How to Keep Your Dog Happy & Healthy in an RV?

german shepherd puppy

Our 3-month-old Maggie

Whether you’re a full-time RVer or a weekend camper, traveling with a dog can be difficult at times. But then again, what isn’t difficult at times? We have a German Shepherd puppy named Maggie. She is 15 months old now, the pictures in this post she is only 3 months old. For us, the biggest obstacle is making your plans around your dog. Can you take them with you? If not, do you leave them in the RV? Will your dog bark when your away? How long will you be gone? What if it gets hot in your RV while you’re away?  Many things to consider when traveling with a pet. In the end, they are so worth it!!

Below are 9 great tips that will help keep your dog happy and healthy

1. RVing with Your Dog During the Hot Summer Months

It’s never a good idea to leave your pets unattended in an RV during the summer months. Temperatures can change drastically within a few hours. Your RV can get hot quickly, as it would in a car without A/C. However, if you can’t take your dog or cat along, you have to leave the A/C on.

Black and tan german shepard puppy

Our new puppy

Cute black and tan german shepherd puppy

 

  • You might want to consider getting a sensor which sends a notification to your phone whenever the temperatures escalate beyond a certain degree inside of your RV. Last year we stayed in Michigan at Haas Lake RV Campground for the entire summer and into the fall. During the month of July, the temperature stayed in the high 80’s and into the ’90s. You just can’t leave your pets in an RV without the A/C in those temperatures! This summer I plan on purchasing Temperature Monitoring System. Our RV neighbor at Haas RV Campground owned one and was happy with it. I’ll do a review and let you know how it works out.

  • We purchased a small plastic swimming pool for Maggie. It only cost about $7.00 and Maggie loved it. I use a quick drying microfiber towel to dry her off. We gave the pool to another RVer before leaving the park. Since we probably wouldn’t use it again until the next summer.

German shepherd puppy playing in baby swimming pool

  • Another way of keeping your dog cool, I use an old beach towel or any old towel, lay it on the floor of the RV (not on carpeting) pour a cold glass of water on it, just enough to get it wet, not drenched. The minute Maggie sees me pour the water she’s right there waiting to lay on it!

Black and tan german shepherd puppy sleeping on her back.

Maggie loves laying on a wet towel when it’s hot out.

2. Do Not Switch Waters

When moving from one RV park to another, our veterinarian advised us to avoid giving our dog water from every different location. This could cause problems (diarrhea) for your dog due to the changing of PH levels. We always drink bottled water anyway and most of the time Maggie does too. On travel days, we carry extra water bottles in the truck for us & Maggie.

3. Your Dogs Health & Safety

  • Taking care of your dog’s health while RVing entails a lot. To avoid any medical complications with your dog, it’s a good idea to clean your dog’s paws whenever you take them for a walk before they enter your Rv. It really depends on the RV park, if it’s well-maintained you won’t need to. We have been to a few parks that it was necessary to clean her paws.

Keep your dog from licking any form of stagnant water since it could be from someone’s leaking sewer or fuel, this could get the really sick.

  •   Haas Lake RV Park in Michigan has goose poop everywhere! Maggie was always trying to eat it. It became very difficult to take her on walks. She would then get diarrhea from it. I discovered the solution, we put a Velcro nose harness on her nose! You know, the nose-wrap that keeps a dog from biting!? It also keeps them from eating goose poop!

  • Also, if an RV park has a dog park or one nearby, I suggest you bring their own water and water bowl. This will help prevent your dog from contracting a disease. Which I know might not be possible, but worth a try? Remember that the park isn’t the cleanest place to be. Maggie just loves going and playing with all the dogs at the dog parks. I also carry scented doggy wipes that we use to wipe her down after leaving the dog park. Exercise is a must for your dog when living the RV lifestyle.
  • Installing carpet on your RV steps to prevent your dog from slipping or getting his paws caught on the metal steps. We installed ours after hearing about an accident an RVer had with his dog.  It also makes it safer for us humans too! Click here for the current price.

RV Steps with carpeting on them.

