The Ultimate Guide To Living In An RV Year RoundElijah White
Have you ever wanted to ditch your house and take off on an adventure? If so, RV living might allow you to do that despite some common obstacles.
Living in an RV is a great way to travel and save cash, but it's not for everyone. You'll need to prepare to sell your home, move your belongings into storage or sell them as well, and find a place to park your RV. It can be overwhelming at first, but everything is a step in the process.
Whether you plan to part time or full time, I want to help you prepare for the process. However, the information below is mostly compiled with a full time frame of living in mind since that is what I have experience with.
How To Choose The Right RV For You
RV ownership is a lifestyle choice, and you need one you can tailor to fit your needs.
It is possible to be more of a "part-time" RV owner who likes the idea of renting an RV when traveling out of town, or uses an RV a couple times a year.
Another option is becoming what's called a "snowbird," where people will use their RVs during the summer months but return home during colder months when they aren't as accommodating.
Most people think of RV's as old-fashioned, hippie-style campers. But today's RVs are a lot more than just a camper van.
There are many different types of RV, from tiny trailers to luxury fifth wheels that can carry up to eight people and even come with their own bathroom and kitchenette (known as Class A or Class C motorhomes).
Depending on your lifestyle goals for your next adventure, you may want an RV that can be parked in the city with ease or one that has built-in amenities like a shower and toilet. If you're looking to take your new home on the road every day, it will be worth considering how much room there is inside before purchasing. Many campers have limited storage space; this means they may not be able to hold everything you need during long journeys.
If you’re a first-time RV buyer, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, buy used. New RVs will cost you more money and take more time to get used to. It’s better if you can find an older model that has already been taken care of by someone else who knows what they’re doing—that way, your learning curve won’t be so steep and the initial costs won’t be as high.
Tips For Choosing The Right RV
Choosing the right RV will depend on your needs and your budget. Here are some tips:
Look for an RV that has the features you need. If you travel often, look for one with a generator, water heater and/or furnace, awning, satellite dish or Wi-Fi connection, among other things.
Choose an RV that fits your budget. You can keep costs down by staying in public campgrounds or boondocking (camping off the grid). Make sure the RV you buy does not exceed the weight limit for highways in your area; if it does, it may be difficult or impossible to tow it there without incurring extra fees from drivers who have to help push it over hills when going uphill or pull them back downhill when going downhill at highway speeds—not fun.
Choose an RV that is in good condition. Inspect all systems before buying so that problems don't crop up later on down the road when they'll cost more money than if they'd been fixed up front.
How to Measure an RV
First and foremost, you need to know the difference between an RV’s size, weight and length.
Size: This refers to the square footage of your vehicle. A large motorhome can have up to 400 square feet of space, while smaller travel trailers typically range from 15 to 30 feet in length.
Weight: The weight of an RV reflects not only its heft but also how much it can carry and tow behind it.
Heavier vehicles have more amenities inside them as well as better protection against severe weather conditions (such as wind). They also tend to be quieter on the road when driving at high speeds because they are less likely to shake off their cargo than lightweight models. This does not mean that lighter RVs aren't safe—they just won't be able to handle rough roads in inclement weather as easily.
What Are The Different Types of RV
Class A: A class A RV is the largest of the group and is designed to look like a trailer. They typically have a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living area on the main level. The second floor features sleeping quarters similar to those in an apartment building.
Class B: Class B RVs are smaller than class A RVs but still have multiple floors with sleeping areas, bathrooms and kitchens. They also contain space for storage or additional seating/sleeping if desired.
Class C: This type of RV has one level for sleeping and another for cooking; it may also include outdoor storage areas for your camping gear! These vehicles generally hold less weight than other types of motorhomes because they're not built as sturdily as some other types on this list (e.g., class A).
Fifth wheel trailers: These campers are towed behind trucks or SUVs when you head out into nature (or down highways), allowing you to take all your friends along with you! Fifth wheelers come in many different sizes depending upon what kind of vehicle you want them attached to—they can even be pulled by cars or vans if needed! Unlike other types of RVs which require two separate vehicles (one being driven while another drives ahead), fifth wheel trailers only need one thing: someone willing to drive around while everyone else enjoys their stay outdoors together."
