You can’t put a price on the fun memories you can make camping… but…
What if you spent that RV money on resorts, hotel rooms, airfare, or cruises? You might go to more exotic places and make more fun memories! This is what business people call “opportunity cost.” You can’t have and do everything. What’s the practical opportunity cost of buying that $10,000 pop up camper?
First, let’s assume there is no inflation and that you would pay cash from cash savings without borrowing. Let’s assume that you would not invest the money if it weren’t spent and that inflation is zero.
Decide what you would spend per night to have the same amount of fun you have camping. Now you can decide what you’re missing out on by shelling out $50,000 for a camper. Let’s say that number is $300 for a family of four staying at modest hotels within driving distance of home. Let’s keep within driving distance because airfare aggressively changes the math. While we’re making assumptions let’s say your average nightly cost of a campsite is $50.
If your camper can be resold for $25000 at the end of your adventures then it cost you $25000 or said otherwise it cost you the opportunity to stay 100 nights in modest hotel rooms eating modest meals. That’s your break even number: 25 nights.
That’s only 3 weeks a year for five years to break even. Now at this point half of you are clamoring about how wildly inaccurate these numbers are. You don’t spend $300 a night on a hotel room. You don’t spend $50 a night for a campsite. Maybe your pop up camper cost $70,000. That’s why I made a calculator… no… campulator. Run your own numbers. Let me know in the comments how many nights it will take you to break even on a pop up camper!