Many people think RV travel is a carefree, worry-free existence. But full-time RVing money challenges are always on the horizon. For many working-age, young full-time RVers, their daily reality is different than that of their retired counterparts. Many perch precariously between personal fulfillment and financial destitution.
“We’re not your granddad’s RVing community,” warns the club NüRVers on its homepage. In 2008 the community debuted in the RVing world because then forty-something Kevin Ewert built a website to find other non-retired young full-time RVers like himself. Today, his group gathers on Facebook, where they share the ups and downs of the lifestyle.
Most NüRVers members will agree that making a living as a young full-time RVer isn’t necessarily any easier than their old traditional life. Many within enjoy a simpler existence and lighter daily workload. However, the payback is a smaller income that doesn’t always cover costs.
Some common financial challenges
Debby Bradford knows about full-time RVing money challenges. She travels with her two dogs, one that recently needed hospitalization.
“For me unexpected veterinary bills (are a challenge),” she says. “Thankfully I am at Camperforce this fall to cover it. When all is said and done, I’ll be spending about $4,000 on my dog in just two months. He will be fine, but this wasn’t expected.”
Like other young full-time RVers, Bradford makes ends meet by finding short-term seasonal workamping jobs. “Thankfully I have savings to go into and thankfully I have Amazon to pay back that savings. However, I’d expected to head out west to Arizona about $8,000 richer so as not to have to work the winter months. Now I’m thinking I better find a job out there.”
Getting online from coast-to-coast is one of the driving forces behind ever-growing numbers of young full-time RV travelers. But portable internet access is more expensive on the road.
“Internet has been one of the few things we miss about being in a home with a set monthly bill,” shares Christina Ehinger. “Some campgrounds offer free internet but it’s not always reliable. Working online costs a fortune using up your own data.”
However, when it does come to getting reliable internet connections at campgrounds (or other areas) there are some key solutions to get the most out of your WiFi on the road.
RV repairs rank the highest
Internet connectivity isn’t the biggest full-time RVing money challenge that Walter O Bingham faces. For this father of five road-schooled kids, it’s all about covering for food and bills.
“The challenge is locating work that is flexible with being full-time and finding true ‘family friendly’ RV parks,” he says. “Repairs can be a challenge when juggling work, family, activities, money, and weather.”
Other NuRVers echo Bingham’s last concern. Repairs rank highest among the full-time RVing money challenges cited by members. “We find unexpected repairs add up, which we wouldn’t be as affected by in a house,” says Ehinger. “When you work from home, you can always avoid driving until you’re ready to pay for it, but not so much when you’re at a campground with a deadline on the length of stay.”
With hours upon hours of driving up the mileage of a motorhome or tow vehicle, there are ways of avoiding costly repairs, but other times it’s next to impossible. Another member, Sean Welch, shares her feelings about RV maintenance costs and explains that repairs are “very hard to budget, unlike, for example, fuel, campsites, meals, etc.”
Choosing a non-traditional lifestyle isn’t as easy as some believe it to be. The alternative of staying put and not exploring one’s road trip dream just isn’t an option for some full-timers. As other full-time RVing money challenges arise, these creative thinkers are sure to find a solution.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.