You may be interested in a change of lifestyle to an RV park as a permanent or semi-permanent plan. RV parks come in different shapes and sizes, with budget flexibility that can be outright expensive compared to the more affordable RV parks.
Whether your stay is seasonal, monthly, or annual, some research will come in handy to plan a budget effectively. With a detailed guide, here are some of the frequently asked questions and an all-round presentation in terms of cost to give you a comfortable time while making your decision.
Best Budget-Friendly Stays in an RV Park
The best tactic is to find the kind of parks that allow monthly, yearly, or seasonal rates. Unless you are wealthy and looking to splurge your money, cost-effective techniques will always give you a more wholesome experience. The rates discussed in this article include amenities such as sewage and water.
If you are the exploring type of RV enthusiast who enjoys moving around the country, then a monthly rate would effectively stretch your budget, and at the same time, offer enough time for in-depth exploration of each area of interest.
For the more seasonal RV enthusiasts, who enjoy extreme weather or follow seasonal events, then seasonal rates will offer the best experience while keeping it affordable all the way. However, for the cheapest rates for an RV park, a yearly rate provides the best offers and incentives.
If you were paying a daily rate, then the price would shoot up by about half or a third of what it would cost for a monthly rate. A third or a half of the daily RV parks rate translates to many dollars if you put it in perspective. If you stay at a typical RV park that charges roughly $60 a night for a month, and $700 a month with additional electric charges of up to $100 depending on consumption, it means the monthly payment would range up to $1000 a month.
The more the number of months you stay, the more the incentives and the cheaper the rates. Most RV parks will give a more substantial discount for seasonal RV park residents who mostly remain between three and six months. However, the electric and cable charges will often be separate from the site charges
Compared to other rates, the annual rates are a steal. If you are going to be around for a year or so, then an annual rate will cut your otherwise Daily Park spending by more than a half. RV parks will charge you as little as 700$ on a yearly rate while charging as high as 90$ for a nightly rate. However, most parks give separate bills for electricity and cable. There is an additional expectation for most RV parks where the RV park owners expect individual neatness and maintenance as per the RV park rules. Although most RV parks will take part in maintaining the larger park, personal spaces are left for the individual owners to manage and keep up to standards.
However, due to tenancy laws in different states, some RV parks do not offer yearly rates and may refuse to do the same due to the high demand for daily residents in their RV parks. An RV park that has fully packed nights will rarely offer longer stays due to the opportunity of making huge returns from daily residents.
RV parks that do not receive visitors regularly are more likely to offer longer durations for residents. It makes more financial sense to provide longer periods in an RV park rather than insisting on daily residents who do not turn up. It is better to have a long-term resident at cheaper rates, which cover up for all that time the park remains empty.
However, most parks never offer long-term residence due to a habit or attitude mostly associated with long-term residents. Residents staying in an RV park for longer durations of time often acquire bad attitudes towards daily residents who may be having some fun during the night when the long-term residents want to catch a wink or two. This is mostly associated with yearlong residents, who are mostly working and hate the disturbance. However, as the yearlong residents have their rights, so do the daily residents and RV campsites are known to be fun places where everyone can enjoy himself or herself.
State and National Parks
State and national parks only offer discounts to senior citizens and veterans. However, the maximum allowed time to park in the state and national parks is usually two weeks. Most states and national parks charge around $25-35 a night with an option for a monthly rate of around $1000 with discounts amounting to half of that for veterans and senior citizens. With state and national parks, mostly electric and cable charges are separate from the park fees; however, the serenity and views they offer are worth it for every RV enthusiast. Additionally, they provide more in terms of exploration.
In the case of state and national parks where the maximum allowed time at the par is two weeks, a cheekier way to get a month go by is to register both your spouse and yourself separately, thus both of you get two weeks at the park making a comfortable month. You can use the same style if you have more members that are eligible within your crew and can take longer before the management discovers you.
Most people overlook just how much affordability a motorhome and staying in one area for a long time hold. The amount you will save on gas, from moving from place to place with a motorhome tagging on your car, is tremendous. Besides, by having a permanent place, you leave your motorhome, increasing the flexibility of your exploration; as you will increase mobility with a lesser weight to tow, in turn, increase the overall experience.
Considerations for Living in RV Parking
You cannot compare people who are living debt-free and those with financial commitments. If you are considering living in an RV park, then a closer look at your budget will be of utmost importance. Do not get me wrong. I constantly encourage anyone and everyone to take some time off and explore the country; do not let the tourists have a better experience in your country than yourself. However, RV parks and RV payments will both cut deep into your budget and add to other financial commitments one might have such as car and house payments or loans that need servicing. A smaller duration of RV explorations would be better compared to longer stays.
Price Ranges in Different Places and Different Times of the Year
Price ranges apply mostly to seasonal and yearly RV enthusiasts, who like to go out for longer periods. Most RV enthusiasts will go for warmer temperatures during the winter periods and cooler temperatures during the warmer periods; this means that most RV parks adjust their prices accordingly to get maximum profits.
For the more adventurous and looking for a good time on the shores of Lake Michigan, the cost of monthly residency will be roughly $900 a month with a reduced price of $615 if you commit to staying for five months or more. If you are thinking about staying around fort Meyers, Florida, or Key West during the winter, then the expected price range will be between $2000-3000 a month.
