Ready to join the 1 million Americans who live in an RV full-time?
Full-time RV living isn’t for everyone. You trade-off storage space and a predictable environment.
But you gain the type of freedom you can’t get when you live in a traditional home. You can move your home and all of your belongings anywhere you want to go, any time the urge appeals to you.
Chase the warm weather year-round. Or visit family and friends with your own space so you don’t have “too much” togetherness.
Whatever your reason for living in an RV full time, it takes some planning to make the transition smooth.
We’ve put together five key tips to help you make the jump.
1. Prioritize RV Maintenance
Your RV is now your home, so you want to make routine maintenance and conditioning a consistent part of the schedule by planning for it. A mechanical problem may leave you in a bind until it can be fixed. If the stove, or an electrical outlet, or a water hose needs to be repaired, you may be less comfortable than you would like until those items can be fixed.
Before you start your new life on the road, schedule maintenance with an RV dealer and let them know what your plans are. They’ll check over whatever items you ask them to, and make sure those systems are operating correctly. In addition to taking care of any known issues before you hit the road, you will also want to make sure to map out any factory authorized service centers along your route as a back-up plan.
Keep up with your RV maintenance once you start living in an RV full-time. Don’t skip out on oil changes and routine inspections. Check your tires regularly to ensure they’re properly inflated.
2. Do a Massive Downsize
If you’re going from a traditional home to an RV full-time, you’ll want to pare down your belongings. Consider how much storage space you have now and the available space you’ll have in your RV to help you downsize.
If you can’t part with everything, consider putting some things in long-term storage. You may want to choose a storage facility near a family member, so you’ll have someone to check on your things while you are on the road. Plus if you happen to change your plans and want to have some things shipped to you, you are more likely to be able to get a family member to help. (For example, if you decide to head to the snow and wish you’d brought those snow boots!)
Don’t load up your RV too heavy when you start, otherwise you’ll have little extra room and might feel a bit cramped in your RV. Just be sure to bring the basics and you can always add more items later if you want to.
3. Make It Comfortable
The standard decor on an RV is fine for shorter camping trips, but full-time RV living can get old fast if you don’t take a bit of time and effort to personalize your living space.
Your RV is your home, so give it the comforts of home as much as possible. Many RVs now come with ultra-comfy mattresses, but if yours did not then maybe that’s worth splurging on to upgrade. Do you have to have espresso every morning? Then maybe you bring your regular electric espresso maker & a camp-fire espresso maker that does not require power -.just in case you want to savor the outdoors one morning.
Again, RVers plan to splurge on certain areas depending on their preferences. If you love to cook, maybe having an Instant Pot is a higher priority. For RVers with furry travelers, having a secure place for pets may take priority with a special space in the living area. The best part about RVing is that each traveler can customize their space based on their personal needs and those of their companions.
4. Have a Plan
Once the date is set for officially going full-time in your RV, it’s important to make plans for your first destinations, including researching the options for where to stay, such as RV resorts in the area.
In addition to planning where you plan to stay, you will also want to plan for routine maintenance stops. Planning and budgeting for maintenance, gas, and other necessities are an important part of the process. There are plenty of full-time RVers that offer tips on the best places to stay to stretch your RV budget, as well as how to earn a living while on the road. And of course there are plenty of resources to help you keep your RV in tip-top shape so you can enjoy the full-time RV life as much as possible.
5. Stay Flexible when RVing full-time
Part of the reason many people choose living full-time in an RV is the flexibility and freedom. Don’t forget that flexibility when unexpected things happen on the road. You might decide you want to stay longer in one place than you planned, or you might decide to leave early if you don’t like it.
You want a general idea of where you’re going, but don’t be afraid to change the plan when life presents a new opportunity.
Enjoy Full-Time RV Living
Full-time RV living gives you the unique opportunity to explore. It removes the limitations of a traditional home and provides more freedom than ever. You can certainly join the ranks of full-time RVers with some research & proper planning!
Check out our other RVing articles or lots of helpful tips on the RV lifestyle.