Two Two Two Paradigm

The dreamstreamrs had a little spare time this past week while awaiting some annual service on our RV. We spent some of that time reviewing our records, checking our numbers from daily towing log. Debbie faithfully records the numbers every driving day, so we have an excellent record of miles, camping fees, nights spent, and what utilities are available at each campground.

9 days dry-camping in Ketchum ID

9 days dry-camping in Ketchum ID

We’re in our sixth year traveling full time. The period we are reviewing is only for 2011-2013, comprising 2 1/2 years. Sometime we might look back at the first three years. These recent 30 months were more easily available and shared.

We are pleased by the numbers, if a little surprised how they work out. All numbers are actuals from Debbie’s daily log. The report shows what we thought the most interesting parts.

Towing and camping statistics for the past 2 1/2 years (or 883 days) (2011, 2012, & ytd 2013)

site rent    nites     avg    times moved    miles       miles/move
$13,632    883      $15           141            28,133       199.5

Site rental is one of our most expensive budget lines. Our budget is $20/night for the year, and we haven’t gone over budget annually, although some months we are over-budget and some months under. We are well set up for dry-camping or boondocking and enjoy doing these. We’ve paid as much as $35/night for dry-camping in Doheny State Beach at Dana Point California and as little as nothing in Quartzite AZ BLM land in the desert. Guess which one we’ll end up staying more nights? We like to stay within budget, so dry camping or boondocking helps out.. Sometimes we’ll stay a couple of days with friends or family (even longer with family, right?) and it helps our budget a little.

google map of day's drive

google map of day’s drive

We’ve posited several times a maxim we like, “drive less than two hundred miles, off the road by 2pm, and stay at least two nights. On average, we hit all three points. Our average driving day mileage is less than 200. We stayed an average of 6 days, although admittedly this is a lying statistic — we stayed months in some favorite venues and one night in some Cracker BBL parking lots. Off the road by 2pm? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Hey, we’re not stopping in the middle of the road, right?

As for off the road by 2pm, well, it depends upon how early we left camp. But on average, we likely weren’t too far off. Avoidance of afternoon school bus traffic and rush hour traffic influences us to get off the road not later than 4pm whenever we can. We often like hitting the road by 9 or 10, unless we have an exceptionally long or sweetly short drive ahead of us.

We’re traveling because we enjoy it. We aim for two-two-two, but we aren’t going to knock ourselves out to achieve it every time. Sometimes we’ll choose to do a long driving day to have more days to spend at the other end. Sometimes we just don’t want to stay somewhere for even two nights. Flexibility helps us enjoy what we’re doing.

We hope you are enjoying what you are doing — we sure are!

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
chasing 75 degrees

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©2007-2013 Dreamstreamr


7 responses to “Two Two Two Paradigm

  1. Chuck Nesbit

    Fifteen dollars a night equates to $450 per month. It would be difficult to find a decent apartment or condo to rent for that amount any where in the country. Fuel and vehicle maintenance would seem to be your biggest expense. You averaged about 32 miles per day or 960 miles per month. I’d guess your vehicle operating cost per mile is in the 70 cent range (I’ve never calculated mine to the penny), which equates to about $672 per month. Even adding depreciation and maintenance expenses for the Airstream it seems like your monthly housing and transportation cost is under $1600 per month which is very attractive versus the traditional live in one place alternative. The small size of your Airstream and truck likely keeps you from spending what we stationary retirees spend accumulating miscellaneous “stuff” since you don’t have room for it. Food, clothing and health care costs should be similar to the stationary retiree and your medical costs may actually be lower on average because you are leading a much more active lifestyle.

    I’d say you are getting more quality of life for dollar spent on cost of living than 99% of the people in this country. Congratulations!!

    • Chuck,
      Thanks for the interesting analysis of costs, and your perceptions. I think you have figured us out pretty well. We will write in some more detail on this in a post soon.

  2. Just curious if Debbie has her own spreadsheet or if she uses an app or specific program to keep her records? Great information…thanks!

    • Hello Steph,
      Debbie logs the trip information in a nice aluminum-cover notepad. Jim set up a simple excel worksheet and enter the info periodically. Two additional worksheets in that workbook are (1) maintenance log on the trailer; and (2) maintenance log on the truck. Jim uses these to help remember when he replaced the fridge control board, or last added water to the battery system or did annual maintenance on something or other, or mileage since the truck’s last oil filter change, and the like. If Debbie was involved in these two latter worksheets they would be more complete than he keeps them, but they help him keep up alright.

      You are very welcome.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I had not thought of logging our trips like this. Will be very helpful when we hit the road!

  4. I keep an expense and mileage log of our travels too. My objectives are $100 per day for fuel, food, and camping fees, and 250 miles per day travel. In the past five summers on the road we have been able to meet the $100 per day average by not moving every day and using some courtesy parking.

    • Randy,
      I like your objective orientation, it seems a little clearer for me than our budget. We have an overall budget with categories for tracking important things and as few miscellaneous categories as we can. Debbie is a long-time power user of Quicken and tracks every expense and income. We know from week to week whether we are high or low for a category as well as overall how we are doing compared to budget. Helps us afford, earlier than we might have otherwise thought, the lifestyle we’ve chosen. As you mention, we can sometimes save on variable costs like gas for driving, dining out, and sightseeing. Too, we can sometimes dry camp or select less expensive sites in camping areas to save.

      It’s working for us. Thanks for your good comment.

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