At the same time, around Bay View in San Diego, California, the price range will be roughly $1500 a month between September and May. If you are ready to go inland, then most parks will charge between $4000 and $7000 a month all-year-round with extra discounts for residents staying longer than a month. The variable charges for different places mean we cannot ascertain a specific price for all RV parks, and so it will be essential to check for particular charges for each RV Park in their sites.
Always book if you are planning to stay at a popular destination, as most RV parks work on a first-come, first-served basis and give priority to seasonal guests who stay longer.
Escapees and Thousand Trails Membership
Escapees are one of the oldest and maybe the largest RV membership organizations all over the world. They provide their members with a support network independent of their RV types or style and help members share their knowledge of travel and exploration, providing a supportive community for members. On the other hand, a thousand trails are a network of RV resorts and campgrounds in North America and have over 80 locations in 22 states. They provide resort-style amenities combined with fun-filled activities for their members all year round.
Escapees’ members have to pay a $36 fee every year for their membership, which allows them to enjoy escapee’s member bonuses from different areas across the country. Between Florida and Washington state, there are around 18 different escapees’ parks, where escapee members will get anywhere between 15-50% discounts at partner RV parks.
For long-term members, escapee co-op parks provide the best discounts if you are an escapee member. For example, escapee members get a $360 per month charge at any of the Alabama rainbow parks for a long-term stay. In case you are interested in a lifetime purchase, an escapee member will snag a spot for life at roughly $12000 at their pah-rump Nevada spot. However, a disappointing thing about the escapee group is the less number of parks they have around the country, if you find one, you will be amazed at the reasonability of their prices.
For the thousand trails membership fee, the charges require a one-time $6000 investment on the new elite package, with a $580 a year membership fee. Thousand trails membership also offers a $500 a year zone camping packages, where you can utilize several campgrounds in one area of the country.
The thousand-trail membership, although seemingly expensive compared to the escapees’ membership, has a package designed for those who are often camping and on their RV as the prices are significantly low if you look at it from day to day basis in comparison to other offers. Additionally, once you buy in, your stay at thousand trails parks will be free as long as you are within your monthly dues. Outside the initial buying in cost to thousand trails, the expense for saying at their parks is roughly $800 for 90-180 nights, which translates to approximately $4.50-8.00 a night!
A thousand trails also allow members to sell their membership once their camping days come to an end, which provides for recouping some of the initial buy-in cost if needed.
Extra Necessities for a Perfect RV Experience
For a great RV experience, here are some of the basic things that will prove useful for your day-to-day RV experience, whose cost you have to consider.
You may want to eat at restaurants or fast food joints, or maybe you plan to cook your meals, which is always cheaper and more fulfilling. Either way, you will have to budget adequately for food. You may be a crowd or a small number of people, dependent on this; you will have to plan effectively to save enough. Restaurants may prove expensive for a considerable number of people, and cooking may be more advantageous, whereas, for a lone camper, restaurants, and fast food joints may reduce the hassle, compared to cooking. It all depends on the circumstances and budget allocation for the RV adventure.
Most RVs come with propane, water heater, furnace stove, and a fridge. The cost of running the propane gas for an RV on average is around $25 a month.
Cellphones are a necessity for an RV enthusiast due to the movements around the country; everyone needs a way to stay connected to the rest of the world, or at least the family or loved ones. Cell phones come in handy, and adding cell phone expenditure will be an added advantage, as they can run up the cost from around $40 to-$300a month depending on the duration and frequency of use.
In the increasingly globalized world, the internet has become just as important as the phone. If you are a career person, then you will need the internet close to keep updated on all social media avenues, such as LinkedIn or emails. Most RV parks will charge the internet separate from the park charges, so it will be essential to budget for the internet separately. Most cable companies will hook up direct internet to your RV and charge you monthly. Some RV parks will offer free cable as part of the RV park charges, while others will charge separately for the cable. It will be essential to confirm cable charges with each RV Park before paying.
You will change clothes and, in turn, need to do some laundry. Some RVs come with a washer and drier while others do not. If you are part of the latter, then you will need to spend a bit of money for each laundry wash, which runs at roughly $4 for the RV park laundry, and maybe a bit cheaper at other laundry arts outside the RV park area.
Most parks will provide free electricity, as part of the park charges for shorter periods while they will install a meter on the power pedestal, which they will use to read your meter and charge you for the electric consumption every month.
Whether you are in an RV park for work or leisure, do not expect to stay in the RV daily without some form of entertainment aside from cable, as things are bound to get restless. It is, therefore, vital to ensure you at least budget for some entertainment. Plenty of entertainment joints offer free entry while others charge an entry fee. You may go to a dance club or have a fun day at the zoo; it all depends on availability and preference.
The cost of living in an RV coupled with the freedom of movement that comes with it makes it quite an affordable way of living for the more adventurous souls. Besides, compared to the cost of buying a home or an apartment, it is more affordable. The best way to enjoy the overall RV experience is to go to places you love and ensure you are aware of the cheaper parks to stretch your budget.
The overall cost in an RV park is $400-$1300 a month on all living expenses with the park fees attached. However, an escapee membership comes in handy for all the discounts you can get. Every case, however, is quite different, and what one person may spend may be different from what you will end up spending, but it would be a good idea to use it as a benchmark for your budget.
Apart from that, get your RV and have some great adventures, and be sure to share your experiences as you may stumble on something we do not know! Have fun!