Full-time RVing looks like fun but take it from the nomads who know. Neverending travel in your RV isn’t always a picnic. “Full-time RVing is a misnomer,” says iRV2 member Dan McMartin.
“It’s living in an RV. It’s like choosing to live in an apartment, a condo, a double-wide or a mansion. There are pros and cons, sacrifices, and benefits. It’s a choice you make to live life on your terms.” If you dream of hitting the road you must read this full-time RVing regrets reality check from those who do it.
The full-time RVing regrets reality check
If you’re thinking of taking the leap, get ready to roll with the punches. Have your mind and your wallet prepared for issues ranging from unexpected mechanical problems to RV parks with bad neighbors.
The iRV2 forums are the best place to learn about all aspects of the lifestyle that aspiring nomads need to know. Helpful examples include:
You could buy the wrong RV
Researching the best RV for full-time travel is easy. Living in the one you picked might not be. Unfortunately, you won’t know if you picked the right RV until you live in it a while. “Get a good quality used rig if you don’t already have one,” suggests iRV2 member soundman7.
Say goodbye to privacy
“Your walls are only 1″-2″ thick. And your neighbors in an RV park are only a few feet away,” says member RolandRock. Whether you’re full-time RVing in a Tab trailer or living in a larger motorcoach like this member does, privacy is almost non-existent if you travel with a partner.
Space can feel tight when you share RV living space with others. If you lack a sense of humor you may feel suffocated after a while.
Fuel prices hurt
If you want to make the most of your ability to travel, be prepared for high fuel prices—even when they are low. The volatile nature of fuel means you are at the mercy of gas pump prices.
Bad locations happen
When you don’t thoroughly review RV parks before arriving, you could get stuck in a place you hate. “I regret picking an area with lousy RV parks. Seems once you get into this kind of area you have to long and hard to find a better park,” says iRV2 member tuffr2 in the discussion topic “Regrets: Anything You’d Do Over? He goes on to say “Lousy RV parks are ones that the sites are way too small with no privacy or picking an area that has crappy weather.”
Full-time RVers have few regrets for the most part. Ask any and they’ll say that anything can happen in this lifestyle but most of it is good. But the wisest travelers will always reiterate that you can’t have the good without the bad. Preparation and flexibility are mandatory if you want to give the nomadic lifestyle an honest try.
In a final bit of advice for newbies, iRV2 member BigMichael advises people to “Be prepared for the occasional ‘fly in the ointment. It might be a mechanical issue, it might be an appliance, it might be a health issue, but there WILL be unplanned issues. They happen in a stix and brix, they happen FTing on the road.”
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.
Perfection expected. says
Absolutely true. We were contemplating rv’ing full time, however, after 22 states and 9 months of travelling, we discovered that most of the rv parks are not up to our standards. Most of them were dumps and terribly mismanaged. The seasonal rv’ers let their rv’s get run down and gross. Also, it is frightening how many elderly people are driving motorcoaches and they shouldn’t be! We are now workampers and we are enjoying staying free at campgrounds while working. And we only work in high quality, spotless, beautiful rv resorts of OUR choice and our high standards.
Rene Agredano - The Full Timing Nomad says
Glad to hear that workamping has turned out great for you! Happy Travels!
We have found workamping very fun most of the time. People can be very petty. Luckily we have only had problems in one state. I was surprised at that since I was raised there. We just happened to get two bad spots to work camp. Actually the parks weren’t bad it was more issues with management or should I say lack of it! We have been workamping for over 6 years d had only two parks where we had problems. It just happened to be the same State. Seems like as soon as we started getting paid is when it turned bad. We were hired part time and that’s all we wanted. Guess they figure once you are paid they own you! Or that’s how they acted. It took a couple of years of staying in our sticks and brix to realize full time is what we really wanted for a few more years, anyway! House is for sale and can’t wait to get back on the road with a better attitude than what we had when we stopped for awhile!
Michael McCracken says
Wife and I have been full-time for the past 7years. Things have certainly changed over that time. Way too many RV’ers on the road. Not enough quality RV Parks. If I had to do it over again I would not have sold my sticks and bricks. I would much prefer to spend 6months in a house and 6 months on the road. This year we have decided to give Workcamping a try. Hopefully all will go well. If not however I will not hesitate to crank up the RV and head on down the road.
Your absolutely correct, I workamp since September 2016, at Camp Gulf, Destin, Fl, could not ask for better conditions. High end RV Resort, Clean, Friendly, well Maintained. No Regrets.????
We are “seasonal” campers in Washington state. We have a very good group of RV parks we are members of. Don’t know how hard you folks have had to work to get to where you are now but we have met some really good hardworking people in our 12 years of camping, it doesn’t matter one bit if they aren’t in a perfect, spotless and shining half million dollar motor home or a fifty thousand dollar 5th wheel like ours, it’s the good honest people who are quick to offer help or friendship that we cherish. I have a feeling you wouldn’t give us help or friendship if we were parked next to you. But we sure would give it too you!! Be kind and don’t judge people by there material assets..
