What’s Better? Full-time RVing or Part-Time RVing?
If you read through a few RV blogs or websites, you’ll undoubtedly find articles extolling the virtues of van life or transitioning to a full-time RV lifestyle. Living in your RV is great, but it’s not for everyone.
There are tons of benefits of having an RV just for weekend trips, and you won’t be alone. According to a 2019 survey from the Escapees RV Club, about half (48%) of the respondents lived in their RVs full time. The rest used their RVs part time, on the weekends, or just for vacations.
Sometimes RVing Part Time is the Way to Go
As the pandemic continues, RVs offer a way to enjoy vacations safely, letting you explore the country while minimizing close contact with others. But even beyond the pandemic, here are a few reasons RVs are perfect to have on hand for shorter trips.
1. Enjoy a vacation anytime
You probably wanted an RV so you could travel, explore new places, maybe road trip with your kids, all while having your home along for the ride.
It’s perhaps the most obvious benefit, but also one of the main ones: An RV provides a fun, convenient, and affordable way to accomplish your road trip and vacation goals.
Whether you’re planning to go RVing on a simple weekend trip or a coast-to-coast adventure, your RV lets you enjoy the journey while sleeping in your own bed. And because you return home between trips, each outing in your RV feels like a true vacation.
2. Share the journey with friends or family
Traveling solo or with close family is its own worthwhile experience, but some adventures are meant to be shared. While full-time RV life may give you less space and possibly less inclination to invite others along, a mobile vacation home may be better suited to help you enjoy quality time with friends or family on the road and in the great outdoors.
Your RV’s amenities mean that even people who may not love camping will still have a great time. And, unlike other modes of travel, bringing along a few extra people won’t cost anyone more in costly plane tickets, hotel rooms, or other big trip expenses. (In fact, if your travel partners pitch in for gas, you might even save money!) Take the opportunity to share the experience and create new memories with your loved ones.
3. Explore areas near and far
You don’t need to live on the road to see the sights. Even weekend trips in your RV offer a wonderful opportunity to discover your region and beyond.
From national or state parks to tiny camping areas you didn’t know existed, your RV lets you check off bucket list landmarks or simply experience the beauty of smaller areas close to home. Plus, you’re not limited to short, weekend travel; longer trips that fit your schedule let you explore as far as you’re willing to drive. Then, you can come back home and recharge until you’re ready to go again.
4. Go RVing last minute
An RV gives you ready-made transportation and lodging all in one—a vacation ready to roll out of your driveway (or storage space). Just pack food, clothes, and other essentials, fill up your water and gas, and you’re all set to be on your way.
The easy preparation makes RVs particularly ideal for last-minute trips, when you decide a few days in advance that you need to get away for the weekend. Luckily, there are tons of places to boondock, so you don’t even need to find camping reservations—just sit back, relax, and enjoy your trip.
5. Upgrade your camping
There’s something to be said for setting up a tent, doing all your cooking over a campfire, and washing dishes in the woods. Car camping and backpacking are fantastic experiences, but for many, RVs can help you enjoy similar outdoor adventures with a little (or a lot) of added convenience.
You can still hike around the area, roast marshmallows over a campfire, and stargaze—but you also get a stove, a real bed, and perhaps best of all, a bathroom and shower.
Both tent camping and RVing have their place, but RVs can make the entire experience effortless enough that you can do it again and again with ease. RVs have their limitations too, though, so when you’re ready for a break from camping life, your home is waiting.
6. Reduce wear and tear on your RV
Since you’re not living full-time in your RV, you’re using its appliances less and probably driving far fewer miles overall. As a result, you’ll likely be able to enjoy your RV for years into the future without needing as many repairs. You’ll still need to store your RV appropriately (preferably covered) and take care of any damage, whether from direct use or other sources.
Still, by only using it when you want a holiday, you can help preserve your mobile vacation home (and your investment in your RV) for many trips to come.
7. Get a taste of being a digital nomad
If you’re able to work remotely, an RV can help you change up your routine. Don’t just click through social media influencers’ perfect-looking photos—experience the benefits for yourself of glancing up from your work to see a gorgeous mountain view, or taking a 10-minute break to stroll through the forest.
You can also schedule RV trips around your job, planning your camping days when you know you’ll have fewer video meetings or upcoming deadlines. If you’re worried about connectivity, consider investing in a cell phone booster or search RV LIFE Campgrounds to check the cell signal of a camping area before you leave.
8. Make repairs (hopefully) less disruptive
RV breakdowns are always stressful, particularly in the middle of a trip. If you’re able to resolve the problem enough to get home, though, or if you noticed the issue at home in the first place, you’ll have more flexibility in how, when, and where to address it.
Of course, the fix may still be costly and time-consuming. However, you’ll be able to continue your everyday life rather than likely needing to find alternate lodging, disrupting your schedule, and potentially being stuck somewhere you’d rather not be. While there are many benefits of living in an RV, this is one area where weekend RVing definitely makes things easier.
9. Avoid minimizing your possessions (unless you want to)
Moving into your RV means you’ll likely have to get rid of some of your belongings, or at least put them into storage. Part-time or weekend RVing is a good way to skip that process, letting you pack the items you want for your trip while leaving the rest at home.
In some cases, there may be items you want to use regularly that won’t fit in your RV, like exercise equipment, certain musical instruments, or a desktop computer setup, to name a few. Use your RV just for vacations, then find your other hobbies or items at home waiting for you to return.
10. Find the balance that works for you
Perhaps the greatest part of having an RV is the flexibility. Want to move into it full time? Awesome. Prefer to go RVing every few months, or spend half the year traveling around the country? You do you. With an RV, you’re able to easily follow the path that best fits your lifestyle and goals. And with the comforts available back home combined with the adventures and convenience offered on your RV trips, you’ll have the best of both worlds as you look forward to your next trip.
For all of your camping and trip planning needs, look no further than RV LIFE Campgrounds and RV LIFE Trip Wizard. RV LIFE Campgrounds is a trusted source of campground and RV park reviews offered by camping and RV enthusiasts just like you. With its accompanying RV LIFE App, RV LIFE Trip Wizard gets you to your camping destinations utilizing RV-friendly routes specific to your RV and travel preferences.
Related article: The Dirty Truth Of Full-Time RVing
Erika Klein is a freelance writer whose work focuses on health and the outdoors. She aims to help readers explore new activities, places, and ideas while finding practical ways to improve their lives. Erika holds an MS in journalism from the University of Southern California and can often be found hang gliding, visiting new destinations in her RV, or hiking. Get in touch on Instagram (@erika.j.klein) or at www.erikajklein.com.