RVing on Social Security Is a Bad Idea

Whether you’re retired or disabled, Social Security can be a useful resource. This program can open many doors, one of which might be the opportunity to spend some time RVing. Is RVing on Social Security a good idea? Today we’ll look at some expenses that come with RVing and give you a better idea of whether the lifestyle is possible. Let’s get started! 

Why Do People Want to RV on Social Security?

Social Security provides an income that allows for a mobile lifestyle. It makes sense that people would feel that with Social Security rolling in, it’s a good time to try their hand at the RV lifestyle. Those on Social Security are typically free from 9-5 jobs that keep people stationary.

How Much Income Do You Need to RV Safely?

Just as every travelers’ RV style is different, so are the costs associated with the lifestyle. While some pay for high-end RV resorts, others choose to boondock for free. There are some fees that an RVer can’t avoid. 

You’ll need enough income to cover the cost of non-negotiables such as insurance, fuel, and repairs. Fuel costs will vary greatly based on speed and distance of travel and what you’re driving. This is an expense you can reduce with a lifestyle change.

One thing that you can’t avoid is insurance. Insurance is essential and a fee you simply can’t shirk. You can’t RV safely without budgeting for insurance — or repairs. Things will inevitably break or wear out. To keep you on the road safely, you’ll need funds for both minor and major fixes. 

What Costs Are Associated with RVing?

There are some costs associated with RVing that every RVer encounters either regularly or from time to time. Here are some costs you’ll need to keep in mind before hitting the road. 

Initial Purchase

To start your adventure, you first must buy an RV. This cost will vary significantly based on brand, make, and model. A small travel trailer will cost significantly less than a large, luxurious class A motorhome. If you’re purchasing a towable trailer, you’ll also need a well-equipped tow vehicle. 

Gas & Mileage

Without a budget for fuel, you won’t get very far. Be realistic about how much gas you’ll use. It’s easy to underestimate the cost of your fuel needs. It’s much better to overestimate your fuel costs than to blow through your budget halfway through the month. When mapping out your travels, check fuel prices at your destination as they may be higher or lower than at your starting point. 


Will you be boondocking for free or with low-cost permits? Is your style more in line with high-end RV resorts that can cost $80-$100 a night? Some boondockers spend less in an entire month than others spend in a single night at a campground. Price out the types of campgrounds you feel comfortable staying in. 


Repairs are inevitable. RVs are homes that roll down the interstate at 65 mph. Sometimes we take them down bumpy public land roads. These conditions are bound to take their toll on your RV. Things come loose or stop working, even when you’re careful. Even if you do the repairs yourself, the cost can add up. Failure to budget for repairs could park you for a long time while you save up. 

Everyday Expenses

While you may be leaving your hometown and sticks-and-bricks expenses behind, you’ll still have expenses. You’ll still need to buy groceries, pay bills, cover insurance premiums, pay cell phone bills, and budget for entertainment. Write out all of the expenses that will remain even as you hit the road, so there aren’t any surprises. 

Why Is RVing on Social Security a Bad Idea?

While RVing on Social Security is doable, it doesn’t come without its risks. RVing on Social Security means you’ll be on a very tight budget with very little wiggle room. Unfortunately, RV life can come with some seriously high unexpected costs. Unless you have a great deal of savings, you could find yourself out of money and in over your head. 

RVing on Social Security and no other income can be a bad idea without ample research. If you decide to go this route, be sure you budget in a way where you have extra funds at the end of the month. The last thing you want to do is make a budget that will spend all of your income at once. You might get out there and realize the expenses are higher than you expected, and you have to come off the road. 

RV life is appealing to many regardless of their financial situation. Thankfully, RVing can be obtainable for many people, even those on Social Security. It might take a bit more planning, budgeting, and sacrifice, but it’s doable. Do you think you could hit the road with only Social Security income?

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