Living Full Time in an RV

To many, the concept of living in an RV might seem insane. However, there are thousands of people who have sold their homes, got rid of their belongings, and hit the road -permanently. While it may not be for everyone, it’s a lifestyle filled with adventure, travel and the challenges of a constantly changing environment. Have you ever thought about it? Here’s an article that will delve into some of the details of what the full time RVing experience is all about.

Reasons to become a full timer

Do you wonder why people choose full time RVing? Many good reasons include:

Less Stress. No house means no lawns to mow, no property taxes to pay, no big house to clean or paint or maintain. No plumbing to fix. A small living space means no “stuff” to worry about.

More time. Living the simple life means you have more time to do the things you enjoy. Your days belong to you, and you are free to spend your hours doing whatever makes you happy. No more committees, no more meetings, no more deadlines.

See the country. This is one of the best reasons. Living in an RV, you can pull up stakes whenever you want and move on to the next interesting place. You can follow the sun and be in a warm climate year around. You can see all those wonderful places you’ve dreamed about or go back to the favorite spots of vacations past.

Live on less. If you prefer a luxurious lifestyle, maybe this isn’t for you but if you are looking at a modest lifestyle, RVing may be for you. You can live on less by starting out with an affordable used RV, staying in reasonably priced campgrounds and living on a budget. One thing for sure, you won’t buy a lot of stuff – there’s no place to put it!

Who Does It?

What kind of people do this sort of thing? As we mentioned before, it isn’t for everyone. So just who is it for?

Retirees. Retired people are probably the largest segment of the RVing population. Newly retired couples are often active, healthy and ready for a lifestyle change. Even without large retirement funds, many find that they can afford to live in an RV.

People who have to travel. Many people have jobs that require travel with considerable stays at each destination. Construction workers, writers, artists, traveling nurses, and some consultants find that it is far more convenient to live in an RV than renting everywhere they travel. Some even have businesses they can operate from their RVs

Volunteers. Many people who full time RV volunteer at National Parks, Monuments, National Wildlife Reserves and historic sites. Often, in return for a certain number of work hours, park volunteers are provided with a free campsite. Other RVers volunteer their time with Habitat for Humanity, churches, schools, museums and other non-profit organizations.

The Process

If life on the road sounds good, you will want to learn more about it before taking the big step. There are some really good books available about buying your first RV, remodeling a used RV and making a living while being on the road. There are plenty of websites also for “full-timers.” Our RV consultant at Federico Chrysler of Wood River, a local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer in Wood River, IL, says if you have decided it’s a go, then consider these 13 items.

  • Start planning. Set a date for putting your house on the market. Decide if you will put your household belongings in storage or sell everything you can’t take with you.
  • Analyze finances. Are you going to live on retirement funds or will you work? Make a budget and financial plan.
  • Get organized. Start a notebook with different sections and make lists of what to take, what to store, who you need to contact, etc.
  • Start downsizing. Sell, give away or throw out whatever you no longer need. Start packing the RV only with things you’ll need on the road.
  • Arrange to keep in touch. Almost all RVers find that a laptop computer and a cell phone are necessary to life on the road. You can use the internet to pay bills, check your bank and credit card statements, look at your phone bills and keep in touch with friends and family. You can connect to wireless internet (WiFi) at many campgrounds, rest areas and businesses.
  • If you will be traveling with pets, make made sure that they also have check-ups and have their shots updated. Proof of rabies vaccination and shot records should be placed in a take-along file as many campgrounds required this paperwork of pet owners. get a lot less tracked in little this way.
  • Definitely get passports taken care of before going on the road as it will take a while for processing.
  • In addition to RV and car insurance, you may also want to insure the personal belongings in your motorhome. Companies specializing in camper and recreational vehicle insurance are most likely to understand your needs. Check with your health insurance provider and make sure that you will be able to use it anywhere in the country.
  • Important Papers.Invest in a small file box for insurance policies, bank files, passports, birth certificates, pet files, copies of any contracts (loans, storage, cell phone, retirement plans, etc.).
  • Health and Medical.Get prescriptions filled and updated, have eyes checked and get copies of all prescriptions to take with you. If you have any chronic conditions or serious health concerns, carry copies of medical records with you.
  • You will probably want a real address somewhere. There are mail services all around the country, but most full-timers choose one in Texas, Florida or South Dakota because those states make it fairly easy to establish residency and do not have a state income tax.
  • Join a RV club. Not everyone does this right away, but consider joining an RVer’s organization like Escapees or Good Sam. Their magazines and websites alone are worth the fees. More specific groups geared to owners of certain brands of RVs like Airstream, Holiday Rambler, Winnebago, Born Free and others have their own newsletters, magazines and rallies.
  • Money Management. You don’t have to change your current banks or financial institutions, but you do need to change your legal address with them. Some banks require that you do this in person, so get it taken care of before you go on the road. Set up on-line bill paying, money transfer between accounts and account viewing so that you can take care of your finances on line. Have Fun and Happy Trails!

For most people, this will be a huge life-style change and it’s common to be apprehensive about it. You may want to stay in a local campground for the first month or so just to iron things out. When you hit the road, you will meet many new comers like yourself as well as many experienced campers and RVers who are more than willing to share their knowledge.

Have Fun and Happy Trails!