The Cost of Van Life

I’ve been nomadic for over a year, since 8th September 2016. In that time, I managed to spend nine solid months travelling in the Astro, ten months if you include my initial border run to Canada, which was really a test trip. The other time was spent faffing around in Germany then having some quality time with friends in the Bay Area and my adopted family in Phoenix before I came home.

So, how much did it all cost me? $1,655 a month (USD) or just under $20,000 a year.

The most alarming statistic I have is that only 2% of my costs were put down to accommodation. Nine months and I only spent $300 on shelter. If I’d paid only $20 a night for camping every day, I’d be $5,400 poorer!!

Note that this doesn’t include the sale of the Astro since she’s in Jayne’s capable hands for the time being. I bought her for $1,850, put $1,000 into the build and expect to get $3,000 for her, so that’s more costs covered!

The reason for the week-by-week fluctuation in my costs was my nature to travel for a week (spending money on fuel), then take it slow for a week to explore a place. Music festivals are expensive, so is having friends stay because you do heaps of fun stuff (well worth the money), but Baja is ridiculously cheap!

In the Bay Area, I was paying $1,800 a month for 510 square feet of apartment, a pool (that I never used) and a gym (that I never saw the inside of). For less than that, I got to have a backyard the size of the North American continent (literally) and (my version of) perfect comfort. I saw most of America, a lot of Canada and the (best?) part of Mexico in my Astro and had a life experience I will never forget.

I left America with only $150 US dollars left in my bank account. I consider that good timing.

The conclusion?


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