Caravan (Travel Trailer) Running Costs (with charts and examples)

I have spent several hours punching numbers into spreadsheets with the view to help you obtain a better understanding of caravan (Travel trailer) running costs.

Understanding where the costs are coming from is the first step to better budgeting and help find ways to reduce or eliminate costs.

Maybe your thinking about buying a Caravan (Travel Trailer) and want to understand the costs to own?

Or you currently own a Caravan (Travel Trailer) and wanting to get a better understanding of your costs?

In this article, we’ll discuss running costs and the breakdown of different type of running costs.

We’ll delve into the costs and other elements of maintaining a Caravan (Travel Trailer).

The cost modelling below is based on 14 years which is generally considered life expectancy of a Caravan (Travel Trailer).

Note; the costs below are based on touring caravan, not a static caravan.

Caravan (Travel Trailer) Running Costs

Below is a breakdown of Caravan (Travel Trailer) running costs, over the estimated life of a Caravan (Travel Trailer) of 14 years.

The average annual cost to own a Caravan is $5,135 per annum ($71,891 total cost to own divided by 14 years)

Although the cost estimate is based upon Jayco Flight SLX the percentages and considerations could be used on other models.

The workings out are based on purchasing a Jayco Flight SLX for the initial price of $25,000.

The cost below does not include the cost of finance. Assumes that cash payment was made for the Travel Trailer.

Costs remain a similar year in year out with the exception of depreciation which is a portion of the overall cost. 

The “True Cost to Own” is the total amount when adding up all the costs.

For instance in the example below, adding up all the costs adds to $8,950.

This amount is the out of pocket expense in owning a caravan (travel trailer)

Cost Type  Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11 Year 12 Year 13 Year 14 True Cost to Own
Servicing Cost  $             400   $             400   $             400   $             800   $             800   $             800   $              800   $              800   $              800   $              800   $            800   $            800   $            800   $            800  $10,000
Maintenance and Repairs  $                  –   $                  –   $                  –   $             200   $             200   $             200   $              200   $              200   $              200   $              200   $            200   $            200   $            200   $            200  $2,200
Tyre Replacement  $                  –   $                  –   $                  –   $                  –   $             800   $                  –   $                  –   $                  –   $                  –   $              800   $                 –   $                 –   $                 –   $            800  $2,400
Insurance Costs  $             800   $             800   $             800   $             800   $             800   $             800   $              800   $              800   $              800   $              800   $            800   $            800   $            800   $            800  $11,200
Fuel Cost  $             500   $             500   $             500   $             500   $             500   $             500   $              500   $              500   $              500   $              500   $            500   $            500   $            500   $            500  $7,000
Storage Costs  $          1,500   $          1,500   $          1,500   $          1,500   $          1,500   $          1,500   $           1,500   $           1,500   $           1,500   $           1,500   $         1,500   $         1,500   $         1,500   $         1,500  $21,000
Depreciation   $          5,750   $          3,273   $          1,917   $          1,547   $          1,226   $             911   $              733   $              682   $              453   $              344   $            331   $            317   $            305   $            302  $18,091
True Cost to Own   $          8,950   $          6,473   $          5,117   $          5,347   $          5,826   $          4,711   $           4,533   $           4,482   $           4,253   $           4,944   $         4,131   $         4,117   $         4,105   $         4,902  $71,891
Total Costs of Travel Trailer

Breakdown of Caravan (Travel Trailer) Running Costs

Timeline of Caravan (Travel Trailer) Costs

The first three years are the highest, due to the initial cost of deprecation.

After this time cost of depreciation reduces.

This is the best time to purchase a Caravan (Travel Trailer) and the worst time to sell.

There is a spike in Years 5 and Years 10 where tyres require replacement. This is based upon tyre replacement every 5 years.

Caravan (Travel Trailer) Running Costs

After the fourth-year cost of depreciation dips less than storage costs.

Tenth-year depreciation cost dips below insurance costs, flat-lining to remain constant around the $450 mark.

For more information on Depreciation see our comprehensive review below or post.

Caravan (Travel Trailer) Running Costs

Caravan (Travel Trailer) Storage Costs

Not everyone has a carport or garage to store their caravan.

One alternative is to pay a caravan storage business to store your caravan.

Storage costs not undercover will set you back around $1000 per annum. Storing your caravan undercover costs around $1500 per year

Storage costs based upon estimated cost of storing caravan undercover which is $1,500 per year or 29% of overall Caravan (Travel Trailer) running costs.

