The Ultimate Guide To RV Living
For a lot of people in the world, living a totally different life that deviates from what we are told is the norm is nothing but a pipe dream. We are all told that we must follow a certain specific path that usually includes school, college, a job, marriage, followed by children, and comfortable home with a white picket fence and a dog. This has largely been the kind of dream that most millennials have been raised to believe is the ultimate secret to a happy life. However, over the turn of the millennium, people who found themselves on the other side of history have found themselves completely baffled at the kind of choices millennials have been making.
Whether it is eating too many avocados, not buying enough diamonds, not engaging in racist or sexist behavior, reduction in recreational drug use including alcohol as well, or any new strange behavior that has been picked up in the recent years, millennials are getting the blame for the downfall of society itself. However, if you take into consideration the kind of world that they have inherited, it is really no wonder that they are collectively discovering that the well-settled existence that was promised to them is actually a bigger pipe dream that the most unconventional lifestyle choices they could be making. As a result, a lot of millennials are rejecting traditional norms and setting out on their own, paving their own way for new standards of what is defined as a good life. There is no white picket fence, no resting by the fireplace with a dog on your foot as you grumble at your morning newspaper and definitely no manicured lawns that soak up tons of perfectly potable water and contribute to environmental ruin in favor of aesthetics.
Meet the generation of people who are living the RV life. An RV, which stands for a recreational vehicle, is a motor vehicle or trailer that includes living quarters designed for accommodation. There are several types of RVs you can get that suit your needs and preferences. Usually, RVs come with everything you may need to live as comfortably as you possibly can in a vehicle. The typical amenities provided with RVs are a kitchen, a bathroom and one or more sleeping facilities. At times, you may have to pitch in a bit more money to make improvements to things like hardware or plumbing accessories according to your needs and preferences. The amenities you get can range from utilitarian, which contain only basic sleeping quarters or bunks and basic cooking facilities, to the most luxurious ones with features like air conditioning, water heaters, televisions and satellite receptors for TV and internet, and beautiful marble or quartz countertops for your kitchen.
RVs can either be self-motorized, that is a vehicle that has an engine on it and all the other components to classify as self-motorized, or pulled by a vehicle. Most RVs are single-deck; however, double-deck RVs also exist. To allow a more compact size while in transit, larger RVs often have expandable sides, called slide-outs, or canopies. Some RV owners even fit solar panels to the roof of their RV so that they save money as well as protect the environment by using an inexhaustible source of energy.
Most of the time, RVs were used as temporary accommodation while traveling long distances. In a place like the United States or Canada, where the distances are extremely long from one end of the continent to the other, it can be useful to go for an RV to travel to your destination, so you don’t end up spending a ton of money on hotel room fees, food and drink expenses and other kinds of travel-related expenses. Your RV can serve as your home and place to do everything, from sleeping to cooking or even showering. However, outside of this utility, it can also be wonderful to live in an RV full time.
In the United States and Canada in fact, traveling to the south to enjoy a warmer climate each winter in your RV is called snowbirding. This being said, if you have someone in your life who is interested or is involved in the RV life, and you are trying to look for a way to understand their lifestyle, we will look over all the pluses and minuses of RVing full-time. If you wish to buy that loved one a gift, we have you covered here as well.
- 1 What is an RV Park?
- 2 Advantages Of The RV Life
- 3 Disadvantages Of The RV Life
- 4 So Why Go The RV Route?
- 5 How To Prepare To Dive Into The RV Life
What is an RV Park?
A recreational vehicle park or caravan park is a place where people with recreational vehicles can stay overnight or longer, in specially allotted spaces known as sites or campsites. They may also be called camping grounds, although those usually come with facilities for tent camping and bonfires. Most facilities that go by RV parks also offer tent camping or cabins for people to stay in.
An RV Park can be a wonderful place for you to stay in as it contains all the facilities and amenities you may need to make your stay here extremely comfortable when you wish to take a break and stay in one place. They come with important refilling resources as well that you will need to replenish your supplies for your next long road trip when you leave from there. A lot of RV parks offer an AC power connection for attaching your RV to it if you wish to recharge it. They will also provide you with a drinking water connection, sewer connection, television set, and connection depending on the local area you are in for your comfort. In addition, you can also get a telephone connection to contact your loved ones and let them know where you are, in case you choose to not use a cellphone while traveling. There is also a hotspot service if you need access to the internet.
In addition to all this, park facilities also contain a ton of cool amenities that will not only make your stay comfortable but also luxurious and amazing. These include a barbecue area, bathhouses, a convenience store or supermarket where you can buy your groceries and important stuff you need on the road, hardware stores for car maintenance gear, gift shops to buy little things for your near and dear ones, exercise equipment in case you need to add a quick workout in the middle of camping, picnic tables so you can have your meals comfortably in the fresh open outdoors, a swimming pool to swim about in, as well as bars and restaurants. Talk about choice! Entering an RV park at the end of a long, tiring road trip can feel like the most satisfying experience in the world.
Advantages Of The RV Life
For a lot of people, the RV life has helped them reaffirm what they think is really important to live life comfortably. This type of lifestyle can really change you as a person, and you can become a better person through all your difficulties and inconveniences. No matter how frugally you lived before, RV living can bring inconveniences into your life that you never thought existed.