Preparing To Sell Your Home For RV Life
If you’re planning to sell your house, make sure you have a realtor. They will help you with the process of selling and can help give advice on what to do with the money.
Make sure your house is in good shape before putting it on the market. You want potential buyers to be attracted by how nice it looks, not how much work needs to be done.
Set a timeline for selling so that if things don’t go according to plan, at least you know when it will happen and can start looking for another place sooner rather than later.
Know exactly what kind of home or RV park space (if any) would suit your non-traveling lifestyle best so that if things don’t work out with one potential buyer, there will still be other options available that fit those criteria.
Downsizing For an RV
Don't be afraid of downsizing. There are many ways to reduce the amount of stuff you live with, including downsizing your home, moving into an RV, or even moving into a smaller apartment or house. This can help you get rid of unused items and avoid clutter in your life.
Get rid of stuff! You won’t be able to bring everything with you when moving into an RV, so take some time before moving day and go through all your belongings and decide which ones are worth bringing along. If it doesn’t fit into your new home, don’t worry—there will always be another place for it later (or maybe someone else who wants it).
Learn how not just one place but all places work! An important part of living comfortably in a tiny house is knowing how each appliance or gadget works so that when something breaks down it doesn't feel as overwhelming as if there were no instructions available at all.
If you’re going to live in an RV, you will have to get used to life in a small space. You’ll also need to learn how to fix things on your own and cook in an RV.
Is RV Life For Anyone
Living in an RV can be a fun adventure, but it's not for everyone.
If you’re considering living in an RV, it’s important to understand what challenges you will face. Living on the road is not for everyone. You need to be comfortable with being away from home for long periods of time and being able to deal with the challenges of living in a small space. You also need to accept that your privacy will be reduced compared to what you have at home.
Where To Park An RV
Find a good place to park. There are lots of options for finding a good spot to park, but it's a good idea not to just pick any random location. You want to find somewhere that's safe and accessible, but also far enough away from neighbors so you don't annoy them too much.
Avoid being towed or harassed by the police. Obviously, there are no guarantees in life and things can always go wrong—but if you're smart about where you park your RV, these two things should not happen very often at all! You'll just need proper insurance coverage on your vehicle (and possibly an attorney) if they do happen to occur at some point during your travels through life.
Avoid being harassed by other RVers and local residents alike.
Long term vs short term parking
There are two types of parking available: long term and short term. Long term parking is more expensive, but you can stay in a spot for months at a time. Short term parking is cheaper, but you have to move every few days or weeks. In some places (especially national parks), there are free spots where you can park your RV for extended periods of time.
Your choices will depend on your budget and how long you're planning on staying in one place. If you're looking for a cheap option that allows you to get out into nature quickly, then short-term parking may be best for you!
Deciding where to park your RV is the biggest decision you'll make in terms of enjoying life as an RVer.
Finding a place to park for free or very low cost
While finding a place to park your RV is important, where you put it is just as important. If you park in the wrong place, you might get harassed by local authorities or even have your rig vandalized. You'll want to choose an area that is safe, quiet and well-lit.
If possible, try to park in an area with good cell phone reception so that if something goes wrong and you need help from the authorities or emergency services, then they will be able to find you more easily by tracking down your GPS coordinates from the cell tower closest to where you are parked.
Learn about BoonDocking In An RV
Rvers also have the option to boondock or dry camp.
Boondocking is free camping, whether it’s on public land or in a Walmart parking lot.
Dry camping usually means hookups aren't available at all, but sometimes it just means no water hookup or other limiting factor.
Here are some places where you can park for free or very low cost:
Campgrounds that allow overnight parking. Many campgrounds require a fee but will allow day-use parking if there's space available after their regular guests check out.
Free or very low cost camping options near major cities. Some national forests allow free camping as long as certain rules are obeyed (for example, no more than 10 days per month). Other public lands may charge between $10-$20 per night; keep an eye out for these when planning your trip.