Remember it’s best to have your caravan stored undercover. Leaving your caravan in the backyard or empty field will expose it to the elements.

Sunlight will age the caravan causing it to look old and require costly repairs. Rain, wind and snow will cause it to age. 

If you don’t have the luxury of storing under own carport, recommend looking around for a professional storage facility which is cost-effective and convenient.

If your planning on storing for a number of years try and negotiate a better rate. Just be careful of looking yourself in.

Best way to store a Caravan (Travel Trailer)

Keep it undercover

Keeping it under cover will protect your Caravan (Travel Trailer) from the elements, extending the life of your unit.

Leaving your unit to the elements will cause your unit to prematurely deteriorate, reducing money in your pocket if you were to sell.

Turn off and unplug appliances

This includes the fridge. Clean out the contents wiping it out so its clean and dry. 

Empty water tanks, faucets and pipes

Cleaning out water tanks, faucets and pipes will prevent pipes from freezing and bursting when ice forms 

Rats and Mice

Rats and Mice love to warn dry places to build nests.

To prevent this from happening place traps around the camper, regularly inspecting the traps.

Moths can also be a problem, placing moth balls inside the caravan is also a good idea. Just need to take care of any children are around.

Don’t cover with Tarpaulins

Tarps wrapped around the corners have been known to damage caravans.

Best to use proper caravan covers made from a material that will not damage the caravan. 

Park on flat even surface

Parking a caravan on a slope or uneven ground will place pressure on the frame, axle and bearings leading to unnecessary maintenance costs. 

Cost to insure a Caravan (Travel Trailer)

The cost to insure depends on a number of factors. depends on where you live and can depend on the state that you live in.

Some states require your caravan to be insured while others don’t.

The average cost of insurance is estimated to be around $800 per annum or 16% of the Caravan (Travel Trailer) running costs.

Caravan (Travel Trailer) Running Costs

The cost of insurance ranges depends on a number of factors; 

  • Model and age of the caravan
  • Value of the contents
  • Your postcode
  • The amount you’re wanting to insure

Stolen caravans aren’t something you read in the newspapers but I am sure it happens.

The most common type of damage would be driving into an overhanging tree, reversing into kerbs or post.

Caravans can also be blown off course and damaged.

If your caravan is a deck out will expensive appliances, features and gear it probably best you purchase contents insurance.

Just remember, if your caravan gets stolen whilst have been trekking or parked at a service station because you haven’t secured it, it’s unlikely your insurer will payout for the loss. 

How much Caravan (Travel Trailer) Maintenance Costs?

Caravan Servicing involves either a full service or a partial service inspection of the undercarriage.

The cost of the service will depend on the size of the caravan and how many axles.

However, the cost will vary between $400-$800 per month or $2,200 over 14 years.

Based on my estimate, maintenance and repairs will be around 3% of Caravan (Travel Trailer) running costs.

Because the unit is brand new and likely to be under warranty I haven’t factored in the cost of maintenance and repairs for the first few years.

However, if you are performing heaps of miles and use it’s worthwhile adding some cost into your budget.

Caravan (Travel Trailer) Running Costs

Like any vehicle, it requires regular servicing. Manufacturers recommend that you have your caravan serviced at least once a year.

If you are getting the miles on the road you will need to have it serviced more frequently,

Servicing cost will vary depending on what needs to be serviced and repaired.

At a minimum service should include a thorough check of lights, brakes and bearings.

It’s important to be towing a roadworthy caravan not an accident waiting to happen

For safety and preventive maintenance suggest that you regularly check your caravan.

It only takes a few minutes and will identify any problems.

If you find an issue early might be able to solve the problem becomes more costly.

Frequent maintenance and care will prevent more significant damage and cost whilst reducing the chances of a breakdown whilst on holidays. 

How much does it cost to replace Caravan Tyres?

Cost of brand new caravan tyres will range from $35 to $200 per tyre.

The cost depends on the size of the rims, with larger the rims more costly the tire.

Based on my estimate you will need to budget every 5 years.

Budgeting for tyres is easy, just a matter of finding out from your local tyre deal the cost of a new tyre and multiplying it by how many tyres required.

If you buy brand new tyres with a reasonable amount of use you can expect a tyre to last 5 years.

Driving on tyres any older than 5 years places you and road uses at risk of an accident.

It’s always important to keep an eye on the tread, never letting it go beneath 1.6mm. If it does its time to replace the tyre.

Caravan (Travel Trailer) Running Costs

What are Caravan (Travel Trailer) Fuel Costs?

