Full-time RV living is the dream of many. After all, the lure of the open road can be strong, and the idea of living in a tiny space with all the freedom in the world certainly can seem very appealing.
While I would agree that yes, living and traveling full-time in an RV is wonderful in many ways, I also have to say that it does have its downsides. Not only that but after more than four years on the road, I have met enough fellow full-timers to feel confident in saying the RV lifestyle isn’t for everyone.
That’s right—the traveling life you’ve been dreaming of may not actually be for you at all.
Of course, you could also be one of the many who do find joy in the tiny-living life of a gypsy. That said, it would be nice to know whether this lifestyle is right for you before you change your entire way of living, right?
Fortunately, there are some questions you can ask yourself in order to determine whether or not you’re cut out to hit the road full-time.
Is your family onboard?
The first question to ask yourself is whether or not your family is onboard with the idea of going full-time. Your spouse or partner must be all-in for this lifestyle to work out, and honestly, if you have kids, you probably want them to be excited as well.
Trying to hit the road with reluctant travelers is sure to result in disaster and arguments, rather than the fun adventure you’re aiming for.
Are you financially able to travel full-time?
Obviously, you will need to support yourself and your family financially while traveling. If you’re retired with enough retirement income to make things work, that’s awesome. For those of us who aren’t, finding work we can take on the go is super important.
There are a number of jobs one can do while traveling including online work, freelancing, and workkamping. The trick is finding the right one for you and having everything lined up—with plenty of money set aside in savings—before you set out on your full-timing journey.
How do you feel about small spaces and owning fewer things?
It’s no secret that an RV is not as big as a house. This means making some sacrifices in terms of personal space, as well as possessions.
If you tend to feel cramped or claustrophobic, living in a motorhome or travel trailer may not be the best bet for you. This is also true if you take a lot of pride in your possessions, enjoy shopping more than you might enjoy adventures, or insist on having a lot of any particular items such as shoes, coffee mugs, or art supplies.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to give up everything, nor does it mean you’ll never have personal space again. However, it is something to consider, so make sure to be honest with yourself about your personality.
Are you good at making friends, but okay with being alone?
Something many people never consider is the fact that full-time life can be quite lonely. No, this isn’t the case all the time, and yes, you definitely can take steps to ensure you make friends on the road and travel to (and with!) them often. However, you will want to make sure you’re okay with being without friends or community from time to time, especially if you won’t have a lot of control over where you travel.
On the other hand, it’s also good to be awesome at making new friends and connections when you have the opportunity to. In the travel life, “feast or famine” is very much the name of the game when it comes to friendships.
Is routine important to you? Are you able to be flexible?
There are a good number of people out there who thrive on routine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and some of the time, routine is something you can take with you wherever you go.
That said, if you live by your routine and can’t imagine changing things up or going with the flow, RVing may not be the right choice for you.
The fact of the matter is, things go wrong while traveling. Full-timers know that flexibility is key, and getting worked up over small changes to plans or schedules is a quick way to stress out you and your family, removing any fun you still might’ve had despite the complications thrown your way.
For this reason, it’s important that anyone considering going full-time is willing to make adventures out of conundrums each and every day.
Are you willing to put in some elbow grease?
Many of those things that tend to go wrong during RV travel involve things breaking in your home-on-wheels. On top of that, RVs require quite a bit of maintenance to stay in tip-top condition, especially when being used full-time. Maintain My RV is a great tool for tracking your maintenance and staying up-to-date on what needs to be serviced next.
Because RV shops are expensive and often overbooked, it’s important that anyone who chooses to live and travel in a motorhome or travel trailer full-time is either A) wealthy and willing to sit around and wait for repairs, or B) willing to put in some elbow grease. We recommend the latter of the two because most RV issues are relatively easy to fix.
Watching Youtube videos and reading DIY online guides should help you diagnose any issues that come up and how to make repairs. Sure, you might have to order some parts online, but that sure beats paying an arm and a leg at a shop only to wait for weeks on a simple fix.
Does adventure call you daily?
Because there are challenges that go along with RV living, it’s important that your wanderlust is strong enough to keep you going through the lows. For this reason, you will want to make sure you feel the tug of the open road on a regular basis, and that RVing truly is your dream and not one that society made for you.