David Turpen says
Can you give me the name of your group?
GORD CURRIE says
ADAIRS, YOUR MY KIND OF PEOPLE
Barry Thomas says
I’d like it too, l please. Sounds like you’ve found nice places to stay.
thanks in advance
Barry T. Portland
Sage advice. Thanks!
Jeff Matthews says
Not to be mean Perfection Expected, but you sound like snobs who would not be happy anywhere. I am sure you would “just die” if my wife and I parked near you in our amazingly pristine 1980 Pace Arrow.
17 Oaks says
We FT’d for a year, we had a big rig, but after a year I was a basket case, needing some dirt under my boots. If you grew up in the country or on a ranch as I did, if you feel good in the seat of a John Deere or having a chain saw in your hands, then FT is NOT for you.
My happiest day was selling that big rig, buying a truck camper and my ranch, my John Deere and a new chainsaw.
Your mileage may be different!
I doubt my two hitch horses and surrey, flock of sheep, chickens and one Texas Longhorn yard ornament would take to FTing. I pack up my truck camper on my F250 when I feel the need, find someone to look after my livestock for me, and am perfectly content to settle for about two weeks on the road round trip. Its liberating, but I’m always happy to get back home.
John Coons says
We were full timers in two different fivers over about 12 years. What made it work for us was having a home-base. In the later years that home-base included a small cabin in a park where we owned a roughly 1/2 acre lot. It is wonderful to not have to carry the world with you; to be able to land and spread out a bit; to enjoy a “quality” location with mostly like minded neighbors. It has been a puzzle to me that most of those that full time don’t do something similar. It is cost effective too !
Rene Agredano - The Full Timing Nomad says
That’s awesome it worked out for you John! I also like the small lot concept and will probably end up doing that at some point. Enjoy!
Michael McCracken says
As it has been stated, full-time RVing is not without it’s pit falls. Starting out on my fourth year, my frustrations are not with the traveling, but with the ever growing expenses. I love being on the open road and the adventure. The difficultly of finding RV Parks without reserving them many months in advance is also becoming a big problem. If you are retired with a substantial retirement income you should have no problem with expenses. The ever increasing influx of RV purchasers will however present a problem. Not Enough RV Parks!. Summer travel in the worst with all the vacationers and kids out of school. Finding a good RV Park for a reasonable price in seasonal area’s is a another problem. Let me mention also, that consideration needs to be given to repairs. Any repair that requires a service center in most cases will require substantial down time. Be prepared to find a place to stay.
Rene Agredano - The Full Timing Nomad says
Sorry to hear about your challenges Michael. We too have noticed it’s becoming harder to find monthly rates in West Coast RV parks. Once you get into the rural areas it becomes much easier though. Yes, things add up just like they do in a sticks-and-bricks. No lifestyle is without its challenges but I feel the advantages of this one far outweigh the downsides. Best wishes in finding your happy place.
To my surprise while working in central Virginia it has taken 7 mos to find a spot for my MH. I was forced to lease a very costly apt and will be back in my MH come the end of Nov. My lease actually expires early Feb but I do not want to loose this spot after waiting so long. I cannot wait to be back home in my MH. Happy Camping
Judy Carratura says
Almost 6 years ago we sold the house, hopped in our RV and have been traveling ever since. As the article states, we’ve had mechanical, appliance and health issues, (That’s inevitable whether you’re in a house or an RV) but we’ve also met some wonderful people along the way. We now have friends all over the country and stop in to see them whenever we’re in their area. We love full-timing and will continue to go our own way until we can’t physically do it anymore.
The article is all doom and gloom. I get that is the premise but where’s the silver lining? It’s also written from the perspective of living in RV parks. I get there are downsides to the lifestyle but this makes it sound like full time RVing is only for a few intrepid souls and that can endure the many hardships.
Everyone is always talking about how they won’t like their RV but no one says the same thing about a S&B house. RV’s are like anything. Do the research, go in with the right attitude and learn to live with the stuff that isn’t perfect.
Don’t like your neighbors or feel you have no privacy? Move or boondock for a while. It’s not that hard. Even the most basic full time worthy RV can stay out in the wild for a few days with a little conservation and planning.
Fuel prices got you down? Travel fewer miles or less often. Your fuel budget is totally under your control.
Bad location? Even if you paid up for the month and can’t get a refund, it’s only a month. It’s not like your home is immobile. It’s far better than buying a S&B house in a bad neighborhood or next to terrible neighbors.