4. Anxiety

  • Even though you might enjoy traveling in an RV, your pet might not (luckily Maggie loves traveling). If your dog or cat is prone to anxiety, tell your vet, he can prescribe anxiety medicine for them. It can also help during thunderstorms, lighting, and 4th of July. Which can be a little scarier in an RV. Routine exercise can also help reduce anxiety.

dog with anxiety vest on

Anxiety Vest for Dogs

5. ID Tags and Records

  • If you’re at an RV park or maybe you’re taking your dogs for a walk or something, make sure that they have their dog tags on their harnesses or leashes. The dog tag should have their names, their proof of rabies vaccination, and your phone number. Some RV parks will want to see this before allowing you to have access to their park.

I keep a copy of our dog and cat’s veterinarian records in our truck, along with our insurance and registration.

By the way, don’t forget to have your pets treated for fleas. We spent our last two winters in Florida, where fleas were a problem. Even though Maggie had been treated, she still got flea bites.

  • You can get the proof of rabies vaccination from the vet, and for the tag that has the dog’s name and your contact information Click to order.

 6. Veterinarian

When you plan to stay at an RV park for a while, ensure to scope out where the nearest vet is, so that, should you have an emergency situation, you could know where to go to. Usually, the RV park can recommend a good veterinarian in the area.

7. Toys

When switching from a house to RVing full-time, it is important that you bring along toys and beds your dogs are familiar with. It will also help reduce stress and anxiety.

Black and tan german shepherd puppy in a crate.

Having a crate keeps them out of trouble and makes them feel safe. Especially if you have a younger dog. It’s essential for puppies being potty trained.

8. RV Park Pet Rules

When making reservations, be sure to ask about the pet rules and restrictions.

  • The first rule– whether you’re in an RV park, or wherever you are, pick up your dog’s poop and dispose of it properly! Please! First of all, it is good park etiquette and secondly, you will avoid the case of your stepping on your dog’s waste, and even getting it inside your RV.  I recycle plastic grocery bags for picking up doggy dodo. I hang them by the door so it’s handy to grab before walking out the door.
  • Second Rule- do not allow your dog bark all night and day when you have neighbors so close. This can be extremely annoying, and make your neighbors angry.
  • Third Rule – ALWAYS keep your dog on a lease! Always! For the safety of your dog and others.
  • Most RV Parks require that you keep your dog on a leash at ALL TIMES. Never leave your dog outside unattended.
  • Some Campgrounds won’t accept certain breeds, like Dobermans, Pitbull’s and Rottweilers. Be sure to ask when making reservations

9. Diet

If your dog requires special dog food, or a hard to find brand, make sure that you have more than enough when traveling. Because plans may change which might cause you to stay a little longer than expected and you might not be able to get to the store. And ordering online might not be an option if you don’t plan on staying long enough in one place. Be prepared, make lists and enjoy the journey!

 

Black german shepherd dog

We miss you Romeo!

Romeo passed in 2018, he was a sweetheart. 

Maggie’s Favorite Cheap Toys

  •  An Empty Simple Orange Juice Container (without the lid) – Maggie will play with this for hours, chasing and chewing. I save these for rainy days when she can’t go to the dog park.
  • We buy water in the gallon jugs for cooking and coffee. Maggie likes to chase these too, they just don’t last as long as the orange juice container.

German shepherd puppy waiting to go outside

Time for a walk

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Bonnie

My photo Bonnie

Hi, I’m Bonnie, welcome to RV Groovin Life! My husband and I retired in 2017, sold our house and bought a 2008 Mobile Suite Fifth Wheel. We have been RVing full-time ever since. I started this blog to share what we have learned along the way. I hope you follow us on our journey. Bonnie

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I am the sole owner of RV Groovin Life website. This website is a participant in the Amazon Associates, an Affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. This website also participates with other affiliate programs like  adsense, shopstyle and others, with no extra cost to you.

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How to Survive RVing Full-time as a Couple

For couples who are considering making a big lifestyle change by living on the road full-time in an RV, this article is for you. Or if you have just started out and wonder did we do the right thing?

How to survive rving full time as a couple

Of course, there is no right or wrong answer, what matters, is it right for you? The thought of traveling, going places you’ve never been before, breaking from the traditional 9-5  routine sounds exciting and fun. And granted RVing full-time is exciting and fun.

But it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Setting up camp, dealing with extreme weather conditions, making plans, it can cause a lot of stress on a relationship.

