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-   -   Have you ever wondered how much a Travel Trailer costs per use? (https://www.forestriverforums.com/forums/f2/have-you-ever-wondered-how-much-a-travel-trailer-costs-per-use-220411.html)

TitanMike 11-13-2020 12:49 PM

Have you ever wondered how much a Travel Trailer costs per use?
 
Was just thinking about how much a travel trailer might be costing the AVERAGE person per use.

Did some "research" (code name for "Googling") and found that the average life of a travel trailer is around 10 years. Of course this depends on how it's cared for and maintained but it was a stated average.

Let's say one spends ~$35,000 for a travel trailer and they fall into the "average" category. That means the annual cost is $3500 not counting any interest, maintenance, and storage costs.

On average the camping season lasts 6 months so that makes the cost per month $583.33 per month.

Now, how many ACTUAL months is the trailer used? If one week per month during those 6 months we now have a built in cost per trip of ~$580 Now add in the weekly cost for campsites.

Just pointing out that the more one uses their Travel Trailer the less it costs per use. The longer it just sits the more expensive it gets.

If anyone needs an excuse to go camping, this info may well provide one if you can't think of one yourself :campfire::signhavefun::trink39:

oxcamper 11-13-2020 01:22 PM

I used my TT as a apartment when I worked out of town for the last 5 years of my employment.

I stayed at a seasonal campground which had a rate of $1,800 per season (6 months). 5 years x $1,800 = $9,000.
I came home on weekends so with an average 30 day month and 4 weeks/month, I was using the TT 22 days / month; or 6months x 22 days x 5 years = 660 days of use.
Average electric cost was ~ $35.00 / month average. 6 months x 5 years x $35 = $1,50.
The TT cost me $22,000.

So, I figure:
$22,000
+$ 9,000
+$ 1,050
-------------
$32,050 for a total of 660 days of use

or $48.50 per day of use.

However since I had to pay for the space the entire month, I was actually paying for 30 days per month x 6 months x 5 years = 900 days of use . The costs above don't change, except the per day of use is actually
$32,050 /900 = $35.61 per days of use.

eye95 11-13-2020 01:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oxcamper (Post 2449985)
I used my TT as a apartment when I worked out of town for the last 5 years of my employment.

I stayed at a seasonal campground which had a rate of $1,800 per season (6 months). 5 years x $1,800 = $9,000.
I came home on weekends so with an average 30 day month and 4 weeks/month, I was using the TT 22 days / month; or 6months x 22 days x 5 years = 660 days of use.
Average electric cost was ~ $35.00 / month average. 6 months x 5 years x $35 = $1,50.
The TT cost me $22,000.

So, I figure:
$22,000
+$ 9,000
+$ 1,050
-------------
$32,050 for a total of 660 days of use

or $48.50 per day of use.

However since I had to pay for the space the entire month, I was actually paying for 30 days per month x 6 months x 5 years = 900 days of use . The costs above don't change, except the per day of use is actually
$32,050 /900 = $35.61 per days of use.

My camper is also an emergency home and a get-out-of-dodge-in-a-hurry-with-a-load-of-emergency-supplies device.

The primary reason I own one and go camping with it is to have the device and be well-practiced with it before something hits the fan.

The enjoyment provided by camping is secondary.

IMO, the need to get-out-of-dodge is becoming more and more probable.

U.S.ArmyVeteran 11-13-2020 01:48 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I went thru this exercise when we had our first camper and the first 2 years.

Our camping season is 12 months. So that helps. I wont bore you with all the math. But I used the number of total payments for those two years as a basis. Not the cost of the trailer. As it turns out we traded in the trailer and only "lost" $1000 in the deal after 2 years. We got a great deal on it originally.

Anyway, compared to travel expenses, hotel costs and kennel costs. It came out very close to the same thing. Not enough to make a difference. Except that Stella gets to come with us.

Your mileage will definitely vary. :D

Sarahcat 11-13-2020 02:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TitanMike (Post 2449968)
Was just thinking about how much a travel trailer might be costing the AVERAGE person per use.

Did some "research" (code name for "Googling") and found that the average life of a travel trailer is around 10 years. Of course this depends on how it's cared for and maintained but it was a stated average.

Let's say one spends ~$35,000 for a travel trailer and they fall into the "average" category. That means the annual cost is $3500 not counting any interest, maintenance, and storage costs.

On average the camping season lasts 6 months so that makes the cost per month $583.33 per month.

