I started thinking about how much it cost us to go on our two week vacation (which is really a stay-cation I guess seeing as we stay in our H.O.W.) and I must say, I got pretty excited. I mean excited in a good way. Not the Oh My God, we just dropped $5,000 on a seven-day, Disney, Universal, Sea World kind of way … like when the kids were little!
I know it seems obvious, but doing the boondocking thing and getting out into the open spaces isn’t just good for the soul, it’s good for the wallet too! I knew we were saving money but I was really surprised when I added up our expenses after our 13 day 1,444 mile journey.
As much as I’d love to say we didn’t spend a dime on overnight stays, I can’t. We did end up spending $10 to camp one night. We stayed at Big River Campground, which is part of the USDA Forest Service, located on the Deschutes River near Sunriver, Oregon. We were the only people in the campground so it was peaceful as well as picturesque, well worth the ten bucks.
Other than the $10 spent for one night at Big River Campground, we didn’t spend anything on overnights for the rest of our adventure. Holy cow! How cool is that?!? I’m sure I sound like a tight-wad but I’m not. I’m just really jazzed that we were able to travel so far without really spending
any a lot of money.
This past December we boondocked for a 14 day stretch in Quartzsite, AZ but that was different because we stayed in one place the entire time.
We did have other expenses I need to add into the equation. For instance, we used our generator pretty much every day to charge our laptops, phones, etc. while we were boondocking. Going through two small gas cans we spent $16.
We also used coolers for beverages instead of running our small electric refrigerator off the generator. The RV fridge/freezer works great on propane so we use it to keep our food at safe temperatures. Besides, I don’t mind wiping off a dripping soda can (okay, beer bottle) from the cooler, but I can’t stand pulling out sandwich meat, cheese, burgers, etc. dripping wet from a cooler. Yuck.
Our Grizzly 40 QT Heavy Duty Cooler (we have the 40 and 16 QT) work really well, so ice lasts at least four days. We bought ice three times during the trip. At an average of $2.00 a bag, and two bags per purchase, we spent $12 on ice.
The only other expense we had with regard to camper living was to dump and refill our black, gray and fresh water tanks. We only had to do this once during the trip at a cost of $10. (The sign said $6, but that’s another story.)
Other than gas, which I’ll address later, our biggest expense was groceries. I think one of the biggest perks of traveling with your RV is being able to make lunch on the fly as well as having a home-cooked meal when you arrive at your destination. Yes, going out to eat is nice once in a while, but we really like to cook together so when we boondocking we plan on eating in for the most part.
Living in the RV means our pantry is pretty much always stocked with staples, so the only purchases we needed to make were the usual stuff – milk, eggs, bread, sandwich meat, cheese, stuff for grilling/smoking, etc. Other than our shopping trip before we left ($147) we only went into town once to grab things to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, we spent $97.
Also, while in Bend, Oregon we just had to take a few hours to check out the Bend Ale Trail to get a couple of stamps in our Beer Traveler Passport. 😉 We were being responsible and only stopped at two breweries in town. Two beers plus tip came to $11 at each place, $22. Even though we didn’t have the time to visit every brewery on the Ale Trail (there are 14!) and get our little Silipint memento cup, we did find the Oregon Store and picked up two grown-up sized silicone cups to remember our all too brief visit to Beer Town USA – $28.
So all together we spent $342 for two weeks of R&R … that’s $26.31 a day! I think that’s flipping awesome!! 🙂
The breakdown –
- Camping Fees $10
- Ice $12
- Gas for Gen $16
- Ale Trail $22
- Souvenirs $28
- RV Dump $10
- Groceries $244
- TOTAL $342
Right about now I’m sure you’re asking, “What about those fuel costs Gypsy?”
Of course we do have a substantial fuel bill when traveling. For the most part everywhere we go we have the camper in tow which means our gas mileage is pretty bad (10 mpg). Because Mr. G usually gets paid mileage for travel to and from projects (It’s always from Connecticut to wherever the next job is, not where we happen to be, which is the biggest reason we haven’t changed our residency to S.D. yet.) we don’t usually add the fuel costs into our “vacation/travel” expenditures, like we do in our monthly expenses when we’re parked for work.
However, in the quest for full disclosure, I added up the gas receipts for the two weeks. $439.
Even with the fuel added to the other expenses the total cost was still only $781. I think that’s amazing!
I’ll say it again, doing the boondocking thing isn’t just about saving money. It’s about getting off the beaten path, seeing as much of this beautiful country as we can, and simply enjoying each other’s company in a stress-free back to basics way. Being able to do all that so inexpensively is certainly delicious icing on the cake!