Working this out isn’t too hard. If you know how many miles you caravan (Travel Trailer) gets, the distance your travelling and the cost of gasoline you can use this information to find out the cost of your trip.

Find out the mileage by looking up your Caravan’s (Travel Trailer) manufacturing website or brochure when you purchased the unit.

If you still cannot find this reach out to other owners of the same manufacturer and model.

To understand the cost of gasoline, note down cost at gas stations or go online.

Once you have the mileage of your unit, the distance you will be driving and cost of gasoline you can use the following guidelines for figuring out the approximate expense trip

  1. Caravan (Travel Trailer) gets 10 miles per gallon.
  2. Gasoline costs $3.00 per gallon.
  3. The trip distance is 2,000 miles.
  4. In this case, divide 10 into 2,000 and then multiply that figure by $3.00.

In this example, the gas or fuel expense will be approximately $600. You can also use this for RV and Camper trailers.

This cost is in addition to your vehicles fuel cost. So if your fuel cost is $500 it would be $500 plus $600 equals $1,100.

How much do Caravans (Travel Trailers) Depreciate? 

Based on my analysis a  new caravan (travel trailer) depreciates by 40% in its first two years of life.

If you were to sell it after two years you would certainly incur a huge loss.

The first 4-5 years is where you will experience the most loss.

The best time to purchase a new Caravan (travel trailer)  is after the first two years of life when 40% of value has been diminished.

Caravan (Travel Trailer) Running Costs

After the first four years, the rate reduces moves into single digits. So if you had purchased a caravan (travel trailer) for $25k it would lose 23% in its first year or $5,750. The second-year a further 17% or $3,273.

Years 12 and Year 11, caravans (travel trailer) are worth 1/2 the value of the original purchase price. If you obtained a loan it’s likely to be higher than what you could sell it for.

If you were to sell there would be a shortfall from the sale and need to fork money out of your own pocket or continue to carry the loan until paid off.

Years 
Remaining 
Decline %
Year 14 0.23
Year 13 0.17
Year 12 0.12
Year 11 0.11
Year 10 0.09
Year 9 0.08
Year 8 0.07
Year 7 0.07
Year 6 0.05
Year 5 0.04
Year 4 0.04
Year 3 0.04
Year 2 0.04
Year 1 0.04
Caravan, travel trailer depreciation schedule

Once caravan (travel trailer) has passed its life of 14 years it retains some value. It is likely to reduce further by low-end single digits (1-4%)

Caravan (Travel trailer) Depreciation example

Jayco Flight SLX depreciation example

So if you were to purchase the Jayco Flight SLX for the initial price of $25,000, the amount of depreciation in the first year would be $5,750, you’d only be able to sell it for around a Revised Price of $19,250.

  • Year 12 – With 3 years the model has reduced further, you’d only be able to sell it for around $14,060.  In three years, this caravan (travel trailer) has lost 42% of its value.  If you took out a long financing term on the camper, it may now be worth less than what you owe on it.
  • Year 10 – If you bought this model five years ago, you’d now be able to sell it for around $11,387.  This caravan (travel trailer) has lost 63% of its original value.  Although it has lost over half of its value at this point, it did depreciate slower through years 4 and 5 than it did through the first 3 years.
  • Year 5 – If you bought this model ten years ago, you’d be able to sell it for around $8,265.  This caravan (travel trailer) has now lost about 68% of its value. 

Years 
Remaining 
Price Revised Price Decline % Decline $
Year 14  $        25,000  19,250 0.23  $         5,750 
Year 13  $        19,250  15,978 0.17  $         3,273 
Year 12  $        15,978  14,060 0.12  $         1,917 
Year 11  $        14,060  12,514 0.11  $         1,547 
Year 10  $        12,514  11,387 0.09  $         1,126 
Year 9  $        11,387  10,476 0.08  $            911 
Year 8  $        10,476  9,743 0.07  $            733 
Year 7  $          9,743  9,061 0.07  $            682 
Year 6  $          9,061  8,608 0.05  $            453 
Year 5  $          8,608  8,264 0.04  $            344 
Year 4  $          8,264  7,933 0.04  $            331 
Year 3  $          7,933  7,616 0.04  $            317 
Year 2  $          7,616  7,311 0.04  $            305 
Year 1  $          7,311  7,019 0.04  $            292 
Caravan, travel trailer depreciation schedule

Jayco Eagle Depreciation Example

So if you were to purchase the Jayco Eagle for the initial price of $53,000, the amount of depreciation in the first year would be $12,190, you’d only be able to sell it for around a Revised Price of $40,810.

