Are you passionate about camping and considering full-time RV living? Imagine leaving behind the daily traffic jams, the never-ending lines at stores, and the relentless noise and light pollution of the city. Many of us spend the whole year looking forward to just a two-week camping trip with the family. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you might live close to amazing camping spots, or maybe you’re in a place where the climate is perfect for camping all year round.
But every camping trip ends with that familiar Sunday afternoon routine: packing up and bracing yourself for the return to the weekday grind on Monday morning. Wouldn’t extending those camping days indefinitely be a dream come true?
That’s where full-time RV living comes into the picture. It sounds ideal, doesn’t it? Never having to leave your favorite campgrounds, continuously exploring new places, and saying goodbye to the regular 9-to-5 life. In fact, many have already taken this step, embracing the full-time RV lifestyle and loving every bit of it.
But should you really sell your house, quit your job, take your kids out of school, and just hit the road? You often hear sayings like “jump right in” or “do it now, or you’ll regret it later.” Though inspiring, transitioning to full-time RV living is a significant decision. It’s something that requires careful thought and planning. However, it’s important not to get too caught up in the planning phase.
To help you decide, here are some essential questions to consider when thinking about full-time RV living.
Is It Cheaper than Renting or Owning a Traditional Home?
Determining if full-time RV living is more cost-effective than traditional housing is tricky. It greatly depends on what you’re currently spending on housing and your lifestyle compared to your planned expenses in RV life.
For instance, if your rent is around $1000 a month and you rely on public transportation, but you’re considering purchasing a new fifth wheel and truck and plan to travel across states staying exclusively in RV parks, you might find your living costs going up.
Conversely, if you’re moving from a $2500 monthly mortgage, hefty car payments, and other luxuries like boats or expensive memberships and plan to buy a used RV outright with equity from your home, then mix boondocking with cooking your meals, you could see significant savings.
What Type of RV Is Best for You?
The type of RV you choose will greatly influence your budget. Are you looking at a new $350,000 class A motorhome or a $20,000 used travel trailer that you can tow with your already paid-off truck or SUV?
If your plan includes a lot of exploration, maybe a motorhome paired with a small compact car or Jeep for day trips is the best fit. If you’re more likely to stay put, a fifth wheel could make more sense than a motorhome.
How Much Will You Move Around?
One of the main attractions of full-time RV living is the freedom to travel. Your home can be somewhere new as often as you like. However, this lifestyle can be pricey. Traveling with larger rigs means higher fuel and maintenance costs.
Frequently moving and paying nightly fees at different parks, as opposed to taking advantage of longer stay discounts, can add up. Consider staying for extended periods in one place, like spending 6 months in Montana and the other 6 in Arizona, to save money. Discounted camping memberships like Thousand Trails can also be cost-effective for frequent movers. Owning land or planning to buy land for permanent RV living can be a long-term saving.
Some RVers live very affordably, traveling and using free land for camping. They take advantage of RV memberships like Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Host for unique stays. It’s important to realistically assess if the boondocking life is right for you.
What Will You Do in The Winter?
Many RVers follow the sun. Living in a colder climate, like Maine, might be appealing for part of the year, but once winter hits, you might miss the insulation and warmth of a traditional home.
Snowbirds often fill up Southern RV parks quickly, and finding spots in popular areas like Florida, Arizona, and Texas can be challenging. Planning for the winter months should be a priority.
It’s possible to live in an RV in colder climates during winter, but the costs of heating and insulating your RV can be significant. Consider whether winter RVing is something you and your family are prepared for.
What Will Your Family Think?
The stereotype of the older retired couple embarking on the RV journey is just one aspect of full-time RV living. Families also choose this lifestyle.
An RV is a compact space, and it’s crucial that every family member is comfortable with this choice. Perhaps your kids love camping now, but what about when they’re teenagers?
The RV life offers many benefits and can be an exciting adventure for families, but it’s a significant change that requires open discussion and consideration of everyone’s feelings.
Can You Continue Your Regular Job and School for Your Kids?
This depends on your circumstances. If you can work remotely, that’s a great advantage for full-time RV living. However, not all jobs offer this flexibility. If you can’t work remotely, you’ll need to consider whether you can sustain your lifestyle in an RV, possibly parked within commuting distance of your workplace.
For schooling, RV parks don’t have teachers, so you might consider homeschooling or ‘roadschooling.‘ However, this requires time and resources, and it’s crucial to ensure you can provide the education your children need. If you’re in a location that allows for regular schooling, the challenge might just be balancing schoolwork with the enticing campground pool.
Everyone’s situation is unique when considering full-time RV living. Engage with online forums like iRV2 to connect with people who are already living this lifestyle. Gather all the information you need, and if you decide it’s for you, plan thoroughly.
People from various backgrounds, from single individuals to families of six, are embracing full-time RV living. If it turns out not to be the right choice, remember, traditional homes, jobs, and schools will always be there as a fallback.