Full-time RV living can offer you a sense of freedom and adventure while allowing you to explore new places and create lasting memories. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about how to live in an RV full time so you can decide if it’s right for you.
If you’re brand new to this lifestyle, we have a guide that goes over everything about RV camping in detail which is where I’d recommend you start. But if you’re planning on doing it full-time, you’re probably past that point and ready for the nitty-gritty details we’ll go over in this article.
Before diving into full-time RV living, think about the benefits and challenges that come with this nomadic lifestyle. Imagine waking up to breathtaking scenery and relaxing to the sounds of nature. You can plan your itinerary, set your pace, and embrace spontaneity.
On the flip side, keep in mind that living in an RV full time also comes with responsibilities and adjustments. You will need to downsize your belongings, manage maintenance, and find suitable places to park or camp overnight. It’s also essential to have a reliable internet connection if you plan to work remotely, among other things.
We’ll touch on all of that in more in this guide so you have all the info you need. Everything in this article comes from research and people I’ve known over the years who have done this themselves, helping me create this comprehensive guide. These real-world tips, tricks, hacks pros, and cons cover the entire spectrum of what you can expect while living on the road.
Let’s get into the good stuff.
Choosing the Right RV
Living in an RV full-time requires careful consideration to choose the perfect one for your needs. Start by familiarizing yourself with the different types of RVs, like motorhomes, travel trailers, and fifth wheels. For a full breakdown, check out our guide on RVs vs campers so you can choose the right one.
When examining your options, keep in mind the size of the RV. Larger RVs, like Class A motorhomes, for example, offer more living space and amenities, but they may be more challenging to maneuver and park. You should consider the size of the campsites and parking spaces you’ll frequent, along with your desired level of comfort.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best RV for full-time living:
- Purpose: Is your goal to travel frequently and explore new places, or will you primarily stay in one location for longer periods? If traveling often, consider a smaller RV for easier mobility. If staying in one place, you might opt for a larger RV with more amenities.
- Budget: Establish a realistic budget for your RV purchase and ongoing expenses, including maintenance, fuel, and campsite fees. This will help you narrow down your choices and avoid being swayed by tempting features outside your budget.
- Quality: Look for well-made RVs with durable materials and finishes, as you’ll be depending on your vehicle for everyday living. Be sure to read reviews of various RV brands and models to ensure you’re getting a reliable and safe option.
- Layout: Carefully evaluate different floor plans and layouts, considering your personal preferences and needs. Storage and organization are crucial in an RV, so ensure the layout provides ample space for all your belongings.
Remember that the best RV for full-time living is the one that aligns with your needs, preferences, and budget. Be sure to test drive various types and sizes and explore the different layouts and amenities before making your final decision.
How to Live in an RV Full Time: Everything You Need to Know
Embracing Freedom and Flexibility
Living in an RV full time offers a liberating lifestyle that allows you to explore new places and create unique experiences. Full-time RVing provides you with the opportunity to travel at your own pace, making your own choices about where to go and what to see without the restrictions of a traditional lifestyle.
In this nomadic lifestyle, you’ll have the freedom to change your scenery as often as you wish, visiting friends and family members across the country.
Minimalist Living in an RV
Embracing the RV lifestyle means adopting a minimalist approach to your possessions. Since space is limited, you’ll need to prioritize your belongings and only take what is essential for your day-to-day needs. This process of decluttering and downsizing teaches you to appreciate and value what you have.
You may find that living with less actually enhances your quality of life by reducing stress and focusing on experiences instead of material possessions.
- Get rid of debt: A simplified lifestyle helps reduce living costs, which can lead to paying off debt and achieving financial freedom.
- Downsizing: Carefully select the items that matter most to you and let go of the rest.
- Intentional living: Make conscious choices about what you bring into your space and how you spend your time.
Preparing for the Transition to Full-Time RV Living
Family and RV Living
Making the decision to live in an RV full time can be a big change for you and your family. It’s important to consider how everyone will adjust to the new lifestyle. Get everyone involved in the planning process to ensure that all family members are on board and excited about the adventure.
