How Much Does it Cost to Travel? 7 Week RV Trip in the American West

Welcome to our ongoing series: How Much Does it Cost to Travel?

The goal of this series is to provide you with real budgets people have used for trips they have actually taken. This could be anything from a long weekend in Miami to 6 months backpacking around South East Asia. It’s our hope that by shining a spotlight on what people are actually spending- and the value they get for it, you will have a better idea of what it really costs to travel.

All of the travel budgets will live on this dedicated page.

Today’s budget is from Bonnie and Grant of Our Wander Filled Life.

Where did you go?

Selfie on the Four Mile Trail with Yosemite Falls in the background. - 7 Week RV Trip in the American West
Selfie on the Four Mile Trail with Yosemite Falls in the background.

We did a seven-week RV trip through the American West.

Briefly, what was your itinerary?

The sight-seeing stops were:

Flagstaff, AZ – 2 nights

Mariposa, CA (Yosemite National Park) – 7 nights

Mono Vista, CA – 5 nights

Caliente, NV – 2 nights

Baker, NV (Great Basin National Park) – 2 nights

American Falls, ID – 4 nights

Yellowstone National Park – 6 nights

Cody, WY – 4 nights

Montrose, CO – 5 nights

Pagosa Springs, CO – 2 nights

Hot Springs, AR – 4 nights

Shiloh, TN – 2 nights

We had a few other one night stops mixed in as we were traveling. We spent a total of 50 nights on the road.

How much money did you spend overall on your RV trip? 

We spent a total of $7,606.

  • $1315 on restaurants
  • $2321 on gas
  • $2092 on campgrounds
  • $625 on groceries
  • $228 on snacks
  • $433 on entertainment
  • $50 on RV supplies
  • $133 on miscellaneous
  • $368 on souvenirs
  • $41 on laundry

How much did you spend on transportation?

Our RV camped at the campsite at Mono Vista RV Park - A 7 Week RV Trip in the American West
Our Campsite at Mono Vista RV Park

Gas was our only transportation cost…. $2321.

What kind of accommodation did you stay in? 

We own a 27-foot Keystone Passport Elite camper that we camped in. We spent $2,092 on campgrounds.

What sort of activities did you do?

We mostly explored National Park Sites, so we did a lot of hiking and outdoor touring on our RV trip. We did visit a few museums, mostly in Cody, WY.

What did you splurge on? Was it worth it?

Horseback Riding in Yellowstone National Park - A 7 Week RV Trip in the American West
Grant snuck a quick picture of our ride.

Our biggest splurge of our RV trip was a Horseback Ride & Cookout Dinner in Yellowstone – that was definitely worth it! We also went to the Cody Stampede Rodeo two nights (a small spurge) – one night was definitely worth it, but the second night was not. We also splurged a little on a few meals, all of which were worth it.

What did you scrimp on? Are you happy with that decision?

We spent a few nights in some not-so-great campgrounds (and a Walmart parking lot) in an effort to save money. Those nights were worth it.

Did you purchase any special souvenirs?

We collect magnets from National Parks and other big stops, but we did not purchase anything big on this trip. We generally prefer to spend our money on experiences rather than things.

Did you do anything special to save up for this RV trip?

We put about $400 each month into a travel savings account. We used what we had saved up in that account, along with our normal monthly budget. We are both teachers and our paychecks are spread out over 12 months, so we earned our normal paycheck even while we were traveling.

Do you have any regrets regarding how you budgeted this trip? Would you do things differently next time?

A cinnamon black bear on Beavers Pond Trail - A 7 Week RV Trip Through the American West
This was the first of two bears we spotted on the Beavers Pond Trail. This cinnamon black bear was more concerned with eating than us on the trail.

We budgeted $150/day for this trip, which was just the right amount for what we wanted to do. Unfortunately, we somehow miscalculated how much we had saved up and available to spend. We stayed within the budget we set, but probably should have set our budget a bit lower – though it would have been difficult to still do all the same things. Next time we will need to do a better job of adding up what we have saved! Thankfully we had a little extra in a couple of other savings accounts that we could pull from. Since returning, we have tightened our monthly budget a bit to refill our savings.

Anything else to add?

This was our longest trip to date and we really enjoyed spending so much time out on the road. We are still learning how to balance our desire to see as much as possible with the need to work as we travel. Our itinerary was a bit ambitious and we were exhausted by the last couple of weeks of travel. For our next RV trip, we’ll need to slow down a bit!


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7 Week RV Trip in the American West

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1 thought on “How Much Does it Cost to Travel? 7 Week RV Trip in the American West”

  1. Love this! National Park travel is near and dear to my heart, and I’m definitely looking into some similar adventures, although probably shorter than this. Sounds like a fantastic trip!

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