We all hear the stories of people enjoying the full-time RV lifestyle, from young working couples to families to retirees. As attractive as these stories are, jumping into full-time RVing can be overwhelming.
Here are a few things full-timers wish they knew before starting the process.
Dave and Ann Zimmerman, The Adventures of Dave and Ann
“You know, we really felt like we knew what we were getting into, but wish other people knew how much a [travel] trailer could feel like home. Sure, the backyard changes every couple days, but the basic comforts are there and the family inside is what’s important. There’s no better way to travel with kids!”
Dave and Ann have spent 2 years on the road in a 25’ Airstream with two kids under 5 and a dog named Gorilla. California to Alaska to Massachusetts to Texas to Florida to the Canadian Maritimes and back to California!
Read more about their story at www.advodna.com, or follow them on Instagram (Dave), Instagram (Ann), or Facebook.
Michael and Crissa Boyink, Ditching Suburbia
“We had to learn that we never ‘missed’ anything while traveling. We were instead ‘leaving it for a future visit.’There’s so much to see and do and you can just never fit it all in. Plus it’s nice to have new territory to cover when you return to a specific location. Changing our mindset removed a lot of stress from our travels.”
In September of 2016 the Boyink family celebrated 6 years of living and traveling fulltime in an RV. Originally from Holland, MI, in 2010 they moved a friend into their house, loaded themselves into an RV, and left Michigan with the intent to spend a year seeing the USA. They had so much fun the first year they came back to Holland, sold their house and almost everything else they owned and returned to the road as fulltime RVers with no stop sign in sight.
You can follow the Boyinks and join their tribe at www.ditchingsuburbia.com.
Kevin and Ruth Read, Travel with Kevin and Ruth
“I wish we fully understood all of the different RV mechanical systems a little better before we took off as beginners on our long-term RV adventure. Especially the limitations of RV batteries and holding tanks. I think there is a lot more info available online now than there was even ten years ago, and more research regarding that part of RV travel would have helped a lot. In particular, the electrical system, and the freedom associated with having solar panels.”
Kevin and Ruth Read are based in Cabri, Saskatchewan, Canada but are often seeking out worldly locales that are off the beaten path. Married for over thirty years, they are now in their fifties. They love adventure travel including hiking, camping, and exploring. And they’re never afraid to try something different!
Follow their travels at travelwithkevinandruth.com or on their Facebook page.
Jason and Kristin Snow, Snowmads
“When we first started RVing full-time, we looked at it as if it were a vacation for about our first year on the road. If you’re on a trip with no end in sight, travel a bit more slowly and savor every experience! We did too much, too fast, as so many new full-time travelers do.
Live like locals in a place for a few weeks or longer at a time, give yourself permission to have lazy days like you would in a traditional home, and embrace a fluid travel schedule without reservations made months in advance. You never know what unexpected surprises may lay ahead, and you’ll be thankful for having the time to fully enjoy them!”
Jason and Kristin Snow are a travel-addicted couple who walked away from cubicles and conventional lives three years ago to traverse North America by RV, gaining valuable perspective on life and meeting new friends at every turn. Their goal in travel is to collect experiences instead of things.
Read more about their story at snowmads.blog, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.
Marc and Julie Bennett, RV Love
“We invested an enormous amount of time researching full-time RV living before we hit the road, so in all honesty, it’s been a pretty smooth transition for us with no major AHAs or surprises. Our diligence paid off with an RV that is still proving to work perfectly for our specific needs – a Tiffin Class A 36’ gas motorhome. We bought a bunkhouse model and converted the bunk area into a dedicated office for Marc, while Julie’s office space makes optimal use of the front passenger cockpit pullout tray and dash.
For those considering the lifestyle, we’d say take the time to consider your basic everyday needs and preferences and narrow them down to the top 3-5 “Must Haves” that will support them. You don’t want something that cannot be easily changed to become a constant source of annoyance in your everyday life.
For example: If you tend to get up during the night, make sure that the side of the bed you sleep on offers easy access to the bathroom without having to climb over your significant other. If you’re a big TV watcher, then a really comfortable chair/sofa and well placed TV may be high on your list. If you love to cook, kitchens with deep, flush countertops will maximize space for food preparation and appliances.