The biggest decision you'll make in terms of enjoying life as an RVer is where to park your RV.
The right place can make all the difference between a great lifestyle and one that's stressful and miserable.
The wrong place can be downright dangerous, so it's important to spend time researching parking options before you leave home. And yes, there are many pitfalls out there—like expensive city-parking fees and tight spots that give you no room for maneuvering your rig! But as we’ve seen above, there are other options available as well.
How To Prepare For RV Life
If you're just beginning to plan your move, start with the basics. You'll want to get a feel for what it's like to live in an RV, but also make sure that you have all the necessary gear and knowledge to be able to do so safely and comfortably.
Learn about RVs by doing some research online or visiting an RV showroom. If possible, try parking an RV in your driveway or backyard for a few days so that you can get used to living in one without having to worry about driving it around town. Being comfortable with driving an RV is important because it will help ensure that using them is safe at all times during your trip.
The next step is to pack. You'll want to pack your clothes in a suitcase or duffel bag, and then put any toiletries and other items into a toiletry bag or small box. Similarly, electronics can go into their own pouch or even just be placed in a compartment inside the larger bag.
Groceries and Cooking In An RV
Buying food from grocery stores is cheaper than eating out every day. Plus if you live on the road and eat at restaurants often then chances are those meals would be more expensive than what groceries cost anyway.
Finally there's no need for any transportation costs either because everything will literally be within walking distance when living in an RV long term - unless maybe taking public transit or biking around town but who wants their daily commute being wasted on something so boring?
Cooking in an RV is different than cooking at home, and can take some getting used to.
Cooking in an RV can be a challenge. Unlike cooking at home, where you have access to all of your tools, appliances and ingredients easily and without interruption, cooking in your RV is different.
There's no secret formula for figuring out how much storage space you need in your RV -- just do what feels right based on how much stuff you have. The key is to make sure that everything has a place and to keep clutter at bay wherever possible.
How To Work From an RV Full Time
Working from an RV is a great way to turn your travel dreams into a reality. You can earn money from anywhere, and the hours of work are flexible, allowing you to travel whenever you want.
You can set up your own home office in the RV and be online with WiFi or cellular data.
How much space will you need? Depending on what type of work you do, there are many solutions for how best to set up an office within an RV.
Working local and seasonal jobs is also a great way to make money while traveling.
Is Renting An RV Before Buying One a Good Idea
Rent or borrow an RV. A good way to make sure you like living in an RV before you buy one is to rent or borrow one for a weekend and try it out. Make sure the company you rent from has all the amenities you want and see how well it fits into your lifestyle. You can even take advantage of RVs for sale by buying them from the dealership, driving them home, and then reselling them within six months if you end up not liking them after all!
For example, if you really want a spacious shower with nice fixtures (and who doesn't?) but don't want to spend too much money on your dream RV yet (because who does?), renting or borrowing an RV might be just what the doctor ordered!
Take a tour of an RV dealership. If taking out a loan isn't in your immediate plans right now—or even if it is—then this next tip may be just what's needed: visit some local dealerships. They often have free tours available so that people can get more information about what they're trying to sell (not only vehicles).
And while many people think they know everything there is about RVs already because they've seen so many shows on television lately (or read articles online), nothing beats being able to ask questions directly related specifically towards your needs as opposed just simply browsing through catalogs online without knowing exactly which options are best suited for those needs specifically beforehand.
Storing Fuel and Water In an RV
Don't forget about propane and water tanks.
If you're going to be living in your RV for any length of time, you'll have to pay attention to the propane and water tanks.
Propane is a fuel used in stoves and other cooking appliances. It's stored in small tanks that are easy to store in your vehicle; most RVs come with two or three of these tanks. You can also get larger tanks if needed, but those will require more storage space and weight.
Water storage is another thing that needs to be considered carefully when choosing an RV for long-term living. Most models come with large holding tanks for water, but if yours doesn't have one yet it's easy enough to install one yourself later on down the line—or just fill up at RV parks occasionally (it's not recommended that you use city tap water in such situations). You might also consider buying bottled water from stores or collecting rainwater from barrels during heavy storms so as not to waste precious drinking resources.
