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The Full-time RVing Life; a Few Things to Consider

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
~ Andre Gide.

Do you dream of becoming a full-time RVer? Here are some things to consider.

Who hasn’t dreamed of packing up their belongings and hitting the road, unencumbered by daily responsibilities and free to travel, at least once in their lifetime?

That’s exactly what my family did almost exactly four years ago today.

We bought a 31-foot, Class A motor home, packed up our house, gave away nearly all of our belongings and put our few treasured, can’t bear to part with, items in storage as we embarked on an incredible adventure of ups, downs and memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

For nearly 18 months, we were full-time RVers, nomads with hopes of exploring the US one state at a time. We experienced torrential rainstorms where we didn’t leave the camper for weeks, two tornadoes (thankfully not directly in our path), a blast of hell when our air conditioner quit working in the middle of the summer in the very hot, humid south, a power surge that took out our refrigerator and crippled our converter box, a crazy campground with carnival workers and finally a terrifying night with some kind of creature pacing around our camper.

We also experienced the freedom of traveling until we got tired and pulled over in a rest area or Walmart parking lot to eat or sleep. The awe of waking up to a beautiful mountain or lakeside view.  And the comfort of home away from home, surrounded by our own belongings.

We also discovered that most people will go out of their way to be helpful. If we ever had a question, all we had to do was ask and someone in the campground knew the answer or had a solution to our problem. We met many people that had given up a home base in order to be able to see more of the US, people who understood our dream. And in them, we found a sense of community.

Steps to life on the road.

1. Begin to make plans. 

Hitting the road as a full-time RVer takes a fair bit of planning.

How will you support yourself and your lifestyle? Do you have enough money saved or will you need to work on the road?
Where will you bank? Where will your mail be sent?
How long can you realistically afford to stay on the road?
Do you have children? How will they do their schooling? If you homeschool (or plan to) make sure you know the laws and regulations for your state of residence.
If you’ll be traveling with pets, make sure you have all the appropriate licenses and paperwork from your vet.

Make sure your entire family is in agreement- especially with older kids and teens. Unless we were heading somewhere really exciting, at this point, my kids’ would probably prefer to stay home.

2. Pick out your RV.

Be realistic about your needs and have a firm budget in place.

In our eagerness to hit the road, we almost made a huge mistake by choosing a 24-foot Class C camper for our family of five. I can’t even imagine how much of a nightmare that would have been. Instead we looked a little bit longer and found an RV that was much better suited to our needs, in our budget.

Do your research before you head out to buy your RV. Research online or ask a friend for tips so you know what to look for. You should also consider having your camper inspected by a mechanic before you make your purchase.

3. Pack up, sell or donate your belongings.

You can seek out self storage in your area, sell your belongings in a garage sale or on Craigslist, or donate your unwanted possessions.

4. Set out on your adventure and be flexible.

Our experience wasn’t at all as we had originally planned but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an incredible experience.

My husband and I would love to spend another year on the road and hopefully our kids’ will join us.

Have you ever considered life as a full-time RVer? What do you think would be your biggest challenge?  

This post is linked to Friday Daydreamin’ with R We There Yet, Mom?

Jenny

Monday 13th of May 2013

Mike wants to follow Nascar around the country. lol

Mary {The World Is A Book}

Saturday 11th of May 2013

My husband has expressed wanting to do this once we're empty nesters many years from now but not for over 6 months. I'm not sure I can handle being in a confined space. Kudos to you and your family for pulling it off for 18 months. It's so great for you to have homeschooled your kids. I would love to try it out and travel the country in an RV for a couple of weeks though.

Tonya

Saturday 11th of May 2013

My husband wants to explore by RV again too. And yes, we will be empty nesters by then, but our time is fast approaching. Our RV was older and didn't have many of the amenities that the new ones do. For a brief moment, we considered upgrading our camper and sticking it out a bit longer. I found a 5th wheel that I really would live in forever- granite counter tops, four slides, 2 bathrooms, bunk beds, 4 flat screen TV's (3 inside and one out) and a fireplace. It was spacious and beautiful. And of course it also was the price of a small house. The kids' loved it but it still wouldn't have offered them the privacy they really needed as growing teens, but as empty nesters, it would be more than adequate. Of course the bigger the camper, the more gas you'll use which can drastically increase your expenses.

Ann

Friday 10th of May 2013

This is one of my dream trips. I would completely do it. We're going to the states in the fall for a wedding. The wedding's at a National Park on the west coast . I've already asked/begged my husband if we could fly into Detroit and RV to the wedding, stopping at many places along the way. We aren't going to do it now, but we haven't written the idea off at all. This just makes me want to save for it sooner.

Tonya

Saturday 11th of May 2013

Wow, that would be a fun trip- when you decide to do it. Our initial dream was to travel out west, mainly stopping at the National Parks and roadside attractions (I just can't pass them up) all the way to California and back. I'm hoping that we can make that a reality one day.

Sonja @ The {Happy} Travel Bug

Friday 10th of May 2013

I would totally do this once the kids graduate high school. Who knows? It still might be in my future.

Lisa

Friday 10th of May 2013

When I was growing up an aunt and uncle had an RV that they traveled around in during summers and I thought it was the coolest thing. Now I don't know if I could live in a small space for a lengthy period of time and I would definitely worry about parking the thing! My kids would think it was great until they realized that they couldn't escape each other! :) What an incredible way to see the country though!

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