Full timing is like anything. It’s got its ups and its downs. Don’t like your surroundings? Move. Don’t like your full time lifestyle? Change things up. Don’t like your RV? Trade it in or give it a make over. It’s all about attitude and perspective.
Danerly, Long Beach, CA says
Thank you so much for your optimistic, realistic and uplifting perspective! I couldn’t agree with you more. Every life we choose has trials and tribulations and yes, expenses! $30k for a new roof or new double pane windows throughout your house because the Argon gas leaks out due to the UV breaking down the seal is expensive, and yes, so are RV repairs! But here’s the thing,..
My husband and I have been living in a 39ft power boat since 1997 and the fun of doing it is taking your house with you. You didn’t have to pack, you never leave something behind you really want to have with you, you never have a restless night sleep because you are always in your own bed, your refrigerator is still stocked when you get home and you get to enjoy new places. Yes, my husband had to forego the workshop he would love to have and I had to forego getting my hands in the dirt gardening but the rich experiences we have had and the people we have met with a different perspective than most, made the experience so worth while. There are always people (and will be wherever you live) that we didn’t necessarily want to hang around, so…we didn’t! We had the freedom to move about. Isn’t that what this is all about…freedom!
We are now ready to turn in our boating lifestyle for our RV lifestyle and find our next adventure. There is so much we enjoy doing and so many different states to do it in and explore with new and exciting results. What spearheaded the idea is neither of us has any idea where we would enjoy a S&B forever home when we eventually get to old to travel, so we decided we want to explore our options. Personally, I get feeling to closed in with a house so it will be a while for me before a S&B is appealing. It never goes anywhere, the view out the window never changes and if you don’t like the neighbors, their dog or their friends, you’re stuck!
There is so much beauty in this world to be found that you don’t get to thoroughly enjoy or explore within the confines of four walls that never move. Or, the occasional 1 to 2 week vacation staying in a hotel eating out every night to see if you like the folks, the weather and the area. The expense will be there no matter what lifestyle you choose, so why not choose a lifestyle that gives so much in return.
I hope this sheds a brighter light and returns the joy and love you had for RVing in the beginning!
Happy RVing all…just look at all your are getting versus all you are giving up.
My humble opinion also!
Ronette Michelle Davis says
Thank you , you sound d awesome. Would love to meet someday on our adventures. The best advice was actually give to us by a sales man. Buy your second RV first. We did and have been fulltimers for 6 years and couldn’t be happier. We thought about buying a house and landing for awhile. I got so depressed about stopping. It’s a big world of adventure and beauty. I feel blessed to have seen all that we have. Happy travels. Ronnie
Steven Luker says
I absolutely love this positive attitude. I’m currently in the process of selling my home here in Houston as it’s much too large for my dog and I and there’s no work here for me. Tired of looking out my front door and seeing same scenery. Been out of oil and gas engineering work for over a year. I’m looking at used DP in 45,000-55,000 range and have been doing extensive research on everything involved. I’m very excited.. I cant wait until house sells and turn the key on my new home. I’ll be able to go where the jobs are while entertaining my parents with trips to mountains and beyond. The only thing that upsets me is the fact I waited this long to find the answer. I would like to purchase from individual because I believe price will be more in my ballpark for what I’m looking at, yet I have one of the largest diesel coach dealers here in Houston. Only one decision exist.. whether or not I fly to another state for private purchase (relying on pics and sellers word) or go with local dealer. Any advice?
I have had RVs since the 1960s but I have never purchased one new or from a dealer. Fly to another state – that is a ‘piece of cake’! I drove from AZ to WI to buy our current rig because it had the floor plan that we wanted. Yes, it had a big kitchen rather than a stove, sink and a square foot of counter space like so many rigs have. Also, I can tell more about a used coach by visiting with its current owner than by any other means. If the photos on line don’t show what you want to look at, ask the seller to send you another or a video of the rig.
17 Oaks says
Bought my second RV from pics: Dealer send me 52 fotos, also said in writing that if I was not happy with what I found when I arrived or the pics were DIFFERENT from actual like the fridge was broke etc0 he would pay my fuel costs (Scottsdale AZ to Idaho).
We drive up and the pics did not tell the whole story, things not exactly as he said or thought:
It had a FULL in motion Satellite TV system…he did not know that!
It had a 100 watt Solar panel and fully integrated solar charging…he did not know that!
It had a dual (supplemental) catalytic heating system…he did not know that!
All this equipment was new and used …he did not know that!
The bathroom toilet still had the original packing in and on it…it had never been used and he did not know that.
I could one, but when we bought was a a year old unit that the owners wife had decided that it was not to her liking, as a result they never even spent a night in it and all the extras he added like the rest of it had never been even turned on, sat the their garage till they found what they needed and traded it in with the new GMC Dually truck less than 1500 mi on a new Prevost.