When RV shopping, avoid being distracted or seduced by fancy bells, whistles and gadgets – instead focus your attention on key, structural elements to find a floorplan and layout that you can truly enjoy and be comfortable living in.”
Marc & Julie Bennett are in their 3rd year of full-time RVing as they live, work and travel North America. They visited all of the lower 48 USA states in just over 2 years while still working full-time and are planning for Hawaii and Alaska next.
They share their RVing experiences, travels, and tips and how to live and love the RV lifestyle at rvlove.com, and on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Eric and Danielle Hannan, Shore Looks Nice
“We wish we knew how easy it was to work remotely and still enjoy the best of the full-time RV Lifestyle. I expected it to be tough to find signal to connect online but we’ve been able to connect over 95% of the time while living in 42 states. If we had known that we would have bought a different RV initially because after just 8 months on the road we extended our trip to indefinitely and upgraded to a much larger 5th wheel.”
The Hannans ditched the corporate lifestyle of Orange County, CA to travel across America. They work full time in the RV while visiting friends, family, and the scenic areas of this country.
You can follow the Hannans (and their newborn daughter) at shorelooksnice.com and their Facebook page.
Ingrid and Al, Live Laugh RV
Al—“I wish I had been given a list of ‘must have’ tools to keep on board and a little better understanding on the workings of my particular RV. Things seem to fail at the least opportune time, like when we’re camped in the middle of nowhere requiring me to figure out the fix. Just like we carry around a first aid kit for ourselves, we now have a first aid kit for the RV.”
Ingrid—“During our first year of full-timing, I had a fear of the unknown and felt very stressed on moving day. What if we didn’t have a reservation at our next location? Would the park of choice be full? Would a particular campground accommodate our size? My concerns seemed endless. After four years of full-timing, I have a list of resources to find camping options and always have back up choices. I now have confidence knowing we’ll always find a place to camp.”
Ingrid and Al have always embraced change. They first met while working in the airline industry which afforded them the luxury of traveling both domestically and internationally. When it was time to start a family, they left aviation and went into the housing industry. Although their travels were curtailed, they never stayed in one house for any length of time. The full-time RV lifestyle fits their desire for change perfectly and they see no end to their gypsy life anytime soon.
Keep up with Al and Ingrid’s travels at livelaughrv.net.
Becky Schade, Interstellar Orchard
“I wish I would have realized that going full-time RVing wouldn’t change who I was as a person. This lifestyle is only a happily-ever-after for those people whose personality is compatible with it. Can you learn to be okay with less certainty and stability in your life? Will you be content with less living space and less stuff? Can you be happy without a solid and consistent community network? Are you willing to make sacrifices in exchange for greater freedom?
Often when strangers tell me “Gosh, I wish I could do what you’re doing”, I think what they’re really saying is: “Gosh, I wish I could be as happy as you are.” And while full-timing makes me happy, it won’t make everyone happy.”
Becky hit the road full-time, solo, and on a strict budget (read more about financing an RV) at the age of 28. She writes for those who want to go full-time RVing pre-retirement, and for anyone who dares to dream of a more fulfilling life.
Read more about her adventures at interstellarorchard.com, or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
Ray Burr, Love Your RV
“In hindsight, I wish I’d paid closer attention to how well insulated the RV was before purchasing. Our fifth wheel trailer brand boasted of having a “Polar Package” and touted all kinds of incredible “R” insulation values, but in real world use, the insulation has fallen short of my expectations.
The single AC unit is incapable of keeping the trailer cool once the temperatures pass 85 degrees, and at temperatures lower than freezing the furnace needs to run almost constantly. As a full-time RVer, you are bound to experience extremely cold and hot conditions at times, so a well-insulated rig is important. When purchasing our next RV, I will be looking for a true 4 season rig. I’ll want to make sure it is capable of keeping us comfortable when the mercury rises or plunges.”
For more info on the right AC units for your RV, check out this page here at Camping World.
Ray is a full time RVing nomad searching out beautiful landscapes, new adventures, and interesting people. He, his wife Anne, and their beagle Angie love hitting the road exploring North America in their fifth wheel trailer.
