, peacocks, turkeys, chickens, pigs and more! We happily paid $25 for a 50A electrical hookup as it was COLD that night, and also bought some items from their store. 

Days 26–32: Monument, Colorado. We arrived at Colorado Heights Camping Resort and got set up just hours before a big, unexpected snow storm came in! We stayed for a week, using credits we purchased through our Coast to Coast camping membership. We’ve never actually written about this membership, as we’ve barely used it! We bought it as a resale in 2020 just before the lockdown and hoped we’d use this more than we actually do. At best, it’s cost neutral. We use and save with our Thousand Trails membership WAY more. If you want to learn more you can call or email Kim Hoel at Campground Membership Outlet Ph: 800-272-0401. Ask her about the Coast to Coast membership she sold to RVLove. We’ll write a separate post about this membership (soonish).

Winter and spring collide in April as deer graze at Colorado Heights Camping Resort

truck and rv parked in campsite at clear creek rv park golden co

Short but sweet stay in this small county park in Golden, CO (above)

Day 33: Golden, Colorado. After years of trying unsuccessfully to book a stay at this well reviewed small county park, we finally secured a reservation at Clear Creek RV Park. It’s a fabulous, downtown location and we wish we could have spent more than one night. We visited family, walked the creek trail, and had a lovely lunch at Bridgewater Grill (the outside patio is dog-friendly). We paid just under $80 for one night of camping, which was expensive, but we really enjoyed it.

Days 34–36: Grand Junction, Colorado. For our last stay we spent 3 nights at the new Camp Eddy in Grand Junction. They offer RV sites, as well as Airstreams to rent, cabins and tiny homes. This is actually a great park, attractive, well laid out, and situated right on the river. It’s a convenient location to explore Grand Junction. We paid the “spring break getaway” price for the first 2 nights and full price for the 3rd night, for a total of $183 which averaged out at $61 a night. With great biking and walking trails plus a large dog park close by, we definitely recommend!

Camp Eddy in Grand Junction, CO is a very cool, fairly new RV park in a great location that has Airstreams, tiny homes and cabins to rent, too

tour people stand in between rvs arms outstretched outside of. big bend national park tx

Caravanning with RV friends in Teas for the total solar eclipse

 

A note about RV camping costs and advance reservations

Many campsites were over $60 per night, and these really added up compared to the winter leg of our trip. However, the majority of our camping fees were spent at just a few RV parks. We did save money by staying at Harvest Hosts, an Escapees park, and by using our Coast to Coast membership in Colorado, and our eclipse campground was inexpensive, too. We don’t include what we spent supporting Harvest Hosts. But we include pro-rated costs of our camping memberships below.

With the total solar eclipse being our destination, our camping reservation in Del Rio is the most advance reservation we’ve ever had, booked by our friends 7 years ago. But we saw some people show up to that park and snag a spot same day without reservations. Similarly, our Big Bend reservations in Terlingua were made a year prior (again by our friends – thanks Mitch and Val!). But most of our other reservations were made less than one week in advance, and some the same day.

white truck and rv parked by giant movie set display at sunset tree and blue sky clouds

Roadside stop by the Giant movie at Valentine, near Marfa, TX

view of santa elena canyon big bend national park

We recommend hiking Santa Elena Canyon early, when in Big Bend National Park, TX

What was our Travel Pace?

This trip was a much faster clip than our winter trip, traveling 2,900 miles and 2,300 of those towing the RV. We visited 10 locations in 36 days, which meant our average stay was 3.5 days per location, which can get a bit tiring after a while. 

By comparison, over the winter, we drove 3,200 miles and visited 4 states. We towed the RV for 1,600 of those miles with the remaining 1,600 miles driven for local exploration, errands, and visiting friends. By staying at 15 locations over 111 days, we averaged more than a week in every location. But we stayed at many campgrounds for two weeks, which was really nice and relaxing. We consider this to be more like everyday life at home (albeit on wheels and warmer), while our spring trip was more like being in vacation mode.

Hence the much faster pace of our spring RV trip was also much more expensive. Let’s break it all down.

scenic drive in Big Bend national park

Driving Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, in Big Bend National Park, TX

What Did It Cost: Fuel, RV Costs, Campgrounds?

