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7 Lessons Learned By Full-Time RVers

This post was updated on March 15th, 2024

Are you prepared for emergencies? Photo courtesy of Patrick Kelly/Flickr

7 Lessons Learned By Full-Time RVers

What are the lessons learned by RVers?

Everything in life seems to be a lesson and RVers receive lessons the same as everyone else. Most RVers will admit they’ve learned many things while traveling full-time or just for annual vacations.

Some are difficult lessons while others are so beneficial you’ll wish you had known them earlier.

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1. Be prepared for emergencies

Although we always hope there aren’t any emergencies in our future, invariably there will be.  It could include a flat tire, lost reservations, an illness, a theft, an accident, a bank card won’t work, and anything else that could possibly go wrong.

It really comes down to how you handle an emergency and how prepared you are. Do you have an emergency fund for unexpected costs that may come up?  Do you have a backup plan if you or your traveling partner gets sick?

Can both of you drive the rig if necessary? Plan for every emergency and sit back and relax. If something does happen it’s only a matter of putting the plan in place and everything will be taken care of.

2. Not everyone is happy with your plans or decisions

Have you ever sat across from someone and after telling them your exciting plans for full-time RVing or something similar, they stare at you in shock as if to say, “Are you crazy”?

Not everyone understands the wish or dream of moving into an RV and traveling full-time. They may wish they could do it themselves or have absolutely no concept of what it even means to be a full-time RVers. Be prepared for it—not everyone agrees with you and they don’t have to.  Do what is best for you.

3. Be open to a change of plans

Not everything works the way we want to or plan for. Reservations don’t get booked, a road may be closed, an accident happens, and what is important is how the situation is handled.

It’s easy to get angry or frustrated and it’s also understandable but really how important is it that if what is planned for doesn’t happen.

A campground booking gets lost and you have to go down the road a few miles—who knows it may even be nicer or you may meet some terrific new people who become lifelong friends. Not everything goes the way we want it to.

Be prepared for the unexpected. A short while ago we took a back road to get to our next destination and before we had gone very many miles we were in the middle of a cattle drive and had the fun of watching the wranglers herd the cows down the road as we squeezed by.

Cattle drive

The unexpected could be a last minute dinner invitation or a chance to join in on a special tour—it could be anything. Are you flexible?

4. Take a road less traveled

Most RVers have learned that if they want to see something special or different they need to travel the secondary highways and get off the major freeways.

That’s where you’ll find the quaint little towns with special little campgrounds, interesting museums, friendly people, local restaurants, and all kinds of things you may have never thought of.

You can easily plan your route and find points of interest in the area with an online tool like RV LIFE Trip Wizard.

5. Use checklists

Having a checklist for setting up or dismantling camp means that everything should get done without missing any important steps such as not unplugging the electrical cord before you drive away.

Most couples divide the tasks into indoor and outdoor things to do and trust the other person has done everything necessary. Checklists are quite common among RVers.  They work!

6. Be open to new adventures

Many years ago my traveling partner and I were driving through Virginia and were making plans as to where we should go from there. I was reading a magazine and saw an ad for a NASCAR race in Rockingham, North Carolina.

We had never been to a NASCAR race and hadn’t even thought it was on our radar.  We both looked at each other and said, “Why not”?  That adventure turned out to be one of the best things of our year-long trip and I still talk about it to friends today. What adventures are you missing out on?

NASCAR – Photo courtesy of Tricia Got/Flickr

7. Don’t overplan

It’s so easy to get caught up in making plans for your journey or vacation. Campgrounds are booked, event tickets purchased, the budget is created, and you’re ready to go.

Only what you may not know is that the day you plan to visit something important is the worst day of the year to be there, and because your plans are so solid there isn’t any room to change them.

A few years ago, I made reservations in a small town so we could be there for a special international market. What I failed to realize is the day I planned for us to travel wasn’t the best day to be on the road because of another event and it disrupted all our well-intentioned plans. Lesson learned.

Through our lives, we learn many things and hopefully, some of them actually stick with us. The lessons posted above may make your journey much easier and more enjoyable.

Be prepared, be flexible, be open, and most of all—have fun. The lessons we learn should make our lives much easier.

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2 thoughts on “7 Lessons Learned By Full-Time RVers”

  1. My wife and I try and plan for the many possible pop up issues as best we can, when we started taking trips in our Class A gasser I would load everything and the kitchen sink but then I went through the what ifs in a more common sense rational way and now packed stuff like a general set of tools, spare drive belt, fuses, power connector adaptors etc.. I leave those in the rig and it has made loading up less stressful knowing I have done my best for the general “what ifs” and just concentrate on the really important issues at hand.
    I am sure my method is flawed compared to how some folks do it but it has worked for us many years now. Like everyone else we hope none of the issue planning is needed.

  2. Over-planning: the bane of all those retired persons in an RV. Planning is deciding what to defrost for dinner, or checking if it’s the last bottle of wine in the rack before stopping for groceries. All the rest is just “doing”.

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