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Living Full-Time in an RV

Living Full-Time in an RV

How would you feel if we told you that you could live anywhere, save money, live your life to the fullest, and grow every day? Many may say that this is a pipe dream, but with full-time RV living, this can be a reality. Living with the knowledge that you are free to pursue your dreams and do what you want where you want is what full-time RV travel is all about, as long as you’re willing to live life a little differently than you’re used to. Along with the rewards and freedom that comes with this kind of lifestyle are many other obstacles and challenges that you’ll have to face. To help you with some of these challenges, we’ve compiled a list of advice that we hope will help if you want to live full time in an RV.

(PS: If you’re not sold on going full-time, try renting out RVs for short or longer vacations as a test and read the stories of people who have already made the switch!)

Get to know your RV and learn as much as you can about it

Choose your RV with care. Don’t just buy the first RV you see that’s in your price range. Look through multiple lots from multiple dealers. Spend at least 20 minutes looking through it and picturing yourself in it. Try acting through some daily chores that you would be doing in it. Lay on the bed. Stand in the shower; is it large enough to be comfortable. Pretend you’re washing dishes is this comfortable. Also, if possible, take the rig out for a spin. Do you like how this one handles? Just like a car, it’s important to test drive it. As a tip, try finding one with a slide out. This extra bit of space can make a huge difference. Finally, think about whether you’ll have a second vehicle with you. If you will have that second vehicle, do you want to tow your RV or have your RV tow your vehicle? Do you really want to have to drive both of your vehicles whenever you move locations?

Read the manual. Yes ALL of it. This might seem like a tiresome activity, but it will save you a trip to the repair shop when you know exactly what to do when a random light comes on. Also, learn skills such as how to change your RV tire, how to do an oil change, and how to check your engine. Learning how to care for your RV not only saves you the money and hassle of going to a repair shop, it helps you feel more comfortable in your RV and empowers you to become more independent and self-reliant. There are also some routine maintenance bits that you’ll need to do if you want your RV to stay in good condition. Establish a routine to complete these chores so that they don’t pile up on you. Doing so can keep your RV clean and working well, making your living experience easier and keeping the value high so that you can get a good price if you’re looking to sell it again.

Plan and prepare as much as possible

This step is very important. Doing proper planning can save you tons of stress, frustration, and money once you’re on the road. When you’re preparing, there are a few things to think about; money, technicalities, and locations.

Money

There are two parts of planning around money; income and expenses. If you are using your retirement, then you’ll only need to worry about budgeting your expenses. If you still need an income, however, you’ll need to think about how to create one while on the road. There are three main ways to make money on the road. First, you could work a remote job. If your current job will allow you to work remotely, then that is a great idea. If not, then you can look online for remote jobs. There are many places online that you can also find short-term remote jobs. Second, you could start your own business. This is a great opportunity for you to learn more, branch out within your field, and do what you love. Be aware, though that there may be a learning curve for doing this and you might not be immediately successful. Before and during this shift, read books, listen to podcasts, and talk to entrepreneurs to learn as much as you can. The third option is work camp. This is when you work for the campground you’re staying out in return for a free site and possibly a little income. This is not the recommended option, as it is often not a very high pay and many people are not as much a fan of this option.

As for expenses, it is very possible to save money while on the road, however, to do so, you’ll need to think through your expenses with care. Your expenses will depend on your lifestyle. If you’re wanting to stay in a large Class A motorhome in a nice resort campground, your expenses will be larger than if you were to go boondocking in a modest Class B motorhome. Also, don’t forget to think about the cost of gas, campgrounds with electric hookups, dumping and refilling your tanks, the cost of registration and insurance, as well as food, entertainment, and more. Planning through your budget will save you money and hassle down the road.

Technicalities

There are several parts of RV living that are not fun but simply need to be done, such as fees, insurance, domicile, and more. Know about the places you are visiting so that you can know if you’re going to need to further prepare for them. Plan your insurance, understand how it will work, and plan your budget around it. A domicile is the state that you are registered with for voting purposes and mailing purposes. Some states are not able to provide this, so make sure that you research which one you would like to claim as your domicile state. Finally, plan out how you will be receiving your mail. There are a few mail forwarding companies that you can register with so that you can still get your mail.

It is also important to plan for the unexpected. Plan for emergencies, plan for sickness, plan for foul weather, and more. You don’t want to be stuck in an area with flash flooding because you didn’t check the weather beforehand. Always carry a spare tire with you as well as the necessary tools.

Locations

Planning your stops is one of the best parts of living in an RV. You get to cross things off of your bucket list, explore new places, and have amazing adventures. To plan these, though, make sure you know where you will sleep and take care of your supplies (including taking care of your tanks). Plan your locations for flexibility as well, so that you can leave a bad location early or stay at a good location for longer.

Space

RVs have limited space. This means that you will very likely have to downsize. Think about what you really need and only bring that. Do you really need 5 plates if it’s only you? Remember, the fewer items you have in your rig, the more space you will have. Things can add up pretty fast, so make sure that everything that goes into your rig is needed and will be used. Once you know what you will bring, make sure to keep it organized and clean. Smaller spaces get cluttered quickly, so making it a point to clean up often can save you a bunch of frustration later on. An important point when it comes to physical possessions in an RV is that you’ll need to make sure everything is secured when you’re moving. This applies not only to things that are out in the open, but things that are in cabinets as well. If you have breakable dishes or cups, make sure they’re insulated and secured. If you have things that will move if the RV moves, then make sure they are tied down for when you’re traveline. Try making a checklist of these things so that you can refer to this when you’re packing up to move.

Have fun!

Most importantly, have fun! You’re finally in a place where you can live wherever, do whatever, and have such control over your finances that you can reach your financial goals faster. If you’re traveling alone, you don’t have to worry about asking permission to move. If you are traveling with a partner or a family, you’ll need to communicate with them, though. Make sure everyone is on the same page to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts. Once you’re all on the same page, though, you can enjoy the amazing opportunity you have to travel the US, seeing sights that so many people don’t get the chance to see and doing things that so many people don’t get the chance to do. Enjoy it! Have fun and remember to journal it, take pictures, or make scrapbooks. Just find a way to remember the amazing things you do and your new adventures!

Mar 27th 2020 Ashley Baughman

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