Wondering what it all cost? Here’s the breakdown, by category. We share what we spent on Fuel, Repairs and Maintenance, and Campgrounds.

marc filling truck with fuel at loves

What was our Fuel Cost and Fuel Economy?

We drove 2,900 miles on our spring “solar eclipse trip”  and nearly 80% of those miles were towing. Our average fuel economy ended up around 7 miles per gallon. We spent $1,228 on fuel, an average of $34 per day (or about $1,024 per month). That is more than two-and-a-half times what we spent in part one, our winter trip! 

To recap, on our 111 day winter trip, we drove 3,200 miles, half of them towing the RV. Our truck gets between six and eleven miles per gallon depending on if we are towing or not, and terrain (eg. elevation). Since it was an equal amount of both, we used an average fuel economy of 9 miles per gallon for our winter trip (part 1). Our winter trip fuel expense was $1,433, for an average of about $387 per month or $12.90 per day.

Keep in mind, we also tend to drive between 55-65 mph for optimal fuel economy and safety.

Get more details of our RV winter trip to Arizona in this article

fueling up the truck again

Fueling up yet AGAIN! A common occurrence when we’re traveling at a faster pace

Consider this perspective on fuel costs…

Nobody likes spending a ton of money on fuel, but here’s an interesting comparison to give you some perspective. 

When we were full-time RVers traveling the country from 2014–2020, our monthly average fuel expenses were around $375, traveling 12 months each year. But keep in mind, full-time RVers don’t usually return to a home base. Our travels are mostly one-way. It can be surprise to many when they learn how much less we spent on fuel in our full-time RV travels, compared to our part time travels, because we need to drive back home.

Our bigger Class A motorhomes only averaged seven to eight miles per gallon. But, we did almost all of our exploring in our towed vehicles, averaging around 27mpg. About half of our annual miles were driven in the motorhome and half with our towed vehicle. This brought our overall average fuel economy down to 14 mpg.

Here’s another fun fact! When filling our truck in Colorado in April, 2024 we paid $3.50 per gallon (it’s less now at the time of writing). And guess what the fuel prices were in Colorado when we began our full time RV travels in June 2014? Yep, $3.50 a gallon! We’ve seen fuel prices go way up and way down over the years, but the fact remains, fuel just happens to be the same price one decade later. 

What’s the moral of the story?

Don’t let fuel prices stop you from traveling, just plan your trips to find ways to save on mileage and gas. Check out our articles below for our best tips on how to save! Hint… driving under 65mph is one of them!

Truck on lift getting new brakes

Our truck getting new brakes in New Mexico before hitting the Colorado mountains

What about RV Repairs and Maintenance Costs?

We usually look at these on an annualized basis, but so far, we are finding our truck and fifth wheel to be very reliable and low cost. An oil change and maintenance service in Las Cruces, NM cost $158. Later that month, while in Santa Fe, we incurred the first significant expense on our truck nine months after buying our Ford F250. In preparation for heading back into the mountains of Colorado, we dropped $1,264 on truck repairs and maintenance. That included changing fluid in the differentials and replacing the front brakes, rotors, and calipers. This was after 11,000 miles driven since we bought the truck in July 2023. 

While we are not including the repairs and maintenance costs in our overall totals in this post. It’s worth noting that obviously, a faster travel pace also means you’ll be spending more on repairs and maintenance (to your RV and/or tow vehicle) as you need to do it more often. You can check out more of our detailed RV repairs and maintenance articles below. These can be quite eye opening!

setting up campsite in Terlingua Texas

Our campsite at Paisano RV Park and Inn, Terlingua, TX

What did we spend on RV campsites?

If you read our winter RV trip article sharing those stats and costs, you would have seen we paid a total of $655 for 111 nights of camping fees. That’s an amazing average of just $5.90 per night! And equates to about $177 per month, which is pretty hard to beat, especially when you consider it includes utilities!

By comparison, during our spring eclipse RV trip we paid $1,320 for 36 nights of camping. This is a much higher average of $37 per night, and more than SIX times the average nightly cost compared to our winter RV trip!

