How Much Does it Cost to Drive an RV Across the Country?

Last updated on August 6th, 2021 at 03:21 pm. Originally published on August 13th, 2015

If you told me a year and a half ago that I would ever live full-time in an RV I would have probably thought you were crazy. Then, I would have been prompted to list several reasons why I couldn’t live and travel full-time in an RV.

  1. I don’t even know how much an RV costs.
  2. The only people I know who RV are my grandparents. I don’t know any other 23-year-old full-time travelers, with the exception of maybe some hippies traveling in VW vans (not that there’s anything wrong with VW vans or being a hippy).
  3. I work in software sales and don’t have any way to make money on the road.
  4. I have a bunch of student debt.

I probably could list more reasons if I tried, but the point is, a year and half ago living full-time on the road sounded like a crazy idea. But as of the past 14 months my wife and I have been doing exactly that.

We live, work, and travel full-time in our 1994 Coachmen Leprechaun. Not only have we been living in an RV for over a year, but we’ve now traveled to all 50 states (yes, we move around quite a bit).


One of the biggest surprises I’ve found when transitioning into full-time traveling in the past year is just how cheap you can make it happen. If you cut out excessive costs like eating out all the time and spending tons of money on entertainment and clothes, you can actually travel for quite a while on a small budget.

Budget travel isn’t really a sexy topic. But the fact is, most people can’t afford to up and travel for extended periods of time — it’s just not feasible. However, in today’s landscape of work and remote income it’s more possible than ever to travel full-time or go on extended trips while you are working. If you’re really crazy, you can even work a different job in every state like I did in 2014.

Before we started RVing, I was really intimidated about how much it was going to cost to travel to every state. I had no idea what it would cost to drive our rig to every state and didn’t feel like there was enough information out there available for the price of long term travel. 

So if you’re someone who would love to travel full-time or travel to all 50 states, I think the numbers I share in this post will definitely be helpful while you are planning your trip. Since my wife is an awesome accountant, she did a stellar job of keeping track of every dime we spent on the road in the past year. Below you can see the exact price it cost us to travel to every state.

Also, here is a picture of our RV route to the lower 48.

route (1)

How much it cost us to travel to 50 states:

  • Gas: $6,593.57
  • Lodging: $2,710.84
  • Groceries: $2,053.05
  • Gym Membership: $344.84
  • Phone Bill: $1,311.22
  • Eating Out: $512.88
  • Giving: $210
  • Maintenance: $1,955.72
  • Miscellaneous & Entertainment: $3,432.60
  • Alaska and Hawaii costs were $4,602.38

Total Cost – $23,727.10

We did work along our trip as well, which I plan on sharing more detail about in upcoming blog posts. If you want to learn more about how we were able to fund our initial 50 state of traveling or have created a remote income stream, sign up for my free course “How to see America on $2k/month” and join my community of full-time RVers who make money on the road.

But in the mean time, here are the numbers for how much we were able to earn during our 200 days on the road.

Other statistics:

  • Our average nightly cost for lodging was $13.55.
  • Our average daily cost on food for two people was $12.82.
  • The number of miles we covered to RV to 49 states was approximately 21,000 miles.

I no longer think it’s “crazy” to travel and live full-time in an RV on the road. Our initial 50 states of travel has now turned into a lifestyle of moving around the country and living in our RV (that we call Franklin). As it turns out, it doesn’t have to be the most expensive thing in the world to travel to all 50 states. While the total cost of $23,000 might sound intimidating, it’s really around $2k/month we spent while traveling. If you’re interested in learning more about how we saved AND earned money while on the road, you can download my free course here on how to see America on $2k/month.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to comment and share below!

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