So we won and won big on that trip to Idaho. FYI I sold that RV on RV Trader last year, for $3000 less that what I paid for it in 2009. It sold the first week with a full price offer and the buyer to drive at his own expense from Oho to S Tex to pick up, I also had 3 full price back up offers and one guy would offered $1000 over if he could buy it (I turned it down I don’t do business that way).
TIP: I took 48 fotos and made the same offer to the buyer made to me, if I misrepresented and you say no I will pay your fuel costs to drive down. Buyer loved it and drove off the next morning very happing. His wife called 3 mo later and told us how much they love it.
Are you still looking? We have 34’ diesel pusher we are selling. Price range is in the ball park and our rig is clean and in excellent condition. Reply if you might be interested.
Evan Mitton says
Thanks for the uplifting remarks Danerly My wife and I sold our house in Phoenix this year and moved into a class A diesel R V, we have been on a fun trip around the west it is a good experiance! The point of the journey is not to arrive!nice to meet people like you on the road this is the best part!
Sandra Tilbury says
To the Long Beach folks
My husband and I also did a 3 year stint on our 40 ft boat. We sailed down the west coast in 2006 into Mexico and had a fantastic time.This past winter we took an RV through the states into Mexico and oh what a difference it was. The RV parks in Mexico are not even close to the marinas we stayed in for less money . On a boat you have the luxury of dropping anchor for free in beautiful places or if you need supplies you take a slip in a marina ,always attached to a five star resort use the pools etc . We found most RV parks in Mexico sucked in comparison. Sketchy water, dirty pools, less than ideal electrical, and more dust and bugs than I ever care to see. Roads are so rough you take 5 years off the live of your vehicles. Never got sick in 3years on boat was sick all the time in RV parks (likely the water) After hitching the wagon and getting out of Mexico we came to the conclusion to stay in the US any time we RV . We still have a boat which we spend our summers on but the RV will only be staying in the clean US and Canadian parks and on decent roads.
Agree 100%! Living my dream finally. No regrets.
Right on nomads
About S&B homes…. We live in a beautiful neighbor and nice $750,000 home. For a long time we had a small empty lot next to us. Other than the weeds and the Oregon fire season concerns it was a nice place to live, that is until it got developed into a “Sports Court” by the person who bought it two years ago.
Now it has become nightmare. At least if I was living in a 3/4 million MH I could drive away. Right now I would like to drive a MH right over the owner. I’m joking of course, but I sure wish his bedroom was right next to his “Sport Court” while 10 teenagers played basketball..
Oops… that should read neighborhood!
You hit the nail on the head. I fully agree with your attitude towards RVing and the lifestyle going with it.
We lived in our RV for over a year on our own premesis to see if that lifestyle will work for us before we hit the road and stayed for two months at the same spot. That saved us a lot of fuel expenses. We travel by car to visit the surrounding areas.
We also learn a lot from other longterm caravaners and from their experiences that helps us in our decision-taking towards this lifestyle.
It’s important to have a home base to go back to now and again.
Life has it ups and downs, but with a positive attitude, one can overcome all of that.
The good friends you met made up for all the negative and unpleasant experiences.
I certainly will keep up RVing as long as I possibly can.
Enjoy the freedom that RVing brings to you after years of hard work.
john Dahl says
DW (darling wife) and i have been full time for a year and long time for a few others. We volunteer at state and fed. campgrounds. No pay but we are like squatters. Only asked for about 30 hrs. work combined. We have been in Texas, Az, Alaska & Florida. We are selling the stickand brick place and our lifetimes collections of junk. You can only collect so much junk in the 5er. i pull my Harley around in a enclosed trailer behind. But I’m now contemplating selling the bike.
Michael Are son says
I recently divorced but was immediately blessed with a new partner who sold her home in Chicago to through in with me splitting everything. We traveled to Florida stayed at the Bluewater RV resort for a couple months made our way along the gulf coast and back to my home in San Diego as luck would have it I got hired full time at ATT did that for year now am ready to get back to traveling full time. I feel blessed to able to do this lifestyle. We make our lives how we want and it’s not easy and it’s not that hard. Stay healthy, active, don’t drink too much, and stay on budget which is the hardest. Being the camp host is fun. Check the breaks, tires, fregerator, most of all keep that part of you that is young at heart even at 70 some of the nicest folks I know I met camping or who we found in trouble and we were able to help. You are blessed and pass it forward with random acts of kindest. It deepens the nomad life sense of destiny. Some people go there entire lives regretting not taken that first step of true adventure. Enjoying life with who ever your new neighbor are, a cup of tea or coffee beer, share your travel tails and never be afraid to ask for help. Happy Trails God Bless You!
Thumbs up towards your positive attitude. I fully agree with you.
