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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 ‘traditional 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.

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Should 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.

To Hire or Buy a Motorhome for a European Road Trip
Is it cheaper to Hire or Buy a Motorhome for a long term 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.

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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 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

COST CATEGORIESMONTHLY COSTSYEARLY COSTS

LPG (Gas)

€40.00

480.00

Diesel & Ad Blu

400.004,800.00

Campsites/Parkings Overnight Stay Parking

430.005,160.00

Food and Alcohol

840.0010,080.00

Entertainment Tours, Museums, Admission costs etc

250.003,000.00

Phones (x2)

20.00240.00

Laundry

30.00360.00

Clothing

50.00600.00

Tolls

15.00180.00

Day Parking

20.00240.00

Transport – Trains & Bus

65.00780.00

TOTAL

2160.0025,920.00


Budget Points to Consider

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

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

And last but not least, ongoing expenses to maintain assets like a permanent residence and insurances have not been taken into account. If you have these, you will need to add these 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.

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Becoming a Full Timer

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.

Find out how we become a Full Time Travel Family.

What do you think?  Can you afford to be a full time Motorhome Living Family/Single/Couple?  Leave a comment and let me know.  

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Author

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

8 Comments

  1. Two friends of mine are touring Australia in a van right now and it looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for breaking down the costs!

    • Australia is practically the size of Europe, so they will be at it for a while. It’s a fabulous way to see the world.

  2. Such I great way of traveling, yet I have never tried it. It basically very simple life with great memories.

    • Hi Unta
      It is a simple life. That’s a great way to explain it. It’s such a cheap alterative way to explore, you should try it.

  3. Renata - www.byemyself.com Reply

    This is such a helpful post since one can save so much money travelling this way. Great tips – I only would need a chauffeur since I’m not driving 😉

    • It’s a great way to see the less touristy places in a country. Motorhome allows you to explore in your own time which I ❤️, but yes, you might need a Chauffeur to drive you.

    • Hi Jenny, it really is a fabulous way to travel, you see so much more of the surrounding (non-touristy) areas of a country by travelling in a Motorhome. For families it works out very cost effective. Let me know if you need any further info. Happy to share the knowledge.

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