When recreational vehicles were invented, manufacturers probably never dreamed that someday people would call these contraptions “home.” Even today most RVs are designed for short stays. Although RV designs are more sophisticated than ever, only select enthusiasts like me will live in them every day. With few exceptions, the common pros and cons of full-time RVing living are shared among all of us.
The Pros and Cons of Full-time RVing
Whether you’re working on the road or cashing social security checks, you and your fellow travelers all share the good, bad and ugly of living in a rolling home. I’m an optimist, so let’s start with the pros of ditching a sticks-and-bricks.
Three Good Things About Full-time RVing:
1. Say goodbye to Yard Work
Drive around on a springtime Saturday morning and you’ll see people cutting grass and pulling weeds. But not you, because you’re out having fun instead. Your RV requires no fertilizer, a John Deere lawn mower or leaf blowing.
2. Your Neighbors are Great
RVers are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet – usually. The few times that your neighbor is a jerk, you can pull up stakes and find a new neighbor by lunchtime. Just make sure you get your annual RV maintenance jobs done so you can actually leave.
3. Vacationing is a Way of Life
According to CBS News, “the average American worker is entitled to 16 days of paid leave. But the length of the average vacation lasts just over four days!” As a full-timer your vacation lasts as long as you want it to. Even though I work, I have far more opportunities to enjoy vacation-like activities, like the short but sweet hike I took this afternoon in the Sonoran Desert where I’m currently snowbirding.
Three Bad Things About Full-time RVing:
1. Privacy can be Limited
Everybody knows your business when you live in your RV when at a RV park. Your neighbors know when you had a fight with your partner. Your partner knows when you had too much lactose for breakfast. If you’re shy or squirmy you’d best get over it if you want to live with others in a rolling home of any size.
2. Grime and Clutter is more Obvious
It literally takes less than 30 minutes to clean your RV. But if you go RVing with pets, enjoy dry camping or have a smaller RV like I do, you’ll quickly realize that dirt and clutter has no place to hide. The more compact nature of RV living quarters magnifies every spec of dirt and clutter. So, if you have a low-filth tolerance be warned. You might end up cleaning your rig more than a regular home.
3. Packing your RV Refrigerator Takes Practice
This last con is less of a problem if you have a luxury rig with some of the largest RV refrigerator models. But for the rest of us with traditionally-sized RV refrigerators, grocery shopping day is an ordeal. Each time you come home with groceries you’ll spend time carefully arranging your weekly eats to ensure circulation flows freely. This is something you never consider with a residential model and there are quick tips to organize your RV refrigerator.
I’ve experienced all the pros and cons of full-time RVing over the last 10 years. Even though I’ve had a few tantrums about them, I still wouldn’t trade this lifestyle for anything. Would you?
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.
17 Oaks says
Full time is NOT for everyone and while there are pros and cons we thought the pros outweighed the cons.. We thought of everything big motor home with 3 slides, check, large box trailer to carry Jeep and store stuff, check. Off we go into retirement and full time.
Just one little nagging problem: This old country boy, raised on a ranch, who loves the outdoors, has always had a shop to work in and loves his freedom of space. After one year I was a basket case from living in a large box. Sold my motor home back to the dealer and headed back to Texas and bought a ranch.
The psychological factor became the nail in the coffin. I only wish I had given that some thought or someone had just said, have you ever thought about living in a less that 400 sq ft home the rest of your life like this. Give serious thought before you go full time..
We are not full time but are traveling about 10 months out of the year. What we have found is that a toy hauler fits our needs best, giving room to change out the rear as a work area depending upon current hobbies. The trailer is a Puma 27SBU giving about 13 feet long work area. We removed one couch, adding a table in its place. I completed a dune buggy in that room by letting down the ramp and rolling it out on the ramp as a working surface. That buggy was later replaced by a dual-purpose motorcycle for a couple of years. We now have a Kart in that space that is street-legal under the Neighborhood clause in Texas DMV (Limited to streets with speed limit <45 MPH).
So, several out-of-the-box planning will limit the cabin fever problems. The Puma is a bumper-pull so I still have the back of the pickup as storage area.
Merikay MacKenna says
Six years ago we went from a 4000 sq. ft home to a 35′ motorhome. We got rid of all the unnecessary stuff. I have no regrets. I often look around and marvel how little space we really need. Our relationship is really not much different than in a house. The disagreements we have now are the same as then, and we really do have more in common now. It is just another way of living.
Has anyone ever thought or accomplished turning a 16 or 18 ft box truck into an RV? Would it be cost
effective? Are there pros and cons to doing that? What are they? I am seriously entertaining the idea…why?
Because it’s from scratch which means it’s brand new…the only thing I would be concerned about is the
condition of the truck engine…everything else would be new….What are your thoughts?
Donna Huffer says
On the road for 21 years and plan on doing it for many more years. If we don’t like the weather or the neighbors we turn the key and we have done both. Boondock 90 percent of the time and love the views we find. Walmart parking less than 7 times. Too expensive there. 🙂