IS FULL TIME RVING RIGHT FOR YOU?
Camping next to mountain lakes. Fishing along peaceful rivers. Evenings spent around a campfire. Hiking through alpine forests. A new “backyard” every week. The love of the open road is as American as apple pie.
“Living the dream!”
This was something we heard multiple times during our four years of full time RVing. And you know what? For us full time RVing was a dream come true. Our four years on the road were amazing, but as our boys grew into teenagers their needs changed. Now in a different season of life we are going to enjoy part time RVing until the times comes when we can hit the road full time again.
Perhaps you have spent many hours dreaming of hitting the road but how do you know if RVing full time is really right for you? For some, full time RVing is a perfect fit, but for others part time RVing or being weekend warriors may be a better fit. From personality types to family dynamics there is much to consider. So before you uproot yourself to hit the open road, ask yourself these 10 questions to know if full time RVing is right for you.
Do you thrive on change or prefer stability?
Full time RVing is perfect for people who thrive on change. Your backyard is always changing and your neighbors’ homes have wheels. Simple tasks like running errands become an adventure when you are looking for a grocery store or a post office. At times full time RVing can require a great deal of flexibility, and occasionally you may miss the familiarity of home. If this sounds overwhelming you may want to rethink full timing and consider part time RVing. Part time RVing can offer the best of both worlds: the stability that comes with living in a community, and the adventures that come with traveling.
Are you retired, have a mobile income or are willing to develop one?
The question of income is often the first question potential full time RVers ask themselves. The majority of full time RVers are retired. But what if you aren’t there yet? Some professions lend themselves well to full time RVing. ln today’s age of the internet there are many jobs that simply require a computer and internet connection. If that is not an option start looking into other income possibilities. What are your strengths and hobbies? Is there a way to turn those into an income source? Get creative! If that doesn’t sound appealing, consider the idea of saving up enough to cover an extended RV trip.
How does your significant other or family feel about full time RVing?
If you are in a relationship or have a family, it’s time to have a heart to heart talk. Discuss what it would look like to live full time on the road. Is everyone onboard for a full time RV adventure? If someone is hesitant, discuss why. What will each member have to “give up” if you decide to leave your permanent residence? Are there unique needs that need to be met on the road? For example, our oldest son plays piano so we needed to make sure he had a space for a keyboard. Most importantly, how does everyone’s expectations for full time RVing line up? You don’t want to pack up everything and suddenly find out one person is set on spending winters skiing in the mountains while the other one wants to drive south for the winter to enjoy Florida beaches.
Have you spent time on message boards or social media groups reading full time RV blogs and asking questions?
Learn as much as you can about RVing. The internet is a wealth of information and there are RVers in every life stage sharing their experiences. Find a few blogs written by people with a similar family situation doing what you want to do and read them. Search Facebook for “full time RV” groups and request to join. RVers are truly some of the nicest people you’ll come across and most are eager to help. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions. Avoid asking general questions. Instead of posting “What kind of RV is best for full time living?” try to be more specific. For example a question like, “I’ve been looking into toy haulers. What make and model do you have and how do you like it?” is likely to return more useful information. Reading and asking questions about the full time RV lifestyle will help you know if it’s right for you.
Draft a monthly budget and ask yourself if you will be comfortable.
If you already have a mobile income in place, draft a monthly budget. It is impossible to say you need X amount to full time RV because there are so many variables. A few things to take into consideration when drafting a budget are: camping fees, fuel, food, admissions for attractions, RV payments, and insurance. All of these things vary widely. Some people, like us, take advantage of the RV kitchen and eat in for the majority of meals. Others prefer to experience the local restaurant scene. Some RVers stay in one place for a few days and others significantly cut down on costs by staying in one place for weeks or months at a time. Some people don’t want to be without full hookups while others rarely pay for camping and boondock most nights. (If you aren’t familiar with that term, read this boondocking guide to get started.) As you can see full time RVing expenses vary widely. That’s one of the best parts of full time RVing. Unlike buying a house on the beach, RVing is within reach for a wide range of budgets.
What sort of RV will be the best fit for you and full time travel?
A week or even a month in an RV is much different from making an RV your permanent home. While you may not miss the tub during a week away you may, like we did, realize it’s something you really want in your home. If you think full time RVing is in your future I encourage you to visit a few RV shows to get a feel for the type of RV that may work best for you and full time travel. Check out our guide to visiting RV shows. Spend time in different makes and models. Imagine where you would put your stuff. Do you need a workspace? If you haven’t RVed before, rent one for a week or two and imagine what it would be like living in it full time.
If you have kids, what are the school options?
Full time RVing with kids is a growing segment of the RV community. Each year it seems more families pack up to hit the road and follow their dreams. If your kids are of school age, you’ll need to consider their education. Thankfully, like income, the age of the internet is working in your favor. There are many different approaches and philosophies to homeschooling, which is the beauty of homeschooling, or should I say roadschooling! There is an approach for every learning style. Perhaps you will want to put together your kids’ curriculum. Others opt for a more hands on “life is learning” approach. There are private online schools and many school districts offer online courses as well. You may find a mixed approach works best for your kids. Of course, life on the road offers endless educational opportunities from historical sights to hands on science…the learning never stops!
Are you mechanically inclined?
You certainly don’t have to be mechanically inclined to enjoy full time RVing, but I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention being prepared for RV maintenance. Just like a house or car, RVs need to be maintained and occasionally have unexpected expenses. It’s life and nothing to fear. Don’t let not being handy with tools scare you off. My guess is you can do more than you think. There are plenty of tutorials and videos available online to help with the more simple repairs and don’t be afraid to ask fellow RVers for help. More than once a fellow RVer has helped us out with RV maintenance. Of course, you can always pay someone to do repairs but having some basic knowledge or willingness to learn about RV maintenance will not only save you some cash, but it will also give you a little extra peace of mind.
Do you have extended family around the country?
Full time RVing is a wonderful option for those who have family and friends sprinkled all over the country. It’s a perfect opportunity to catch up and visit with loved oneswho you might not get to see very often. Personally speaking, making memories with our loved ones around the country has been one of our favorite things about full time RVing.
Do you enjoy meeting new people?
Hitting the road full time is joining a community of like-minded people. You will automatically have something, and often many things, in common with the people you meet. There are rallies and meet-ups all over the country. Campgrounds host activities to meet new friends. An evening walk around the campground can often end with a long conversation and even dinner plans. You never know when you are going to meet your next lifelong friends.
If you can’t get enough of plugging new addresses into your GPS and love change, chances are you have a severe case of wanderlust and you are going to love full time RVing!
Are you a full time RVer? Any advice to add? Have you ever wanted to #GoRVing full time?