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?
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.
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.
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.
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…
- 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?
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.
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:
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Writing an eBook
- 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.
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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