Now, how many ACTUAL months is the trailer used? If one week per month during those 6 months we now have a built in cost per trip of ~$580 Now add in the weekly cost for campsites.

Just pointing out that the more one uses their Travel Trailer the less it costs per use. The longer it just sits the more expensive it gets.

If anyone needs an excuse to go camping, this info may well provide one if you can't think of one yourself :campfire::signhavefun::trink39:

No. I have never done that and I don’t think I ever will. Good on you for doing those analyses, however. We are new to travel trailering and we just enjoy the changes of scenery! Priceless.

NMWildcat 11-13-2020 02:21 PM

RVing as a hobby is just like owning recreational horses. You continuously throw money at them for the pleasure of occasional use;). Definition of money pit.....

jkoenig24 11-13-2020 02:24 PM

No

sfsgm 11-13-2020 02:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NMWildcat (Post 2450019)
RVing as a hobby is just like owning recreational horses. You continuously throw money at them for the pleasure of occasional use;). Definition of money pit.....

Not al all unlike a boat, which by definition is a hole in the water you throw money into.

kawac14 11-13-2020 02:27 PM

In my experience, it's MUCH less expensive per use than a sailboat.

RamblerGuy 11-13-2020 02:32 PM

NEVER NEVER NEVER figure the cost of a toy. And especially never tell your wife how much it costs.

I saw a quote that is spot on:

"My greatest fear is that I will die and my wife will sell my (choose: camper/toys/tools/cars/motorcycles/racing parts/golf clubs) for what I told her they cost".

WanderMore 11-13-2020 02:40 PM

In this “new normal” of COVID-19: flying in a Corona can, staying in a hotel/motel of dubious cleanliness, eating take-out (no more fine dining) = pricey/deadly.

Staying in your own portable paradise with your own ‘stuff’ = Priceless

tomkatb 11-13-2020 02:53 PM

Did the math years ago.

Glamping is not cheaper than staying in second class motels and eating sort of cheap.

We eat and drink at a high level.

We sleep in the same bed every night. No bugs.

We use the same restroom every day.

We have a flexible schedule.

Mom sleeps in her own Lazy Boy recliner.

We like it this way better.

ProfChuck 11-13-2020 03:08 PM

We have done the same thing over the years. Camp vs Motel. Since we keep our trailers for a long time (usually about 10-20 years - last one 23 seasons) that part gets pretty well written off. We also camp in the same area year after year unless going on a "special" vacation trip. But, the gas to go and the campground fees to our regular area (about 300 miles away) have averaged out over the years to be that you have to camp more than two nights to break even when cost of gas to pull it up and campground fees are considered vs. car gas and motel. Plus you have to add the time to set up and strike camp. We eat out most of the time so, the meals didn't count in the figuring (however with the Virus, it saved a lot cooking in). A few years ago we remodeled our house and had to stay out in the trailer for the 6 months it was being remodeled. That changed the equation a lot. We have full hookups at the house and could stay in our driveway during construction and, therefore, didn't have to spend $2,000 a month on a place to stay. Also, since we store the TT in a barn with a concrete floor, the space vacated by the trailer (35ft. Windjammer) provided us a place to store our furniture which also had to be moved from the house and saved us about $1,200 a month for the storage. That meant a savings just on that one project of about $19,200 off the purchase price of the trailer (about $34,000). Now, with COVID, we are particularly glad for the trailer because we can still go on vacation and not have to eat out unless we want to (only ate out about 6 times the whole summer) and also can sleep in our own bed with our own surroundings that only we use. While we have always liked camping anyway, and cost has mostly evened out over the years, it has become especially important now. Our latest TT just finished its 8th season and is still is like new. As I tell people: The only reason I would not camp is if "I can't afford it" - translated: only take a motel is if it is impractical to take the TT and camp which usually is due to either a time constraint (business, etc.), or that you would have to drive more than 300 miles a day without a day in between (2 day break even), or, if we are going someplace where staying in the motel/resort is part of the vacation - like Disney - we love the resorts. Obviously, we love camping and being in our "own place." We can take the kids and grand kids without worry. Over the years (45 and counting) it has proven to be a great way to vacation, and while probably saving some money along the way, that hasn't been the primary reason we camp. We just prefer it.

jwfrede 11-13-2020 03:09 PM

I bought my trailer when I retired and did this calculation to compare it to the cost of hotel rental. I typically flew to a location, rented a car and hotel rooms and wanted to compare that to the cost of using a travel trailer.

