'Round The Campfire

Tips for Full-Time RVing

More from Outdoor Living Newsletter May Outdoor Living Newsletter
A man drives an RV while his wife sits on a couch behind and reads a book.
The decision to go full-time is worth it, if you fully embrace it.

Have you ever wondered what you need to consider before deciding to become a full-time RVer? Deciding to go on the road full-time is a big decision. Enjoying the occasional weekend trip or extended vacation while knowing you have a tranquil home awaiting your return is something that making your home on the road simply does not allow. We say this not to scare you, but we do want to provide all the pertinent information before choosing to undertake what will be the best adventure of your life, delighting in the freedom of the road and the atmosphere of excitement. We've reached out to some full-timers, and here is their advice.

Take Practice Trips

So, you think you're ready to go full-time? What's the longest time you've spent on the road? Full-time RVers recommend that you take some long practice trips before putting your house on the market. This allows you to test the waters of living on the road. Remember, deciding to sell your home is a big decision, one that shouldn't be made without careful research and consideration for how it will impact the lives of you and your loved ones.

If you take practice trips and find that full-time RVing is for you, great. If not, at least you've spent some quality time on the road.

Examine and Research

RVs come in all different shapes and sizes with different amenities, so be sure to walk through as many RVs as you can before you make a purchase decision. If you try some different ones out on your practice trips, you can kill two birds with one stone. Sampling various types of RVs allows you to get a better sense of which features you value, and those you can do without. Read our What Type of RV is Right for You? and How to Buy an RV articles for lots more great advice.

Get Rid of Excess

Remember that there is only so much space in an RV. Full-timers say you'll need to decide which of your belongings you need and which would be better allocated to family, friends, or various charitable organizations. Essentially, you will be trimming the fat from your belongings, as RVs lack the sufficient space to accommodate all of your possessions. If you can't bare the thought of discarding a good portion of your possessions, you may want to reconsider going full-time. Read our What to Bring with You on Your RV trip article to ensure you only take essential items.

Medical Insurance

It is a downer, but there is a possibility that you will get sick at some point on the road. Accidents happen, and preparedness is the name of the game. You can avoid visiting the doctor for the most part by packing the essentials in your camping first aid kit. Unless you have a crystal ball, you can't prepare for everything, and the limited space inside your RV prevents you from having an exam room. Luckily, there are companies who offer insurance for full-timers.

RV Insurance

If you've decided to go full-time, you'll need to get an insurance plan that properly covers you in the event something unforeseeable happens. Since you're RV will be your home, your insurance needs to reflect that by protecting your electricity and heating sources, kitchen appliances, and other belongings in the same way homeowner's insurance does. Find out how to get the best insurance deal for your RV.

RV Maintenance

How to keep your RV running smoothly is perhaps the most important aspect of living on the road. After all, this is your home and vehicle in one. However, it can be hard to know where to go locally to get service. There are traveling RV mechanics, such as Phil Botnick, who service RVs on location. Mobile RV Technical Services of Portland, Oregon is another such company. Alternatively, you can check out RV service reviews to find great mechanics who fit into your itinerary.

Procure a Permanent Address

Federal law mandates that all U.S. citizens have a permanent address. Once you establish a permanent address, you can get a post office box. Many full timers take advantage of Mail forwarding services, such as Escapees, MyRVMail.com or Camping World's President Club. One advantage of full timing is that you can claim residency in states with no income tax.

Make Sure You Have a Wallet Full of Discount Cards & Passes

In the course of your travels, you will visit many attractions, campgrounds, and RV parks. You can save yourself a lot of money by signing up with camping clubs and obtaining National or State Park passes for where you're going. AAA, AARP will give you discounts at thousands of attractions too. Find out How to Save Money on Your Camping Trip Before You Leave, by using these passes and clubs.

Prepare for the Surprise of Loved Ones

Going full-time is a big decision for you, but you are not the only one affected. Selling your home likely means liquidating many of your assets. Also, if you have lived in the same house for some time, prepare yourself for the impact of your withdrawal, both on yourself and your family and friends. While it may initially shock them, you can present them with your research and explain to them your reasons for choosing to undertake this adventure. Full-timers agree that this is the hardest part.

Stay Connected While on the Road

If you don't own one already, purchase a WiFi enabled laptop and practice using e-mail before you leave. It'll be a great way to keep regular contact with your family and friends. There are various options available to make sure you have a regular Internet connection on the road including taking advantage of WiFi hotspots, signing up with Verizon or another provider for their MiFi service, or using satellite internet. Check out How to get WiFi on a camping road trip for details on all the options available.

Get Ready for an Adventure

That is, after all, why you're doing this. Experience the freedom of the road. Revel in the lack of possessions bogging you down. Explore all this great country offers. And, have the adventure of a lifetime!

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3 comment(s) so far...

Very helpful article, thank you

By Danedad on 5/15/2013 9:56:47 AM

I am so grateful for your post.Really thank you! Awesome.


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