Living On Less While Full-Time RVing

Enjoy the Most Beautiful Spots in the U.S. In Your RV

Camping at Glen Canyon Dam
Camping at Glen Canyon Dam | Source

RVing and Living on Less

It might surprise you to know that approximately 1.5 million people live all or part of the year in their RVs. If you think that one must be wealthy to own and live in an RV, think again. A great many full-time RVers are retirees on fixed or limited incomes. They have learned to have the good life they desire by using their resources wisely and living on less. Through creative budgeting, frugal living and a change in lifestyle, full-time RVers live as well or better than many who have much more disposable income. How do they do it?

In previous hubs I've talked about full-time RVing, why people do it and how to get started. In this hub, I'd like to talk about how people on limited incomes live the good life while living on less.

Necessary Life Style Changes

Making the move from a sticks and bricks home to living in an RV in order to simplify your life and cut expenses will necessitate a few life style changes. Most will be welcome, while others may take some adjustment. Can you live with these changes:

  • Give up (or put in storage) treasured collections, figurines, large wardrobes, and your vast array of tools and gadgets. Space constraints of living in an RV requires one to drastically pare down belongings and learn to simplify life.
  • Give up shopping as a pastime. One can window shop, but regular purchase of new clothes of other items will destroy your budget, even if you did have room in your RV for them.
  • Go casual. You may have been used to dressing up each day as you went to work or meetings. Full-time RVers life a casual dress life, and dressy clothes are just not important to them. Even if you camp in an expensive resort, you'll find little use for dress-up professional clothes.
  • Learn that other full-time RVers are not impressed by what you did for a living, what you owned or how much you have. Sitting around the campfire with a group of strangers, you'll find that only newbies ask what you did for a living.

How Do Some Retirees Live Well on Less?

They Live in an RV full-time.

Very often, the decision to live full-time in an RV is made just before or just after retirement. This explains why a great many of those full-timer RVers you see on the road are between 55 and 75 years old. Some plan to live on the proceeds of selling their home, retirement savings or pension plans, others hope to survive on Social Security income. While it's dangerous to generalize, I think it's safe to say that most full-time RVers are very careful with their money and live better on less money than most people their age. Here are some of their secrets of frugal living:

Full-time RVers Have Fewer Expenses

RVers who sell their homes enjoy the fact that the expenses of owning a home no longer exist. There are no utility bills, land line phone bills, garbage pick-up or water bills.

Gone away are home maintenance expenses like the expense of landscaping, maintaining lawn and garden equipment or paying someone to mow lawn or plow snow out of your driveway. You won't have to spend time and money painting the house, sealing the driveway, or cleaning the chimney. And don't forget to cross off the exterminator and septic cleaning services. There will be no homeowners insurance, either! There are no property taxes when give up your house.

Yes, there is insurance, maintenance and repairs on an RV, but these costs are usually far less than the cost of putting a new roof on your home or replacing air conditioning or heating systems or rugs in a six room house.

Camping in the Arizona Desert

Camping in the Arizona desert.
Camping in the Arizona desert. | Source

Track Spending By First Making a Budget

Making a budget and tracking your spending is a necessary part of managing your money. Start by listing basic monthly expenses that will be the same each month and add in your estimate of food, gas, campground fees and other miscellaneous expenses. Jot down your monthly income and subtract expenses to see how your income compares to your outgo. Because this is a brand new experience, it's a good idea to keep a log of daily spending to see just where your money is going. This will help you manage spending, and you'll have a better idea of where you need to cut back if you are going over your allotted monthly allowance.

Visiting Outer Banks Lighthouses While Full Time RVing

Corolla Lighthouse, Outer Banks, North Carolina
Corolla Lighthouse, Outer Banks, North Carolina | Source

Tips on How to Save Money

How to Save on Food:

  • Plan ahead. Do not go to the grocery store every day. Make a list and only buy things on the list.
  • Never throw food away. Don't buy more fresh food than you can use. Use what you have on hand before buying more. Make good use of leftovers or freeze them for another time. Save small portions of leftover meat and vegetables to make soup or stir fries.
  • Limit eating out. When going on day trips, pack a lunch and snacks to take with you. If you do want to try a special restaurant, go for lunch instead of dinner as you can often get the same food in smaller servings for a lesser price. When eating out, order only water to drink. Have a glass of wine and crackers and cheese before you go out. Have coffee and desert when you get home. Ordering drinks and desert can easily double your bill.
  • Shop sales and discount stores and buy extra to freeze or store if you have room.
  • Use coupons, but stay away from items you wouldn't normally buy.
  • Buy local fresh foods in season and in the area where they are grown. Strawberries in Florida, apples in New York, grapefruit in Texas, fresh seafood along the coast... the list is long.

How to Save on Clothes:

  • Limit wardrobe to simple, casual clothes, one or two dressy outfits and two or three pairs of comfortable shoes. Most full time RVers find that a more extensive or dressy wardrobe is unnecessary and goes unused.
  • Limit buying new clothes to replacing worn items. Shop sales, and only buy items that you will use often.
  • Shop thrift stores for good quality, lightly used clothes at bargain prices.

How to Save on Gas and Get Better Gas Mileage:

  • Stay in one place longer. You will have the opportunity to learn more about each area, and cut back on your monthly gas expense.
  • Drive slower. Gas mileage will increase proportionately to the number of miles per hour you slow down.
  • Eliminate some of the extra weight in your RV. (No, I don't mean go on a diet!) The more weight you carry, the less gas mileage you will get.
  • Keep vehicle tuned up and tires at proper pressure for better gas mileage.

How to Save on Household Items:

  • When starting to RV full time, stock your RV with items from your home that are best quality and most versatile.
  • Buy only replacement items or necessities. Before a purchase, ask yourself, where will I keep this? Does something else have to go before I can make room for it? How often will I use it?
  • Save money by shopping thrift stores and yard sales for household items.
  • Do not purchase decorative items unless you have a particular spot to place it. Wall space is so limited that the number of wall decorations you will be able to use are very few.

How to Save on RV Maintenance:

  • Learn to do simple maintenance and repairs yourself.
  • Invest in an RV repair manual to learn how to fix doors, windows, locate and change fuses and trouble shoot other maintenance problems.
  • Change your own oil (dispose of it properly, please!), especially in your tow vehicle.
  • Fix little things before they become big problems. Tighten loose screws, tape or patch a tiny tear in upholstery, replace worn out parts before they break.
  • Keep good tires on your RV. Even though tires look like they have a lot of life in them, the rubber will deteriorate and breakdown, becoming unsafe after 5-8 years. A blowout while driving could cause serious damage (and/or injury) that will cost much more than new tires.

How to Save on Entertainment:

  • Go to free or very inexpensive local concerts, festivals and activities.
  • Check with the local visitor's bureau for discount tickets or coupons to local attractions.
  • Go to free or low cost entertainment at campgrounds. Attend jam sessions of other campers.
  • Attend free exercise, dance and craft classes at campgrounds.
  • Take advantage of free museums, tours and lectures at National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, State Parks and other recreation areas.

How to Save on Dental Care and Prescription Drugs:

  • Consider dental work in Mexico. Many RVers spend time in border states like Arizona so that they can cross the border in Mexico to get affordable dental care (see Seeking Affordable Dentists in Algodones, Mexico) and buy cheap prescription drugs
  • Buy generic prescription drugs when you can

How to Save on Miscellaneous items:

  • Hobbies. It is important to have enjoyable hobbies that will fit into your new lifestyle. Many hobbyists will sell some of their handiwork to help support their interests. Check yard sales and thrift stores for very cheap craft supplies.
  • Books and Magazines. Get reading material at libraries, campground book exchanges and used book stores. Sometimes you can sell or trade your books for books you haven't read. Read on-line newspapers and magazines or download free books on line. Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble offer a selection of free apps and ebooks to Kindle and Nook owners.
  • Laundry. Wear clothes like jeans several times before laundering. Hand wash light weight items like underwear and t-shirts in between laundromat visits.
  • Take digital pictures, keep them organized on your computer rather than developing expensive film and having to store photo albums.
  • Banking. Choose a bank that offers interest bearing checking accounts, reimburses ATM fees and has free on-line bill paying. It's worth it to research the options.
  • Do not buy water in individual bottles. Fill reusable bottles instead. Save money and the environment
  • Save on campgrounds (see section below for more details) by choosing free and discount campgrounds.

