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Living On Less While Full-Time RVing

Updated on April 21, 2016
Stephanie Henkel profile image

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

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!

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Copyright ©2011 Stephanie Henkel

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    • profile image

      Anne Walker 6 weeks ago

      Just found your site and thoroughly enjoyed reading your article. I hope all is well with you.

      I have never wanted to be older than I am, but after reading this I can't wait to be older so that I may enjoy this awesome life you are living!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
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      Stephanie Henkel 2 months ago from USA

      dahoglund - Full time RVing is not everyone's cup of tea, but traveling by RV is a great way to see the country at your own pace. Do enjoy a leisurely trip!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 2 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I don't know if I could adapt to that lifestyle now, but I should look into at least taking a long, liesurely trip now and then.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
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      Stephanie Henkel 2 months ago from USA

      Dear Heather, Best of luck in following your dreams during retirement! Perhaps we'll meet on the road! :)

    • profile image

      Heather 2 months ago

      This was so informative!

      Retiring this December 2017 and hubby and I are ready to try this! !!

    • profile image

      Susan 3 months ago

      Thank you Stephanie for sharing the things you have learned living full-time in an RV. I am planning on going full-time next year and have started down sizing, with photos and papers my children did being the hardest. Have alerted my children that they need to pick out what they want and then I will be free to get rid of anything not needed for a new way of living. The best part of this for me is being able to visit my children , who are scattered all over, in a non-rushed way. I'm beginning to feel a freedom from "stuff!" Am excited to explore this wonderful country and meet new friends and still be able to visit old friends as well. It is a little bit fearful to be doing this alone at my age but I keep repeating a quote I found: "Don't let fear get in the way of your dreams."

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
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      Stephanie Henkel 4 months ago from USA

      I suggest that you check out Workamper News. You can subscribe to a hard copy of it or check out their website. They have lots of ideas and opportunities for working on the road that might be helpful. Good luck with your new adventures!

    • profile image

      Leigh 4 months ago

      Hubby and I are thinking of going full time.. We are wanting to make money to supplement our income. Hubby is retired military and we are 52 and not able to get retirement income yet.. so need to figure how to make some money while on the road. Ready to downsize and live life.

    • Francesca27 profile image

      Francesca27 10 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!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
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      Stephanie Henkel 11 months ago from USA

      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.

    • profile image

      B. Ryals 11 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

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
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      Stephanie Henkel 11 months ago from USA

      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.

    • nipster profile image

      nipster 11 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?

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 13 months ago from Philippines

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

    • Carol Morris profile image

      Carol Morris 15 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.

    • Alexis Cogwell profile image

      Ashley Cogdill 18 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. :)

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 21 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

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 23 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.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
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      Stephanie Henkel 23 months ago from USA

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

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 23 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.

    • profile image

      erinhafer 2 years 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?

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years 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!

    • Diana Abrahamson profile image

      Diana Abrahamson 2 years 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!

    • profile image

      Ourrvlife 2 years 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.

      ourrvlife.blogspot.com

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 2 years ago from Shimla, India

      I really liked this post.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA

      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!

    • profile image

      DebMartin 2 years 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

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
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      Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA

      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!

    • darciefrench profile image

      Darcie French 2 years 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.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA

      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.

    • profile image

      perry broadie 2 years 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.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
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      Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA

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

    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image

      Kimberly Vaughn 2 years ago from Midwest

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

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
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      Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA

      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!

    • catmalone profile image

      catmalone 2 years ago

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

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
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      Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA

      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 styles...it's easier for some than for others. Glad you enjoyed the article and my FB pictures! :)

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 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. :)

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
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      Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA

      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!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 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.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
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      Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA

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

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 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.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
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      Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

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

    • NatNat34 profile image

      Natalie Flores-Henley 3 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!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image
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      Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

      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!

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      Erin Jade 3 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 3 years ago from USA

      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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      Don A. Hoglund 3 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 3 years ago from USA

      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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      Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

      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 3 years ago from USA

      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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      Mary Hyatt 3 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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      Larry Rankin 3 years ago from Oklahoma

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

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      Anan Celeste 3 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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      Peggy Woods 3 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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      Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

      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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      Shauna L Bowling 3 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 3 years ago from USA

      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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      Jody R. LaGreca 3 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 3 years ago from USA

      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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      Wayne N 3 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 started....so 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.

      Wayne

      P.S. We also have several cats in our Family and have been around cats all my life. Talk about adapting your (my) lifestyle...no regrets!

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      Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

      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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      Sharon 3 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 3 years ago from USA

      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!

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      Bernie Ment 3 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!

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      Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

      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!

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      Nell Rose 3 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!

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      Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

      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!

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      Kept private 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.

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      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!

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      Rebecca Mayglothling 4 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.

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      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!

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      Stan Murphy 4 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!

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      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!

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      Megavitamin 4 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)

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      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!

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      shofarcall 4 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.

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

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

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      marion langley 4 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 4 years ago from USA

      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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      erinshelby 4 years ago from United States

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

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      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!

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      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'. :)

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

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

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      Bill Russo 4 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.

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      PennyCarey 4 years ago from Felton

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

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      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!

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      Marlene Bertrand 4 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.

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      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.

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      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!

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      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!

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      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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      FreezeFrame34 4 years ago from Charleston SC

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

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      Gail Meyers 4 years ago from United States

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

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      Austinstar 4 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.

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      Angelo52 4 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.

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      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.

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      Wes Lambert 4 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 4 years ago from USA

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

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      Alex Munkachy 4 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 4 years ago from USA

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