If you’re thinking about full-time RVing, you’ll discover lots to love about life on the open road. With endless opportunities for change and adventure, a home on wheels can keep you out of life’s boring ruts.
Many full-time RVers look back on their time as homeowners and are glad they left it behind. If you’re deep into the research phase of this exciting lifestyle, take time to visit a full-time RVer community and you’ll discover these common things you will and won’t miss when you live in your RV.
Things you won’t miss when you live in your RV
First, the good news. Ditching a traditional home gives you financial, physical and mental advantages. You might miss the hot tub, but you won’t miss these three things when you hit the road:
People say RVs are just like boats. Both require you to be vigilant about maintenance. But unlike a home, neglecting critical routine RV chores can put you in danger each time you move.
However, it’s safe to say that RVs demand far less time, physical and financial resources than home-ownership. Full-time RVers don’t mow lawns or buy $2,000 John Deere lawnmowers.
They aren’t forced to spend $25k on a new roof every 20 years, nor are they saving pennies for new fences, patio resurfacing, or roto-rootering. RV maintenance costs money each year, but it’s nowhere near as expensive as keeping up a sticks-and-bricks home.
The day you sign off on your home sale will be one of the happiest days of your life. The second happiest day will occur when you realize that the county assessor didn’t send you a property tax bill the following year.
As a homeowner we’re always hoping for higher property values, but the flip side is killer property taxes. Full-time RVers don’t worry about the direction their property values are headed.
The mobile life means that the minute you turn into a RV park and don’t like the way it looks, you have options at your disposal. You can turn the key and leave if you don’t like the neighborhood. Or you can stay put and see how it goes.
Even if you’re stuck in California’s crowded RV parks, those park owners don’t lock you into leases. As long as your job isn’t dependent on living in a certain location, you always have options to go elsewhere.
The one thing you will miss
Experienced RVers who try full-time RVing have the upper hand in many instances. These folks are already familiar with some RV lifestyle disadvantages like lack of privacy, tight spaces, and limited storage areas.
But even when you know what it’s like to live in recreational vehicles, as a full-time RVer you might find yourself yearning for the one thing most of us occasionally yearn for in this lifestyle. Ironically it’s not a thing but rather a feeling.
Long travel days can make you feel road-weary. Toss in an embarrassing RVing mistake and some days the highway can drain every ounce of your energy. On those occasions could find yourself yearning for the predictability of living in a sticks-and-bricks neighborhood. From knowing your neighbors to shopping in familiar grocery store layouts, sometimes it’s nice to go through the days with your eyes closed.
There’s no telling when it will happen. But when (not if) the road wears on you, just set down your landing jacks for a few days and take a break. If that feeling goes away, you probably made the right choice to hit 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.
Mike Rohr says
One (or a multitude rolled into one) problem facing RVr’s is that there is no nat’l drivers license or truck (car)/RV insurance. You still need to be connected to some permanent address. Cell phones, bank accounts, credit cards etc… all require a permanent mailing address. There is no true freedon. The gov’t (feds, state & local) all want to make sure you pay your fair share.
Rene Agredano - The Full Timing Nomad says
Totally agree Mike. It was something we were surprised to discover when we started full-timing. There’s no getting around it unless you plan on living totally off-grid, which is incredibly hard to do today. I admire those who can manage it.
I don’t see the big problem here, sure you have to be tied to an address to get drivers license, insurance, etc. so what’s the big problem? Just use your Brother’s or Sister’s address, it is that simple and if you don’t have a brother or sister or don’t get along with them, just use a friends address, it is a SIMPLE SOLUTION to a MINOR ISSUE, not a big deal like so many want to make it out to be!!!
the problem with using your family or friends address is the inconvenience it is to them ! Maybe they don’t like to be responsible for your ssi , bank statements ect.. what if they loose a piece of mail, or they have to take the time out of their day to gather all your mail put it in a big envelope take it to the post office and pay the postage , which most times is not cheap and hope it doesn’t get lost while in transit to your address ! I feel it’s very inconsiderate to do this to family or friends.
Scott E. says
Surprised no mention of a mail forwarding service which covers the address issue and continued handling and forwarding paper mail. Anyone who full times in an RV will quickly figure this out. We use Americas Mailbox and pleased with their services.
Have considered full time. But, have things I am not willing to give up. Like a workshop and two motorcycles. And a big kitchen. What may drive the choice is where one lives. The first thing that came to my mind is the difference between a expensive motor home and a house. One is a depreciating asset and the other appreciating. After ten years the value of the home vs. the RV?