Chet & Laurie says
We lucked out and sold our house furnished and started full time 4 years ago. Now have a lifetime lease on a real nice lot with casita in AZ where we spend 5-6 months in the winter and then travel the rest of the year. Been to Alaska, Florida, and the Canadian Maritimes. Always doing genealogy research as we travel. Have been in most of the national parks and stop where ever we feel like exploring. This life style sure beats having to stay home, mow the lawn, and maintain a house. I find we spend about 2 weeks a year taking care of routine maintenance on our motor home. As long as we stay ahead of the wear on the coach, we’ve not had any major problems, other than one of the heat pumps failed and we got a defective new one which had to be replaced.
We’re on our way to see family and grandsons in NY and PA and then will spend a couple of weeks with the Jeep exploring the old mines and ghost towns around Silverton, CO and off to the middle of WY to see the solar eclipse in August.
Our only regrets are that we didn’t start this RV fill time life at least 10 years sooner.
All of these bummers are very true but we’ve been able to handle them all except for the crowds. We’ve been on the road FT for 7 years and LOVE it but are finding that the life style has become so popular that it is definitely getting harder to just travel following your heart and picking up and moving on without reservations. SO many people are now RVing that parks are charging more and reservations are required in so many places you’d want to be in the summer or the winter for temps. The only reason we would ever quit is that it becomes so populated that it isn’t fun anymore. We did it to get away to National Parks, NWRs, State parks and boondocking. We don’t do private parks except in a serious serious pinch like wanting to spend anything more than 2 weeks in Bar Harbor Maine. It is true that there are endless “fixes” of one thing or another but remember you are driving a house down the road. Also big time expenses like tires but that’s true in any “home”.
Denise & Otis says
I am in the process of selling my home and have found a really nice 5th wheel in the Dallas/Ft Worth area for purchase. It is just me and the cat (Otis). I will just park it for a few months to get used to the lifestyle and after the first of the year will start working contract (jobs) across the county. I will not drive, (a little too big for me and I don’t like to drive anyway) but it will be to my advantage to have a 6 to 9 month contract and have some company deliver my home to me wherever I will be located.
I am 60 years and still in good health and ready to exploring other work possibilities. Most of my friends are jealous, and my only child is still skeptical about it, But she will come around.
I am not going to miss the big house, utilities, maintaince etc, that goes with home ownership. I will be happier now than I have ever in my life, just me and Otis.
Rob Wilson says
We’ve been full-timing almost three years. Don’t own a S&B – everything we own is in our fifth wheel. It took us over two years to learn to slow down and take time to get to know an area and explore it fully. When full-timing, you are not on vacation but living a lifestyle. No hurry, no rush. OK to hang out at the campground and do nothing for a day…or two. We are avid hikers, photographers, and love the parks and hiking trails across this country. Yup, summer is a bummer in terms of crowds and booking spaces, but we learned quickly to book way in advance. Many prefer the nomadic approach, which is fine for some, but we prefer the confidence of a place waiting for us. It takes research to figure this kind of planning out, but to us, that’s part of the fun. Downsides? Yup, many parks simply don’t do basic maintenance, and long-termers can and do let their “homes” get run down and trashy. so stay at a nicer park, or head for state or national parks.
We avoid camping in national parks because they don’t offer hook-ups (big mystery there) and the people who tend to camp there lean towards the partying type – ugh! However, when traveling in Canada, oh, my, do they have nice campgrounds with full hook-ups. And with the exchange rate we enjoy right now (soon to dissolve away) they are a great deal. We booked in January of this year for two weeks in Jasper and Banff in early September so ensure we got a spot. And got one we did, two in fact, as we will be traveling with another couple.
That’s another great thing about full-timing. You meet great people. I love hearing their stories of how they worked things out, how they live, and so on.
As for privacy, we’ve never in three years had a problem with thin walls. All of the places we’ve camped have quiet hours that the owners enforce. And most everyone we’ve met on the road is in bed by 10 pm – it’s an active lifestyle that makes for good sleeping!
For us, the biggest downside is service of the rig. There are few places in America where you can get reliable knowledgeable service/repairs. Everyone in the business has learned by the seat of their pants, by doing – there is no training, no SAE standards of any kind. For big stuff, it is worth it to return to the factory. There they know everything from soup to nuts.
Knock on wood, we have yet to hit any major costs as far as maintenance/repairs other than a mishap of our own doing. Glad we had insurance, and we got a new roof out of the deal. And with what the factory gang did in addition to the new roof at no cost to us, we basically got a new fifth wheel back.
Yeah, there are downsides, I suppose. You can complain about the basic hassles that come with living on the road, but they are minor compared to what it takes to keep a bricks and sticks place going. And we don’t pay property taxes either.