Read more about Ray’s story at loveyourrv.com, or follow his adventures on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter.
James and Stef, The Fit RV
“Well, I’ll give you three things: I wish I had known how very little we would actually use a generator. I wish I had known that a wet bath in a Class B RV is actually not that bad. And I wish I had known that I have sort of an addiction to RV modifications and upgrades (I haven’t stopped since).”
James and Stef started The Fit RV website to provide a resource to RVers looking to lead a more active and healthful lifestyle. He’s a former rocket scientist; she’s a personal trainer. Somehow, it works!
Follow them at thefitrv.com, or Facebook/Twitter.
Rene Agredano and Jim Nelson, Live Work Dream
“I wish I knew that full-timing with debt of ANY kind is a dumb idea—even if it’s a RV loan. The only way for me to experience real freedom in this world was by cutting the ties to lenders. We paid off our RV loan less than a year after hitting the road. Now that we drive a vehicle and RV that we own 100%, we have more free time to pursue our own interests instead of constantly working to pay a lender. It’s much easier to sleep at night without debt.”
On the road since 2007, Rene and Jim are debt-free for life, earning money with multiple revenue streams, including workamping, writing, niche blogging, and other creative endeavors. They love sharing their road trip experiences with others who dream of embarking upon a similar adventure.
Get the latest from Rene and Jim at liveworkdream.com, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.
Check out your local Camping World for all things RV and camping-related, including details on the new Happier Camper that proves good things really do come in small packages – even when RVing.
We are living and working full time in an RV. I have a regular 8 hour a day job and it’s been difficult finding the high speed internet service I need. We have AT&T coverage and a Verizon hot spot but even so, we have had to move several times after only one day because I could not get reliable internet. Is there a blog or site for working RVers that could provide information on the best places to stay and work?
Hi, I just have silly questions, like how to you get a cellphone bill if you no longer have an address, I realize there is online bill pay, but for everything, like a credit card, or bank account, you need an address. What about health insurance? Or if you need regular prescriptions filled or procedures done, does that mean the dream of full time RVing is not possible? How do you get insurance for the RV if there is no residential address, do you have to use a friends? I’m curious to know how all these logistical things are taken care of. Thanks!
Insurance is a big stumbling block to going full time. Is there any resources out there for RV people not 66.7 years old? I enjoyed all the comments!
I hate to acknowledge this fact but after spending a year exploring the beautiful nature spots of our state of Washington I have found out RV folk are not welcome by most cities or their merchants ESPECIALLY the cities of Renton and Bellevue. If you have an RV registered in Washington older than 10 years old you AUTOMATICALLY wear the label of “homeless addict RV PROBLEM”. Search the Seattle/King County news and you’ll see what I mean. RV owners are primary targets. Mostly it happens at grocery stores like Fred Myers and Safeway stores cause that’s where the panhandler homeless deal drugs and retreat to their RV shelters. Best is to stick with Wal-Mart to avoid being accosted by security/”property management” undercover thugs. The criminal element, business owners, police, courts, have labeled us RV owners as a target. Because of this I am leaving Washington sooner than I planned but only because I seek a peaceful travel experience. Within 100 miles of Seattle is the worst….giving you just 20 minutes to go into the store or 20 minutes after exiting with the purchases to vacate the premises or face the wrath. Many shocked experiences with this. They literally have lookout towers at Fred Myers and Safeway in Bellevue and Crossroads mall with phenomenal security to stay on top of their game. Makes no difference time of day, parking far at the edge of their lot with no cars within 10 spaces. Every lot regardless of size of town is plastered with banners every 50 feet threatening tow away with the contracted towing business name proudly posted and they are eager to share the profits with tow companies…trust me! Even in my recent visit to remote Cle Elum Washington downtown the Taco Bell and Dollar Tree strip mall posted with government type signage “No RV parking or turn around allowed” deterred me from risking making a purchase. I didn’t stop and shop….my experience is you don’t want to test the theory though I did drive through and do a turn around to see if it was unsafe or a traffic hazard to do so. It was not! IF I were desperate I could have parked 10 blocks away and walked with my own cart to shop. I never put myself in desperate situations when it comes to spending my retirement. With a 27′ 1991 Jamboree the lot was easily navigated and I exited back onto the street without incidence. They are VERY serious about ousting RV’s from any parking lot because of statewide paranoid atmosphere of the homeless drug user rv population taking up space. So 1% of the population has cut off happy camper shopping for those of us who enjoy our vintage RV’s to patronize most businesses in this state without prejudice. Same hospitality has been given by National Forest Service Personell….local address….hit the road! Glad I don’t own property in Washington…lol…I hate seeing my tax dollars wasted. Just a heads up fellow campers. Hope your experiences differ from mine! I am eager to get back to the road of finding a happy welcoming town…my drive to keep driving! Any fun states recommended for my exploration?