Couple hiking on trail in tetons.

Hiking Glacier

I kept a daily journal of our experiences as full-time RVers for the past year and a half. Just recently I was reading through my journal which inspired me to write this article.

Even though my husband and I were both retired when we started our new journey, I think this post will be helpful no matter what your circumstances are.

Our Story…

We jumped into RVing full-time with both feet and eyes wide open. My husband and I lived the conventional lifestyle our whole adult life.

We worked hard, raised a family, cared for both our moms until they passed, rarely took vacations. Then we woke up.

Here we are both in our sixties, still working, tired and empty nesters. If we didn’t make a change soon, we probably never will. After long discussions and lots of research, we decided “Let’s do this”.

So we began preparing for this new lifestyle, after six months we were ready. In July 2017, we sold our house, retired and bought an RV. Yes, all in the same month! (I left out the blood, sweat, and tears involved.)

I have to admit, it was scary. People thought we were a little crazy, maybe a lot crazy. The question we were asked repeatedly was- You’re Going to Live in an RV???  Why? You’ll regret it! Others said, “Wow, I wish I could do that!” And I think a few were even a little envious.

Others said you’re too old to RV full-time(maybe not those exact words)!  All I know is, we needed a change and this felt right.

Wherever you are in your life, only you know what’s right for you. If you decide later that you’ve made a mistake, that’s ok too! Making mistakes is just another learning experience. Be okay with that.

Ask yourself these Questions before deciding to RV Full-Time:

  • Are you Flexible?  Sticking to a schedule can be difficult
  • Are both Partners ready and willing for a lifestyle change?
  • Do you have good communication skills?
  • Do you both share same hobby or interest? Helpful if you do.
  • What does RVing full-time look like to each you? (hiking, biking, sightseeing, etc…)
  • Do you have an emergency fund in place?
  • Will you need to work on the road?

It’s important that you both have the same agenda. What are your expectations? What do you want to do, where do you want to go? Communication is key.

Tips for Surviving RVing Full-time:

Decisions, decisions? What RV to buy, earning a living, best parks for couples, what items you’ll need and can your relationship survive all that togetherness? Wow! Just a little overwhelming?

RVing full-time with your partner can be exciting and challenging. In this article, I will share with you some tips that have helped us survive this unique lifestyle. It has definitely been difficult at times.

What made this work for us, I believe, we were both ready for a change. RVing full-time as a couple can be intense, especially if you go into it halfheartedly. Or maybe one partner is ready and the other isn’t quite sure.

If that’s the case, do some trial runs. But the trial run should be longer than a weekend outing. Go for a month or two, before purchasing a camper or RV. Try renting one, or borrow one if possible.

I believe the secret to surviving full-time RVing as a couple is, you both have to want it. The other survival ingredient is being flexible.

This lifestyle requires you to be extremely flexible. Those are my top two important tips for surviving the RVing lifestyle. That’s just the beginning, I have more tips to share from what we have learned and what others have shared with us on our journey.

motorhomes parked on side on road

Deciding what RV to Buy:

Big decision, do you want a small rig? Or big RV with all the fancy trimmings? Towable or Motorhome? It really depends on your lifestyle and budget. Most newbies start out with an RV bigger than they need. And after a while, they decide to downsize so they can access to more places.

Know your budget, go to RV shows, talk to people. When the time comes to purchase the camper, don’t be pressured by the salesman! Don’t! Just Walk away, say you might be back tomorrow. Think about it for a day or two before you sign on the dotted line.

Whether you buy a new RV or used, you will have issues. I promise! That is the reason we bought used. The original owner got all the kinks out for us. We have talked to so many people who bought brand-new RV’s and have had MAJOR problems.

Knock on wood, we have been fortunate with our 2008 fifth wheel. So, I suggest, do your homework, ask a lot of questions, and shop around. You will know what is right for you. Just take your time. It will be worth the wait.

Before you Purchase an RV…

campers parked on side on road

  • What is your Lifestyle
  • Do Research
  • Know your Budget
  • New or used RV
  • Best Floor plan for you
  • Attend RV Shows and talk to      people
  • What are your Travel Plans?
  • Towable RV or Motorhome
  • What Size of RV
  • Cost of Maintenance
  • Will you need a tow vehicle?
  • Insurance

It’s ok! Breathe, so many decisions, it can be overwhelming.