How to Plan a Trip In An RV
Plan your first voyage carefully, especially if it's not local.
One of the most common mistakes new RVers make is they plan to drive non-stop for days on end. While this may be possible and even enjoyable if you are driving locally, it can easily turn into a nightmare on a long trip. Plan to stop frequently—you’ll need breaks anyway!
If weather is an issue, avoid traveling during bad weather conditions (rain, snowstorms) and don't set out at night unless absolutely necessary (and only if there's enough daylight left). If your RV is fully loaded with lots of stuff that you don't need for this trip, leave it behind so that your rig has less weight to haul around and will be easier to handle when maneuvering onto side streets or into those tight spots at campgrounds. And finally: Don't plan any long trips when tired or if feeling ill—it's just not worth risking your safety!
Great things about RV life
Here are a few great things about living in an RV in contrast to what can be a daunting amount of preparation:
- You’ll see a lot more of the world.
- Living in an RV is a great way to see more of the world, state, country or city you’re living in. You’ll have the opportunity to explore places that are just out of reach if you lived at home.
- Additionally, traveling with a small house makes it easy to take your whole life with you wherever you go. You don't need to worry about finding a place where all your stuff fits or worrying about how many boxes are going on a moving truck—just grab what is necessary and hit the road!
- It’s easier to take care of your home when it’s smaller.
- It’s easier to clean your home.
- It’s easier to store things in your home.
- It’s easier for you to find the things you need when you need them (or at all).
- You can move around your house more quickly and easily.
- You can do any projects inside, from small repairs to large projects, without having to move out first.
- You can have as little or as much stuff as you want.
- If you live in a small space, you don't need much. If you're downsizing from a larger home and need to get rid of items that are no longer useful or beloved, this is an opportunity to purge the things in your life that don't bring value and happiness—and replace them with ones that do.
- You can buy things when they're needed.
- Buying items only when necessary means less waste and more freedom for budgeting your funds. It also allows for spontaneity; if inspiration strikes for something new, it's easy to find what you need nearby rather than having to research online options before committing to a purchase.
- Living in an RV is relaxing—and can even be exciting!
- Living in an RV is not only relaxing, it can be exciting! Once you've set up your home away from home, you'll have more time to do the things that matter most to you.
- Relax: Instead of rushing off to work or school every day, take time for yourself. You can spend an extra hour with your family and friends—or even get some alone time so that you can catch up on your favorite hobby.
- Travel: Enjoy exploring new places without having to worry about finding accommodations for everyone in your group. You'll be able to stay longer at each location since driving isn't a hassle—and since all of your belongings are already packed up in place.
- You can go anywhere. If you're a full-time RVer, then you have the freedom to take an RV across country or even internationally—you just need to buy the RV in your destination city and then drive it home again when done.
- You can live in your RV full time or part time. There are many people who don't live in their RVs all year round, but only do so when they want to escape from their regular life for a while. These people may still use their RVs during the winter months because they don't want to spend so much money heating up their house all year round. If this sounds like something that would appeal to you, then owning an RV could be an option worth considering.
Other Essentials For RV Life
In order to live comfortably in your RV, you need these essentials:
A stove and refrigerator. These are the basic appliances that will help you do everything from cook meals to store food.
A sink for washing dishes and yourself. The water heater is also an important part of this system because it keeps water hot at all times so that you can take showers or wash dishes whenever needed—and even when there isn't any electricity!
A shower/bathroom area with a toilet. This goes without saying—you're going to want a place where you can clean up after yourself every day.
Stay in touch with friends, family, and other people.
You’re going to learn a lot about people when you live in an RV. You’ll likely make new friends on the road who will enrich your travels.
One of the best ways to meet new people is through Meetup groups. Many cities have these types of groups, which are organized around common interests and hobbies.
About THE AUTHOR
My wife and I bought a broken down 1984 Chevy A-Class 26ft RV and restored it back to working order. Now we both work remotely and live in it full time with our pet cats with the freedom to explore.Read More About Elijah White