Last point about RVing. The big surprise to us was when we wintered and stayed in one spot for several months. It took us awhile to figure out why we had such a great time doing that. It’s because there is community there. Tough to find in a traditional neighborhood, where everyone is so busy you don’t have time to get to know your neighbors. But in an RV park, where you spend a season, everyone is looking out for everyone else, there are activities and events galore, many folks with common interests. It reminded us both of the community feeling we had when growing up, where everyone knew everyone else, and there was a certain level of concern about each others welfare. To us, that is priceless.
If you join the Escapees club, you’ll experience instant community whenever you stay in any of their parks for any length of time. Perhaps our best RV park experience was at an Escapee park in Chimacum WA. Place was spotless, large sites, amazingly helpful people. We were there for a month, and anything we needed to know about the area there were people who knew. They park members/owners were in the middle of installing fiber optic wifi throughout the park, as they like most RVers were fed up with bad wifi. And they were determined to fix it and they were doing it. Another month and we would have had world-class wifi in that park.
Our biggest single beef on the road has been the lousy wifi at RV parks. Technologically this is a simple deal. But owners get sold a bill of goods because they lack technology understanding – we seldom have access to solid predictable wifi. Like most everything else that we bump up against, we work around it. And sometimes that means just shutting down the computer and iPad and phones and focusing on the great outdoors.
Which is why we are out here in the first place!!!
Bob Meyer says
Very helpful, thanks! I’ll look into the Escapee Club.
Have you been tempted to buy/lease an RV lot somewhere, or to buy a bit of land with a small, permanent cabin as a homebase? Seems like having a permanent spot might make for a good mix(?)
Hubby lost his job in August 2015 and we cashed out his 401k and bought a 2012 41′ Puma TT. Luckily it has 2 bedrooms and 1-1/2 baths.!
We found a park that has individual fenced yards (abt 45’x 18′) which is awesome as we have 2 big dogs! Small park with about 10 pads.
$400 per month is all we pay and THIS is why I love it!
One huge OOPS we learned from is this…..
We left the water on at the main when we drove to town. Never again. Came home to one of our plastic bathroom sink pipes busted. Luckily (again) our trailer leans forward slightly so damage was contained in our hall and master bedroom. Now…we always turn off the water and unplug everything when we leave!
Michael l Loffreda says
Did you have a water regulator hooked up ? just curious when that pipe burst ,Also if it’s 90 outside ac stays running while were gone.
WHERE is that park with the fenced yards? Perfect for our rambunctious pup!
Steve Brewer says
Wife & I are rookies, only full time for 7 months, but with 5 adult children- why would I need a ‘home base’? We have traveled all winter in the southern states to return to the kids and the doctors as needed. This summer we will be headed north and back to NC as needed.
Next planned stop will be to my RV mechanic so I can do more boondocking. Loving this life!
Enjoying all pro & con comments EXCEPT for the the person who slammed on seasonal RV’ers w/ older rigs … wow, that was harsh! As a couple who still must work full time for health insurance (no debt, own 2 SB’s, all vehicles incl 5th wheel, & quads), we cannot retire full time, so we purchased an immaculate older Jazz by Thor 5th wheel. When trying to make reservations at some RV parks in CA, we’ve been denied solely on the year of our rig, sight unseen! Hubby isn’t ready to try boondocking yet, so we need full hookups, & that limits places we can stay in the areas we’re interested in exploring. One place we had to go thru an inspection just to be allowed in!
Not everyone can plunk down $500k for a new “entry model” DP, or $150k for truck & 5th wheel combo (I work for DMV, & see selling prices for these rigs every day). To be judged by the year, make & model of our rig is sad, & the folks who are too busy looking down their noses on us, well, it’s YOUR loss because you’ve missed out on hanging with a nice couple who love to chat, make mean Margaritas, & hike/Jeep (I’m talkin’ to YOU, Perfection Expected). Adairs, come on over & we’ll have a great time! Luckily, the RV folks we’ve met on our limited travels have been very friendly & helpful to this pair of relative newbies.
Most parks will take an older rig if it still looks decent. They may want to look at it before letting you stay.
My wife are looking to full time sometime soon , We are first timers we live in the Phoenix area. How do plan your trip? I read about the RV parks needing reservations months in advance. Does anybody have any suggestions on where to start our trip from Phoenix? Thanks Steve
Pick where you want to go and see and then look at reviews of parks in the area. Get out and enjoy several places and you will soon sort out what is important to you. We are headed north to Canada from Tucson this summer but spending time in several great spots along the way.
17 Oaks says
Having been there and done that and while no longer a FT we did 35 trips last year.
We do NOT plan our route and stays. We pick a destination and right before we head out look at the MANY routes available and select one, then head out. We revolve around a 250-300 mi per day travel. So as we pull out of the drive way the wife has map in hand and is looking at opportunities to say around the 250 mi marker. Yes, sometimes we have to stop early at 200 mi and sometime we have to drive over 300 per day.
