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RV Living: Myths and Reality

RV Living: Myths and Reality

Living in your RV full time is a dream that many people have. The lure of the open road, the idea of so many adventures and experiences, and the freedom that comes with placing your home on wheels is a treat that many would like to have. But before you decide to take on this mission, even if you don’t want to go completely full-time, you need to have a good understanding of what living in an RV is really like. There are many misconceptions out there, both good and bad, about RV living. To help you make an informed decision and properly prepare you for anything from a weekend getaway to making the decision to travel the US, we’ve compiled a list of the myths and expectations of RV living and clarified the reality.

Finances

If you haven’t looked into the finances of living in an RV yet, you may be surprised to find that it will not automatically save you money. While you won’t have to worry about a mortgage or the expenses that come from living in a stationary home, there are a ton of ways to rack up the same amount of expenses while living in an RV. There are fees to camp in campgrounds as well as the cost of food, repairs, fuel, and more. Even with this scary reality, many RVers have still managed to control their expenses to achieve financial independence and early retirement. With all the fees and different costs of RV living, the biggest advantage of this type of housing versus living in a stationary home is the ability to control how much you are spending and what you are using your budget for. If you have a sudden inflow of cash from a good month of business or from your tax return, you can spend that money on a great campsite for a month. If you are short on cash, you can move to a lower-expense campsite or even boondock. The point is that you are not tied into a set monthly or yearly expense. If you use this to your advantage, you can save faster and have fewer expenses. If you are still paying off your RV, there will be the fixed cost of this payment plan and you’ll still have the costs of insurance and registration. But even with these fixed costs, you have so much control over the other areas of spending that you can achieve financial freedom quickly if you use this to your advantage.

Space

One of the biggest considerations while thinking about RV living is the space. Most people understand that there is a limited amount of space in an RV. While this may be an attractive idea, you should still consider just how much space you need to feel comfortable as well as how much space you will need to store your belongings.

Living with Other People

While RV living is often painted as quiet and serene, this isn’t always the case. If you’re in a campground, you might have to worry about noisy neighbors or kids running around. If you’re parked at a music festival, you might have to worry about generators whirring or music being a little too loud. And while the size of most RVs might fit you or your family comfortably while everyone is in a good mood, it can become chaotic and frustrating if you want to get some space. If you’re wanting to experience something specific (having a place for your kids to explore, having access to a pool or lake, or being as far away from other people as possible), you’re going to want to research where you park. Campsites come in all varieties and if you don’t do your research, you never know what you might find. Campsites are still a wonderful option for RV living, though, as you often have access to electricity and water and even certain perks such as a pool or clubhouse. These are great for family vacations and get togethers and, for many people, definitely worth the added noise of other people.

If you’re boondocking, however, or camped in a serene RV park, you can still wake up to a peaceful morning. Many people take to traveling in their RVs alone or with just one other person. If this is the case, taking this trip can be a terrific bonding experience while allowing you enough space to feel at ease and relaxed. And just imaging waking up beside the shore of a beautiful lake or in the middle of a forest, surrounded by birdsong and a slight breeze. With boondocking specifically (otherwise known as dry camping; a style of camping in which you are not hooked up to electricity or water and have to rely on your RV alone), you are likely to have a peaceful and quiet site away from the noises and sights of civilization.

If you’re bringing a pet along, there are other things to consider. Many campsites have rules and regulations concerning pets, even for boondocking. Once you find a good place that allows you to have a pet, you need to consider where they will sleep, go to the bathroom, and walk around. Will they be outside the RV or will they live inside? Taking a pet on vacation is a great way to have a good time. Just make sure that you have everything you need to keep them happy and comfortable while obeying the rules of the location you’re in.

Parking your RV

There are many campsites that are perfect for RVs and you can easily look up a place near you for boondocking. You can even park your RVin the driveway of a very generous friend or relative. While there is a learning curve to driving and parking the trailer or motorhome into one of these sites, it is totally doable for even the most novice of campers. If you do have any problems with driving your rig or finding a good place to rest, the RV community is always ready to help. There are a ton of forums out there as well as websites specifically devoted to finding great campsites, both for boondocking and for RV parks.

When it comes to full-time RV travel, there are other things to consider as well. If you have a pet, you’ll have to know where to go if they get sick. And what about going to the dentist or the repair shop? These things should be considered if you plan on living in your RV full time.

Traveling Experiences

“Once I get an RV, I will become so much more outdoorsy and adventurous!” Have you ever heard someone say this? Or maybe you yourself have said it a few times? While having an RV may give you more of an opportunity to go on adventures and become more of an outdoors person, it won’t happen just because you own one. Watching Netflix all day is just as possible in an RV as it is in a stationary home. If you have been camping for a while, owning an RV is a great way to increase your range and comfort for these trips. If you have never camped before, though, it is worth mentioning that part of becoming more adventurous and outdoorsy is making the choices that place you in the woods, on a mountain, or in another outdoors area. And once you’re there, you have to actually do it. While there is nothing wrong with camping just to read or watch TV (glamping is a thing that many people do and is just as relaxing), just make sure you have level expectations for the activities you will be doing in your RV. One of the best parts of RVing is how customizable it is to your own personal camping goals, which can go anywhere from climbing a mountain to relaxing on the couch!

Finding the Right RV

Not all RVs are made equally. There are so many types and sizes to choose from and this choice can mean the difference between a terrific experience and a botched trip. To know which kind of RV to choose, you have to know what kind of things you will be doing on your trip and what kind of appliances and amenities you want. Do you want a fully operational kitchen, a living room, and a full bathroom? Or maybe you want just a bed and a place to store your gear? Are you looking for a comfortable home on wheels to relax in on family vacations or are you looking for something to take into the woods for your nature trip? Are you wanting to use your camper occasionally in the summer or are you wanting to travel in it full time. If it’s the latter, you’ll need to do even more homework on your trailer choice, as it will need to be able to keep you safe and warm during the colder seasons while staying in good shape in any season. And what about your budget? These decisions do not skirt the issue of finances and you’ll need to consider your budget when looking at RV models. You could find a smaller RV or used trailer for a cheaper price than a new fully-equipped motorhome that’s coming straight off the lot. Making the decision to buy and use an RV camper is not one that you should make lightly. Before you buy, make sure you do your research and understand exactly what you’re looking for.

Owning and living in an RV is a terrific experience that helps you relax and see the world. It can be an experience that brings you closer to nature and one that you will remember forever. Just make sure that you have everything planned out and take into consideration all of these topics and more. By being prepared, you can further increase the experience of owning an RV.

Feb 11th 2020 Ashley Baughman

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