Our Top Regrets As Full Time RVers
At this point, my family and I have been on the road for over seven years. We’ve been through a lot during that time, including two rig changes, a new baby, and a whole lot of silly mishaps and awesome adventures. There are a lot of things we did totally right that we wouldn’t change for the world. That said, we also have some full time RV regrets.
In this article, I’m going to focus on those regrets, taking the time to tell you what we did wrong so you can avoid making the same mistakes.
1. Not buying the rig we wanted
When we started RVing, we bought a small used travel trailer and an old ¾-ton truck to tow it. The entire setup cost us less than $9K, and we called this home for a few years. I don’t regret this choice at all. It was perfect for our family at the time and a great starter rig, since we didn’t have a whole lot of income at the time.
What I do regret is the next RV we bought. We knew we really wanted to upgrade to a motorhome, but couldn’t afford it yet. We wanted something bigger because our second baby was going to be born soon, and instead of just making the smaller trailer work until we had the funds for the motorhome we wanted, we bought a bigger travel trailer.
I never loved that trailer the way I loved our first trailer or the way I adore our current Class C motorhome. It had issues with leaking, was cumbersome to tow, and never really felt like home.
The lesson: Always buy what you really want.
2. Our low cargo carrying capacity
Okay, so I love our current motorhome. That said, it does have one major issue. The thing has an incredibly low cargo carrying capacity. This means we have to be extremely careful about the upgrades we do, and I am constantly purging things to try to make us lighter.
Honestly, I’m not sure a Class C with a better CCC exists, but I do wish we would have looked into it, making this number two on my list of full time RV regrets.
The lesson: Buy a rig that can accommodate your needs.
3. Sticking to RV parks only
When we first got on the road, we really only camped in RV parks. We bought a Thousand Trails membership early on and avoided areas that didn’t have Thousand Trails parks so we wouldn’t be stuck paying high camping fees.
We did this for several years, until a friend finally convinced us to try boondocking. That’s when we realized just how many free camping opportunities are out there. We could have been having so many more awesome adventures if we had known free camping is available all across the country.
The lesson: Think outside the box when it comes to finding places to camp.
4. Taking so long to make connections
My husband and I are both pretty introverted. We can go long periods of time without talking to anyone besides each other. In fact, we lived on the road for a good two years without really meeting anyone. That said, when we finally did put ourselves out there and become a part of the nomadic community, we realized the amazing connections and experiences we had been missing out on.
The lesson: Get out there and forge friendships!
5. Moving too fast
One of the most common regrets full time RVers have is moving too fast. It’s easy to do in the beginning because you’re excited and you want to see it all, and we totally made this mistake. In fact, we will still find ourselves moving too quickly from time to time. The problem with this is threefold.
First, it’s impossible to actually see it all if you’re moving too quickly, because you really have to be in a place for a while to truly experience it. Second, if you’re hopping from one place to another too quickly, you don’t have time for day-to-day tasks, leading to burnout. Lastly, moving too fast gets expensive quickly, making it unsustainable for more full timers.
The lesson: Slow down. Take the time to really experience the area while also giving yourself time to work and take care of household chores.
6. Avoiding RV maintenance
For the most part, we are decent about keeping up with the most important maintenance tasks. That said, when we got our very first RV, I waited awhile to check out the roof seals.
Unfortunately, a skylight seal was leaking, something that led to water damage in the corner of our RV. Luckily, the damage was in a spot that wasn’t very noticeable, and the damage didn’t cause us too much grief while we had the rig.
The lesson: Always stay on top of RV maintenance and seal everything well. Use a helpful online tool like RV LIFE Maintenance to keep track of what maintenance is due and when.
7. Overspending on entertainment
This wasn’t an issue when we first hit the road because our budget was ridiculously tiny. However, as our income has grown, we have had to keep close tabs on how much we are spending on things like eating out and sightseeing.
While eating out and sightseeing are great ways to really experience an area, there are plenty of ways to do this without spending a small fortune. Some months I look back on our spending and really wish we had spent less on restaurants and saved more for RV upgrades and emergencies.
The lesson: Create a budget and stick to it.
8. Planning routes poorly
Once in a great while, we will find ourselves in a predicament because of something like a low clearance overpass or a low weight limit bridge that we didn’t check for beforehand. These things can be avoided by carefully planning routes using tools like RV LIFE Trip Wizard, the RV LIFE App, and even a Trucker’s Atlas. Don’t be like us. Plan your route carefully!
The lesson: Not all roads are big rig friendly. Plan your route accordingly.
9. Not investing in full time RV insurance
Okay, so this one is not really a regret, but only because it never bit us in the butt. For years, we traveled with only a basic RV insurance plan. This could have been terrible had our rig been destroyed with all our things in it, as we would have had nothing left and nowhere to go. Thankfully, we realized this potential problem before it became a regret and switched insurance.
The lesson: Always, always carry insurance for full timers.
10. Becoming too busy
This last regret is one I still wrestle with. It’s so, so easy to become too busy to really enjoy the RV lifestyle. I have to make a conscious decision to carefully balance work, household tasks, travel days, and getting out there and experiencing each place we visit.
This is easier to do if we travel slowly, but I still sometimes find myself overwhelmed and unable to really enjoy our travels because I’ve taken on too much work or too many other projects. On the other hand, it’s just as easy to get so wrapped up in adventures that I miss work deadlines.
The lesson: Make an effort to balance work, life, and travel fun.
There you have it—our top 10 full time RV regrets. Hopefully this list helps you avoid the mistakes we’ve made, so you can have more fun and fewer mishaps as you explore this amazing country.
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