So just the trailer numbers:

20k trailer, $2k of trailer supplies, assume resale at 10 yr of 4k, so $1800/yr

$800/yr maintenance(bearings, tires, inspection, insurance)

$2600/yr total

ave 80 day/yr use

so $33/day

Add in a campground fee and I may average $75/day, so it looks better than a hotel. Its a different lifestyle and a preferred choice, but I just wanted to check and make sure it wasn't way more than a hotel. So with that calc I can afford to pay twice as much for my next trailer since it will still be cheaper than a midrange hotel.:)


BTW I did a similar calc for the vehicle cost, made simple assumption that I sell the truck at 150k mi and the resale covers the repair costs-ballpark guess

So the $45k truck costs about $0.30/mi depreciation, add in cost of gas and oil and its maybe $0.45/mi to operate(I ignore insurance because I need the truck anyway for other purposes) so round to 50 cents/mi for easy estimates.

I also use the 50 cent per mile as a benchmark for determining whether or not to drive some extra miles to a store where I can save money on some purchase. So drive an extra 10 miles out and back and thats 10 bucks.

Of course, that 50 cent/mi applies to the Sunday drives too, but I tend to ignore that.

bedubya 11-13-2020 03:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NMWildcat (Post 2450019)
RVing as a hobby is just like owning recreational horses. You continuously throw money at them for the pleasure of occasional use;). Definition of money pit.....

X2
We have never given it a thought.
My wife is a germophobe (I think most of us are, now) so it's worth its weight in gold.

TitanMike 11-13-2020 03:31 PM

When I posted this ai wasn't at all thinking of a TT vs Hotel/Motel comparison.

The actual "trigger" that got me into this analysis was the number of people I know who have travel trailers and only use them a couple weekend per year with maybe a week or two as well. Lucky if they use them 30 days out of a year total.

My previous trailer was actually purchased to live in while having a house built and it paid for itself over the 6 months I lived in it. Adding lodging, food, and "comfort factor". It was a no-brainer.


I totally agree with those who say camping is a hobby and hang the cost. I have a hobby like that with more than the cost of a travel trailer invested in it.

Still, the more your toys are used, the less the cost per day is.

oxcamper 11-13-2020 03:57 PM

Yeah, I get it.
Though the main reason we bought the TT was cost of living.
I was working at the end of my career 250 miles from home.

Fortunately I have outlaws that live about the same distance from my work as the CG.
So I stayed with them in the off season. We looked at apartments, and even buying a second home for the short term,. but when we went to the Cleveland RV show in January of 2014, the light bulb went off - so to speak.
This was the answer.

Sooooo --- we have only gone on one trip with the TT to the Smokies, and that was in 2015. Otherwise, it stayed at the seasonal site.
Now I'm retired, I don't know what we're going to do with the TT. We have a small farm which makes it tough to get away and my previous job involved travel at 75-80% of the time. I'm happy right now to stay in my home, sleep in my bed, pet my dog, and drink coffee at the hay feeder with my cattle.

nomad297 11-13-2020 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TitanMike (Post 2449968)
Was just thinking about how much a travel trailer might be costing the AVERAGE person per use.

Did some "research" (code name for "Googling") and found that the average life of a travel trailer is around 10 years. Of course this depends on how it's cared for and maintained but it was a stated average.

Let's say one spends ~$35,000 for a travel trailer and they fall into the "average" category. That means the annual cost is $3500 not counting any interest, maintenance, and storage costs.

On average the camping season lasts 6 months so that makes the cost per month $583.33 per month.

Now, how many ACTUAL months is the trailer used? If one week per month during those 6 months we now have a built in cost per trip of ~$580 Now add in the weekly cost for campsites.

Just pointing out that the more one uses their Travel Trailer the less it costs per use. The longer it just sits the more expensive it gets.

If anyone needs an excuse to go camping, this info may well provide one if you can't think of one yourself :campfire::signhavefun::trink39:

Have you also done this considering the cost/depreciation, maintenance, insurance and fuel for the tow vehicle? That could get complicated if you use your tow vehicle for tasks other than pulling the travel trailer.

Bruce

oxcamper 11-13-2020 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomad297 (Post 2450105)
Have you also done this considering the cost/depreciation, maintenance, insurance and fuel for the tow vehicle? That could get complicated if you use your tow vehicle for tasks other than pulling the travel trailer.

Bruce

Well that would just make my head hurt!:D

Less is More 11-13-2020 04:11 PM

Yup, its not the cost that counts its the experience. PRICELESS!


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