All this take is a good map and a cell fone. So the wife has our stay nailed down within the first hour of travel, then its google eats and we pick a place to have a meal. All this makes the trip more fun, exciting and a whole lot less STRESSFUL !!!!!! I will assume your are retired and you did so to leave the world of punching the time clock every day.
In almost 20 years we have NEVER had an problem finding a place to stay, because we are flexible. I spent a career catching planes, meetings in another town, state and country for 2 million air miles. I got paid to be in the right place at the right time…no more!
Ingrid Joiya says
Hi there. We live in Ahwautikee and plan on going full time in April of next year. Starting a blog, BoomerTravel.Tips so once launched, hopefully you will follow.
We are starting our first trips in our own backyard. Mexico for some dental work, Next stop, Sedona/Grand Canyon and then San Diego. You live in the midst of some great destinations, so start there.
Happy RV’ing. Hope to see you on the road.
Steve Martin says
I just went full time sold everything except my guns, bought a 2017 Newmar King Aire 4553 so far I love it my wife cooks and I drive we have a Jeep toad and we’re looking for adventure.
No one has mentioned grandkids. We have 4 of them in the area and when camping here in BC we try to bring them along, at least 3 of them as the grandson is now 15. I know you can talk with your family on skype and various techie ways but its not the same as hugging them and watching a movie together. I think we’ll always have a house and a Bigfoot trailer and keep the balance until we can rv longer and farther someday after our working days are done.
17 Oaks says
Lots of good comments here and some of them are wroth noting. One of them contained this that they heard somewhere: “Buy your second RV first!” We did that, that what our sales guy told us and we followed that advice because it made good sense…at the time. We also sold our house and then bought our dream RV. Then launched off into the world of Fun time-Full time.
My wife and I separately and collectively are global travelers and have been all our lives. Put me on a plane blindfolded, when we land I will look out the window and tell you what city we are in, just by the skyline. We love travel, seeing and doing and FT seemed perfect for us with no family, no kids, just out dogs and us.
So we sold our company I told my wife I wanted a tag axle and 500+ HP engine, the rest was hers and we ended up ordering a new rig and got a great deal and just above dealer Invoice.
Things we learned: “Buy your second RV first!” is nothing but sales talk, for us it doubled our budget. Yes it was nice it was everything we wanted and then some. But after a year I came to realize that what were my hopes and dreams would not be fulfilled by the rig we had, it simply did fit my or our lifestyle.
We sold it, have bought 3 more RV since in different configurations and have found our sweet spot in what works best for us.. Our costly and functional choices proved to be more wrong than right, not saying it was all wrong, but it a great learning experience albeit we paid a high price for that education.
Chose wisely, don’t get oversold by sales talk, identify your needs and your wants. Buy used first is what we should have done.
Susan V says
17 Oaks said: “Chose wisely, don’t get oversold by sales talk, identify your needs and your wants. Buy used first is what we should have done.”
I just want to thank you for that comment. My husband and I are just in the process of working out the logistics of going long-time in an RV, and we’ve been steadfast in reining in our “wants” while the salesperson is calling them “needs”. I took great comfort in your comment; it fits with our suspicions that we don’t need every bell or whistle, nor do we need “bigger”. 32-feet, good counter space, a comfy bed, and adequate work space will keep us happy for a year or more. I think we’d regret sinking more into an RV than we need to just because it works well for others. Your comment helped solidify that mind-set for me. Thank you.
Don Pryor says
You are welcome Susan.
So here we are on our 2nd 5th wheel and its smaller than the first and now we are shopping for our 3rd and YES it will be smaller than the first 2. We are hoping to find something in the 24-26 ft range.
Its us and our 5 dogs all tipping the scales at less than 12 lbs except our Bloodhound at 95 lbs. That said what do we NEED: In the living area 2 opposed slides makes for a GREAT room. TV and electric fireplace at the rear, kitchen in 1 slide or at the front of the great room. Bedroom, King bed on a E-W slide. Bath with walk in shower, lav and toilet. As much under floor storage as we can get that is pass thru. Anything else, no really. Home grade fridge would be great, we have that now and no carpeting. 2 AC’s, electric/propane hot water finishes off the list. We now have a Cedar Creek Silverback and it meets all requirements except I would like it shorter (its called a 29 ft).
Janet Hustek says
This is an excellent article and the comments are so informative. The stories and information contained within help other who may not have experienced that yet. I loved the whole article and comments.