Live on Less, Enjoy Life More

Full-time RVers have discovered many secrets to living on less so that they can enjoy life more. One of the biggest lessons we learned, and I think many full time RVers agree, is that having lots of "stuff" is not necessary to have a happy life. Full-timers who live in the very small space of a motor home or trailer only carry the basics because there's no storage space for the frills. It may be difficult at first to part with some of the belongings that you enjoyed for years, but those who have done it say that there's a wonderful feeling of freedom in not having all the "stuff" to worry about any longer.

However, there are certain things that you still need to buy, even when living on less. By setting priorities, you can separate the things that are necessary to your happiness from the things that are not. Once you have clearly defined your priorities, you can put a plan into action and really live on less. Here are some ways that RVers live on less:

Visiting National Parks While Full Time RVing

Giant cedar tree in Olympic National Park.
Giant cedar tree in Olympic National Park. | Source
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Grand Canyon, Arizona | Source

How to Spend Less on Campground Fees

Once the initial investment in an RV is made, full time RVers can easily adjust their lifestyle to spend less. Some experienced RVers pride themselves on averaging less than $5-$8 a night for camping. How do they do this? There are many ways to get free or cheap camping .

  • Volunteer and get free camping. By finding volunteer jobs which require just a few hours a week, RVers can usually get a free campsite and utilities. There are volunteering opportunities in state parks, National parks and monuments, historical sites, wildlife refuges and many other places. Volunteers can choose where they want to be and the type of job they would like.
  • Take advantage of free camping. There are many city parks that have free overnight camping. In addition, free overnight camping is available at some beaches, public boat ramps and rest areas. For those only needing one night, it's usually possible to stay in a store parking lot or roadside pull-off. BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land offers many opportunities for free camping in the western states. National Forests and State Forests also allow free camping in certain areas. Invest in campground directories for National Parks, Public Lands and National Forest campgrounds.
  • Discount camping. If you are a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident over 62, you can get an America the Beautiful Senior Pass which gets you a 50% discount on camping in National Parks, National Forests, Corps of Engineers' campgrounds and other federally operated campgrounds. Other discount camping is available through camping clubs like Escapees, Passport America, FMCA and others whose members receive discounts of up to 50% at participating campgrounds.
  • Workcamping. Work campers find temporary part time or full time jobs in areas where they would like to stay for a few months. These jobs are often seasonal, pay a salary, and sometime include campsites. Some examples are: Working for theme parks like Disneyland; selling Christmas trees, working at a campground or National Park during the busy season; working in Amazon mailing centers, doing store inventories and others. WorkKamper News lists more specific jobs suitable for full time RVers.

Beautiful Scenery Is Free

Crater Lake National Park.
Crater Lake National Park. | Source
Wildflowers in Arizona desert.
Wildflowers in Arizona desert. | Source

The Best Things in Life Are Free

You have some ideas of how to live on less, but what is your gain? People say, tongue in cheek, that the best things in life are free. Full time RVers believe it. There are so many wonderful aspects of this lifestyle that make it worth sacrificing in other areas. Here are some of the free things that make this the good life:

  • Bird watch. Are you a birdwatcher? Visit National Wildlife Refuges for free. Go to Merritt Island, Florida or the Rio Grande Valley, Texas to see migrating coastal birds. Follow birding trails in many states to see rare and endangered species in their natural habitat. See bald eagles and golden eagles in Alaska and red cockaded woodpeckers in Georgia. There are unlimited opportunities to pursue a hobby of birdwatching throughout the U.S.
  • Get closer to nature. Enjoy wildflowers in the desert. View wildlife in the Smokey Mountains or Alaska. See alligators in Louisiana and moose in Maine. Watch whales in Cape Cod. Every state has a unique facet of nature to explore and enjoy.

Enjoy Rock Collecting and Other Hobbies

Rock collecting is free
Rock collecting is free | Source
  • Rockhound. Every state has areas of interest, but rockhounding in the desert is especially rewarding for those who have knowledge of rocks. Or go to the shores of Lake Superior to hunt for agates, Arizona to look for turquoise, California to find obsidian. It's all free.
  • Explore Historic Sites: With a little research, one can follow the Lewis and Clark Trail, the Oregon Trail, visit Civil War battlegrounds, or learn about the Gold Rush and the settling of the West. Explore any of hundreds of avenues of historic interest at your leisure, or, to make it even more interesting, volunteer your time to work at one of the National Historic sites.
  • See the giant trees in old growth forests. Walk among the giant redwoods and sequoias in California. See the ancient cedars in Washington's Olympic Peninsula.
  • See petroglyphs, dinosaur tracks and ancient Native American sites in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and other states.
  • Pursue your hobbies. Read. Carve wood. Paint. Make bead jewelry. Devote as much time as you wish to your hobbies or special interests.
  • Park on a beach for free. There are places (you have to look for them) where you can park your RV on a beach or a beautiful forest for free.
  • Take leisurely routes through scenic parts of the U.S. There are so many beautiful places in the U.S. that it's impossible to pick out a favorite. Drive though the Smoky Mountains, the Rocky Mountains or through any of our National Parks. If you are a senior, admission is free with your America the Beautiful pass and you can enjoy the wonders of the U.S. at your leisure.
  • Park on BLM land and explore to your heart's content. We touched dinosaur tracks at Grand Staircase-Escalante, found an abandoned turquoise mine while boondocking in the desert near the Imperial Dam in California and explored abandoned mining camps and an old ghost town while camping in Quartzsite, Arizona.
  • See the areas unique to each state. Drive through the Imperial Valley in California and see date gardens, miles of lettuce fields, and broccoli or flowers being grown for seed. See oil wells and refineries in Texas. Visit the Florida Keys and go snorkeling around the coral reefs. Drive through miles of corn fields or grain fields in the Midwest. See the Arches National Park and the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Drive up to Pike's Peak in Colorado, or see New York State's Finger Lakes, Vermont's quaint villages or Maine's rocky coast. For the really adventurous, go RVing in Alaska! There's something (and many things) in every state.The views are free.

Beautiful Sunsets Are Free!

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, Lake Michigan
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, Lake Michigan | Source

What Does "Living Well" Mean to You?

Everyone has a different idea of what living well means. To some it means eating in fine restaurants, to others it means living in luxurious accommodations. To many of the thousands of happy full time RVers, it means almost unlimited travel and meeting new people, freedom from the responsibilities of home ownership and time to devote to favorite causes. It means having time to read and pursue hobbies and other interests. They are willing to make the trade-offs necessary to live live on the road and practice many of the money saving tips above in order to afford their life style. They live well, they live on less, they love it!

Copyright ©2011 Stephanie Henkel

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Comments 192 comments

Tightwad Gourmand profile image

Tightwad Gourmand 6 years ago from San Diego, CA USA

Great article! Going cross-country in an RV has been a long-time dream of mine, and articles like yours make that dream feel much more obtainable.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA Author

Thank you for reading and commenting on my hub. RVing is a great way to see the country. Whether you do it full time or as an extended vacation, it's a wonderful way to see some of the truly unique and beautiful places in the U.S. I hope you are able to do it someday.

travelespresso profile image

travelespresso 6 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

WOW - this is a comprehensive article on living the life on the road. Well done! I am a touch envious of your lifestyle.

