If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and want to make the transition to full time RV livng, don’t pack up and turn the key just yet. A sense of spontaneity is necessary for life on the road, but the most successful journeys start with careful planning. Here are three easy steps to ensure a extraordinary full-timing adventure, whether you’re on the road for six months or indefinitely.
If you haven’t yet purchased your RV, be sure to see our guide to buying a RV.
Step 1: Envision Your Life While Full Time RV Living
It doesn’t matter if you’re single or full time RVing with kids, a good brainstorming session makes the adventure unfold in your ideal direction. Everyone who is going on the road with you should give careful consideration to the following questions:
- What will you do with your existing possessions, including your residence?
- Will your current income help you get on the road and stay on it? Or will you need to make money on the road?
- Do you have specific destinations to check off your “Places to See Before I Die” bucket list, or would a year of meandering feel OK to you?
- How do you want to get there? Will a truck camper suffice or do you need all the comforts of a motorhome?
- Can you picture yourself staying in five star RV resorts or is back country camping more your style?
- Do you think you want to travel indefinitely, or would you rather commit to a specific time-frame?
Write your answers in a journal, or have your travel companions write their answers on a giant poster board. When you step back and assess your collective hopes and dreams, you’ll find commonalities among these important factors that will help create your ideal full time RV living lifestyle.
Finally, devise a plan that will put you in the direction of attaining your full time RV living dream. For example, assign time lines to eliminate unnecessary possessions, getting out of your current residence and mapping a draft itinerary for your first year.
Step 2: Know What it Costs to Make the Move to Full Time RV Living.
The full time RV living lifestyle isn’t just for retired people living on pensions. If you’re too young or cash poor to quit working you can still hit the road, but first get your financial house in order and learn how to generate income anywhere.
In general it’s cheaper to live and travel by RV than it is to stay in a sticks-and-bricks residence, but before you start researching the costs of full time RV travel, keep in mind that everyone has different comfort levels: what one person considers frugal, another may view as excessive.
The fastest way to get on the road and stay in your personal comfort zone is to understand where your money goes, then create a financial plan to help reach your goals. For example:
- Track your household expenses over a given amount of time
- Create a financial plan based on your spending habits and income. Include specific goals to help you get on the road (for example, set a savings goal to help pay for your ideal full timing rig, or draft a plan that will enable you to take a year off from work).
- Monitor your spending to ensure it falls within your budget guidelines and goals.
If you’re not sure how to set up a household budget, here’s a great budgeting tool to get started.
Another major financial consideration is assessing the amount of debt you can comfortably maintain, even if you lost your ability to earn money while traveling. Keep in mind that if you you don’t have a pension to draw from and you choose to maintain consumer debt – whether it’s from credit cards or a RV loan – you’ll surrender a substantial amount of personal time to jobs that pay the bills. And since the whole point of hitting the road is to free yourself from the restrictions of a traditional lifestyle, doesn’t it make sense that the less time you devote to punching a clock, the more you can enjoy the lifestyle? Consider eliminating debt from your life for good and you’ll enjoy the maximum potential of this awesome way of life. You can get started eliminating debt with the financial guru Dave Ramsey’s book or website.
When it comes to making money as part of your full time RV living lifestyle, you’ll benefit greatly by joining an organization like Workamper, which helps full time travelers get jobs. Many other groups exist to help you find paying work on the road, from the We Love Workamping Facebook Group, to The AdHoc Group.
Step 3: Talk to Full Timers about Full Time RV Living
You can spend hours doing online research about full time RV living, but the best way to learn the realities of being on the road is to join a club. RVers are the friendliest group of people around and a quick online search will reveal many RVing clubs filled with members who are eager to share their full timing experiences with newbies. One of the largest clubs in existence is Escapees, a community for RVers of every age and background. The club’s discussion forums a great place to start your research.
After identifying the type of full timing rig you think you want to buy, consider joining a RV owners group for that particular style or make. For example, the Family Motor Coach Association is a club for RVers with motor homes, also known as “Class A” rigs. In addition you can join specific clubs just for owners of certain models, such as Arctic Fox fifth wheels or Airstream trailers. You can find nearly all the clubs and resources available in our RV Forum and Message Board Guide. Alternatively, jJust search the Internet for the name of your RV along with “Owners Group” and you’ll almost certainly find a club to help with your full time RV living research.
Hit the Road Full Time RV Living
As financial guru Dave Ramsey says, “The difference between a dream and a goal is a plan.” If you take time to craft a smart plan for full time RV living, you’ll be rewarded with a dream lifestyle filled with confidence, financial security and unprecedented freedom. Safe Travels!