JR & The Boys says
Great article and great responses……… We sold our homes and are FT for the past 11mo. We decided to purchase a new truck & 5er and have enjoyed this new adventure. We purchased a 5er knowing in 1-2 yrs down the road we would have to purchase another 5er after we had a better idea what would work for us. Well here it is 11mo later and we just purchased another 5er with the floor plan that will work much better. When traveling we only make Reservations when necessary as we prefer not to be tied to dates & time, like before retiring. We stay in State Parks & COE Parks if available as we do not care for boondocking at this time. We like to have elec and can get by without the others in need be.
As “17 Oaks said” Buy wisely, don’t get oversold by sales talk, identify your needs and wants. We purchased new rather than used.
Steve Cordis says
I’m gonna start out saying that I’m definitely the black sheep of this full-time travel group. I am full time but in an entirely different way. I sold my S&B house three years ago and have been on the road ever since. However, I don’t limit myself to just North America. My limit is the whole world.
I travel solo around the states in my truck camper (like Travels with Charlie, but without Charlie) for half the year and then put it into storage. I then take off for somewhere else in the world for the other half of the year. I’m presently writing this from Boquete, Panama. I’ve been on this trip for the past four months which included Ecuador and Colombia. Last year I was in the Philipines and Taiwan. The year before that I traveled through Vietnam (a return after 47 years), Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. The six month periods In between these out of country adventures were loops from California throughout the Northwest and last year around the Southwest. This summer I intend on doing a loop in the Central/ North.states including parts of Canada.
So, as you can see, I’m a traveler that doesn’t limit myself to just North America. I love visiting my own Country but I also enjoy slowly visiting other countries. There’s a whole world out there that you’ll miss if you limit yourself to just staying in your RV in the States. You’ll also be helping to alleviate the overcrowding in Americas RV Parks.
You’re probably saying to yourself that you would like to do this but you just can’t afford it. Well, in my personal experience over the last three years, I spend less traveling outside this country than I do traveling in my truck camper here in my own country. I’ve actually returned with more money in my checking account than when I left. I travel entirely within my income of Social Security and a small stipend from the VA. Yes, you can do it too. If there’s two of you, it can even be done cheaper (per person) than I do traveling alone.
In all my travels, I’ve only met two other travelers who are doing the same 1/2 & 1/2 travel as I do. I hope this post can plant the seed in some of you to expand your horizons. Get out there and see the whole world, before yer too old and wished you would have. It’s easier than you think!
J O says
Bravo ! You hit the nail on the head Steve . As more and more people are discovering RV Life , they are also hacking it and reinventing it to better fit the lifestyles they want to live . From the Millennials to Retirees .
Van Life to full on supersized RV’s and some Tiny Homes . I’m currently transitioning to the Nomadic life now so I may travel and see the entire world while I still can . You don’t have to be a Millionaire to do so either .Many are doing so because Housing Costs of S/B are unobtainable for many so its becoming a defacto way of life for many .
Good Planning and research help you find the best places to go where the cost of living for a month
is only a few hundred dollars , including all of your lodging and food ! Travel Platforms like Airbnb and travel blogs are great resources to use , in fact many people have gone Nomadic using just sites like Airbnb to stay .
I myself plan on doing the Grand West Coast Tour starting in Denali Alaska and doing either RVing down to Vancouver or do the Train to there and RV’ing all the way down the Coast and into Baja Cali-Mex . I hope to take about 1.5 -2 years or a bit more doing the trip as I hope to travel Internationally also . I’m not sure of what type of RV yet , I have my eye on a few older models that are well priced .
Make sure you have a bank account established at a nation wide bank with full service branches. Once you sell that home to start full timing, you will find it impossible to open a bank account without a permanent street address. The Patriot Act gets tougher and tougher every year.
Rod Keen says
We have been full-time rving for eight years and we love the lifestyle. We know it’s not for everyone and we get amused at people who basically stay and live in one RV park calling themselves full-timers, but we sold our house and our rv became home as we travel this beautiful country we live in. There are issues that need to be addressed, however, the same is true of a S&B home. Fuel is a major expense. Yet, because we can stay any length in one spot we desire it offsets the costs of fuel. Before we decided to go full time we were in Montana in our 5th wheel one evening enjoying the sunset and I said to my wife that no matter what size RV it will never be as big as a S&B home, but every night we step into God’s living room and it is immense! There isn’t a S&B home that can compare. As with anything it is always wise to count the cost before you take the leap. However, we have found that our cost of living as a full-time rvers is no more than it was when we lived in a S&B home. My advice to any who are contemplating the move is to procure discount RV memberships, such as, Resort Parks International, Passport America, Escapees and Good Sam. It is also a good idea to join FMCA and to have a good roadside assistance. We use Good Sam Emergency Road Service, but there are several good ones to choose from. It’s not if you will need a tow at one time or another, it’s when. And when that happens it will cost a lot, unless you have one of these services. We will continue this lifestyle as long as our health holds out. There is more of this country to see than life we have. Enjoy your great adventure!