This can include discussing your travel plans, finding activities for each family member to enjoy, and allocating personal space within the RV. You want everyone to be on the same page as much as possible because in those tight quarters and being on the road together, any disagreements can be that much more difficult to deal with.
Because of all this, you may not be surprised to find that nearly 90% of all RV families are child-free. This includes solo travelers, couples without children, and couples in retirement. This lifestyle can be great with kids, but it’s just a little bit more to manage!
One significant aspect of transitioning to full-time RV living is having a dedicated workspace. Whether you work remotely, have a small business, or need a space for hobbies, it’s important to allocate a specific area for these activities.
There are numerous innovative solutions for maximizing the use of your RV interior, such as utilizing collapsible tables, investing in multi-purpose furniture, and organizing your storage effectively.
Here are a few tips for setting up an effective workspace:
- Choose a location: Pick a spot in your RV that’s away from high-traffic areas and provides a comfortable, quiet environment.
- Utilize vertical space: Use wall-mounted storage options and shelves to keep your area organized and save floor space.
- Comfortable seating: Invest in an ergonomic chair or cushion to ensure comfort during long periods of work.
Travel Planning in an RV
Planning your travels ahead of time is an essential part of full-time RV living. It helps you create an itinerary and budget as well as identify potential challenges that might arise during your journey.
Start by researching destinations, campgrounds, and nearby attractions that you think would be a good fit for your RV lifestyle. Be sure to consider factors such as access to amenities, cell phone signal, and campground availability.
Here’s a brief planning guideline and the biggest overall RV tips and tricks to consider:
- Set your travel goals: Determine what you and your family want to accomplish during your time on the road – be it visiting national parks, exploring new cities, or visiting friends and family across the country.
- Map your route: Plot your course and make note of any must-see attractions or destinations along the way.
- Plan for seasonal changes: Research campgrounds and RV parks in advance to be prepared for peak season or off-season closures.
- Budget considerations: Estimate your anticipated fuel, food, and camping fees and create a budget that takes these costs into account.
Remember that flexibility is an essential aspect of RV living. While it’s important to plan, be ready to make adjustments, and adapt as you go – this is part of the adventure of full-time RV life.
Living Comfortably in a Small Space
One of the challenges of living in an RV full time is adapting to a smaller living space. However, with some smart planning and organization, you can make your RV feel comfortable and cozy without feeling cramped. In this section, we will discuss maximizing storage in an RV and making your RV feel like home.
Maximizing Storage in an RV
Efficient use of storage in your RV can make a significant difference in how comfortable and clutter-free your space feels. Here are some tips to maximize storage in your RV:
- Utilize vertical space: Install shelves, hooks, and hanging organizers on walls and doors to store items vertically.
- Opt for multi-purpose furniture: Choose furniture that can serve multiple purposes, like a sofa-bed or a table that can be folded or extended as needed.
- Use storage boxes and bins: Organize your belongings in storage boxes or bins, and label them to help you easily locate items when you need them.
Making Your RV Feel Like Home
Adding personal touches and small details to your RV can make it feel more like a cozy home. Here are some tips and tricks to make your RV space feel inviting and comfortable:
- Add soft textiles: Blankets, pillows, and rugs can add comfort and warmth to your space. Choose colors and patterns that make you happy and reflect your personal style.
- Incorporate favorite decor: Bring along a few of your favorite decorative items, such as family photos, artwork, or small mementos, to make your RV feel more like your own space.
- Prioritize creature comforts: Invest in high-quality bedding and a comfortable mattress for restful sleep. Also, consider a compact and efficient heater or air conditioning unit to maintain your desired temperature in your RV.
- Create an outdoor living area: Set up a comfortable outdoor space with a portable table, chairs, and awning, so you can enjoy time outside and make your small space feel more expansive.
Remember, RV living requires some adjustments, but with effective planning and a focus on creating a cozy and functional space, you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience even in a small space.
