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What You Need to Do to Prepare for Full Time RV Living

Updated on August 6, 2017
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I am an avid RV enthusiast who has traveled, lived, workcamped and volunteered nationwide for more than 50 years and am still going strong!

If you want to become a full time RVer, there are many things you will need to do to prepare for this type of alternative lifestyle.

The first, of course, is to make sure that year round RV living is a way of life that will work for you.

This means doing some intensive research, talking to people who already are full timing and also renting a coach and taking a few extended vacations in it.

You have to be careful what you wish for because although full timing has many benefits, it also has many hardships that require a good bit of sacrifice.

If you have done these things and are determined to start living the life, below you will find a list of things you will need to do in order to make this lifestyle change.

What you need to do if you want to RV full time.
What you need to do if you want to RV full time. | Source

Make a Master Plan

It's important to create a good plan that will lead you through the maze of preparation for RV living in a well organized way.

It should include items you will have to deal with such as

  • budget,
  • equipment purchases,
  • residence choice,
  • connectivity and
  • possessions.

Prepare a Budget

Many people have the misconception that living in a recreational vehicle costs less than living in a house.

The truth is that it can cost as much or more, so you must plan carefully by researching the cost of

  • campers, trailers and motor homes,
  • campground fees,
  • repairs,
  • upkeep,
  • utilities and
  • other RV related expenses

and then figuring out how you plan to pay for these items.

Expenses may change when you move into a recreational vehicle, but they never stop!

Living in an RV provides a great deal of flexibility and freedom, but also requires many sacrifices.
Living in an RV provides a great deal of flexibility and freedom, but also requires many sacrifices. | Source

Purchase RV Equipment

It takes a great deal of time and effort to find a recreational vehicle that will suit your individual needs.

This is because what will work for one person, does not necessarily work for another.

What Is the Best Type of RV for You? provides an overview of the types of travel units that are available. Use this article as a starting point to help you to decide which type of coach you want to own.

You should take great care when making your choice because this is a decision that is expensive to undo.

When you are shopping

  • choose a coach with a user friendly and comfortable floor plan,
  • make sure it will fit your lifestyles and needs and
  • correctly match a tow vehicle to the unit you purchase.

It's important to note here that not all cars and trucks can be towed or have the power to pull travel trailers and campers. Motor homes also have weight limits on how much they can tow.

Therefore, vehicles and hitches should be carefully matched by their weight ratings. You can find these in an RV's manuals or by researching them on the internet.

Make sure the equipment you purchase suits your needs.

Choose Your Spot

The good thing about RVs is that they are on wheels. This means that if you make a bad choice of residence, moving is extremely easy.

The bad thing about deciding where you want to live is that there are many details you need to investigate before making a choice.

Although you have a variety of options about where and how you wish to live, the main ones include

  • parking in a campground year round,
  • camping randomly from one place to the next,
  • buying a piece of land, and place a coach on it or
  • buying a deeded RV lot in a park.

Issues that will affect your decision should include

  • climate,
  • cost of living,
  • location and
  • safety.

Your best bet is to choose a location that is just outside of a warm weather area such as southern Arizona, Texas or Florida.

Certain areas within these locations cost less to live in, are safer and are well located.

For example, you can rent an annual site in Largo, Florida for less than $6,000 per year including utilities that will meet the above criteria and provide full hookups, a pool, laundry facilities, an active clubhouse.

RVs are much smaller than houses.
RVs are much smaller than houses. | Source

Plan to Connect

These days technology has made it possible for people to easily stay in touch with one another, but they can only do so with affordable and convenient equipment.

Regardless of technology, regular mail is an ongoing issue for all who live and travel in RVs.

How to Access Your Snail Mail When Traveling provides some good ideas that can help with this issue.

Many campgrounds offer free WIFI as part of their camping packages, but these are unsecured as are those offered by any public library and businesses that offer them.

For this reason it's a good idea to buy a "hot spot" that will give you a secure connection wherever you go so that you can take care of important business securely right from your coach.

There are many types available, but I use the one mentioned above because I'm already a Verizon customer, it is small and yet does a great job. It's also inexpensive.

Check the reviews to see what people have to say about it before buying. You may want something bigger or one that has a contract attached to it, but whatever you do, make sure that the one you purchase will suit your needs.

However, before you buy anything, check to see whether the campground you choose allows you to sign up for secured internet. Some do, but others don't. For this reason, it's always best to ask first.

You have to give up many of your things if you decide to RV full time.
You have to give up many of your things if you decide to RV full time. | Source

Decide About Possessions

It doesn't take long to learn that a limited living area is one of the biggest negatives involved in moving into an RV.

There is a big difference between living in 300 or 400 square feet and living in 2,000 or 3,000!

This being the case, you must decide whether to

  • sell,
  • keep,
  • minimize,
  • make trades,
  • give away or
  • store

your belongings.

The attached video provides some very good pointers, so be sure to watch it.

Dealing with possessions is probably the most difficult aspect of becoming a fulltimer. It's one that few people handle well.

  • Some people sell everything they can't keep in their RV or give it away.
  • Others rent storage units.

Both choices have their pros and cons, but you should think carefully before deciding.

Once your belongings are gone, you can't get them back. On the other hand, if you store them too long, they may get ruined.

Perhaps some sort of compromise would be your best bet.

This was the path my husband and I chose, and it's a good thing we did. He passed away six months after we began our adventure, so having everything stored helped me to start over again more easily.

Consider All of the Angles

Moving into an RV involves a lot of planning, sacrifice and hard work. It can be fun to do, but can also be frustrating and upsetting.

Anybody who has been through this process knows that while having more freedom and flexibility is great, the sacrifices people must make to live year round in an RV can be significant.

For this reason some people do well, but others do not.

The bottom line here is to prepare carefully and make sure you understand all the details that are involved in becoming a full timer.

A total change of lifestyle is not something that should be hastily or sloppily done!

Do you think the advice in this article will help you to set up your new life more easily?

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