RVing full-time isn’t for everyone. It is an unconventional lifestyle that demands you to be flexible and adaptable and we love it!
We have been conventional our entire life. Now it was time for a change.
Imagine downsizing your life into a small space barely a few hundred square feet that have no room for privacy.
Then throw in a husband/wife/kids/pets – having no choice but to be
up close and personal on a daily basis.
When things get stressful you always have the great outdoors to escape to.
If you are open to compromises and changes, then traveling full-time could be a special and extraordinary experience.
In our one year of RVing full-time, We have embarked on so many adventures and created memories that will definitely last a lifetime.
In our case, the positives definitely outweighed the negatives.
It was truly a time of learning and growth.
Of course, looking back from this standpoint now, there are several things I wish Bill and I would have known that would have made it less stressful.
I will share some of the things from our experience that hopefully will help you in your journey.
So let’s jump right in.
8 Things I would do differently after traveling full-time for a year.
#1 Do your homework
We thought we did our homework and researched everything we could get our hands-on, we still weren’t prepared. There is always a lot to learn.
Some of you might already have a motorhome or fifth wheel, trailer as a weekend-camper.
This post is geared toward the complete novice! Like we were when we started out.
We researched hours, upon hours, upon hours (literally) of Youtube videos of Full-time RVers, which really taught us a lot.
Not to mention the blogs and books we devoured, hoping to gain some confidence, before jumping in.Haas Lake RV Park
We knew we needed all the help we could get since we have never owned a camper/RV/trailer of any kind.
Let alone tow a fifth wheel! Although we did go camping in a tent. Yep! That’s all the experience we had. Yes, it was scary! But it felt good.
We also went to RV shows and attended RV rallies to get first-hand knowledge of the whole process. This was very helpful.
#2 A practice run is highly recommended
Even though you might be excited about RVing Full-time, there could still be doubts and fears about ditching your life and possessions to committing full-time.
Yes, we have all been there at some point.
The good news is it is totally possible to experience the whole adventure of full time RVing without making permanent lifestyle choices.
So don’t toss your house keys just yet.
Conduct a trial run..or even more over a period of time.
Although the trial experience won’t give you the actual sense of being without a home, it will help you identify what kind of full-timer you are.
Are you a mover or a “sitter”?
Rent an RV for at least a week or more.
Just to get the feel of living in such close quarters. I don’t know that it would have made a difference. It would have given us a reality check.
The trial run will definitely clarify your biggest doubts before diving in to be a full-timer.
#3 Relationships might take a hit
Let’s face it. The size of an RV doesn’t give couples the luxury of space. Although our 36ft. fifth wheel is plenty big for us, it can get claustrophobic at times when the weather is bad, but not very often.
We actually like less space which means less to maintain!
That’s one of the reasons we decided to sell our 4 bedrooms, 3,000 sq.ft home. There’s always a tradeoff. You have to decide what tradeoffs your willing to make.
As far as relationships go, it will be difficult at times.
If you didn’t fully know your partner before embarking on this journey,
I bet that won’t be an issue after the first couple of months.
Spending 24-hours a day with someone can be a big adjustment and if you are not mentally prepared, it could cause some huge problems.
Make no mistake about it!
My advice is to develop a coping strategy, go on separate trips once in a while, and take long walks alone to clear your head, have a side hobby and above all, be mentally ready.
I love to do mixed media crafts, Bill takes 1-3 mile walks depending on the park. He also loves to spend hours walking the beach searching for seashells (anyone needing some seashells?).
You can turn every fight into a stepping stone and learn more about your partner.
If you are open-minded about it, a stronger and more improved relationship can come out of the whole ordeal.
#4 Live in the moment
When we first started our journey on the road, we were always in a rush.
Bill wanted to cover as much area as we could within the time we had. But this experience isn’t about how many places you’ve been. It’s about actually enjoying your surroundings and creating memories.
Don’t be too sucked into planning things and trying to make it perfect. Stay loose and adjust as you go.
Choose destinations on-the-go!
Meet new people, discover new places and be more in-tune with the actual journey. Living within the moment truly gives you a newfound appreciation for life.
#5 Pack Light
Another downside to living in an RV? – Limited storage space. Yes guys, it really is that small. Almost everything I read on full=time RVing made emphasis on how small a space is, but I was surprised when I actually stepped into one.
You’re going to need all the space you can get so don’t go cramping it up with stuff you think “might” need. Which I did, I packed way more than I needed. I’m still downsizing as we go.
It is a huge adjustment for us ladies(men too!) I can tell you that. I had to learn the hard way.
Trust me you won’t even miss those things after you adapt to the simple life. We just think we can’t do without certain things but in reality, we can – we just choose not to.
On the plus side, there are lots of creative ways to maximize the small space you have. Nothing a little DIY can’t remedy.
You can sell on eBay or have a yard sale for all the items you are leaving behind. Gifting family and friends is also a good idea.
If you absolutely must carry a lot with you, you can store them in a smaller cabin which can be attached to the end of your RV.
However, if you’re not committing to fulltime RVing, you can always rent a storage locker to keep your stuff.
#6 Insurance (read the fine print)
Be warned, there are a lot of insurance decisions to undertake when you decide to live on the road.
These include health, accidents, and theft. Always triple make sure you have full coverage. Replacement value for the RV in cases of theft or damage and for personal items is essential.