Rene Agredano - The Full Timing Nomad says
Thanks for your feedback David. Yeah full-timing certainly isn’t for everyone. And you are correct, RVs are not “investments” in the same way a sticks-and-bricks is. For us, the investment in the lifestyle isn’t in the RV itself, but in our personal happiness with our choice. May you find just as much joy in your lovely homestead!
Tracy Russell says
Here is my take on the depreciating asset. I live in the Midwest and purchased my home new 17 years ago for $280k and it is now valued at $365k, an appreciation of $85k or $5k per year. My property taxes are $4700 a year and I estimated an average of $1500 a year in maintenance bringing my expenses to $6300, so I am losing $1500 a year for my appreciating asset.
We purchased our used class A for $72k two years ago and our tags/taxes cost $192 a year. My maintenance expenses have been $1200 a year. If my class A depreciated 10% a year or $7200, is the extra $2500 worth it to see the country.
AMEN Tracy! Well said and 110% accurate!
Dan Wilderman says
I don’t “the answer”, and it would vary with different houses in different locations: but it woule be interesting to compare home appreciation, minus property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and all utilities and mainteneance costs to your RV’s licencing fees, insurance, park fees, fuel, propane and maintenence costs.. It might be that the net appreciation on the house might be a much smaller or even negative amount.
john arata says
Well David no one is forcing you into this lifestyle its a choice and clearly not your choice.I just found you work all year paying for your house to go on a few vacations.I rather travel and see the country, but then again Im retired and don’t need 2 motorcycles and a workshop .
There are times when full timing seems like a good way to live as there are places to see and things to do which can’t be done in a S&B. But, with that said, I’m sure that I would miss my not one, but 2 workshops and being able to get out in my street rod or make small pieces out of big pieces of wood. I’m also positive that both my wife and I would miss our own space. And that depreciation on any RV, be it towed or a MH – the value goes down while the monthly payments (for many) continue. Not for us, but others will enjoy the experience
Dale Watkins says
Then, there are those of us that have both…use the motorhome for 6+ months, and keep our S&B home as well! Being Canadian, we’re only allowed to stay in the USA for six months anyway, so it’s best to use our ‘winter’ months where it’s warm, and then head back to our S&B for the warm months here! With local trips added in, it makes for a lifestyle we’re going to try now that retirement has arrived!
I do follow some Youtubers that full time, and find the adventure exhilarating, but still want somewhere to call ‘home’.
Julia Sandoval says
RVing is all about the experience!!!
Can never duplicate your travel experience….
Bonnie Gitto says
Closing on a house the end of this month and will not regret trading in full-time RVing for an occasional road trip.. We will not miss the park politics, the constant changing of rules, unexpected sale of the RV park you are settled in bringing about price increases, new rules and uncertainty. I will be glad to let my dog run free in a fenced in back yard and be able to have a small swimming pool for him in the summer. I can grow a small garden along with my herbs again. I won’t have to listen to noisy neighbors, put up with the endless showing of favoritism and endless changes. I will be able to have whoever I want visit me without restrictions and the necessity of a park pass and or fee. We have been full time for 12 years and it is definitely time to go back to a brick and mortor place and take the occasional vacation in our RV. Trust me there are just as many expenses with an RV without the benefit of appreciation of your unit vs. constant depreciation especially with more and more parks requiring RVs to be no more than 10 yrs. old.
Donald Tyrell says
Right on! Brother. Right on!!
Health care is an issue for some if not many if not most when you are on the road. The doctors and dentists you are familiar with and who are familiar with you aren’t close at hand as they are at home.
Judy Arroyo says
What I missed most while living in our RV was a soaker tub, and some personal space. So we went back and purchased a small condo. Worked a year, saved and planned to travel about 6 -8 months, and then live during the cold season in our condo.
Wanda Rhome says
In my opinion, making a decision to full time RV depends on your own personal lifestyle. Many do it for adventure, some because of finances, while others are just tired of the home maintenance issue. Overall, I feel it takes a certain person to give up the home to go fulltime. Like many, I have given it serious thought. But for as many reasons as I found it adventurous, I found just as many reasons for it to be a bit difficult.