I highly recommend as couples, you get yourself a 33-foot trailer if you just started full-time RVing, however, if you’re a family of three or more, then getting a huge RV such as a 41-foot trailer or longer wouldn’t be a problem.

Because most couples who start with a 41-foot RV tend to downsize it to a 33-foot after a few months of usage.

Pre-owned Unit or Brand-New

Most often, couples that purchase a brand-new RV or camper, realize that the new unit they purchased doesn’t fit their lifestyle. They take a big loss in depreciation. The same as buying a new car.

I recommend that you shop around, be sure of what floor plan you want or what you’re going to do and let someone pay for that depreciation instead of you taking that responsibility in your first purchase.

Figure out what you want to do, how you want to use your RV as a couple, and where you want to go.

Most people tend to change their rigs two to three times before realizing what they finally want.

Do not think your RV salesman knows it all. We learned a lot by going to RV shows and talking with veteran RVers. They also like sharing what they know and won’t try to sell you anything!

Full-time RVing is a big decision to make

Also, the more you spend time doing your research, the more confident you are in your decision.

Trust me, hardly anyone gets it right in their first go, so I highly recommend you spend time learning because this involves your house, your car, knowing the maneuvering ability, what you can carry with you, and the quality of the RV.

I know when you first get your RV, you are excited and can’t just wait to visit all the places you’ve listed, but most RVers get travel fatigue after traveling five or seven days on the road.

They also tend to have unexpected expenses, which happens more often than not.

Being prepared financially and mentally for mishaps and repairs is critical.

Take is slow when first starting out. Visit less populated areas until you get to know your RV. Learn setting up, get comfortable driving, until you get into a rhythm. A checklist helped us in the beginning.

We each had our own checklist, before leaving a campsite we always do a walkaround, making sure we didn’t overlook anything.

Don’t forget to check brake lights, tail lights, turn signal lights, headlights.  And always leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

The World Isn’t a Scary Place as You Might Think

A lot of people seem to have so many misconceptions about people in certain places hence they are scared when traveling to such places for the first time.

In our experience RVing, my wife and I have realized that the world is really a nice place and even though we feel uncomfortable at some places, most of the people we meet are really nice, welcoming and kind to us.

Be Flexible

Natural disasters such as hurricane, fire, and floods may cause you and your partner to make spontaneous decisions on where to go next this leads to misunderstanding among most couples, all the more reason to have backup plans when traveling.

Another reason besides natural disasters which may require you to be flexible is family events such as weddings, funerals or even graduations.

This will require you and your partner to be in a certain area of the country in time in order to make that event. Being able to go with the flow as much as possible makes RVing full-time more enjoyable.

Essentials for RV Living:

  1. Dehumidifier

There is a lot of humidity in most RVs and it becomes uncomfortable when you have the fan or heater running. I mean your window gets frosted over and your towels never dry. This is where the dehumidifier becomes important. The dehumidifier gives you an ambient environment which makes your RV comfortable and prevents mold from occurring. They come in many different sizes and prices, depending on your needs. Click here for current prices.

  1. Pizza Stone

This prevents you from burning your food when baking with the oven. Since we purchased it, we haven’t burnt any food and it cooks everything evenly. Click here for the current price.

  1. Cellular Booster

This is crucial for full-time RVers especially for those who work while on the road. Most RV parks do not have a good cellular network. Getting a cellular booster is a great way to boost your internet and cellular network.

I’ve learned to call ahead and inquire if they have cell service and Wi-Fi. If they say yes, be sure to ask if it works. Sometimes it just depends on where you’re parked. Other parks charge a fee for Wi-Fi.

  1. Battery Operated Weather Alert Radio

So important for RVers to be prepared for emergencies and to get a heads up if a storm is moving in. Your cell phone isn’t always dependable. Having a backup plan is critical when you live in a house with wheels. It’s also important to learn the layout of the RV park and where to go for cover in case of a storm.

Make certain to have an assortment of batteries for your radio and flashlights. I also keep a fully charged battery pack for my cell phone in case of emergency. For more information and the current price of Weather Radios Click Here.