Budget Considerations for Full-Time RVing
Insurance and RVing
When living in an RV full time, it’s essential to have proper insurance coverage to protect your home on wheels. Consider comprehensive coverage that includes liability, collision, and other protections specific to RVs.
Depending on your travel plans and the value of your RV, insurance premiums will vary. It’s wise to shop around and compare quotes from multiple providers to find the best policy for your needs.
Estimating Monthly Expenses
To help you plan and maintain your budget, it’s crucial to estimate your monthly expenses as accurately as possible. Some common expenses for full-time RV living include:
- Campsite fees: Prices can range from free to over $50 per night, depending on the campground and the amenities provided. Consider choosing low-cost or free campsites when possible to reduce this expense.
- Fuel: Calculate your expected travel distance to determine your monthly fuel cost accurately. Be mindful of gas prices and plan your routes to save on fuel.
- Maintenance: Regular maintenance and unexpected repairs can add up, so set aside a specific amount each month for these costs. This should include the cost of anything you do to winterize your RV.
- Food: Your grocery bills will depend on your eating habits, but cooking in your RV can save you a significant amount compared to eating out.
- Insurance: As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to budget for monthly insurance premiums.
Here’s a sample of what a simple monthly budget for full-time RV living might look like:
Saving Money on RV Living
To stretch your budget, consider implementing these money-saving tips:
- Choose affordable campsites: Aim to stay at free or low-cost campgrounds when possible. Many public lands, such as BLM (Bureau of Land Management) areas, offer free camping options.
- Reduce fuel consumption: Plan your trips strategically to minimize fuel consumption, and drive at fuel-efficient speeds.
- Perform regular maintenance: Preventing issues before they arise can save you from costly repairs down the road. Keep up with routine maintenance tasks and inspect your RV regularly.
- Cook at home: Instead of dining out, prepare your own meals to keep food costs low.
By following these tips and carefully managing your budget, full-time RV living can be a fulfilling, enjoyable, and cost-effective lifestyle.
Full-Time RV Travel and Campsites
Navigating RV Parks
When living in an RV full-time, you’ll often find yourself staying at RV parks. Monthly rates can range from as low as $400 for smaller towns to around $700 or more in urban areas. Plus, you need to think about the cost of any other amenities.
It’s essential to consider the location, amenities, and monthly rates before deciding on an RV park for your long-term stay.
Experiencing National and State Parks
Embrace the beauty of nature by visiting national and state parks during your full-time RV journey. These parks offer scenic landscapes, hiking trails, and opportunities to spot wildlife. You can also spend quality time enjoying campfires surrounded by forests or scenic water bodies.
Keep in mind that parking fees and regulations for RVs may vary from park to park, so always research ahead of time to ensure a smooth visit.
Adventures in Boondocking
For a more off-grid experience, try boondocking or dry camping in your RV. This form of camping allows you to stay in areas without hookups and facilities, which often makes it free or low-cost.
It requires more self-sufficiency and preparation since you’ll need to manage your water, power, and waste disposal. Boondocking can be a great way to enjoy remote locations and seclusion while saving money on campground fees. Remember to adjust to the slower pace of RV life and allow yourself time to explore each location you visit.
As you navigate RV parks, state and national parks, and boondocking sites, you’ll make lasting memories and undoubtedly grow to appreciate the diverse opportunities and experiences that full-time RV living provides.
Technology and Communication on the Road
When living in an RV full time, staying connected to the internet is crucial, especially for digital nomads. There are several ways to ensure you have access to high-speed internet while on the road.
Major cellular providers like Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint offer coverage plans suitable for RVers. It’s important to compare their coverage maps and choose the one that best fits your travel routes and destinations. Once you pick a provider, consider investing in a mobile hotspot device, which will allow you to connect multiple devices to the internet at once.
Setting up a reliable Wi-Fi network in your RV is essential, and there are a few options available. A Wi-Fi extender or booster can improve the signal when using campground Wi-Fi or other nearby networks. Alternatively, you can establish your own private network using a hotspot, cellular data, or satellite internet.
