For folks thinking about RVing full-time, the expense of paying for places to park your vehicles is one of several factors to take into consideration before making that leap.

David and I dry-camped/boondocked quite a bit more in our third year of full-time RVing. We spent a majority of time in Southern California, Southern Utah, Central Idaho, and in Oregon. We stayed in private RV parks for 94 nights or 35%, stayed in public campgrounds for 77 nights or 28%, and dry-camped for 101 nights or 37%. We moves Stimpy 38 times during 2018. Our average stay this year was about 7 days per location. For info about where we had stayed, check out the Travel Maps page.

Our average nightly cost was decreased to about $18 in 2018, thanks to all those boondockings. Detailed costs for the past three years are in the table below. Although the reason for our boondocking has been more about being where we wanted to be and the experience than about saving money, not having to pay for those crowded RV parks is a welcomed benefit. With our lithium-solar system, we were as comfortable while dry-camping as being hooked up.

Some notes about the number above:

  • Monthly rates used in the calculation here includes paid electricity.
  • The dump station fees we paid while boondocking are included. However, in most cases we were able to hold off dumping until we arrived at the next site with hookups.
  • We don’t belong to any RV camping clubs. There are no additional expenses associated with maintaining memberships.
  • Cost of RV storage when we are out of the country isn’t included.

What about your RV parking expense? Where do you typically park your RV?

3 thoughts

  1. This is one of the expenses we didn’t anticipate being so high when we first started out. Since Mike is still working a corporate job full time, boondocking isn’t always practical for us (although we love doing it). We’ve found monthly campground fees are cheaper and we carefully watch our power consumption if electric is an added cost. We’ve also bought our Thousand Trails membership, which (to be completely honest) is a headache trying to reserve places and the properties aren’t always wonderful, but the “free” is nice on those occasions. Our goal this year is to optimize our boondocking capabilities (solar, lithium batteries, composting, and possibly a satellite internet service–we’re still researching) so we can do what we enjoy most more often.


    1. What we found this past year was that many of boondocking spots ironically had decent cellular reception, unlike state parks and national parks. We ended up being able to use cellular internet a lot of the time while avoided the crowd. I didn’t remember reading your post about composting toilet. Love to hear about your experience.

      Liked by 1 person

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