I know just what you mean about living without "stuff" as I've had little more than a suitcase full of things for the past three years. Mind you, each time I put down routes in a city for awhile I accumulate a few extra things to make life comfortable for the duration.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for your kind comments, travelespresso. For those of us who do not easily put down deep roots, travel and RVing is a wonderful way of life. From reading your hubs, I can see that faraway places are also calling you!

nifty@50 profile image

nifty@50 6 years ago

Great hub and wonderful advice! I believe I would try renting an Rv and living out of it for a few months before committing myself to selling my home and Rving full time.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA Author

Hi Nifty@50,

Many people start out slowly by renting an RV for vacations or buying something small before jumping into full timing with both feet. Some people love the lifestyle immediately and others decide it's not for them.

We started out by going on a 3 month caravan to Alaska in our first 29 ft. motorhome, decided we loved it and the decision was made!

rich_hayles profile image

rich_hayles 6 years ago

Great advice Stephanie. I have considered going travelling in the past and this seems like a good option. Instead of simply flying all over the place I hadn't before thought of driving across the States.

Lots of useful tips and it will do me well for the future. Highly recommend reading this to young and old alike.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for your comments, Rich. While flying gets you places faster, driving is the best way to really see the United States. There's just so much to see that is far from cities and airports!

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Great hub. I live in one, and don't miss my apartment much at all.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA Author

Wesman, thanks for stopping by my hub. It is amazing how quickly we can adjust to living in an RV and how little we miss our former homes, isn't it?

Mr Tindle profile image

Mr Tindle 6 years ago

Interesting hub. I never knew so many people lived in RVs.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

This is so intriguing and alluring! It is certainly about the best way to see the country that I can imagine...spending time, as little or as much as one desires in a certain spot. Few people have that option except those living full time in an RV with enough income to travel.

This should certainly be a contender in the current contest! Hitting all kinds of buttons on this one!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, Peggy! It's so nice to hear from you; your encouraging comments mean a lot to me! Full time RVing is a wonderful way to see the country. With careful money management, people in a wide range of income brackets are doing it and having a great time.

wsupaul88 profile image

wsupaul88 6 years ago from Seattle, WA

What an awesome way to see some amazing country! I love this Hub, Good Work!

Johnny Parker profile image

Johnny Parker 6 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

I feel really inspired after reading that. I think there is a nomadic gene in all of us, you just have to be brave enough to do it.

I'm hopeing Hubpages could give me the income to join the RV Bedouins!

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 6 years ago from Minnesota

What an amazing life you live. I think it's such a great idea to live in a RV after retiring. Your information is going to be so helpful to anyone thinking of this or someone that already is. Your pictures of some of your experiences are beautiful.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA Author

Thank you all for stopping by my hub and for your kind comments. Johnny, I'm not so sure it takes bravery to jump into this life -- we just did it and learned along the way!

Minnetonka Twin, thanks for your nice comments. I'm glad you enjoy the photographs as I get a lot of pleasure from taking them and sharing them.

bigocean profile image

bigocean 6 years ago from New England


Great hub! We are headed in this direction. We travel with our vintage Airstream during the summer and plan on longer adventures on retirement. Thanks for all the info and direction. It's a luring lifestyle!

World-Traveler profile image

World-Traveler 6 years ago from USA

Excellent! Reminds of my RV days when I camped and lived in my 13 foot Jewel trailer. Small and a bit cramped but everything was there including the picture window where I could look out at the sea or the desert while sipping freshly brewed hot coffee! Perfecto!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for stopping by World-Traveler.

A 13 foot trailer can contain everything you need for great RV camping with the added benefit that it will fit almost anywhere. As for me, as long as I have my pillow and my coffee pot, I'm good! :)

John Fremont profile image

John Fremont 5 years ago from Bend, OR

I found this hub from one of your other articles. I am about to take my family on a coast to coast trip from Oregon, up to Washington and Alberta, over to Maine, down to Florida and back. We are planning to take 12-13 months complete the trip and any tips I can find to save money are very appreciated. We are taking a 31-foot Class C and not towing a vehicle. Any advice? I will be writing about our (mis)adventures here and at

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA Author

Hello John,

The trip you are planning with your family sounds like quite an adventure! I have several hubs about RVing that contain useful tips on saving money-- check out my profile page to find them. I would suggest that you join two camping clubs: Passport America which offers a 50% discount on participating campgrounds and Escapees which also has campground discounts. More importantly, the website has a great discussion group for full-timers with members always willing to give advice.

You'll find that campgrounds are more expensive in the East, especially along the East coast, so the discounts will be helpful. Feel free to contact me privately through HubPages if you have other questions.

jseven profile image

jseven 5 years ago from Michigan

This is a great hub with plenty of useful information for those considering traveling or living out of an RV. I have always wanted to travel in one to warmer climates during the winter months in Michigan. :)

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for visiting and for your comments, Jseven! I'm glad that you found my hub useful. We meet many RVers from Michigan during our winter travels to the southwest. Your winters must be really cold! I hope you'll join the Michigan snowbirds one day.

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

I never thought much about RVing as a lifestyle until some distant cousins came to visit in a 35-footer that had all the *necessary* comforts of home and then some. If I ever win the lottery, an RV will be my first purchase. The Cousins offset the camp fees in many of the ways you mentioned. Public libraries are a source of information about free or almost-free local events to attend, not only in the library itself but in the surrounding area. "Ask a librarian" is a great habit to get into when traveling!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA Author

Hi JamaGenee,

Those of us who RV manage to take almost all of the comforts with us on the road. Although in a smaller space, we certainly are not roughing it that much!

I agree that libraries are a great resource. We often visit local libraries and have used public library internet before we got our broadband service. Almost every library we've visited has a shelf of inexpensive books for sale, too, so I use the opportunity to stock up on reading material.

Thanks for your helpful comments!

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

As long as I have internet access, I can live anywhere! ;D

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA Author

Haha! Me too!

John Fremont profile image

John Fremont 5 years ago from Bend, OR

I recently joined a service called Harvest Host and have had great success with it. It allows members to stay fro free at farms and wineries around the country. We have stayed at the occasional parking lot and roadside pull-off, but this offers a much better experience.

We are not supposed to promote our own Hubs, but recently wrote one covering my experiences with the service. Sorry for the shameless plug, but I think it complements your excellent article.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA Author

Hi John, After checking out your hub about the Harvest Host network, I forgive you for plugging it here. :) It looks like a wonderful way to save money while staying at some of the beautiful farms and wineries across the country. I'll be looking into it further. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 5 years ago from trailer in the country

Great information! My husband and I raised 8 children, and could never afford vacations, so I look forward to the day that I can be an RVer. Thanks for sharing.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA Author


I hope that you'll be able to join the RVing community soon! Glad that the information was helpful. Thanks for your comments.

nancy hufstedler 5 years ago

My husband is going to retire in 7 yrs. We are planning to sell our home, and go rving full time. How will we get our mail? We don't have any children or family members willing to get our mail for us. We plan on only

staying in one place for 2 to 4 weeks at a time. Any informaton will be greatly appreciated.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA Author

Hi Nancy,

Planning for retirement well in advance is wise, and it's great that you're investigating full time RVing as a life style! When we sold our house and became full time RVers, we got signed up with a mail service which provided us with an address. All our mail is sent to that address and, when we're ready to get mail, we just call them and give them a General Delivery address to send it to. It's worked great for us.

You might want to check out my other RVing hubs, particularly "RVing Lifestyle: Living full time in an RV". There's a link to it in the listing above. It has lots of information useful for newbies.

Feel free to contact me privately through HubPages (at the link just under my profile picture)if you have other questions. Thanks for visiting my Hubs!

nextstopjupiter profile image

nextstopjupiter 5 years ago from here, there and everywhere

For 17 months I lived on about 2$ a day, traveling (hitchhiking), working in volunteer projects ..., it was the best time of my life. Thanks for this hub!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA Author

Nextstopjupiter - Wow, you really did Live on Less! Isn't it amazing how cheaply we can live with a little ingenuity? Your travels sounds like a blast! Thanks for stopping by to visit and comment here!