But why? Hands down, the biggest factor in our winter trip savings was that we made the conscious decision to travel at slower pace which meant lower driving miles and fuel costs. But we also stayed in each place longer. But the most significant savings came from staying mostly at campgrounds within our Thousand Trails camping membership networkWe always knew our spring trip would cost us more, as there were NO Thousand Trails campgrounds on our route.

But this is just part of the bigger picture. We knew the money we saved on RV camping during our winter RV trip would significantly help subsidize the higher cost of our spring trip to see the solar eclipse. In fact, that’s how we look at our RV camping expenses year-round.

group of people wearing eclipse glasses staring up at sky in amazement for solar eclipse with rvs behind

Traveling thousands of miles and spending 3X – worth it to experience totality!

Note this does not include annual camping membership fees

It’s important to point out here that the camping fees above are just the total of our nightly camping fees. They do not factor in the annual dues we pay for our camping memberships with Thousand Trails; Harvest Hosts or Passport America. It also does not include what we paid for our Coast to Coast membership which we used to stay in Monument Colorado. We are also not including what we spent on meals, drinks, or other purchases at the Harvest Hosts location to support our hosts. That’s because we consider all of those to be variable food and entertainment costs, which we’d incur even if we weren’t traveling.

So let’s take a quick look at the full picture and the actual costs after pro-rating our camping membership annual dues, then adding that to our nightly camping fees.

evening at our campsite in terlingua texas

View from our campsite at Paisano RV Park and Inn, TX

Our nightly camping cost, including membership fees?

Currently, our Thousand Trails membership dues, including the Trails Collection, are $86 per month. Harvest Hosts annual membership is about $8 per month. Passport America membership is $44 for one year, for an average of $4 a month. Averaging out all of these camping membership fees across our 111-night winter trip is an average of $2.64 per night.

For context, our average nightly camping costs for our winter RV trip – including pro-rated camping membership fees – was $8.55. So let’s do the math comparison for our spring trip.

marc and julie smiling wearing eclipse glasses looking up at sky with truck and rv behind

Spring Solar Eclipse RV trip nightly camping costs?

Though we didn’t stay at any Thousand Trails parks on our spring eclipse RV trip, we will include our pro-rated costs of annual dues for all of our camping memberships. These tally up to just under $4 a night (rounded up for ease) for Thousand Trails, Passport America, Harvest Hosts, Escapees RV Club, and Coast to Coast. 

That means the total average RV camping costs of our Spring Solar Eclipse trip – including pro-rated membership fees – was around $41.00 per night. And that actually isn’t too bad, as it falls well within the range of average nightly camping fees nationally. But keep in mind that this is almost five times what we paid per night during our winter RV trip!

I guess we’ve gotten spoiled over the years, utilizing our camping memberships to keep our RV camping more affordable. It’s one of the ways we’ve been able to make this lifestyle sustainable for us a decade later – whether full time or part time.

marc and julie stand in front of rv pointing at a wad of cash

How we manage our RV camping costs

If you’re on a budget or fixed income, you can see how this faster travel pace and higher costs can quickly become unsustainable for extended travelers like us! That’s why the savings from our winter trip made our spring trip so much more affordable overall, even though we didn’t stay in any Thousand Trails campgrounds (which we try to do as often as possible).

We have seen nightly RV camping fees increase substantially since we began RVing in 2014. Sadly, it’s just not as affordable as it once was, especially since 2020. With RV parks and campgrounds being one of the biggest expenses of RV life, the more you can control those increases, the better off you’ll be. 

That’s why we value and talk about our Thousand Trails membership so much. When we began RVing over a decade ago, we had no idea how long we’d be doing it for. But it has turned out to be one of the best decisions we made. What we save subsidizes our other RV camping stays, and even allows us to splurge on upscale resorts from time to time, – guilt-free and without breaking the bank! We couldn’t have afforded to RV as much as we have without it.

Marc and Julie working poolside at Viewpoint RV resort

Relaxing / working by the pool in Arizona last winter

Is Thousand Trails really worth it?

This is going to be a very personal choice and decision for everyone. And you need to consider your budget, personal goals, and travel style. But we can share that from our own decade of RV and camping experience, it’s a big yes!