  1. External Waste Tank

Some RV parks do not have sewer hookups, and if you’re staying in such a park for two or more weeks, it means you’ve got to find an alternative to hold your waste either than your black or grey tank since they might get full. Getting an external sewage tank helps you and your partner go some extra days before draining your grey and black tank.

  1. Water Pressure Gauge

Every RV park is different when it comes to water pressure. This little gadget can save you from blowing out your RV pipes, worth every penny.

  1. Surge Protector

This is a must-have gadget. It is more expensive than a Water Pressure Gauge but still absolutely necessary. Don’t skimp on this product, you want to protect your RV’s electrical from power surges. Just be sure to not leave it behind when moving from park to park.  surge protector for camper

 

 There are many options for Couples working on the road. Below are just a few suggestions:

Finding parks with Wi-Fi can be a problem with working online. Usually, you can find a solution like going to a Starbucks, I have worked from a hotel parking lot.

  1. Blogging

If you’re looking into making some income while on the road, then blogging is a good option. It might take you a long time to bring in some money from a blog, however, you could make about $1,000 to $10,000 blogging. The downside of blogging is that everyone is blogging and also, it requires a lot of work and time.

  1. Selling Antiques

There are different online stores such as Etsy.com and Redbubble.com. For Etsy, you can advertise your product, list them online and people can contact you if they are interested.

All you have to worry about is shipping. Redbubble.com is a platform where you can sell your digital artwork and they can put it on anything, it could be a scarf, phone case or shirt.

  1. Freelancing

Freelancing sites such as Upwork and Fiverr give you the opportunity to post your skills whether you do web design, whether you’re an app developer or a writer or whatever it may be, and you can have clients find you.

  1. Work Camping

So, if you can work camp in a fun location for half a year and make some money as well as get living pretty much for free and you could live off the salary for the other half of the year.

  1. Traveling Nurse

A traveling nurse is a great job I highly recommend if you have the requisite skills. It actually pays really well and, on an average, a traveling nurse makes about $101,288 dollars working for 36 weeks.

As a traveling nurse, you get a specific contract that allows you to go to a certain place and when that contract expires, you can go to another place.

  1. Stock Photo

If you’re RVing full-time and you love photography then maybe you and your spouse could try stock photography. For stock photography, you basically take pictures and then you sell them to a stock agency who then sells it to companies to put on a billboard, pamphlet or a website.

They pay $2 anytime your photo is downloaded but thousands of people can download that same photo and you can make thousands of dollars.

Some other jobs you could try are:me sitting on bench near lake

  • Writing an eBook
  • Arbitrage
  • Amazon Workforce
  • Starting Your own E-                  commerce Business

Top 7 RV Parks for Couples:

With over 60 locations around the United States and these are the top seven RV parks that stood out.

I will talk about the rates of these parks but keep in mind that these are approximate rates and are subject to change with availability and seasons.

  • Sand Dunes Recreation, Hooper Colorado.

They have huge pools that are filled with water from natural hot springs. They have a large family area with food available, diving boards and an only adult section with a bar inside.

The bar is inside a greenhouse with a heart-melting mood-lighting making it a perfect place to have a date with your partner and just chill and relax.

The rate starts around $30 but there are just a few things to consider about this park. To start with, there are a limited number of sites available, hence you will have to call in advance to book a spot. In addition, there are no sewer connections at each individual site but there is a dump station on the property.

  • Koa Moab, Moab Utah

Koa Moab, because of its location and all the amazing things the Moab area provides. One of the most popular is the Arches National park. There is so much to see and do in the surrounding area; trails to explore and the downtown has so many amazing shops to shop from and food options.

The rate is pricey and it starts around $50. Even though the park has a lot of trees and green areas, however, there isn’t much shade there. The park also has good Wi-Fi.

  • Lightner Creek Campground, Durango Colorado

This is a peaceful quiet park ground with a creek running through and a lot of privacy. The location makes it great to take day trips to Pagosa Springs and Silverton hence making it a good central location to get out and explore more of the general area.

It is well maintained and has great laundry services.

A few things to consider when going there are, some of their spaces are a little bit tight however you should be fine if you stay towards the front of the campground.