Linda Gardner 5 years ago

Just bought a 32ft Jayco and am in the process of donating 23 years of accumaulated contents from a two person household into one. This has been the hardest part. What do you give up what do you keep, should I dontate, sell or store. But am looking forward to my single freedom and life on the road. I have always been a wayward spirit and really looking forward to seeing new frontiers. I have lined up my first volunteering gig at a great Federal Park, which I hope will be the start of more indeavors such as this one. I do have one question I havn't seen answered. What do you do about Doctors when you have a permanent physical condition, do you just stick with the one Doctor at your home base and hope that he/she will understand? Anyone out there have any answers, tips or advice? I look forward to making new friends and having great travels.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA Author

Linda Gardner - Congratulations on entering the RV lifestyle! It sounds like you are off to a great start with a nice rig and a fun volunteering job. To answer your question about doctors, when we were full timing, we kept our doctor in our home state because we knew we would be going back to see family and friends a couple of times a year. Our doctors were o.k. with it. Even when my husband had to have regular lab work while we were on the road, reports were sent back to his doctor with no problem. If a doctor was needed in between, we could usually find an urgent care facility. A lot will depend on how often you need to see your doctor personally. Feel free to contact me privately (click on the "contact Stephanie Henkel" link near the top right of this page) if you'd like to talk more about this.

Good luck with your new lifestyle!

carozy profile image

carozy 5 years ago from San Francisco

wonderful article

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA Author

Carozy - Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for visiting.

monicamelendez profile image

monicamelendez 4 years ago from Salt Lake City

It's AMAZING that that many people live in RVs. Sounds like a blast!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

monicamelendez - It is amazing! Although we are now part time RVers, the years we spent full time RVing were among the best of our lives! We'll be doing it again soon!

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

Full of great cost cutting tips, some that I haven't thought of. One of the things that we learned to do just last year was go to used book stores instead of buying books. That's saved us lots of money, since both my husband and I are avid readers. When we are home, we go to the library. Great hub!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

Mperrottet - I love used book stores, and I also trade a lot of books at campgrounds. Some campgrounds have extensive libraries of books that you can borrow or trade - it's a great way to keep yourself in reading material!

Free2writ3 profile image

Free2writ3 4 years ago from Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania

Thanks for posting these tips. I look forward to reading more of your hubs.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

Free2writ3 - I'm so glad you enjoyed my hub on Living on Less! Thanks for the read and the comment!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Bev and I are talking about getting an RV in three years...leave for a month, then back home for a few...that sort of thing...a very small I'll be using you as a source of info. Great hub and thanks for being my teacher on this subject.

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Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

Billybuc - It sounds like fun! Many of the RVers we know do this kind of thing, but beware, you may find that you want to extend that month to two or three... Small RVs are nice because they are easy to park and you can get into more remote areas if you wish. Much will depend on your personal need for space. Some people are very happy with a conversion van, others need 40+ feet to feel comfortable. Whatever you decide, I'm sure you'll have a great time!

confused 4 years ago

We purchased a 5th wheel a year ago with the hopes of traveling 3 months on 3 months off. Haven't done that yet. Just 2 week trips a few times a year. We lost 8 close family members in 2010, then my mom to cancer at 69 and I dont have the drive to do anything anymore. I love the outdoors, and find myself researching full time rving and wanting to hit the road. I'm just not sure if its depression, midlife crisis or something else. I'm 48 and my husband is 52. We currently care for my 98 yr old grandmother who is very healthy. Any thoughts.

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Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

Confused - Life does have a way of changing our plans, and it sounds like you've had to make some adjustments to your plans to RV. It does sound like you are depressed after the trauma of losing so many of your family members, and depression can be de-energizing to say the least. You might want to discuss this with your doctor, but in the meantime, do try to get outdoors and do some things that you love. If it weren't for your grandmother, I would advise you to just get in your RV and head out to someplace relaxing. A good first step to full-time RVing might be to join a club like the Escapees (see and go to one of their parks for a couple of weeks. There you could participate in some group activities, meet other very friendly RVers and learn more about the lifestyle. If you go to the website, there is also a very active discussion board where a lot of newbies talk about their concerns. Best wishes for following your dreams!

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

Awesome awesome hub. My wife and I have a master plan.....get rid of all of these kids(lol)....3 down 3 to go....sell the house......and buy an RV and travel the country. Your hub offers many expert suggestions and ideas we will use in the future. I loved the photos you included as it gives people the idea of just how easy it is just to go somewhere unique....voted up and awesome.

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Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

Cogerson - Sounds like a wonderful plan to me! Our years as full time RVers were some of the best in our lives. There is so much to see and do, and RVing gives you the freedom to enjoy your travels at your own pace. Best of luck with following your dream!

Thundermama profile image

Thundermama 4 years ago from Canada

Wonderful Hub! This is how I hope to retire one day and you have given some great advice and some food for thought in terms of preparation.

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Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

Thundermama - Living in an RV full-time was certainly a wonderful choice for my husband and me. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

What a wonderful hub and I now look forward to so many more to come.


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Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

Eiddwen - I'm so glad you enjoyed my hub about Living on less in an RV. Thanks for stopping in to read and comment!

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Stephanie, loads and loads of really useful advice for aspiring RVers. I love the idea of this type of life and the freedom you must feel; being able to travel wherever you want whenever you want. Clearly, there are lots of things to consider before making the move to RVs but your advice in this hub will halp anyone wanting to do it.

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Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

You make this sound so tempting, Stephanie …

As an avid camper van traveller myself (we don’t call them RV’s over this side of the pond) I would love to live full-time in one but just don’t have the nerve to get sell the house and get one big enough to do that. I keep wondering what I would do when I got too old to live in one.

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Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

Jools99 - It does give one a wonderful sense of freedom to finally sell the house and hit the road. There are a lot of things to consider, and this kind of life would not suit everyone, but it was one of the best choices we ever made. :) Thanks for stopping in to comment!

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Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

Angie Jardine - Selling your house and committing to living full time in an RV is a big step, and certainly one that everyone isn't willing to make. When we started out, we aimed to do it for a year before buying another house. As it turned out, we loved it so much that we did it for 4 years. Many people we met on the road had been full timing for 10 or 15 years and still going strong, but there eventually does come a time when we must hang up the keys. We all know that, and most of us have a plan for it.

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daisydayz 4 years ago from Cardiff

Well I would happily retire as an RVer in the US, sadly I'm in the UK and a long way off retirement! lol. But that being said I thik alot of the cost cutting tips are still relevant, things like the food and clothing is exactly the same. Great Hub

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Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

Daisydayz - I'm glad to hear that some of these cost cutting tips are relevant in the UK as well as the US! Perhaps one day you'll come to spend some time RVing in the US - we do have many international travelers and would love to welcome you here. Thanks for your comments!

shermanblake profile image

shermanblake 4 years ago from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Nice info. Made me think about living the RV life...and how to do it on a budget.

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Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

Shermanblake - Many people in the U.S. live frugally while living full time in an RV. It's a very attractive lifestyle for those who enjoy leisurely travel. Thanks for visiting my article and for your comments!

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa

I don't think I could live in an RV full time, but I think it would be great to take an extended trip in one. I love to camp (although all we have is a tent) and explore the nation's parks. You are right; so many of the best things in life are free.

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Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

DeborahNeyens - Full time RV living is not everyone's cup of tea, but if you love to visit and explore some of the most beautiful natural places in the U.S., I'm sure you'd love to take an extended RV trip. Thanks so much for stopping in to read and comment!

MM 4 years ago

When our daughter left for college in another state I purchased an RV in her senior year of high school and moved in RV when she left-Never had the empty nest feeling! Sold and gave everything except pictures, a couple of sentimental items and cut my wardrobe to a few suits for work-have never missed the big house or anything related to it-

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Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

NM - Good for you! We felt the same way when we moved from our house to an RV. Life was so much simpler, and we loved it! Thanks for stopping in to comment. Happy travels!

