The exciting time in my life has rolled around again! 6 months have passed (can you believe it?) since we put our boat Sundowner on the hard in Panama and flew back to the United States to take advantage of the low gas prices and do an RV tour of North America. Now I’ve compiled all of the numbers and want to compare our monthly RV costs to our monthly sailing costs.
I track all of our expenses on my phone with a free app called “Spending Tracker“.
I tried to pick a variety of categories that would encompass anything we could spend money on and plan to keep these the same throughout the trip. They are sorted in a more logical order based on type instead of just alphabetically. I have added a few examples for each one to help give an idea of what is included:
- Alcohol – bars, grocery bought and sometimes restaurants if a large percentage
- Eating Out – restaurants
- Grocery – food or household items
- Books – kindle unlimited, ebooks, physical books
- Entertainment – tours, park entrance fees, horseback riding, movies
- Gifts – presents for family and friends
- Tobacco – Tate’s pipe tobacco and accessories
- Water Sports – snorkel gear, spearfishing gear, wetsuits
- Video/Communication – Upload costs, equipment, Delorme InReach, internet, phone, postcards, blog hosting
- General – miscellaneous items for household
- Laundry – pay laundry service on shore
- Medical – doctor’s visits, dentist, medicine
- Travel – taxi’s, buses, ferries, planes, cars, hotels
- Marina/Anchoring – marina fees, mooring fees, dinghy docks
- RV park/fees – Insurance, entrance fees, nightly fees, parking
- Maintenance – RV upkeep, boat products, parts, labor fees, boatyards
- Fuel – diesel, gasoline, propane
I’ve separated costs such as Boat storage, RV and motorcycle purchase, and the heavy refit and one off costs for the RV and motorcycle since these things are highly subjective and will vary from person to person. We don’t include our boat cost or refit in our monthly cruising costs either. The Subtotal 1 costs are what I consider “true living costs”.
- Boat storage – Cost to keep the boat in Panama out of the water
- RV purchase – Total cost including taxes, title and registration
- RV refit – Upgrades like new tires, solar panels, led lights and one offs like the Brake repair
- Moto purchase – Total cost (trailer) including taxes, title and registration
- Moto Refit – Upgrades like 2 new tires
RV vs Sailing monthly cost comparison
6 months RV living costs:
$10,060 (average of $1,676 a month)
6 months Sailing living costs:
$10,891 (average of $1,815 a month)
Now there is still the RV purchase/refit and the motorcycle purchase/refit which totals to $25,227 but we plan to sell everything (RV, motorcycle and trailer) this fall when we head back to the boat.
I’m actually REALLY surprised that our RV living costs are cheaper than our sailing costs, though not by much. At the end of the day after we sell everything I think we will have spent just as much as we would have on the boat (which was the plan all along:)
One of the things we had hoped for and also have found to be true is that there are TONS of free and beautiful places to park in the country. TO DATE WE HAVEN’T PAID FOR A SINGLE NIGHT STAY ANYWHERE ALONG THE TRIP. We have stayed legally at no cost in the National Forests, Bureau of Land Management areas, Boondockers Welcome houses, Walmart and Truck Stops (only a week total), and also Blog/Vlog followers property. It’s been enlightening and we are now challenging ourselves to never pay for parking through the end of the trip. We’ll see how it goes.
See below for the tables for our 6 month RV costs and then below that for our 2015 sailing costs. If you want more info please see our COST PAGE as well as our post (linked below) back in January where we discuss in detail our reasons for leaving the boat for a year.
DETAILS OF THE BIG CHANGE.
2016 RV ACROSS NORTH AMERICA COSTS
January through June 2016
States visited: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington
2015 SAILING THE CARIBBEAN COSTS
January through December 2015
Ports: Key West, Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, Panama
Why do we spend the money for these things? Check out some of these memories from along the way:
Blueridge Parkway NC.
Devil’s Whip in NC with my Uncle.
Mount Rushmore, a classic.
The Black Hills.
Glacier National Park.
Holland Lake and Montana.
National Forests in Washington
Sailing in Tacoma.