Money·3 min read

I Drove Across the Country in an RV During the Pandemic

October 21, 2020

The Story

A lot of people are living, working, and managing money differently than they did pre-pandemic. Meet Megan. In July, she sold most of her belongings, moved into an RV with her husband and two kids, and drove 3,100 miles from Ventura, California, to her new home in Burlington, Vermont.

Wow. Talk about making moves.

Yep. Megan wanted to live closer to family and benefit from a lower cost of living in Vermont. But getting there wasn’t cheap. She spent $3,000 on gas, campgrounds, food, WiFi, and everything else her fam needed to make the eight-day trip. And that was after spending $57,000 on a used RV.

Sound like your kind of move? Here are some ways to keep your wallet happy.

  • Play a game of “old budget, new budget.” You might spend less on streaming subscriptions if you're spending more time in nature like Megan, but gas costs will probably go way up. Research how your expenses could change, and make sure your emergency fund can handle any surprises.

  • See what your boss thinks about WF(mobile)H. Before heading out, game out how your pay or work goals could be affected.

  • Loop in your landlord. If you’re leaving mid-lease, try to negotiate down any penalties. Offering to help find your replacement might do the trick.

  • Channel your inner Marie Kondo. If it doesn’t bring you joy (or fit in a small space), sell it.

  • Consider switching banks. The more digital-friendly and ATMs in the region where you’ll be spending time, the better.

Got any tips for when I’m on the road?

  • Stock your kitchen. Pick up ingredients for easy-to-prep meals from the grocery store vs. convenience stores with big markups.

  • Plan your fuel stops. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the cheapest stations near you. Paying with a credit card that rewards you for filling up could help you save even more.

  • Look out for freebies. You might be able to save a few nights of campground fees by sleeping in a casino or Walmart parking lot. Pro tip: ask the manager first. If you connect to free public WiFi, follow best practices for protecting your personal info.

  • Always be prepared. Keep jumper cables, flashlights, and first aid supplies on hand. Because you never know when you might hit a bump in the road.


Packing up your life and moving into a new-home-on-wheels is a big deal. Especially for your finances. Revisiting your budget and taking advantage of ways to save along the way can keep you on the right track.

Asking for a Friend videos highlight one woman's story. They do not necessarily reflect theSkimm's point of view.

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