My wife and I have a much more abridged version of the fulltime camping life. I’m retired and she still works with her online consulting business in the Non-GMO industry. We decided to buy a tiny trailer so she could get out of the office. We’ve found a few campgrounds in our SE Iowa area that have strong cellphone reception, and now we can take off during the week when the campgrounds are more quiet, my wife can work, and we still have time to hike and enjoy ourselves in a more relaxed setting. I’ve also, like the bloggers you have profiled, write about our tiny camper experiences. I decided to write a comment because the transition doesn’t have to be abrupt, nor does it have to include a huge expense for a big RV. We bought our slightly used tiny trailer for $7,000. I wrote about the tiny trailer choice in one of my blog posts. https://www.greengoddessglamping.com/2019/01/why-choose-teardrop-or-tiny-trailer.html
Thank you for an interesting article!
I have been following some of the blogs earlier, but there’s also some I did not know about. Nice, that there are so many families that like to share their trips! I have a small child too, so I find it impressive, how the Hannans travel with a small baby. I wish I could do it too!
I don’t see specifics here, such as how much is needed per week/year for auto upkeep.
How about specifics about how and where you get your water and filter it for drinking versus grey water. A DC pump will do for a water supply stopover if it’s strong enough, but where do I discard my toilet waste? How do I save by filtering/recycling my drinkable water?
How about if I need money from a part time job and need a permanent address for the employer.
Solar is expensive no matter where you are and that’s just the initial cost of set up. How about that monthly upkeep cost?
Satellite access; How does that work for T.V. and business things via initial setup cost and cost for running it per month, as well as access in storms and such?
I know I sound paranoid, but there are things we want and things we need.
We can learn to do without, but we need information specs for what we need.
Sometimes we need to do a campground or such, via law, and find our finances being drained. Iv’e seen campgrounds or that type of things’ costs that rival my home mortgage, taxes and insurance per month. “So why do camping?”
There are so many websites out there that have this information, but I’m just asking ’cause I’m here and this information would be invaluable to those that visit this site.
I’m not eligible for retirement at 60, but can’t find a livable wage job and think I’m heading in this direction via selling my house and buying a camper and doing part time jobs to feed myself and my needs.
Thanks in advance to all you people that can offer me and others the dissected and in depth version of camping/RVing.
Great comments! My wife and I are thinking about purchasing an class B to see the country. We are tired of the 50-60 hour works weeks and only looking forward to the weekends. We are ok with downsizing, just scared to take the plunge. We are 38 and 39 and do not mind finding jobs where we end up staying or looking for a remote work opportunity. Any advice on when everyone just decided to take the plunge and the necessary steps to take before?
I want an RV very badly
I had a toy hauler previously but gave it up when we took on our granddaughters. Now we are child free, and both retired. Going full time sounds great, but can we afford it? Money seems an issue. Downsizing and dumping the house is a mental block. Getting a nice RV that can handle four seasons, a. I getting too old, doctor appointments, etc. I served twenty years on the Navy and believe it’s time to see the country i spent years trying to protect, but my spouse, who has fibromyalgia is not so keen on it. She’s worried about the whether she can physically handle it, let alone mentally. So many questions, and still researching for all the answers. Giving up the security of a home for the hustle, bustle of road life. So much to think about.
Thank you Camping World found this interesting. I’m going to buy an RV and it was great reading this blog. I’m a single woman older lady and find it scary. I was on Youtube and saw this woman who calls herself Greyhairlady talk about her experiences and over coming the fear of doing this. She is so funny and does crazy things. Her website is greyhairlady.com. I want to be her.
