A Vagabond Life is carefree and cheap, but it’s not free. You may be curious about our cost of living. This blog has it – at least the major expenses.
We tracked every penny since hitting the road and have compiled detailed monthly records. Our costs are divided between fixed and variable expenses. Fixed expenses are all the bills we can’t change such as insurance, truck lease payment, storage unit cost, etc. Variable expenses are those items that do change each month such as food, fuel, camp fees, entertainment, etc.
Realize that our cost isn’t what you might have if you decided to do this. We’re traveling as two adults and one dog and living out of a small 19-foot travel trailer. If we had a 35-foot rig our cost would naturally be higher. We’ve also found several ways to save. As a military retiree, I’m fortunate to have access to military RV parks and can shop on military bases. This tends to lower our overall cost. We also cook most meals at home and avoid glitzy local attractions. Books and movies are free through local libraries.
Before getting into the financials, here are some travel stats for Year 1 of the Vagabond Tour:
- 25,200 total miles traveled from August 2016 to July 2017
- Furthest west: Las Vegas, NV
- Furthest south: Hillsboro, FL
- Furthest east: Lubec, ME
- Furthest north: Great Pond, ME
- Longest continuous stop: 3 months in Tucson, AZ
- 349 nights camping (16 nights staying with family and friends)
- 321 average daily miles between overnight stops
- 100,000 – number of rest area visits so the dog can do his thing
- Number of new friends made on the road: Countless!
Here is a breakdown of annual expenses that were over $500 per year. First are fixed costs followed by variable costs. Our trailer was fully paid for so there was no expense recorded except for repairs. All figures are annual.
- Fixed: health insurance $12,168
- Fixed: truck lease, maintenance and insurance $5,076
- Fixed: life insurance $2,194
- Fixed: storage unit cost and insurance $1,932
- Fixed: phone and data $1,380
- Variable: food (including dining out) $8,960
- Variable: camping fees $8,472
- Variable: fuel (gas) $4,772
- Variable: gifts $1,990
- Variable: pet care $926
- Variable: repairs $790
- Variable: entertainment and entrance fees $690
In total, our Vagabond experience cost $48,799 during the first year of travel ($4,067 per month). The most expensive month was December due to Christmas gifts and airline travel cost.
That’s it! Are you ready to hit the road?