  • Paradise by The Sea, Oceanside, California

Paradise by the sea is located just a block away from the Pacific Ocean and along this little lagoon. They have a walking path straight to the ocean, and there is this big beautiful green city park nearby, and a little lagoon running next to the park giving it a really nice vibe.

It’s located close to San Diego, so you can make day trips, however, inside the park they have pools available, a fun fire pit area where you can hang around with your partner, perhaps a date night.

A few things to consider about this park is that the spots are close together, also it’s a little bit pricey, it starts around $70 a night.

If you’re going around the Carlsbad or San Diego area, Paradise by the Sea is the park for you.

  • Stella Mare RV Resort, Galveston Texas

This park has a serene environment right by the ocean, and it is very beautiful and well maintained. It has a really big size level sites and any size rig can fit in there. The sites are pristine, their pools are perfect, and their laundry room is well maintained.

The park is a few meters from downtown Galveston where you could go get some food, shop and explore the ocean.

The starting rate is around $55

  • Mountain Valley RV Resort, Heber City, Utah.

This RV resort is immaculately maintained with very huge sites, and pool area. They have an only adult pool area where you have to be 21 and over to go to and even a family-friendly pool area and depending on what you’re searching for you could find them at either pool.

The community buildings were great too with workout rooms, pool tables, and huge TVs. They had some activities such as hiking and visiting the waterfalls which my wife loved.

It is located close to Salt Lake City hence you could make an easy day trip there to explore.

The price starts from $49 and above but either than the price, it is a must-visit park.

  • Catherine’s Landing, Hot Springs Arkansas

This park starts out at about $50 per night but it has waterfront views where you can rent kayaks and go exploring and it’s just a short drive from downtown hot springs Arkansas where you can go to the bathhouse and explore just history there.

You can rent pontoon boats to explore the water, hiking trails and they even have zip lines there.

What made this park our number one choice was that they had beehives that they maintained far out in the woods surrounding the park to repopulate the bee colony in the area.

Resorts                                                                                

Stella Mare RV Resort

Sand Dunes Hooper Colorado

Catherine Landing Hot Spring Arkansas

Mountain Valley RV Resort Utah

Paradise By the Sea Resort California

Lightner Creek Colorado

Koa Moab Utah

I’ve Included a Pre-departure Checklist below for your new adventure and living life on the road. Last tip- Enjoy!

  • Check Tire Pressure
  • Antennae down
  • All drawers and cabinets shut
  • Windows closed
  • Tanks Empty
  • Check brake lights and turn signals
  • Clean up campsite
  • Steps in
  • Lock Refrigerator
  • Pack Surge Protector and Water pressure valve
  • Be sure microwave is empty
  • Toilet lid down
  • Be sure nothing is blocking slides
  • Arrange cupboards so nothing flies out
  • Pack lunch and water
  • Double Check Hitch
  • Do another walkaround

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8 Things I would do Differently after RVing for 1 year

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Bonnie

 

My photo Bonnie

Hi, I’m Bonnie, welcome to RV Groovin Life! My husband and I retired in 2017, sold our house and bought a 2008 Mobile Suite Fifth Wheel. We have been RVing full-time ever since. I started this blog to share what we have learned along the way. I hope you follow us on our journey. Bonnie

Legal Information

I am the sole owner of RV Groovin Life website. This website is a participant in the Amazon Associates, an Affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. This website also participates with other affiliate programs like  adsense, shopstyle and others, with no extra cost to you.

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8 Things I Would Do Differently after RVing Full-time for 1 year.

 

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.

truck fifth wheel

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.

kitchen in fifth wheel

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.

RV lawn chairs

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.

house for sale sign

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.Bonnie and Bill selfie in truck

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.

fifth wheel

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.garage sale

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

toy hauler 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.

Haas Lake RV Park

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!

 

Bonus tips:

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.digital temperature gauge

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.

shopping

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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RV Groovin Life

Bonnie

 

My photo Bonnie

Hi, I’m Bonnie, welcome to RV Groovin Life! My husband and I retired in 2017, sold our house and bought a 2008 Mobile Suite Fifth Wheel. We have been RVing full-time ever since. I started this blog to share what we have learned along the way. I hope you follow us on our journey. Bonnie

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