Since we bought our first membership in April 2014, we’ve stayed over 1,000 nights in Thousand Trails campgrounds. We did full-time RVing for over 6 years and have now done part time RV travel for almost 4 years. So we average about 100 nights a year. But we know many RVers who stay over 300 nights annually, and they save even more than us.

Even as part time RVers we save a lot, as we usually spend at least 2-3 months down south in the winter. We’ve done our research and often find that monthly rates at RV parks in the areas we like to stay can easily be $1,000+ per month, even $2,500 a month or much more. It depends on the location and quality of park.

sunset palm trees at voyager rv resort tucson

We hit 1,000 nights staying at Thousand Trails while at Voyager RV Resort in March

But it’s not just about saving money…

While we joined Thousand Trails to save money, we discovered another delightful benefit we didn’t expect.  And that is the friends we’ve made and the community we’ve built over the years, through meeting other members along our travels. We often reconnect at different parks along our journeys, especially in the winter when we all tend to hunker down in southern locations. This creates a sense of familiarity and connection, and we now consider many of them to be our ‘road family’.

Do your homework and crunch the numbers to see if Thousand Trails makes sense for your travel style and budget. As we always say, it works if you work it! 

Learn more in this related, in-depth article: Is Thousand Trails Worth it? Our comprehensive review after more than 10 years and 1,000 nights 

marc julie val and mitch smiling at big bend ranch state park tx

Exploring Big Bend Ranch State Park with our RV friends Mitch and Val

Huge Sale and 0% financing deals happening now

Thousand Trails is currently running a huge 55th anniversary sale plus 0% interest-free financing offers for a limited time. Find out how you can save on RV camping and access their latest specials, by completing the form below. You can also learn more in our many blog posts about Thousand Trails, found here

New TT Memberships (Pat and Joanna)

YES, Please send me info on Thousand Trails memberships and the 55th Anniversary Special Offers

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New pool area at Viewpoint RV Resort from upper balcony

One of the pool areas at Viewpoint RV and Golf Resort – we stayed 2 weeks this winter

Spring Eclipse RV Trip Highlights

Of course, it’s not ALL how about much you spend and how much you save. The experiences you have and and memories you create will stay with you forever. Below are the some of our favorite experiences from our spring RV trip, in no particular order.

Then we’ll wrap up with the grand total of our spring RV adventure, and our average daily cost.

aerial shot of rv and truck on side of road and rvlove in middle of road in texas

Driving new scenic roads, quiet enough to stand in the middle and snap a dronie!

4 people and dog by NASA capsule and butte at big bend ranch state park

Driving Las Burras 4WD Loop and finding the NASA capsule 😉 in Big Bend State Park, TX

marc and sunny at entrance of scenic closed canyon big bend ranch state park TX

Hiking the Closed Canyon at Big Bend Ranch State Park, TX

truck parked by scenic lookout at big bend ranch state park

Driving the scenic River Road FM170 through Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

marc stands looking out to santa elena canyon view at big big national park tx

Hiking Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, TX

group of people wearing eclipse glasses staring up at sky in amazement for solar eclipse with rvs behind

Experiencing solar eclipse totality, again, with RV friends!

marc julie and sunny crouch down smiling at secnic overlook big bend ranch state park tx

Hiking together as a family

happy hour feast prosecco and heavy apps served in rv

Making yummy spreads feasts in our RV kitchen to share with friends

marc and julie jump in air at garden of the gods with blix bikes

E-biking around Garden of the Gods RV park in Colorado Springs

Polaris Slingshot with our RV

Doing a Polaris Slingshot Adventure! More pix and details coming in a separate post

Average Total Nightly Cost of Our Spring RV Trip

Let’s now calculate the total cost of our spring solar eclipse RV trip, including fuel and campgrounds. We divided this by 36 to get the daily average for each category, then totaled, rounding up to the nearest dollar.

Our total fuel and RV camping costs were $75 a day

When you add fuel at $1,224 and RV camping at $1,476, our 36-day spring eclipse road trip cost a grand total of $2,700. Our average daily fuel expense was $34, while our average daily camping fees were $41. 

So our total daily average for fuel and RV camping fees was $75 a day. Not bad for two of us (three if you also count the dog). But consider….

