How expensive is it to live in a trailer?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How expensive is it to live in a trailer? We will discuss how expensive all the amenities and the maintenance of a trailer are. We will also tell you how to save money when living in your trailer. 

How expensive is it to live in a trailer?

Depending on the location and the specifics of the lot, living in a trailer can be more or less expensive. The average cost per month for living in a trailer can be between $150 to $800 per month

It all depends on whether you are renting the trailer or you own it, how much you are paying for the plot (if you are paying), whether you are travelling in the trailer, how many people live inside, how much you spend on leisure and fun activities, and so on. 

The first element to consider is certainly the purchase price of the vehicle which determines the cost of heating costs depending on the insulation of the trailer. To help you decide whether it is more expensive to live in a trailer vs living in an apartment,  we have created the table below. 

Basic costs of living in a trailer vs living in an apartment

ExpenseApartment ($343,0001)Average New Travel Trailer ($122,0004)
Initial Cost$68,6005$24,4005
Monthly Payments*$1310$1380+
Utilities$2407$30
Taxes$150$0

Other costs of living in a trailer  vs living in an apartment

ExpensesLiving in a TrailerLiving in an Apartment
Diesel$110 $250 (if you have a car) $450 for public transport
Insurance $400 to $500 per year $1,200 per year
Gas $100$72.10
Water$21 for 450L$35.49 
Maintenance $801% and 4% of your home’s value each year 
Repairs $501% and 4% of your home’s value each year 
Improvements $501% and 4% of your home’s value each year 
Parking space $150Most of the time free in front of the house
Tolls$100On average 6 cents per mile/$60 month/$0 if you don’t have a car
Campsite for 10 nights $250No need
Food $400$400
Laundry $40$40
Leisure $50 or more$50 or more

Living in a trailer: how expensive is the gas?

Gas is used in the trailer for different purposes:

-heating,

-fridge,

-stove/oven

-hot water

-heating of the trailer.

However, gas consumption particularly affects those who want to spend the winter months comfortably in their trailer especially with children. This is the most significant expense.

A 13 kg cylinder (propane) has an average cost of $ 30 and does not provide more than 3 to 5 days of autonomy in the colder months, especially if poorly insulated. Of course, you also have to consider the area where you spend the winter.

The average gas consumption is much higher in the mountains, where the winter temperatures are much colder than if we are in Florida!

In summer, the average consumption, for cooking in a trailer and using the refrigerator running on gas, is between 20 to 35 days, depending on the people who live there. If there is no oven, she can do it for up to 4 months.

Let’s count $ 500 per year.

Living in a trailer: how expensive is the insurance?

For trailers, insurance costs an average of $ 450 per year. To this figure, add other essential services such as insurance cover for the icebreaker, breakdown assistance, coverage against fire damage, in case of theft, and road assistance, replacement of the vehicle in the event of a breakdown.

Living in a trailer: how expensive is the maintenance?

The most important trailer maintenance costs of routines are:

-the annual review,

-technical control,

– platelets,

-discs,

-The timing of the replacement of the belt, the tire, etc.

This load depends only on the number of miles travelled.  Then come the unforeseen repairs: 

-An engine failure,

-water infiltration into the cell,

– problems with various appliances such as the refrigerator, stove, water heater, etc.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to estimate these cost items. On average you can count on $ 250 on improvements and $ 350 on trailer interior maintenance per year.

Living in a trailer: how expensive is the fuel?

Then we come to fuel costs. Let’s estimate around 15,500 miles per year or 40 miles per day. These figures are average for most trailer owners. Driving only 30 miles every 4 days to recharge the batteries and get to the service areas would be too monotonous for many of you. Limited travel is only possible on paper.

Added, we counted $4,000 per year. Or $330 per month.

Living in a trailer: how expensive is the water?

In general, water in the service areas and camping is free. Prices vary between 6 to 40 $. It is estimated that the average price of service areas is 8 $. Which makes an average of 768 $ per year for parking lots. Or 64 $ per month.

The water reserve is $ 2 with supplies every 4 days. Which amounts to $ 16 of clean water per month. So 192 $ per year.

How to save money by living in a trailer park all year round

It’s no secret that buying a trailer can get very expensive. Fortunately, there are tips for saving money when buying a trailer and every day.

You can buy a used trailer rather than a new trailer. The important thing is to thoroughly inspect the trailer when purchasing to make sure it is in perfect condition.  It’s also possible to save on gasoline by adopting our pro tips and tricks. A great asset if you plan to travel a lot with your trailer rather than settling year-round on a campground in Canada or the United States.

Choosing the right trailer to live in a trailer park

Another very important point that should not be overlooked is the choice of your trailer. If you want to live in a year-round trailer, then better buy one that meets your needs. There are several types of trailers and each corresponds to a type of camper. 

As a general rule, the Fifth wheel caravan is often chosen by nomads who want to live in a trailer all year round. Welcoming and spacious, the fifth wheel is designed to be detached from the towing vehicle. This gives you the freedom to drive around in the car to visit when you have arrived at your destination.

Once the type of trailer has been chosen, you have to think about the dimensions of your unit. Be careful, however, to find out about the sizes of trailers accepted in the various campgrounds. A trailer that is too long may be refused for lack of space.

Obviously, everything must be functional inside your trailer to facilitate your year-round living. So remember to quickly replace any defective or worn equipment before it causes damage. Also, the regular maintenance of your trailer should be one of your priorities for your safety and the longevity of your vehicle.

FAQ on How expensive is it to live in a trailer?

Is it cheaper to live in a trailer park?

For many, living in a trailer park will be much cheaper than living in an apartment or house. Of course, there are several factors to take into account when making such a comparison: number of people living in the trailer, type of RV, plot rental costs, income, and so on. 

Why shouldn’t you live in a trailer park?

Living in a trailer park has its drawbacks, and it can all start with having to adapt to living in a confined space where everything seems to be crammed together. This makes you feel obliged to be very organized in the best of cases, especially if you live with other people, be it friends or people from the same family.

Can I live permanently in a mobile home?

Yes, it is possible to live permanently in a mobile home. It has its pros and cons, and it is a decision that one must think about well. The most important thing to consider is where you’re going to place the mobile home.

Can you live in a trailer in California?

Yes, you can live in a trailer in California, but depending on the city, it can be quite challenging to find parking for your trailer. Most HOAs do not allow stationing the vehicle in your backyard or driveway for more than two days. More similar rules apply in campsites also, which only allow you to park the RV for 10 or 11 consecutive months.

Is it legal to live in an RV full time?

It is both legal and illegal to live in an RV full time. It all will depend on where you keep your RV parked and if you managed to make it your full address. You must speak with the HOA or/and the local council and ask whether you need a permit for it. 

Can you claim an RV as a primary residence?

In most states, you can claim an RV as a primary residence for tax purposes. As long as your RV has a bathroom/toilet, kitchen, bedroom – it is considered a home. 

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