Don’t Try Full Time RVing Until You Read This
I have met a lot of people in my years of full time RVing. There is a general theme that arises when you begin talking with them about their experiences. I’ve met people who have only been doing it for a few days and people who have been doing it for more than 10 years; people who do it solo, as couples, or have a whole family involved together; and every kind of RV setup from factory made to custom.
Here’s What I Wish I Knew Before Going on The Road
It is always great to talk to the longtimers because they really have stories to tell. In the end, we chat about what we love and what we wish we knew before full time RVing. Here is a compilation of those stories.
1. You don’t have to do it all in a few days and move on.
We meet people all the time that are getting stressed or thinking about leaving RVing. The planning and organizing for the next place and leaving the current one is too much for them.
We discussed whether we wanted to stay a couple of weeks or a month in a place. At first, we thought two weeks would work. At three weeks, we were ready to bolt. We stuck with one month. It has been both financially and mentally rewarding.
2. Read campground reviews before making reservations.
I follow several steps now when we make reservations. You think this is a simple no-brainer, but it can become very complicated. You don’t know in advance that parks close, reduce services, limit access, change pricing, have road closures, or that you won’t have cell service or Internet. Try searching RV LIFE Campgrounds for more information from other RVers firsthand.
We had one place try and tell us a higher rate when we arrived, but I had a copy of their email with the lower rate. We were supposed to arrive at another campground, and I happened to call the night before to find out they had shut down due to ill staff. They didn’t have my information because they said they had plenty of spots. Now I follow several steps during the reservation process:
- Give them all my contact information.
- Get all of their contact information.
- Get the final rate in writing – including what amenities it does and does not include.
- Find out if it is OK for pets and motorcycles.
- Do a Google Earth check to make sure our rig can get in and out of their property OK.
- Search campground reviews to see if we have cell coverage (or any other services you may need access to).
3. Something always needs to be fixed or upgraded.
I don’t know why this came as a surprise because problems are always going on with a stationary home. What didn’t sink in is that when you are having to do these repairs, your RV, entertainment zone, and work area are now tied up during the repairs. Your whole life is on hold when you wait for a fix – most of the time.
I learned to get creative. If you need to work, take the laptop out to the picnic table while they shut off all your services, and enjoy the weather. If you have a flat beside the road, pull down your steps, pull a drink from the fridge, explore the plant life, and relax. Yes, your work and home are on hold, but you know it can and will happen, so be prepared to live in the moment. You can reduce some of these events by staying on top of the maintenance of your RV.
4. You are not on vacation.
Do not spend like you are. Stick to your budget. We started this from the beginning and was able to avoid overspending (most of the time).
We go somewhere and stay a month. It gives us time to live like locals, see the sites, ride our motorcycles, and get our jobs done. Then we get to explore a new place.
Even if you full time, you still need to plan vacation time. When you are not working, plan to stay in resort campgrounds for more amenities, or join a caravan of RVs exploring. Read up on some RV LIFE articles to get trip ideas!
5. You will be very close.
There are few places to go in an RV to get away from each other if you travel with others or need space. You need to know if you can deal with that while full time RVing.
My spouse and I spent our whole marriage moving around the country, staying in small rental condos, and being in places for just a short time. One time, we even lived six months in 300 sq ft before we finally settled down in a brick-and-mortar home. But we were made for full time RVing!
6. Location, location, location.
I’m an organizer (and a travel agent), so planning our trips is right up my alley and I love it. If you don’t enjoy that kind of thing, slow down your location changes, and utilize the tools that will help make your planning easier.
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.