There are tons of insurers and different coverage plans.
Study the many options and discounts before choosing the insurance that is best tailored to your lifestyle. Be sure to know your options.
We took what the RV dealer sold us.
We should have shopped around.
#7 Track Your Spending
It doesn’t matter if you are on the Forbes list, a side effect of the full-time RV lifestyle is functioning with less money.
I didn’t track our expenses in the beginning. I do now! Keep a budget and journal all your repairs and maintenance.
Your warranty insurance won’t cover repairs if you can’t prove you’ve had your RV properly maintained.
We belong to the Good Sam Club and Passport America. I will renew Passport America because we were able to use that in most parks we stayed in.
I’m not sure if I’ll renew Good Sam Club membership?
Watch your budget like a hawk and adjust it accordingly.
We use the Gas Buddy app to find the cheapest. We use this app a lot!
Avoid camping world if you can (we learned the hard way). We spent too much money there, only to learn most Wal-marts carry a lot of RV accessories.
We also rely on the Allstays app for finding RV parks(always read the reviews!) This is a must if you RV full-time. You will figure it out as you go. We not the plan in advance kinda people, sometimes that’s good and sometimes it not. Just leave enough room for flexibility. We do now!
#8 Finding the Right RV
You definitely need an RV that matches your needs to ride off into the sunset. I know what you’re thinking – the bigger the better.
This might be one of those situations where it doesn’t apply. Although a big RV guarantees more space, it does have downsides like limiting the number of places you can go due to parking issues.
Think about where you want to stay?
BLM land, RV Parks, State Parks? Most places will accommodate lengths up to 38-40ft. Definitely, do your homework before getting that 40ft. motorhome to find out if you can fit into your desired campgrounds.One of our favorite RV Parks. Haas RV Campground in Michigan
If you decide on a fifth wheel, do you have the appropriate vehicle to tow it with?
Many decisions, but you will know when it’s right.
Don’t be smooth-talked into a purchase or hornswoggled(the technical term for bullied) by RV salespeople. Be strong!
Don’t be pressured into a purchase!! You can always walk away!
Familiarize yourself with the RV manual.
You might experience unprecedented breakdowns or electrical faults that might require attention right away. So be prepared to patch doors, windows, and leaky roofs.
Have an emergency toolbox, start out with basics, and add to it as you go.
Be aware and well equipped with all the spare parts you might need on the road. These include spare tires, fluids, among other things which have to be cared for while you are on the road.
It is also important to make note of different points you can get assistance from. Routine servicing and check-ups are good preventive measures against unforeseen circumstances.
It is essential for a smooth sailing life on the road and to ensure peak performance. Full time RVing although fun can be quite risky at times too. There are many things that could go wrong.
Living on the road can be eventful, being prepared for accidents is a necessity.
As such it is imperative that you carry a standard RV medical kit. But don’t just have it – learn how to use it too.
Always be prepared for a medical emergency that could arise.
*Keeping in touch
It is always difficult to pack up your life and leave family and friends behind. Thank goodness for WIFI, keeping in touch has been made a lot easier. Make sure you check out and compare different service providers and resellers to help you select a plan best suited for life on-the-go.
We use AT&t, so far so good!
Many campgrounds are also equipped with wireless connections for all your electronic devices.
Keep in touch with family and friends, so they have knowledge of your whereabouts in case of emergency. Make a blog and share your experiences as you move.
*Finding Descent RV Campgrounds
When you are first starting out, you might struggle with finding the kinds of campgrounds, there are many apps to help find a state park or RV campground.
RV park review app is one to check out or the one we use is Allstays Camp & RV app. That’s just to name a few.
ALWAYS READ THE CAMPGROUND REVIEWS!
*Weather is Key
This point might seem obvious, but a known fact is first-timers don’t really tend to pay too much attention to the weather (we didn’t) We do now!
Bill has now become the weatherman (he is obsessed with this gadget)!
I get hour by hour weather updates on the temperature inside and out with our new La Crosse temperature gauge.
I have considered hiding it at times.
Our next purchase will be a Noaa weather transistor radio, after just experiencing a power outage in the RV park we are staying in.
Both of our phones were dead
I didn’t have a battery backup (I will now), we could have charged them in our truck except it was parked at the entrance and the temperature was 94′.
Nope, not happening. So we waited, luckily the power was only out about 5 hours.
Researching the weather and paying closer attention saves you the hassle of traveling through unfavorable weather conditions.
It can also help you in being strategic when planning trips. Visiting a place under the right weather conditions can have a strong impact on your whole experience.Getting ready for a new journey
Well, there you have it! All the things I would do differently if I had a do-over. (I’m sure I’ll come up with a few more after this is posted)
The full-time RV experience truly is worth a shot. It not only gives you a new and better perspective on life but helps you grow too.
Not the ugly duckling into a beautiful swan type growth, but more of a messy-confusing and beautiful one.
Remember, you don’t have to commit yourself to full-time RVing to enjoy this experience.
Seasonal choices are possible without permanent lifestyle alterations.
I hope by sharing our experiences, will help in making your journey less stressful and more enjoyable.
I encourage you to be open to change and follow your dreams.
It can be scary, just take baby steps before taking the plunge. Wishing you the best in whatever you decide. Please let me know how goes!
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