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How to Make the Move Into Full Time RV Living

Updated on April 7, 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 make the move from a standard lifestyle into full time RV living, you need to know that doing so can be more complicated and difficult than you may realize.

  • If you think this type of lifestyle change will resolve all of your problems, it won't.
  • If you have little or no experience with RV living and travel, you could easily add difficult and costly issues to your life that did not previously exist.

For these reasons, you need to do a great deal of research before taking any action and then use what you learn from it to plan your move carefully.

Becoming a full timer requires a great deal of research and planning.
Becoming a full timer requires a great deal of research and planning. | Source

Important Things You Need to Do

In order to make your transition into year round RV living as easy as possible, you should

  1. plan your budget carefully,
  2. buy the right kind of equipment,
  3. decide where you plan to park or store your travel unit until you are able to make your move,
  4. think about where you eventually want to live and whether you want to have a home base, buy your own lot or simply travel at random,
  5. make arrangements for handling your mail,
  6. decide how you plan to stay connected, and purchase the equipment you will need to have for doing so,
  7. figure out what to do with your things and
  8. find a reliable and trustworthy realtor who will be able to sell your home for you.

Plan Your Budget Carefully

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 if you don't plan your budget carefully.

For this reason, you need to research the costs involved in purchasing, maintaining, repairing and storing a recreational vehicle as well as how much you will have to pay for utilities, travel and other related expenses.

You can do this by reading articles, joining online RV forums and taking the time to talk with people who already are living year round in their coaches.

Planning and researching issues such as these well before you make any final decisions will keep you from having to deal with any nasty financial surprises!

For example, you probably don't know that you can live more reasonably in some part of the US than others. Finding out where those places are and then setting up a home base in one of them can save you thousands of dollars every year!

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

Choose Equipment That Will Suit Your Needs

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

If you have never owned one before, What Is the Best Type of RV for You? will provide an overview that will help you know what is available. However, you should take great care when you make your choice because

  • it is a decision that is difficult to undo and
  • is where you will be living in the future.

Important Things to Think About When Buying an RV is another article you will find helpful.

Because you will be living as well as traveling in the unit you choose, floor plan can become very important.

You also will need a tow vehicle.

If you get lucky, the vehicle you already own will do the job for you, but not all cars and trucks can be towed or have the power to pull or carry motor homes, travel trailers and campers.

Therefore, you'll need to do further research so that you make sure to match the weight ratings on your vehicles and hitches. If you don't, do this, you will damage your equipment.

Decide Where to Park Your Coach Temporarily

Before you make your RV purchase, make sure you have a place to park it!

Zoning laws vary considerably from place to place, so even though you may think it's OK to store your coach at your home or even on vacant land you already own, you may not be able to do so.

Therefore, it's a good idea to find out ahead of time so that if need be, you can rent a space in an RV storage facility until you are actually ready to move into it!

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

Consider Your Living Choices

There are a number of living options you can choose, but whatever you desire to do, make sure you have a plan.

You can

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

You also have to decide where you want to do these things because climate plays a role in how comfortable you will be in a travel unit. Also, not every city has campgrounds.

Finally, some situations cost more than others, so you have to make these choices while keeping an eye on your finances.

Make Plans for Staying Connected

These days technology has made it possible for people to easily stay in touch with one another. Nonetheless, you still have to decide on the type of equipment you will need to have in order to do so.

You also will need to find a way to manage your mail, because not everything can come to you via email or cell phone.

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

In many cases, the park you live in will accept mail for you, but this is not always the case, especially if you travel a great deal.

The dining space in an RV is much smaller than in a house.
The dining space in an RV is much smaller than in a house. | Source

Figure Out What to Do With Your Possessions

Once you have purchased your vehicles, you’ll have a better idea about the amount of space you will have.

You’ll quickly learn that a limited living area is one of the sacrifices you will have to tolerate by moving into an RV and that 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 will either have to

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

many or most of your belongings because you clearly will not be able to keep them with you in your new home on wheels.

The attached video will give you some very good pointers about this issue, so be sure to watch it.

Advice About Storing Your Items

It's a good idea to rent a storage unit for the first year so that if things don't work out, you won't have to start over from scratch.

Most people use cardboard boxes for storing possessions, but they really cannot protect certain items.

While it may cost a bit of money to do so, you would be wise to use heavy duty, lidded plastic containers instead.


  1. can be stacked,
  2. will keep items dry and
  3. will protect them from bug and rat infestations.

I have found the Sterilite brand to be very durable and flexible because their containers come in a variety of sizes and, even after many years of use, are still in good condition.

Another nice point is that when you are not using all of them, they stack neatly inside of one another.

The few extra dollars you spend to use these containers may well save you money in the long run. I know that has been the case in my own situation.

Sterilite 18888004, 66-Quart Latch Box, See through with White Lid and Blue Aquarium Latches
Sterilite 18888004, 66-Quart Latch Box, See through with White Lid and Blue Aquarium Latches

This is just one size of Sterilite container that you can use for securing stored items. Browse through Amazon to find other sizes. This one is nice because you can see the contents without opening it.


Find a Good Realtor

Once you have done your homework, you need to employ a realtor who will be able to handle the job of selling your home for you, even after you have moved out of it and into your RV.

We once closed on the sale of a home two weeks after we had left for an extended motor home vacation. It was all done electronically and, much to our surprise, went extremely well.

They got the house, we got the money and everybody was happy!

What made all of this work out was the fact that we hired an experienced real estate agent who clearly understood our situation and who came with references.

Launching A New Life As a Fulltimer Is A Big Job

As you can see, there is a great deal involved in becoming a full time RVer.

Anybody like me who has been through this process, knows that while having more freedom is great, the sacrifices people must make to have it can be significant.

For this reason some people do well, but others only make it a year or two and then give it up.

If you plan your move to year round RV living carefully, it is likely that you'll be happy with your decision.

Whatever happens, I wish you the best of luck!

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