Yes, RV living is great. But it can become a bit unsettling when medical issues arise, bad RV parks are encountered, highway blues set in, or expensive repairs, such as an engine or transmission, bite into the budget. And, as mentioned in other posts, you still need some sort of permanent address, insurance, medical professionals that can track your health concerns, and maybe just a familiar place to call home. Maybe I am too nostalgic, but I grew up calling some place home, was always close to family, and have familiar places I liked to frequent.
Homes are expensive. But what we did to satisfy our want of full time RV yet retain all our “normal” things in life was to downsize our home. We sold our larger home that was needed when the kids were living there, bought a smaller home and used the remaining capital gains to buy an RV. Now, living in New England with the “unRV” winters, we stay at our house. In May we move full time into our RV and stay there until mid October.
We have our smaller house, which happens to be at the ocean (less expensive to do in NE) during the colder months and our second house (RV) in the woods during the warmer months. We feel we gave up nothing to accomplish everything. We always have change to look forward to. In spring we move to the woods – in the fall we move to the ocean.
We are close to our children, medical professionals, etc. and still have our annual Christmas parties in the house. I still have my workshop, storage for my toys, a music room, and a warm place to pass the New England winters.
And what we feel is the best thing about our decision – we can hook up and go anywhere anytime we get the traveling bug. And we get it quite a bit.
We split the difference. Downsized from a 5 bedroom house that ate up every minute of our free time to a travel trailer and a 1 bedroom apartment. Maintenance only on the trailer and truck. No debts. The apartment houses what remains of our “stuff” (still packed) and provides a mailing address in a no tax state. The trailer is our primary residence and we travel a lot. Both can be changed easily if we decide we want something different. Keeping our options open.
Daniel Rawinsky says
In the mid 1972 we sold everything and packed a wife, 3 kids and me into 1967 Holiday Rambler and left the big city to live in the country in our trailer. We had troubles with the heater in New Mexico and then the water pipes froze. We rented a mobile home. Long story short, divorce, moving to El Paso then to New Orleans, while living full time in my trailer. In 1974 I finally got the job I wanted. Over the road truck driver. I got married again in 1977. I spent the next 20 years driving trucks. We slept in the sleeper, some trips out I would be gone for 4-6 weeks at a time. I got to see the whole country and 5 provinces in Canada. This was the perfect RV trip, I got paid to travel around the country. I could sleep in any rest area, truck stop or wide spot in the road while in California. I woke up when I wanted to, I went to bed when I wanted to and I got to choose a lot of the places I went to. I retired and I plan to go traveling with my 1967 Holiday Rambler, the same one I have owned since 1972. I loved full timing it in a truck, but drivers who idles their engines for no reason was a pain to deal with.
Just a quick comment
We all have the freedom to do our own things
We just sold the S&B and looking for “The Place “ on the road
Looking forward to meeting new friends and new experiences
Not sure where it will be but think all should experience a little more broader outlooks about life besides living comfortably in one place and having one attitude because of it
Life is a gift enjoy it and what it gives us
David & Donna says
After the “rat race” of renting or owning a home with all of the financial responsibility and the many to do list of challenges, for my wife and I we choose FULL-TIME RVEING. Yes, we had a 5 bedroom, 2 story, double garage, full of tools and goodies, all organized and so forth. Adult kids and grandkids, my wife and I decided, time to hit the road. Sold or gave away everything not necessary. I do mean everything. Simple, organization is the key. Only necessary items; whether tools, clothing, cooking utensils, etc. We left SENTIMENTALITY and stuff behind. I retired at 59 and my wife also. We prayed and financially prepared for 3 years. You get the picture. Bought a used Fleetwood, Bounder 2013, 35K,1.5 baths, all the amenities and hit the road. We do not miss all the stuff. Mail service in place, set domicile and we go where we want to. If you mention motorized toys, lots of tools, etc. You’re not ready. You’ll never be ready. I see RVers who have way to much in their RV. “Keep it simple… Stupid” as my uncle would say.
Do your homework and then do it again while you decide what type of RV fits your life style. Don’t look back. It will all work out… “Just put in the wash”.
We’ve been to all 50 States and now we’re picking the ones we like the most and staying a bit longer in that state.
We stay or go at our convenience. We boondock, stay at campgrounds, family, friends, Boondocks Welcome, etc. There’s is so much more to share. We can leave our motorhome at a CG or with family and travel abroad, if need be and then come back to it. The time will come when we will go back to stationary structure. God willing, not soon.
If you want, we love to share our experience.