CarNoobz profile image

CarNoobz 4 years ago from USA

I would SO love to do that after the kids have grown up! But I don't think my wife would go for it.

Voted up

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA Author

CarNoobz - Thanks for stopping in to read and comment on my article on Full-time RVing. I hope that you'll have the chance to give it a try one day...who knows, your wife might surprise you!

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 3 years ago from West Kootenays

I can see this becoming the way of the future as housing just gets more and more expensive. This was an interesting topic. Well done.

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Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Athlyn Green - Many full time RVers have learned to live on less by cutting their housing and living expenses. It is an option for people who don't mind living in a small space and who love to travel. Thanks for stopping in to read and comment!

sany72 profile image

sany72 3 years ago from Romania

nice post

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Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Sany72 - Glad you enjoyed my article on Living on Less by Full Time RVing. Thanks for stopping by.

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 3 years ago from East Coast, United States

Voted up, awesome, and shared! Wow! I am ready. Here I sit feeling like crap with a lousy cold and blah but you perked up my spirits with this awesome hub. What a view! I love the idea of staying in one place for some time to really get to know the area. You are such a font of info, you could write hubs on so many of the things that you mentioned - like the volunteer camping etc.

prettynutjob30 profile image

prettynutjob30 3 years ago from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet.

Awesome, informative hub, voted up and shared. I always told my hubby when the kids are grown we should invest in an RV.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

It does sound appealing. Not sure my wife would adjust to living in a small space.

lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona

My husband and I have been seriously thinking about doing this. However, we would have to finance the RV, so that would be an additional monthly expense. Will have to put pen to paper and see if it is feasible. Inspiring Hub full of useful info. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with us! :)

sunflowerforests profile image

sunflowerforests 3 years ago from The light in the forest of doubt.

Oh how I would love to do this one day! Congratulations to you for doing it well. Best of luck for continued bliss. Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful, and interesting

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 3 years ago from West Kootenays

Your photos are stunning. What a great idea for a topic for a Hub. This will stay evergreen.

INFJay profile image

INFJay 3 years ago from Santa Rosa, California

I just discovered your very informative and inspirational hub! You've certainly given me so much to think about. Thanks!

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Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Dolores Monet - Thanks so much for your kind comments, Dolores! The life style of full-time RVers has much to offer, and it certainly can be easily tailored to individual likes and needs. Writing a hub on volunteering as a camp host is a great idea! Thanks! :)

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Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Prettynutjob30 - Keep working on hubby! RVing is so much fun and a great way to see the country. Thanks for stopping in to comment!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Dahoglund - While there are many pluses to RV living, there are a few cons. Some people adjust to living in a small space better than others. Perhaps you could borrow or rent an RV sometime and give it a trial run? Thanks for stopping in to comment!

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Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Lindacee - There are always some beautiful second hand rigs for sale, and you can often get a good bargain if you look around. That helps a lot with expenses rather than going directly for a brand new model. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you for stopping in to read and comment.

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Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

sunflowerforests - Thanks so much for stopping in to read and comment! Thanks, also, for your votes!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Athlyn Green - I'm so glad you enjoyed my article on full time RVing! This has been one of my most successful hubs - I do hope it remains evergreen! Thanks for stopping in to read and comment!

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Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

INFJay - Are you considering becoming a full time RVer? I'm so glad you enjoyed my article and took the time to comment! Thank you!

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

You certainly know your stuff. This is great for anyone considering doing the RV lifestyle part-time or permanently. Have you done it some yourself, Stephanie? Great hub. Voted up and more!

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Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Victoria Lynn - Yes, my husband and I were full time RVers for more than 4 years, and have been doing it 6-8 months of the year for 5 years. It's a great life! Thanks for stopping in to read and comment!.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Stephanie!! I LOVE you! This is a total GEM of a hub! When people talk about their "Bucket List," I always say, I have ONE: -ONE-wish-on-my-list....and this is it! I even brought the subject up, when my husband was living.....I don't think he took me seriously or thought it was something to consider.

Your hub is so beautifully complete. I intend to print this up and keep it close by......if I read it often enough, I may get very motivated to start taking some definite steps. The entire concept intrigues me.

It all sounds very wise, adventurous and fulfilling to me. Honestly, I can't thank you enough for the great info and inspiration!! It's almost as if you wrote this for me! Hey! Thanks!.....have a very good day!

UP+++++ Super HUB!!!

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Stephanie...I LOVE this hub!! It is so very complete and interesting. I have ONE wish on my bucket list....and this is it! I have dreamed of this for a very long time. My husband was never really keen on it....he couldn't envision the I just hoped one day, I might be able to convince him.

This, to me would be the perfect way to live. Since I have children and grandchildren in 3 States.....what would be better? I realize there is a much to think about and consider. You have covered it so well.

Sending you a big thank you and hug for this hub, which I intend to print up and hang on my "Vision Board!!".....Have a nice day! UP+++

Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

Pavlo Badovskyy 3 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

I did not know so many people live in RV so much. In my opinion a solid built house is much more valuable thing. But of course it depends on what you expect to have from your RV. If it is a style of life like driving a bike - go for it! If it is a desparate measure to save you bills - good luck! Anyway many people like it. Probably I should try one as well :-)

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

fpherj48 - Oh, my, I am so touched by your comments and enthusiasm! I'm so happy to know that this hub touched a chord with you and that you are keeping the RVing lifestyle on your bucket list. There are many things to consider when taking the step to live full time in an RV, but if you decide to go for it, you'll find a very supportive community out there to advise and help you. I'll be one of them! :)

People choose this life for many different reasons and tailor it to fit their lives. One of my favorite people is a lady who travels with her 5 (or 6) cats and two dogs. She's in her 60's, writes, volunteers and follows her dreams wherever they take her.

Thanks again for your comments here. As always, you gave me a smile and a lift!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Pavlo Badovskyy - I agree that if one were forced into this life because of financial problems, it would be sad, but most people who choose to live in their RV's are living their dream of freedom and travel ... a lifestyle choice. They have lived in solid built homes (we call them "sticks and bricks") and made the decision to give them up in order to travel, see the country and live a more simple lifestyle. Many are able to afford this lifestyle because it is easier to live more frugally when not encumbered by a house and all that goes with it. I do appreciate your comments. Thanks for stopping in to read my hub!

justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas

Wonderful, practical, thrifty ideas for anybody, anywhere! Voted up, awesome and shared! :)

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Justmesuzanne - I think that we can all learn to live more frugally, whether or not we live in an RV. Glad you found these ideas practical and useful! Thanks so much for your comments and for the share!

justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas

Sure! People have been so conditioned to a disposable, instant gratification, convenience society over the past few decades that many have no idea of how to plan, conserve and be creative. Your tips all give clear information on how to be innovative and make the most of what you have. :)

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Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Justmesuzanne - Living on less does take some creativity and planning, but it is so worthwhile and gives us a wonderful sense of freedom and control over our lives!

azrestoexp profile image

azrestoexp 3 years ago

Nice hub - very informative and interesting. Voted up.

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Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Azrestoexp - So glad you enjoyed my hub on Living on Less by full time RVing. Thanks for the read and comment!

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mercuryservices 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

"They have learned to have the good life they desire by using their resources wisely and living on less." More people should learn to live by this advice! Great hub and photos too.

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Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

mercuryservices - Living on less has many rewards...not all rewards are material. Thanks so much for your comments!

wjlambert profile image

wjlambert 3 years ago from Sunnyvale

I thought I was aware of a good deal about RVing, but I have learned yet more today. Thank you for the informative hub. I am curious about some things, though. Does the value of your RV home increase over time like a stationary home tends to? Would you need to trade in or buy another at some point? How long can an RV last with good maintenance?

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Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

wjlambert - Unfortunately, the value of an RV, whether a motor home or trailer, decreases in resale value over time just like any vehicle. Good maintenance, however, will help your RV last for a long time. Just like in your sticks and bricks home, you want to keep mechanical parts in top condition and update and refresh décor every now and then. Our motor home is 13 ears old and in perfect running order. We have replaced tires and replaced the rugs inside for a fresher look. Most likely, we will recover the sofa and chairs soon and possibly do new window treatments. This is our home, and we enjoy having it look good.