Going out on a limb here BUT:
I think you should own a piece of Real Estate before going full time! Because down the road (pun intended) you may get hit by the bus of inflation. Just because we have not seen in it in a while, does not mean we won’t.
If you buy a little rental, house, duplex, or even a lot before you are full time, financing is easier. You can rent it pain free. Just use a good property manager, buy landlords insurance, also known as home warranty and forget it. And it can be anywhere where there is high employment and in a state that is Landlord friendly. You grow your nestegg and stay carefree.
Example: we have a little
Condo we have managed. We bought it owner occupied so low interest rate.
We are about to buy a lot, again owner occupied, so good financing which we will have managed as well.
It will have a 400 sq. Ft Cottage, and 3 rv hookups with concrete pads.
In one year or 20 years, we will have a place to land.
At this point, I never want to live in a house again, but I also dont want to be in the postion of having to stay in my RV, either.
Older and ( somewhat) wiser fuultiner
We are in our 50s and we are considering becoming a full time RV residence, I need all the info I can get to make an informed decision.
selling my house and will have about 50k left just me 62 and single and thinking of Rving for the rest of my life I have a brother who has 10 acres around Spokane ,wa so I can mooch off of him three months in summer, cousin in florida who wants me to stay on his 1 acre for as long as I want which for me would be about two months.. so, 5 months to RV lot and rent just give them some money for electric now where to go between wa and florida getting a 22feet pull behind trailer for dodge journey
I discovered your blog today and you guys are doing an incredible job with it. We have been full time for three years and traveled through all of the states except Alaska and Hawaii. My only regret is that we didn’t do it earlier because there are so many outdoor activities I would have thoroughly enjoyed doing if I was younger. Just a point some of your readers might want to consider.
I found your blog post today. Thank you! We are also out and about… almost full time. This is an awesome post. I can’t get over how much talent is out there with people living a nomadic life. We started out sailing and cruising, Now we have our truck camper. It is much smaller, but we have more flexibility in finding amazing camping places.
I totally disagree about the debt thing. That’s one reason many people don’t go full time rving, but it’s ridiculous. If you have a mobile job that provides a steady income every month, even if it’s just $1800/month or less, you absolutely SHOULD get an RV loan. Most go out 12-15 years, and are considered home loans, so the payment on a beautiful $30,000 5th wheel could be just $280/month or less. It’s ok to pay $1,200/ month rent in an apartment but it’s not ok to pay $280/month on your RV, which is your primary residence? Not everyone is fortunate enough to be retired, on social security, or debt-free. Don’t let the fear of a smaller debt scare you away from your dreams. If you have a mobile job, go for it. Why is it ok to live with huge debts in the city like rent/cable, utilities, exc, but it’s not ok to have a much smaller rent/rv payment and improve your life dramatically?! Go for it! If you can cut your debt by 75% with a beautiful 5th wheel, and you have a steady mobile job, live your dreams! I’m 40 years old and I’m not going to wait until I’m debt-free and 65 yrs old.
Like Carl says I’m with Jim & Rene about the foolishness of going in debt to start this great adventure. The comment about labor for the lender is true of most American’s lives; RV or not.
Also felt like I must own same rig as Ray Burr. We bought a 5th wheel with lots of windows because it is “all about the view!” Then have to cover them all with foil to give AC a chance at success over 85 as stated. Our answer to the other extreme is to simply avoid freezing temperatures. Works for our retirement lifestyle but true 4 season rig would have opened the travel season.
This is my “first” year snowbirding and all the comments were helpful since I’m considering going “full-time” RVing. I would highly suggest anyone considering this lifestyle start by going for months at a time, learning your RV needs and assessing if this is truly a lifestyle you can embrace with all its hickups….I’m a single 67 yo woman and wouldn’t change a thing except to upgrade to a “comfortable” bed a MUST and adequate kitchen in my next RV. For now my 22″ B+ is adequate but not functional for full time living. I’m debt free (another perk) and can enjoy life w/o worry. Thank you all for your input and I’ll hopefully be joining you with my Blog on stepping out with a Siamese cat (who loves RVing) and our adventures.
