Jim’s mom Mary liked to say, “If you have to ask what something costs, you can’t afford it.” Bless her heart, but I disagree. Frugal people like myself always want to know what things cost so we feel comfortable about our financial situation. I always wanted to know “What does it cost to RV to Alaska?” so long before we left I made a best guess and decided we could afford it. Now that it’s over, I feel relieved knowing that our numbers came in close to what I expected during the 140 days we traveled there and back.
Asking “What Does it Cost to RV to Alaska?” Is Like Asking “What Does it Cost to Full-time RV?”
What one person sees as extravagance, another views as frugal because everyone has a different cost of living. Our own expenses will differ from others because of our rig, our priorities, our tastes and of course, what we earn. Jim and I definitely lean toward the frugal side because our income just doesn’t support extravagance if we want to stay out of debt.
Here’s what we spent on the three biggies — fuel, rent and food — between 5/1/18 and 9/18/18, what we consider the “end” of our Alaska journey. Keep in mind we spent most of summer in the Yukon and British Columbia, so pricing mostly reflects a Canadian cost of living.
What Does Driving to Alaska Cost?
Everyone reports that driving to Alaska is a RVers biggest expense, and they are correct.
We spent $2737 in diesel fuel driving to Alaska, from Northern California, and back to Fort Collins, Colorado. That’s $1671 more than we spent during the same time frame last year. I’m sure many people will think that’s cheap and I agree: our fuel is a bargain compared to a Class A or C.
What Does Camping in Alaska Cost?
Traveling to Alaska always seemed like a mighty big financial stretch for us, until I learned that there are plenty of free camping opportunities along the way. Once I talked to other RVers who loved bragging about all the times they took advantage of the free spots, I felt better about heading north.
Our camping costs to and from Alaska came to $1424. That comes to $10.17 a day, and only $412 more than we spent in 2017 during the same time frame. Now we can brag about how little we spent too!
What Does it Cost to Buy Food in Alaska?
When we headed north and started seeing $6.99 pineapples I assumed that eating healthy in Alaska would be tough. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought. We were just happy to find fresh romaine lettuce! As vegetarians we normally eat more simply than a typical meat eater, so sticking to a healthy diet was relatively easy as long as we didn’t expect too much. In the end we spent $446 less on food than in 2017, likely because there are no Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods in the North Country!
The Grand Total
To answer the question, “What does it cost to RV to Alaksa?” I can only give you the total expenses we spent above and beyond our usual cost of living. That just seems to make the most sense to me. So when I added up all of our North Country summer expenses in addition to food, fuel and rent, here’s the grand total I came up with:
To go RVing to Alaska, it cost us a grand total of $2,243 more than our usual cost of living during the summer months.
That’s just $16.02 more per day than what we would normally spend staying still in one spot for 140 days. Not too bad of a deal, considering that it probably costs more to take the easier way to Alaska, on a cruise ship — which is just what we might do next time instead of beating the crap out of our RV house on those crazy roads!