Eventually, many full time RVers will trade in their RVs for various reasons: to upgrade, get larger living quarters or just because they want something newer, but how long you keep an RV depends on how your current motor home or trailer is meeting your needs and how well you've maintained it. There's really no definitive answer to that question as some people have lived in the same RV for over 20 years. The main problem with having an older RV is that it gets harder to find parts as they age.

Angelo52 profile image

Angelo52 3 years ago from Central Florida

Thanks for this well written article on living in an RV. You have given me a lot to think about as living frugally is something I have started to do. Thumbs up and shared.

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I would so love to do this. Unfortunately, Bob is a giant and doesn't fit well in cramped spaces. He hates to ride in a car even.

An RV would be perfect for retiring on the beach. If a hurricane ever threatens, just drive north until it passes!

South Padre Island would be my new home.

Gail Meyers profile image

Gail Meyers 3 years ago from United States

I would love to try this! Great hub with useful tips. Thanks for sharing your insight.

FreezeFrame34 profile image

FreezeFrame34 3 years ago from Charleston SC

Great hub! I learned a lot! Beautiful pictures as well!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Angelo52 - I'm glad that you enjoyed my article on Living on Less. We have found great satisfaction in simplifying our lives and living more frugally. After a while it becomes a way of life! Thanks for stopping in to read and comment!

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Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Austinstar - Hmmm...giants do have a harder time adjusting to RV living. :) There are some very large, high ceiling RVs that he would probably find comfortable, but, of course the price goes up as you gain space.

One of the things we really love about RV living is our ability to move easily and follow the good weather. During our first year of RVing, we basically were beach bums, traveling down the East coast and then across Florida through the Gulf states. South Padre Island is a winter destination for many snowbirds...a lovely place to spend the winter!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Gail Meyers - I'm glad you enjoyed my hub on full time RVing and that you found some useful tips here. Thanks for stopping in to visit!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

FreezeFrame34 - Thanks for stopping in to read and comment. Glad you enjoyed my photographs. Opportunities for beautiful photographs is one of the perks of traveling the country and living in an RV.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

Your photos are gorgeous! Full-time RVing is certainly something my husband and I considered when we made the decision to retire early. In fact, we were actively seeking an RV to live in, but were scared off the idea because we didn't really know how to do it. I sure wish I had read your hub back then. If I had, then maybe I could be boasting of being a full-time RVer today. I absolutely enjoy visiting new and different places all over the U.S.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

MarieneB - Making the decision to go from a house to full time RV living is a big step, and certainly can cause anxiety if you haven't done thorough research. Perhaps it's not too late for you to give it a try? If you reconsider, there are some very good books available on full time RVing and also several excellent on-line communities whose members are always happy to answer questions and offer support. Feel free to contact me if I can answer any other questions you may have. Thanks for stopping by!

PennyCarey profile image

PennyCarey 3 years ago from Felton

Well, I know what I'm doing when I retire... lol

Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 3 years ago from Cape Cod

Nice job on this Stephanie. I think I would like to live in an RV for a year or two so that I could more fully explore the American West. I have made a few trips towards the 'left coast' but even driving in a car, you are always in a hurry and never really have a chance to get your feet on the ground. Thanks for the tips.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

PennyCarey - LOL! It never hurts to plan ahead! Maybe we'll see you on the road!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Billrrr - I think that many people do go into full time RVing with a time limit in mind. When my husband and I started out, we had decided to do it for a year, but we were having such a great time that, when the year rolled around, we weren't ready to park it. We continued full-time RVing for 4 years before buying another house and going to part time. There's so much to see and do!

My advice? Go for it! After a year, you can either go back to a sticks and bricks or keep on truckin'. :)

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Muldercub - You've just hit the nail on the head when you said that a change of scene can be so exhilarating! I think that's one of the main reasons that we love RVing...the frequent change of scene, new places and new faces, keeps us on our toes and interested. Thanks for stopping in to read and comment!

erinshelby profile image

erinshelby 3 years ago from United States

Living in an RV sounds like an interesting adventure; thank you for sharing your tips with us.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Erinshelby - Living in an RV can be a great adventure...depending on who's doing the driving! Thanks for stopping in to read and comment!

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marion langley 3 years ago from The Study

I lived in a converted bus for a year and a trailer for two as a young married military mom on base and my favorite discovery was that igloo ice-chests make great outdoor bathtubs for toddlers :-)

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Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Marion Langley - Great idea! I'll bet the toddlers loved having a bath outdoors when the weather was hot. You were very creative.

shofarcall profile image

shofarcall 3 years ago

Great hub Stephanie with so many good tips! I too have a mobile home (that is what we call them in S.Africa.) and have also discovered how much less expensive life is when I am away from home and travelling. I usually stay at sites for 10 days and over because you get a much better price (sometimes as much as 50% discount) and it is great to get to know the area before moving on. I love being in my "RV". Life is so much simpler and I have to almost force myself to return home! I just find that your living space becomes the great outdoors and I only retreat indoors if the weather turns foul and of course, at night. I really enjoyed your hub. Thank you and happy travelling.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

shofarcall - Although we are on different continents, it sounds as though we enjoy many of the same benefits of living a simpler life. Thanks for sharing your experience as an RVer in S. Africa! Happy travels to you!

Megavitamin profile image

Megavitamin 3 years ago

What an interesting topic! I've often wondered about those who choose to live in an RV full time--it seems like such a romantic idea. I love the money-saving tips; they are useful to everyone, not just RV-ers. Great hub :0)

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Megavitamin - Glad you enjoyed my hub on Full time RV living and that you found the money-saving tips useful. Thanks for stopping in to read and comment!

stanmurphy profile image

stanmurphy 3 years ago from Kansas

Your hub really caught my eye, if only for the fact that my grandfather lived a great deal of each year out of an RV. I always enjoyed the little time I would spend with him in the RV. I married a woman who is not real keen on the idea of camping, but I will continue to work on changing her mind. Your article makes it seem even more appealing to me. Maybe my wife will buy in once I share this with her!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Stanmurphy - How nice that you were able to share those times with your grandfather in his RV! It must have been a wonderful bonding experience. It seems that there is an RV to fit almost everyone's taste. Perhaps when your wife sees some of the larger, newer models, she'll change her mind. Thanks for stopping in to comment!

beckieland profile image

beckieland 3 years ago from Binghamton NY

I wish I could get my grandparents to do this. I'm sharing your article on Facebook so I can find it easier next time I see them. They'd have a ball living full time in an RV. They've talked about it just never went for it.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Beckieland - If your grandparents have talked about living in an RV full time, then I do hope they give it a try. Sometimes it feels a little scary to take that big step from living in a house to living in an RV. Do refer them to me if they have any questions, and thanks for your comments!

carrie Lee Night profile image

carrie Lee Night 3 years ago from Northeast United States

My husband and I are younger. I have mentioned (jokingly) that we should just sell our house, use the equity to buy an RV and tour the US and work temporary jobs in between to afford expenses. But the more I think about it...the more appealing it sounds. I am, however turned off about the high gas prices right now, but by cutting expenses it could be possible for us. Thank you for such an informative article on living free on the road :) Have a wonderful week.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA Author

Carrie Lee Night - There are many younger couples who do exactly as you say - purchase an RV and work temporary jobs to pay their expenses. It does take some extra planning while on the road, and you'll need to have some emergency funds put aside for things like unexpected repairs or medical bills. If you're working temporary jobs, you'll likely be in one place for several months at a time, so will not be spending as much on gas as people who move every week or two. It definitely can be done with some planning and common sense. Good luck!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

This is great information for anyone living this wonderful lifestyle! I would love to live like this, just traveling around, you certainly have the best of both worlds! wonderful!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

Nell Rose - I think that most of us could live with less, whether or not we convert to an RV lifestyle. It's amazing how good it feels to be free of some of the "stuff" that we become slaves to! Thanks for stopping in to comment, Nell!