Stay mindful of your data consumption while streaming videos, video calling, or downloading large files so that you don’t exceed your monthly data limits. To minimize data usage, opt for lower-quality streaming options or download movies and shows during off-hours.
With a combination of the right cellular provider, network equipment, and smart data usage, you can enjoy the benefits of high-speed internet access in your RV and stay connected while living life on the road.
Managing Mail and Other Official Documents on the Road
Keep your mail organized by using a mailing service or by having your correspondence sent to the address of a trusted friend or family member for occasional forwarding to your current location.
Before leaving your home and heading out on the road, get in touch with the United States Postal Service (USPS) and explain the situation and what’s going on. No one is better at helping you figure out what you need to do to get your mail than the people that deliver it to you in the first place!
Healthcare and Full-Time RV Living
As a full-time RVer, it’s essential to be prepared for healthcare challenges while on the road. Since you’re frequently traveling and moving between different areas, it’s important to choose a health insurance plan that offers a broad provider network across multiple states.
When living in an RV full time, your daily routines and healthcare needs will depend on your own preferences and requirements. To manage healthcare effectively while on the road, consider the following tips:
- Choose a healthcare provider with a wide network: This will ensure that you can access care wherever your travels take you.
- Opt for telemedicine: Many health providers now offer telemedicine consultations, which can be incredibly helpful when you’re far from the nearest healthcare facility.
- Store important medical documents: Keep digital copies of your health records, insurance cards, and prescriptions with you to make it easier to access care or fill prescriptions while on the go.
- Build a first-aid kit: Create a comprehensive first-aid kit tailored to your specific health needs and be prepared for emergencies.
- Stay in touch with a primary care physician: Although you’re on the road, maintain communication with a trusted healthcare professional to help manage your ongoing health concerns.
When you’re living in an RV full time, understanding your healthcare options and building a strategy is key to staying healthy on the road. With preparation and organization, you can enjoy your travels while confidently managing your healthcare needs.
Is Living in an RV Full-Time Worth it?
Living in an RV full-time is a dream for many, but is it worth it for you? Let’s talk about some of the pros and cons involved in full-time RV living, so you can better understand what to expect.
- Freedom to travel: You can explore the country at your leisure, visiting new states and national parks whenever the mood strikes you.
- Financial flexibility: Many full-time RVers find that their expenses are significantly lower compared to a traditional home, allowing them to save money or pay off debts.
- Simpler lifestyle: Living in a small space often means decluttering and focusing on what truly matters to you, leading to a more minimalist and fulfilling life.
- Limited space: You need to adapt to living and working in a confined area, which can be challenging for some people.
- Frequent grocery shopping: Since storage is limited, you might find yourself at the supermarket more often than before.
- Distance from loved ones: Being on the road means being away from family and friends for extended periods, which can cause feelings of isolation or loneliness.
It’s important to evaluate both the pros and cons of full-time RV living and weigh them against your individual priorities, travel goals, and personal preferences. Remember that everyone’s experience is different, and what works well for one person may not be the best fit for you.
Ultimately, living in an RV full-time is worth it if it aligns with your desired lifestyle and brings you happiness. I’ve been toying around with the idea myself recently, and by the time you read this, I may very well be on the road full-time living it up!
Embracing the Full-Time RV Lifestyle
As you venture into the world of full-time RV living, remember to stay open-minded and patient. Adapt to the changes and embrace the flexibility that this lifestyle offers. You’ll find that it can be an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding way to live.
Keep in mind that it’s essential to plan ahead, whether it’s for your travel route, budget, or remote work options. This will help ensure a smoother journey and provide peace of mind as you transition to your new lifestyle. Stay connected with the RV community, learn from their experiences, and grow your own support network to make the most of your RV living adventure.
Lastly, always find time to appreciate your surroundings and explore the beautiful landscapes that you’ll encounter on your travels. Take advantage of this opportunity to create lasting memories and, most importantly, enjoy the ride!
Remember, living in an RV full time may not always be a perfect experience, but with some preparation and a positive attitude, it can be one of the most amazing ways to live. I hope to see you on the road!