  • Year 12 – With 3 years the model has reduced further, you’d only be able to sell it for around $29,808.  In three years, this caravan (travel trailer) has lost 52 % of its value.  If you took out a long financing term on the camper, it may now be worth less than what you owe on it.
  • Year 10 – If you bought this model five years ago, you’d now be able to sell it for around $24,141.  This caravan (travel trailer) has lost 72% of its original value.  Although it has lost over half of its value at this point, it did depreciate slower through years 4 and 5 than it did through the first 3 years.
  • Year 5 – If you bought this model ten years ago, you’d be able to sell it for around $17,519.  This caravan (travel trailer) has now lost about 68% of its value. 

Years 
Remaining 
Price Revised Price Decline % Decline $
Year 14  $        53,000  40,810 0.23  $       12,190 
Year 13  $        40,810  33,872 0.17  $         6,938 
Year 12  $        33,872  29,808 0.12  $         4,065 
Year 11  $        29,808  26,529 0.11  $         3,279 
Year 10  $        26,529  24,141 0.09  $         2,388 
Year 9  $        24,141  22,210 0.08  $         1,931 
Year 8  $        22,210  20,655 0.07  $         1,555 
Year 7  $        20,655  19,209 0.07  $         1,446 
Year 6  $        19,209  18,249 0.05  $            960 
Year 5  $        18,249  17,519 0.04  $            730 
Year 4  $        17,519  16,818 0.04  $            701 
Year 3  $        16,818  16,145 0.04  $            673 
Year 2  $        16,145  15,500 0.04  $            646 
Year 1  $        15,500  14,880 0.04  $            620 
Caravan, travel trailer depreciation schedule

Airstream RV Classic Depreciation Example

So if you were to purchase the Airstream RV Classic for the initial price of $153,000, the amount of depreciation in the first year would be $35,190, you’d only be able to sell it for around a Revised Price of $117,810.

  • Year 12 – With 3 years the model has reduced further, you’d only be able to sell it for around $86,048.  In three years, this caravan (travel trailer) has lost 42% of its value.  If you took out a long financing term on the camper, it may now be worth less than what you owe on it.
  • Year 10 – If you bought this model five years ago, you’d now be able to sell it for around $69,691.  This caravan (travel trailer) has lost 63% of its original value.  Although it has lost over half of its value at this point, it did depreciate slower through years 4 and 5 than it did through the first 3 years.
  • Year 5 – If you bought this model ten years ago, you’d be able to sell it for around $50,573.  This caravan (travel trailer) has now lost about 68% of its value. 

Years 
Remaining 
Price Revised Price Decline % Decline $
Year 14  $      153,000  117,810 0.23  $       35,190 
Year 13  $      117,810  97,782 0.17  $       20,028 
Year 12  $        97,782  86,048 0.12  $       11,734 
Year 11  $        86,048  76,583 0.11  $         9,465 
Year 10  $        76,583  69,691 0.09  $         6,892 
Year 9  $        69,691  64,115 0.08  $         5,575 
Year 8  $        64,115  59,627 0.07  $         4,488 
Year 7  $        59,627  55,453 0.07  $         4,174 
Year 6  $        55,453  52,681 0.05  $         2,773 
Year 5  $        52,681  50,573 0.04  $         2,107 
Year 4  $        50,573  48,551 0.04  $         2,023 
Year 3  $        48,551  46,609 0.04  $         1,942 
Year 2  $        46,609  44,744 0.04  $         1,864 
Year 1  $        44,744  42,954 0.04  $         1,790 

Caravan (Travel Trailer) Running Costs
Caravan (Travel Trailer) Running Costs

Maintenance for Resale

Keeping your caravan (travel trailer) in perfect condition won’t stop it from depreciation.

It will, however, make it easier to sell than if it hasn’t been looked after.

Tips to keep your caravan (travel trailer) in decent condition for resale

  • Undercover storage

  • Frequent Servicing

  • Records of regular maintenance scheduled

  • Repairs are made when required

Conclusion

Buying a caravan (travel trailer) is an important financial decision.

Understanding your Caravan (Travel Trailer) running costs upfront will help you make better financial decisions and less worry about costs.

Further Information

If you have enjoyed this article on Caravan (Travel Trailer) running costs, you will enjoy our other reviews.

Below are some of our other gear reviews and popular resources;

Everything you need to know about Pop-up Campers

How to choose Backpacking Sleeping Bag

Best Women’s Backpacking Backpacks

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