BernietheMovieGuy profile image

BernietheMovieGuy 2 years ago from Syracuse, NY

It has long been a dream of mine to one day get rid of the trappings of my misspent youth and pack what I really do need in life aboard an RV and travel the country visiting roller coasters and amusement parks. With luck, I'll find a way to do it before I'm too decrepit to ride them. Your article has given me a few tidbits to gnaw through while figuring out how to lower the travel budget. And of course, I'd have to hub about the travel experience, so that might make me a dime or two for groceries. Thanks for the tips! Voted up and following you for more great tips!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

BernietheMovieGuy - What a fun idea for traveling the US--visiting amusement parks! There are many ways to lower traveling costs while RVing. Gas and campgrounds are the biggest expenses. You can't do much about gas, but you can check out some cheaper ideas for campgrounds in my other hubs. Definitely look into discount camping clubs. Good luck following your dream!

Shar-0n17 profile image

Shar-0n17 2 years ago from Perth

What a wonderful Hub. My mum and dad love traveling around Australia. Mum would sell their house and stay in Caravan or RV but I think Dad still wants the security of a home.

The trouble in Australia at the moment is that people are trying to close the free camps. Instead of creating more free camps and encouraging travelers to stop, shop fuel up and spend time and money in their town. My parents always support the towns that help travelers and bypass those that don't. That's like live and let live by working together.

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Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

Shar-0n17 - Traveling Australia in an RV must be so much fun! I agree with your parents, and most RVers do support towns that are RV friendly by stopping and spending some money. Thanks so much for your visit to my hub. I enjoyed your comments!

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Wayne Niide 2 years ago from Hawaii

Stephanie, I really enjoy your Hub and found it while gathering information on RV'ing. My brother does a bit of RV'ing having his camper van stored in Las Vegas and takes a trip at least twice a year.

My wife and I had plan to do the same in retirement but there has been a change in plans due to a few detours and overall non-acceptance of a somewhat "Spartan" lifestyle. I have no issues with doing with less since I spent over 10 years as a Scoutmaster and accepting less than pristine conditions while on backpack and drive up camps. By the way, drive up camps were somewhat of a blend of backpack camping (tents) and RV'ing (using a kitchen set up). In my humble opinion, it's having the right attitude in adapting to conditions which you cannot control (bad weather) and making the best of what you got...all the complaining will not make things better. You can complain but it still will end up where you accept it and make the best of it.

Sorry for the commentary, however I believe you need to have this ability to accept and adapt to be a "Happy Camper [Rv'er]".

With that being said, I may be moving forward on our (my) RV'ing dream to enjoy what our country has to offer by myself. We'll see. By the way I did want to private message you but cannot find the link at the top right of your HubPage that would allow a private message. Please advise on how I can link up properly.

Thanks again for all you share and hopefully I will be able to do like wise.


P.S. We also have several cats in our Family and have been around cats all my life. Talk about adapting your (my) regrets!

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Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

Wayne Niide - Thanks for your detailed comment. I do agree that one needs to be flexible and adaptable to be happy as a full time RVer. I hope you'll soon be able to follow your dream! If you wish to private message me, you can find a link to my email on my profile page. Click on "Fan Mail" and there will be a blue link which you can click to send an email.

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J. R. LaGreca 2 years ago from New York, New York

Thanks for the informative hub. Many of the ideas are valuable even if you live in a house. This RV lifestyle is one I can't imagine living, and hopefully I won't have to, but I can see the value of it with people who are adventurous and free-spirited. ~ Jody

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Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

J.R. La Greca - It's true that full time RVing is not for everyone, but I'm glad you found some useful ideas here anyway. Thanks for stopping in to read and comment!

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bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

Stephanie, it sounds like you're living the life of Riley! How wonderful to see the country and not be tied to the responsibilities of home ownership. I have a fried who is interested in RV living. I'm going to forward this awesome hub to her.

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Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

Bravewarrior - Full time RVing has been a grand life for my husband and me. We truly enjoy the freedom we have living in our home on wheels and having the ability to move whenever the whim strikes us. I do hope your friend enjoys the article and has the chance to try RVing for herself. Thanks for stopping in to comment!

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Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

Came back to this hub and enjoyed it as much as the first time I read it. You have had so many grand adventures seeing so many beautiful parts of our country because of your lifestyle. This time sharing it with my followers and Google+ and tweeting it.

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ananceleste 2 years ago from California

Hi Stephanie! Great article. My father bought a motor home not so long ago to do just that with my stepmother when he retires, now that my younger sister is getting married soon. Since I saw it, I fell in love. I have been toying with the idea of doing just that when my kids move out. I guess it gives me the time to plan and budget. Pity that I cant do it, since I am sick and cant drive because of it.

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Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

Really enjoyed the article. I love to travel, and RVing sounds like a wonderful adventure.

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mary615 2 years ago from Florida

My daughter and her hubby just bought a motor home! They plan on driving it to Oregon from Florida. They are so excited. They will keep their home here and rent it out while they are away.

Thanks for all the useful info. I will pass this along to her.

Voted UP, etc. and shared.

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Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

Peggy W - Yes, RVing has allowed us to see close-up so many wonderful places in this country. I wouldn't trade those years of full-time RVing for anything! Thanks for coming back for a return visit, and thanks for sharing my article with your followers! I appreciate your support!

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Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

Ananceleste - I'm sure that your father and stepmother will love RVing. It's a wonderful way to travel and see the country. I do hope that you'll one day have the opportunity to also give it a try. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment!

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Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

Larry Rankin - RVing is a wonderful way to travel, especially when you are free of the responsibilities of owning a house. While many full-time RVers are retired, there are also many who work while on the road. Perhaps one day we'll meet on the road! Thanks for stopping in to read and comment!

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dahoglund 2 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I think if I were single I might go for the RV lifestyle. My daughter-in-law tells me it is the cheapest way to live, but they are not doing it. Maybe when their kids all leave home, they will.

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Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

dahoglund - RVing can be a great way for budget minded people to enjoy life and travel. As with any lifestyle, you can spend a little or a lot, depending on how you set your priorities. It has definitely worked well for us.

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Erin Jade 2 years ago from South Australia

I would LOVE to do this at home in Australia but we need to be making a full time income first online as I doubt we would sell our property, rather rent it out but i would sure love to pack up the family for a year or two and just travel what a great experience. I'd love life to be simpler like that too. I think our dogs would enjoy it though I don't know how id manage with a Dalmatian and Great Dane in a van. :)

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Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

Erin Jade - I think it might be a challenge to travel with a Dalmatian and a Great Dane in an RV, but stranger things have been done! Good luck on following your dreams!

NatNat34 profile image

NatNat34 2 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

You have read this a gazillion times with the comments on this hub....BUT I have to contribute and say what a wonderfully thorough hub! My husband and I are planning on full-timing in a couple of years. I love reading personal stories and advice from veteran RVers. These suggestions will go a long way in our preparations! Thank you!

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Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

NatNat34 - I love hearing from people who are planning to full-time RV! Wish you much luck and many great adventures! Happy Trails!

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sallybea 2 years ago from Norfolk

This is what I call living the dream - an excellent article and I can't wait to come back and read more of your writing. Thank you for sharing.

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Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

Sallybee - Thanks so much for stopping by to comment! Glad you enjoyed my article!

Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Talk about an "evergreen Hub!" This is a jewel! Do I really need a library of my own? How often do I look at all my growing collection of photos, and who else ever will? We garden and harvest, fill freezers and jars, dehydrate and store, and "love being home." This hub let us feed our wanderlust, but right now we are two foreign students from France, a visiting son and three grandsons, and "cluttered under" while a daughter and her family of seven are a bottle rocket away and sometimes need us for grandparenting. "Oh, for a life on the open road." I read almost all the comments and enjoyed the whole experience.

