The Ultimate Guide to Affordable RV Living

The pandemic changed a lot of things for a lot of people, but it also opened up options like living in an RV. For people formerly tethered to a desk, the ability to work remotely means that they can show up from anywhere with a WiFi signal.

The promise of giving up your apartment or selling your home while prices are still good might sound great. Yet, the idea of RV living may not sound so appealing or you may worry about the actual costs.

If you’re on the fence, keep reading for our guide to affordable RV living.

Types of RVs

Before digging into the nuts and bolts of RV life, you should know about the different types of RVs. You can pick between five main types of RVs for full-time RV life:

  • Class A
  • Class B
  • Class C
  • Fifth wheel
  • Travel trailer

Each type comes with its own pros and cons.

Class A

The class As are the biggest of the RV options and often resemble a small city bus. They provide you with more space and opportunities for small luxuries. They are also the most expensive.

Class B

The class Bs are generally the smallest option that comes with its own engine. These typically look like oversized consumer vans. Oddly, the prices on class B RVs often rival those of class A RVs.

Expect fewer amenities and much less space in these. You will, however, save some on fuel costs.

Class C

The class Cs walk a middle path between the As and the Bs. They’re smaller than the As, which makes them easier to drive and park. Yet, they’re bigger than the Bs, which gives you more room and amenities.

Fifth Wheel

Fifth wheels enjoy a lot of popularity among full-time RVers. They offer a lot of room and stable towing. You can also disconnect them to use your vehicle for local travel.

On the downside, you need a vehicle with enough towing capacity to move it around.

Travel Trailer

Unlike a fifth wheel, which hangs over your truck bed, a travel trailer only hooks to your tow hitch. Again, you can get more storage and living space, as well as the ability to disconnect your vehicle.

While travel trailers and fifth wheels both vary in size, travel trailers are typically shorter. On the whole, travel trailers and fifth wheels are a little cheaper than class C RVs.

Buy Used

Buying a used RV is one of the easiest ways you can keep costs down with RV living. New RVs can cost more than $100,000 and some cost in excess of $300K. Since you can buy a house for those prices, trading up house life for RV life may not make sense.

If you buy used, though, you can save a bundle off the retail pricing. As with all purchases of used items, you should take some precautions.

Make sure you check all of the seals around any doors, windows, or external units, such as an AC unit. If they’re cracked, you probably want to take a pass, since there is a good chance there was some leaking in the past.

Also make sure you take a look at the water, gas, and other plumbing lines. Do they look well-maintained? Give the electrical system a once-over and ask to see it in operation.

Places to Live

One of the big questions for any new full-time RVer is where you find places to live. Sure, there are RV parks where you can set up shop for a while, but the park fees can add up fast. You didn’t give up your house or apartment to pay out even more than you were paying in rent, mortgage payments, and utilities.

Fortunately, there are a lot of strategies that can help keep your costs down.


There are several membership options out there that can help you cut costs, such as AAA. Even knocking 10 percent off the top can make a difference.

Some stores and restaurants will let you park in their lots overnight. Stores like Walmart and Cabela’s allow it. Cracker Barrel also has a fairly permissive policy on the subject.

State Park Pass

Many state parks will give you a sweetheart deal for a longer-term park pass. Just make sure you can get what you need in terms of hookups, WiFi reception, and parking. You should also make sure the park offers things to do when you get tired of being in your RV.


Do you have friends or family in another state or along your route? You can ask them for permission to park on their property for a day or a week, depending on how much they like you.

You can also find clubs that specialize in moochdocking, where you basically book a spot at someone’s residence the way you’d book a hotel room. Still, it’s a great way to cut costs.

Extended Stay

Many RV parks will give you a discount if you book for a week or a month. This is a good way to keep your costs down while still accessing things like RV hookups.

Remote Work

Unless you saved up ahead of time, you’ll probably want some source of income just to help out. There are lots of possibilities, including:

  • Freelance writing, programming, graphic design
  • E-Commerce
  • Blogging
  • Patreon
  • Remote bookkeeping
  • Remote admin/assistant positions

Not every remote opportunity works for everyone. Look for options that play to your strengths and skills.

RV Living and You

RV living can get very expensive or remain affordable, depending on your choices. If you buy a used RV, look for cheaper living options, and do some remote work on the side, it will prove more affordable.

You can also plan to spend time in states where the gas prices are lower to keep the fuel costs down.

At Pisgah Forest RV Park & Campground we maintain an RV park and campground for when you’re in the North Carolina area. We offer weekly and monthly discounts! For questions or booking, contact Pisgah Forest RV Park today.

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