END OF SECOND YEAR SUMMARY OF FACTS AND FIGURES PERTAINING TO FULL-TIME TRAVEL
Half the questions I get from people are about facts and figures and the other half about where I go, what I see and do and what it is like to travel with a cat. I willingly answer most questions and if you have a question - please ask.
- My full-time travel began on June 1, 2016 and I base my finances using that date.
HOW DO I LIVE IN SUCH A TINY SPACE?
- Everything I own is in my Yukon, Casita and 5’ x 10’ storage unit. When I stop traveling I will purchase kitchen items, new clothes, mattress and more. I travel with only necessary items in my 6’ x 13’ Casita living space and, even in that small space, could carry more. I have found I don’t need much to live comfortably. This summer, when I stopped by Kentucky, I took more things out than I added. I rarely need to purchase items as I have packed thoughtfully and never impulse buy. Before I buy something I usually wait until I have needed it more than once.
GMC YUKON with new tires
- I purchased my GMC Yukon in October 2015 and it has 58,300 miles as of May 31. It was a great purchase as it pulls the Casita easily through mountains, city traffic, torrential rain and wind. I did not want to white knuckle drive. I just replaced the original tires and I love the new ones. They feel more stable on less than ideal roads and believe the $966 was a good purchase.
- When towing the Yukon averages about 13-14 mpg. It slightly increases to 14-18 mpg without the Casita. However, it pulls my Casita like it’s not there and that was my goal. I have had a few fast, unexpected stops and it tracks and stops well although braking distance is increased. I can tow at posted speed limits and feel safe.
FUEL - $73/week 2 year average
- I bought the best Garmin GPS and I cannot imagine traveling without it. It tells me when the speed limit drops so I don’t get caught in speed traps although I rarely speed. It tells me when there are shart curves, railroad tracks and schools ahead. It does NOT say “recalculating”! It is voice activated and I can ask about gas, groceries, etc. that are near me, near destination or along route. It gives me the coice of setting up a whole trip although I don’t use it. It shows a picture of interstate exits and what lane I need to be in. I could go on and on but this is a critical part of keeping me sane during my drives.
CASITA FACTS AND FIGURES
CASITA PURCHASE - $17,400 - WEIGHT 3000#
- I purchased my 2016 Casita new in December 2015. It weighs 3000# fully loaded and could carry and additional 500#.
- I look at other campers and have not found one I would rather have.
CASITA MILES from June 1 - May 31 of each year.
- 2016 - 16,000
- 2017 - 8,800
- This is only where the Casita was towed and doesn’t include Yukon miles when not towing. Casita miles are about half Yukon miles.
- That’s a big difference! 2016 I drove to Colorado and back to Kentucky, was up in Michigan and down to Florida. I was not staying anywhere very long. Last year I was more efficient in my drives and stayed in place longer and used the campground as a base for further exploration by car. My health also gave me some down time in Kentucky.
INSURANCE AND REGISTRATION OF ALL TYPES
YUKON AND CASITA INSURANCE INCLUDING ROADSIDE INSURANCE FOR BOTH - $1241/annually
- Vehicle and Camper Insurance of all types and vehicle registration is why I chose my domicile to be in South Dakota. I am required to return for one night every five years for a new Driver’s License.
REGISTRATION AND LICENSING - $200/annually for both
- Fees are based on weight not value. That number is not a typo!
HEALTH INSURANCE with an editorial comment - $254/month for all coverage
- Health Insurance. Medicare and supplemental insurance. .
- Part A is free
- Part B is $134/month
- Part C, Plan G is supplemental through Mutual of Omaha $99/month. I only pay a small deductible each year of $180. That deductible will go up each year but so far by only a few dollars.
- Part D is prescription coverage. Mine is through Humana/Walmart $20.40/month. The official Medicare site has calculators where you can input your prescriptions for comparison. For me this plan is excellent as I can transfer my prescriptions from one store to another as I travel.
- I am on Medicare and have supplemental Plan G which, in my opinion, is the ONLY one anyone should get. I came close to getting others. The cost of that plan varies from state to state and South Dakota is less than most. I almost purchased a high deductible plan as I have always been so healthy until 3 months after going on Medicare. I read that this is not a place to save money as it is almost guaranteed that you will have some expensive health expenses as you age. Some of these plans cannot be added after the initial year without substantial added cost or even being denied. Plan D has the exact same coverage and rules no matter where you buy it. I would consider the reputation and financial health of companies though.
- I went from healthy to huge bills in a day. This is NOT as time to scrimp as almost everyone over 65 will have a expensive health care bills at some point during the rest of their life. A high-deductible plan will suddenly be a horrible investment. Mayo Clinic does not accept all insurance. With different supplemental insurance I probably would not be going to Mayo. Some plans will not cover you in some areas of the country. In my opinion, there are all kinds of reasons to choose what I did but do your own homeowrk.
RENT aka CAMPGROUND FEES - $16/night average
- Fees vary from free to $45
- I’ve only spent 5 nightS in the last 2 years in another bed. Four nights in the hospital and 1 night with my sister-in-law in Branson, MO.
MAIL - $340/year
- MY Dakota Post mail service includes a street address as post office boxes aren’t allowed by banks, credit card companies and others. PO boxes also don’t offer needed services. Dakota Post scans the front of every envelope and emails it to me. I then tell them to hold it until I want to send for a batch of mail, shred it or open it and scan the contents. When I’m ready for mail I have it sent General Delivery to a post office close to my current location.
STORAGE - $31/month
- I used to have a larger unit that cost me $94/month but when they raised it to $121 I realized that I was storing things that would be better replaced. My current unit is 5’ x 10’ and holds those things in my life that cannot be purchases such as photos and family antiques.
INTERNET, HOTSPOT AND CELL PHONE - $91/month
- You need a Hotspot to connect a computer to the internet.
- $60 for their best unlimited plan, $20 for the Hotspot line and $11 in surcharges and taxes.
- I haven’t watched TV in 2 years and don’t miss it. The Hotspot is so I can use my computer, table and phone on the internet. Of course, I can use my phone without the Hotspot, too.
GROCERIES AND DINING OUT - $95/week
- I rarely dine out either in a nice restaurant or fast food. However, I don’t have the ability to store many things so cannot purchase efficiently. I need to eat what I buy before purchasing more and purchase in small quantities. For example: I purchase the salad kits that have a great variety and include everything needed for a nice salad. But, they are not the least expensive way of eating a salad. My grocery bill is one of the few items that has gone up but not by much.
WHAT I’M NOT SHARING
- I haven’t included Josie expenses, clothing (not much budget there!) and other miscellaneous expenses that have little to do with whether I travel or not.
Overall I am saving about a minimum of $1000/month compared to when I was not traveling. My goal has not been to save money as I do what I want to do with no real thought to expenses. But, the extra money, that can be invested, is a great bonus. That savings comes from a variety of sources: no rent, no utilities of any kind and South Dakota savings on many expenses. So there you have it…..an open letter about full-time travel and finances. Different people will have different budgets. If you buy a huge Motorhome these numbers will not apply!
Here is a map the covers my first 2 years with 25 states. In 2018 I’ve already added North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and will soon add Utah. I hope I my Casita, Cat and I can make to all 48 states before I quite full-time.