I really enjoyed everyone’s insite concerning full-time RV traveling, but most importantly, the comments from Rene and Jim who really hit one of the most important factors for consideration. Don’t plan full-time RVing when you have a debt obligation of any kind. True freedom is knowing that your expenses are yours to choose and deal with reasonably, which will truly afford a level of comfort in your chosen RV lifestyle adventures. Sure there’ll be unexpected bumps in the road, but you should have the financial resources and skill sets necessary to manage those situations. Have fun RVing, I hope to see you on-the-road, and Happy Trails.
I would love to be able to do this, BUT my wife and I both have jobs. I think it is not as easy as some folks make It out to be to just pack up and leave. I am wondering how they pay for fuel and camp spots with no job.
As far as fifth wheels are concerned get in depth for insulation. I had an Arctic Fox you simply cant find a better or more solid fifth wheel as far as being solid and very very well insulated. That being said its not long on all the bells and whistles but when the temp gets high or really low you will appreciate this coach all day and night long.
Maybe check into teaching English online…
I have heard it is often paid the same as classroom teaching
Wondering how you’re doing now that it’s getting close to a year later. I’m on the edge of putting my dump of a house up for sale here in North Florida, and considering putting the money into a small travel trailer. I’ll be 62 in a few months and while I’ve often been on my own throughout this life, I’m scared about how this will all work for me since I’ve had no experience and there isn’t anyone to do it all with either. I’d love to hear back from you!
Not sure if I could never have a home to return to. We have a 39′ class A and use it about 120 days a year but in increments from 2 days to 6 weeks. We are planning longer up to 5 months in Alaska as an adventure. Work camping has interested me but I’ve been self employed my entire adult life and I’m not sure I can be a good employee.
Chris, I understand what you are saying. I am paying $1250 for rent plus utilities. If I lived in an RV that would free up money to pay my debt. I would still work, though I wish I could do it from home, but I am a teacher so I would teach or even sub when I can let go of the income. I am researching for now, but am planning a move to Florida soon and am considering an RV. I hate paying so much rent.
Agree completely, Chris! My partner and I lived full-time in an RV for 3 years while I completed my Master’s degree. While I had to take some loans to pay for college, we saved on rent and other housing costs by RV living. This included volunteer camp hosting for most of those three years in exchange for free parking and RV hookups (including even electric). Once I graduated, and started making more income, we settled into a house. But now, even with that student loan debt, we are recalculating and finding that we can go back to hosting/RVing full-time while I work remotely and pay off that student loan debt a lot quicker! We are in the planning stages now, and hoping to be back on the road by the New Year.
I completely agree with you. I have debt so I have to work but i cut my Bill’s by $2000 per month by Rving full time.
Chris, Thank you for your comment. We are in our 60’s and my husband and I will begin RVing it next year. Our “job” is our equestrian multimedia business and we are tired of paying for meals and hotels. We want to take our home/business with us. While I know we will have some challenges (such as Internet speeds) working virtually, but there are always Staples or FedEx offices where we can download/upload large files. I’m looking forward to outfitting our RV with our computers, etc.
Don, I found these questions right on to what we are asking. Did you ever get a response and could you forward to me please?
I tell my husband, let’s get up and go. Before it,s to late.
We are in the same place. We both are in our 60’s but I have chronic neck pain that keeps me from doing a lot. That being said, I find that if I pace myself I can do some things I didn’t think I could … not everything I want but enough. Follow your dream and don’t worry about what you can’t do, just enjoy the flowers where you are
HI Kathy It was encouraging to read your blog. I am looking for a small rv to start with. Could you recommend the present rv you have. Also, how did you manage with mechanical breakdowns?!
Many places of employment allow people to work from home. This is their home.
When you look down the path of your life and you see a narrow opening, do you try to get closer, or do you just give up? Also, not all work requires you to be in person or physically on site. People live in this world a lot of different ways, all it takes is some passion and creativity to make your life what you want it to be.
We work from our phones! I found an incredible opportunity so I retired before 40 and now we are hitting the road. It can be done! You just have to think outside the 9-5. Look for opportunity, not a j.o.b.