Travelling is expensive!  Well, that the general consensus. But I’m here to dispose with that idea. What is the real cost of living in a van Full Time?  Is it really “Expensive” Like so many think?.  Like us, there are many families, singles and couples giving up a ‘normal’ ‘life’ in the suburbs to pursue their dreams of long term travel. 

We choose to live in a motorhome full time with our kids so we can pursue our goal of travel in a cost effective manner. Free camping where ever we can, living simply and frugally, exploring the best destinations in Europe.

You can do it too. I’m going to outline the costs of full time motorhome living in Europe. But this budget can be applied to life in a Tiny Home or Full time Living in an RV or stealth camper.

Ask yourself, Will I buy or hire a motorhome?

Changing your lifestyle and becoming a ‘vanlifer’ means you will want to purchase your van. It is totally un-economical to hire or rent a van, motorhome or RV for a lengthy time.

I know this, because we did the maths on buying a new/second hand van compared to the cost of hiring a van over a year long trip. There are lots of variables of course, but if you are going for a year or permanently it works out better for your back pocket to buy.

We can also send you a Free Guide on Buying a Motorhome in Europe as a Non-Resident.  This will give you all the info need to buy second hand or new in Europe and which countries are cheapest to purchase in.

Guide on how to buy a motorhome in Europe as a Non-Resident

Your van will be your biggest outlay and is not included in the following Monthly/Yearly Budget Breakdown.

Living in a Van Full Time

It doesn’t matter wether you are a family, couple or single, the ongoing expense categories will be the same. We all need to eat, park and adventure when travelling long term in a motorhome, however the total cost of each category will vary.

If you are not travelling, but are parked up permanently you can drop the travel related expenses from the budget.

Cost of Living in a Van Full time in Europe
How much does it really cost? Full time RV Living? Pic Credit: Stevepb

A quick disclaimer. We are a family of five and so these costs are based on a families living expenses and are given as a monthly and yearly estimates only.  These are our current average monthly expenses living full time in our motorhome in Europe.  We live in a Adria Coral XL format (5 seat belts, 6 berth) and use gas (LPG) for cooking and heating and we brought it new, so as yet we have not incurred any service/repairs costs. 

We cook most of our meals and only eat out occasionally, but our food costs include both eating out and grocery costs. Free camping and taking non-toll roads are what we aim for.

Budget – Monthly/Yearly Cost Breakdown



LPG (Gas)



Diesel & Ad Blu




Overnight stay parking



Food and Alcohol




Tours, Museums, Admission costs etc



Phones (x2)












Day Parking



Transport – Trains & Bus







If you buy a secondhand motorhome you will need to factor in servicing/repairs cost to your budget also.  

So now all you need to do is add that total to the outlay for your motorhome and you have the costing for your first year of travel through Europe living full time in your motorhome. Its not as expensive as you thought is it!

It is totally possible and you can do it too.

You might also be interested in our Guide to the 2018 Motorhome Accessories

Motorhome Accessories & RV must haves

We live simply. We have what we need and we do without what we might want, so we can afford to spend money on making memories that last forever.

Please note that ongoing expenses to maintain assets like a permanent residence and insurances have not been taken into account, so if you have these, you will need to add these to your budget also.

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Cost of Full Time RV living

So you want to live in a Motorhome full time but don't know if you can afford it.  Find the monthly and yearly cost estimates for full time motorhome living in Europe. #FulltimeRVLiving #VanLife #Motorhoming

Family Travel Blogger | Vlogger | Digital Nomad. Exploring the World, offering Advice & Tips on travel with kids, Travel Budget and Top Destinations

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