How much does it cost to live and travel in a van?

I’m glad you asked! So many people say living in a van is cheap but is it actually cheap when you add up all the costs?!

We have been living full-time in our motorhome for a month now and just got around to adding all the expenses so I thought I will share this with you all.

One of the biggest expenses you will come across whilst on the road is fuel and this is more true now than ever before. Big thanks to Putin and inflation! We clocked in over 1500 miles travelling from the UK to Spain so far and let me tell you that fuel economy travelling in a 3.5t van is not greatly costing us just shy of £380! Let’s just say the first month was EXPENSIVE but we will stay in Spain for a while now and it will probably take another 4 months to cover the same distance keeping our costs relatively low.

The next thing you want to think about is water. The goods news is that the Spanish love water fountains and they are everywhere giving you access to fill up your tank for free.

Finding a good data plan abroad was tricky and it’s taken us some trial and error to find a good value deal. We went with Lebara UK first which “accidentally” forgot to mention a fair usage policy abroad limiting the data you can use. So after a lot of research, we found a provider Flexnet who offered by far the best deal for pretty much-unlimited data.

Groceries are great and cheaper than in the UK especially if you shop in big supermarkets. We never looked at prices and bought whatever we wanted but tried to do most shopping in supermarkets. You can easily be more strict and save more on groceries but we like our food too much.

Alcohol is very, very cheap and it’s a problem. It’s easy on your monthly budgeting but problematic for your kidneys.

We have been somewhat unlucky with the weather and booked an Airbnb for several days. I have never been so excited to do my laundry and it was great for evenings in front of a fireplace. Plus, we ordered a few things from Amazon we forgot before starting the trip.

Soooo, drum roll, please…Month 1 expenses are:

  • Data Plan £50
  • LPG gas £13.96
  • Diesel £380
  • Groceries and “a little bit” of alcohol £346.17
  • Motorhome Insurance £85
  • Eating out £22.46
  • Mobile Phone Plans £30
  • Launderette £8
  • Airbnb £196.15
  • Total £1131.74

I have to admit, we spent more than expected, especially on diesel and an unplanned Airbnb stay but we wanted to enjoy ourselves and relax as this was only the start of our adventure.

This hasn’t been a typical month in a van with a few additional expenses and we are still experimenting with what’s cost-effective and what’s not. Things like a grocery bills were high because we left with an empty motorhome so had to stock up on everything from 0. I am expecting our spending will be a lot lower in April so stay tuned for the next budget update!

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