This is more than THREE TIMES the average cost of our winter RV trip, where we spent just $22 a day, which was $9 a day on RV camping, and $13 a day on fuel.

Of course, both trips had very different travel styles and goals. And these numbers do not include food or entertainment, which are highly personal, variable expenses. But remember, you’d also be spending money on food, entertainment, and fuel, even if you stayed home. But that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun, would it!? Life is meant to be lived!

side view of rv on side of curved road with mountain ahead

Roadside stop along Texas state highway 118 just outside of Terlingua

Marc Julie and Sunny at overlook near Big Bend

Weigh up the price of an RV vacation vs the RV lifestyle

If you’re going on vacation, $75 seems pretty inexpensive for two people. And for many, it is. But if you’re traveling living like this year-round – say as a full time RVer, or even an extended / seasonal RVer – the higher costs can really catch up with you.

Based on comparing our two trips, the difference was $53 per day MORE for our spring solar eclipse adventure than our winter trip. That equates to an additional $1,612 per month, OR $19,345 when annualized. And is presuming you continued to travel at the pace we did this spring (we’ve met many who travel even faster!). 

So when doing a budget on what you can and can’t afford in your RV life, we recommend looking at the bigger picture. Estimated your annualized expenses, then divide that by 12 for a monthly average, or divide by 365 for a daily average. And remember that’s JUST for camping and fuel.

marc and julie hiking in canyon

Hiking Closed Canyon in Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

But remember…

Of course, this isn’t the FULL picture. You also need to take into account the cost of RV ownership as well. Or, if you prefer, you can also rent an RV, like we did on this RV trip to Florida. Some RV resorts even have RVs, cabins, or tiny homes you can stay in, so you can still enjoy the amenities and benefits of the RV lifestyle! It’s great to have options!

As always, if you’re considering the RV lifestyle, do your research! Plan, put together a budget, and figure out creative ways to make your RV and travel dreams a reality.

We’ve got loads more articles and free resources here on our website. So feel free to browse and use the search tool, too. We’ve also included some of our most popular and useful posts at the bottom of this article.

We know this was a lot of information. But we hope that the detail we have shared in this report helps you budget, prepare, and plan your next RV road trip. And if you think this article, or any of the other posts we mentioned, would be helpful to a friend, please feel free to share!

Want to share your own RV road trip stats and costs?

Drop us a note in the comments. We’d love to see them, and so would our readers!

Keep up with us and our content

You can keep up with us on InstagramFacebook, Twitter, and through posts here on our website RVLove.com. We invite you to sign up for our regular email updates. And, of course, you’ll learn a ton more in our bestselling books: Living the RV Life: Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road and RV Hacks: 400+ Ways to Make Life on the Road Easier, Safer, and More Fun.

truck and fifth wheel parked on road outside of. big bend national park tx

Summary Recap and What's Next

We had a fantastic time on our extended five-month RV trip. We stayed warm over winter. Experiencing our second total solar eclipse was incredible! (You have 20 years to plan for the next one in North America). We loved reconnecting with friends and our RV community, and discovering new places to stay, eat and explore. We also avoided the Colorado winter, staying warm while exploring the southern states. Double-win! We hope you enjoyed following our journey and picked up some useful tips for planning and saving on your own RV adventures!

You can hop over to see where we stopped, where we stayed, and what we saw along the way, in the reels, stories and posts shared on our social media accounts, mainly Facebook and Instagram.

Until next time, happy travels!

Picture of Author Bio: Marc and Julie Bennett

Author Bio: Marc and Julie Bennett

Since 2014, Marc and Julie have been living, working, and traveling around North America in multiple RVs, sharing their experiences to help and inspire others. They love hiking, biking, and exploring with their pup Sunny. And co-authored two bestselling books "RV Hacks: 400+ Ways to Make Life on the Road Easier, Safer, and More Fun!" plus "Living the RV Life: Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road". They also run RVLove.com.

Links To Related Videos and Blog Posts

We have a ton of content related to this article. From campground reviews to more detailed blog posts on specific topics to deepen your learning, help you save money, avoid mistakes, and have more RV travel fun. Check them out!

Related blog posts:

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