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Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

Perspycacious - What a busy life you have! And it sounds wonderful! :) I think that there is a time to enjoy all of the business of life...gardening, children, family, and all the other things that keep us bound to our "sticks and bricks". We, too, did it all and loved it. Then one day, it was time for a change and we made the decision to go on the road full time. Perhaps that time will come for you. Meanwhile, enjoy life in the moment!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 2 years ago from Iowa

The thought of living out of an RV and traveling around to different places intrigues me. Maybe someday. You sure do seem to enjoy your travels. And I love seeing your photos of your various campsites on Facebook. :)

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Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA Author

DeborahNeyens - It's great fun to live and travel in an RV full-time. Couples who do it must be flexible and willing to make adjustments to their life's easier for some than for others. Glad you enjoyed the article and my FB pictures! :)

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catmalone 23 months ago

Awesome hub. Me and my husband look at RV all the time. We are so close to buying. Thanks for the wonderful information.

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Stephanie Henkel 23 months ago from USA Author

Catmalone - Whether you use it for a vacation or live in it full time, I know you will enjoy your RV when you get it. Best wishes and happy travels!

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Kimberly Vaughn 23 months ago from Midwest

I would love to do this when I retire. Your hub makes me want to do it even more!

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Stephanie Henkel 23 months ago from USA Author

Kimberly Vaughn - Keep your goals in mind, Kimberly! Maybe we'll see you on the road someday!

perry broadie 23 months ago

just food for thought. how much time do you really think you will actually be in you rv. doesn't matter if you have small or large, most of your time will be outside. great hub steph, thank you.

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Stephanie Henkel 23 months ago from USA Author

Perry broade - When you live in your RV full time, you have to deal with all kinds of weather. While you may spend many days outdoors, there will also be days when it's too windy, too cold, too wet, too hot or you just don't feel like being outdoors. I think it's important to choose a living space that will be comfortable in all those situations. As an example, today it is foggy and damp out. We are comfortably seated in the RV with our coffee, each checking email and doing some research on our laptops. Later, I may work on one of my hobbies while my husband reads or does some housekeeping chores. Yes, you can do that in a small RV, but it's nice to have a little space when you are inside for longer periods of time.

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darciefrench 22 months ago from BC Canada

When the youngest moves out, hubby and I would love to live out the rest of our days in an RV. We tried it a few years ago when the youngest was only six, but it was difficult.

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Stephanie Henkel 22 months ago from USA Author

Darciefrench - There are a few families who full-time with kids, but I can't imagine how hard it would be. Meanwhile, do enjoy some great vacations and weekend with your kids before they grow up!

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DebMartin 22 months ago

I'm not sure I could live in full time in an RV. And if I got one just for traveling then I would not be living on less. But I really admire and appreciate your tips for living on less. I am continually amazed at the amount of "stuff" people cram in their closets, drawers, refrigerator, ... Thanks for the great tips. d

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Stephanie Henkel 22 months ago from USA Author

DebMartin - Living in an RV full time has allowed us to do many things we could not otherwise afford. However, you don't have to live in an RV to live more frugally, and I'm sure that many of these tips can be applied by anyone. The older I get, the more I realize that we do not need the vast quantities of clothing, household goods, foods, etc. that we tend to accumulate through our lives. I know that the more "stuff" we get rid of, the happier we are!

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Akriti Mattu 22 months ago from Shimla, India

I really liked this post.

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Ourrvlife 22 months ago

Nice article! We have been in our RV for 8 months now and although we are not retired, we were motivated to do it to save money. And, we have saved a lot. And, our RV has already paid for itself. We have already been applying many of your suggestions. Thank you - will keep the others in mind.

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Diana Abrahamson 22 months ago from t Francis Bay

What a wonderful way to see the country without being tied down to large lawns, electricity bills and all the other maintenance jobs that add to the bills every month. Real food for thought! Love the freedom of this way of life..thanks for the hub and all the info!

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Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Stephanie, this was an all-around super informative and useful hub about living for less with a RV. You've highlighted everything that a RV driver should know about. Voted up!

erinhafer 21 months ago

I would love to do this. My first step would be which camper do I purchase. I am in the military and won't be moving with it a whole lot, yet. I have weighed out the pros and the cons and it just seems like a lighter way of living. Would you be able to give me advice on the right living arrangements for me?

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Jodah 17 months ago from Queensland Australia

Great and helpful advice Stephanie.If we can ever sell our property in the future we would like to buy an industrial shed to store what "stuff" we can't part with and buy an RV and travel around.

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Stephanie Henkel 17 months ago from USA Author

Jodah - I imagine that would be a lot of fun in Australia! Thanks for stopping by...hope you get to do this someday!

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teaches12345 17 months ago

I think I could manage keeping to this list of dos and don'ts. The idea of traveling in a mobile home on wheels is exciting. Those rocks in the photo are very unique, lovely. One day we hope to take a trip in an RV and when we do your advice will make it a great trip.

Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

Kailua-KonaGirl 15 months ago from New York

Great article! We are considering doing the same so your info has been most helpful! Pinning to my RV Info Board on Pinterest

Alexis Cogwell profile image

Alexis Cogwell 12 months ago from Indiana/Chicagoland

Love this article! It's been a dream of mine that when I retire, I will travel all fifty states in my RV. Any one of these tips are also appropriate for camping (especially shopping), which gives readers a two-for-one thank you for sharing. :)

Carol Morris profile image

Carol Morris 9 months ago

Thanks for this Hub. This is our dream...we read and watch videos about it all the time and make plans for one day....who knows, maybe we'll get there, although we do live in a very small country, so we might have to move for a while.

grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 7 months ago from Philippines

what a wonderful way to spend your retirement years. These are the true riches.

nipster profile image

nipster 5 months ago

I am 24 and I have always dreamed of a life similar to this but there's just one thing that bothers me. How would you handle getting mail and renewing your identification cards if you don't necessarily have land?

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 months ago from USA Author

Nipster - We have arranged for a mail service to handle our mail. With a phone call, they forward it to us wherever we may be in our travels. You are correct about needing to set up a residency in order to get identification cards and driver's licenses. Many full time RVersey choose to become residents of one of three states: Florida, Texas or South Dakota, because they are friendly to the RVing lifestyle. For more information, read my article: Establishing State Residency When Living Full Time in an RV.

B. Ryals 5 months ago

We are retired, sold our home, bought a 29' Keystone Bullet Premer to travel and live in ! We plan on traveling with the best weather ( no snow and ice in the winter ) we would like to dry camp or boondock as much as we can but wonder how safe it is ? We will be on a fixed income . Any suggestions ? Thanks

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Stephanie Henkel 5 months ago from USA Author

B. Ryals - We spend much of our time boondocking and dry camping. It's your choice if you want to camp out all alone in dispersed campsites or dry camp in places where there are more people around. We never stay anywhere if we are uncomfortable with the neighborhood, but there have been very few times we have left an area because we didn't feel safe. We've gone to Quartzsite and to the Imperial Dam Recreation area for many years and boondocked for months at a time. You can choose to camp far away from everyone or close enough so that you have some neighbors within shouting distance. Camping in rest areas and Walmarts, you have to play it by ear. Some places seem safer than others, and we never overnight in a place that seems to have groups of people hanging around. In all cases, keep your camper locked up and your tow vehicle locked. Once you try different places, you'll find your comfort level. Most people who boondock like we do feel very safe and comfortable with this kind of camping. If you don't, then you might want to consider private discount campgrounds.

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Francesca27 4 months ago from Hub Page

Very interesting hub. Not only is your hub great for RVing, a lot of things that you mention are great for everyday life. My sister is retiring in a year and will be RVing. Will show her your hub. Good job!

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    Stephanie Henkel profile image

    Stephanie Henkel1,407 Followers
    149 Articles

    Avid RVers, Stephanie and hubby downsized from house to RV to become full-time RVers, exploring the U.S with their two cats.

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