However, most people who opt for this kind of lifestyle will freely admit that these inconveniences are absolutely nothing compared to the advantages and freedom you get from living this lifestyle and being out on the road. This is confirmed again and again to people who live this kind of life and then go home to meet their friends and family and realize how much their life has changed for the better for choosing to go mobile with their homes.
Given below are a few advantages of choosing this kind of lifestyle that prioritizes adventure over staying in your comfort zone. Read on as we explore what they are
When you have to live in a space that is smaller than most people’s living rooms, you need to be making smart decisions about this kind of lifestyle. You cannot simply buy things on a whim and accumulate a clutter. The lack of storage space will really mean you will become a minimalist over time, and this is really a good thing. Signing out of capitalism and the constant consumerism can actually make you happier in the long run, and it may also mean you don’t really spend your time vegging out in front of your videogame console for hours at a time. You will not be affected as much by being bombarded with messages about what you need to buy to be happy in life. The less you have, the happier you will be in life. Your biggest collection will not be crockery set gifted to you by your mom that is out of fashion, stashed in some corner of the house and never used, it will be your memories of your travels, pictures of sunsets and mountains that will be cherished forever.
A Home with beautiful views, ever-changing!
When you look outside your window right now, what do you see? What do you hear? Do you see traffic buzzing by, and buildings blocking your view? Do you hear the sound of cars honking, workers using construction equipment somewhere, and the ever-invasive pigeons hooting in your windows? The RV life takes you away from that. Imagine a home with a perpetually changing outside, so that every time you travel, your home gives you a different view out the window. Sometimes, if you had to go for a normal home, some of those views would cost you a million dollars or more. But they are totally free in an RV.
People spend a lifetime worrying about debts and expenses, well into their retirement. Most people begin to accumulate often unnecessary debt right from the time they leave high school, attempting to measure up to the Jones’s. A huge home, a car, college education that may never be used, and then spending the rest of your days on this beautiful planet worrying about paying off the mortgage. Your RV will be paid off in at most a year of easy installments and even less if you opt for used RVs that are just as good, but cost way less. Keep yourself from developing heart disease at the age of thirty-five and jump into this adventurous world of carefree existence.
The advantages of smaller space
Never spend hours of your day vacuuming and changing bedsheets and scrubbing walls and tiles on a Sunday morning ever again. An RV takes approximately five minutes to clean from top to bottom, no more. There really cannot be a bigger reason for procrastinators to opt into this lifestyle.
Eat healthy and cheap
When you are living in the midst of a city where you have literally every kind of food at your disposal, from fried chicken to mozzarella sticks. Obesity is at an all-time high in the United States, and we really need to be very aware of the kinds of foods we are putting in our bodies. Companies will not always give you the right kind of information you need to be making responsible choices in your life. Eating out can be a bad idea if you do it too frequently, but you may not have the willpower to cook. However, when you are out on the road, it can be just the push you need to start cooking for yourself and becoming more and more aware of what kind of food you are eating. Storing grain and rice in your RV can be a boon, as this means you are less likely to end up bingeing something fried that you really shouldn’t be.
Challenge yourself when you are young
The RV lifestyle is not as popular as it should be for good reason. It really isn’t for everyone. Gone are the cushy details that make your life easier when you are staying in one place all your life. However, with it, you get a whole lot more than you ever bargained for in terms of personal growth and personal improvement. Being out in the middle of nowhere when your vehicle breaks down, or running out of food and having to live on grain and rice can really challenge your perception of what you truly need to be happy in the world. You learn to make do with what you have, and you learn to stop complaining about life and just take every obstacle as it comes. Ultimately, there is a reason why sometimes people who have nothing can be extremely happy and satisfied, whereas people who seemingly have everything are anxious, stressed out and depressed: you really do not need material possessions to be happy and live a fruitful wonderful life.
Disadvantages Of The RV Life
Now that we looked at the advantages of living in an RV, let us not be too hasty in deciding that every single person in the world should be jumping to make this change. Often, most of the people you see who decide to go for this life are youngsters, millennials or younger, who usually don’t have children, but are usually traveling with their spouse for company. There is a reason this is the case for RV living: it isn’t easy and it isn’t for everyone. Children need a secure place to grow up in, or they can end up being cranky: just ask any military mother who has had to soothe her kids with every move. Traveling alone for days on end can drive you nuts if you are at least somewhat social, which most of us tend to be. Nobody is so much of an introvert that he or she can travel about in the middle of nowhere for months and talk to a few people.
A lot of social media posts and Youtubers tend to gloss over the disadvantages of living an RV life. However, if you are serious about this life, it is useful to look at some of the disadvantages so you can be prepared to tackle them when you are on the road.
One piece of furniture has multiple purposes
This can be a positive thing on paper, but if you have one table, one chair, and one everything, it can be difficult to multitask with the same furniture every time. When you have to balance a cup of coffee, a laptop, a notebook, a glass of water and your month’s groceries on the same table with no other place to put these items, this can get old fast. Your office will be your kitchen table, dining table, living room seating space, and any kind of flat space to keep things that don’t have a designated place. You may think this isn’t a big deal until you end up spilling your coffee all over your expensive laptop destroying it in the process.
That being said, if you want to regain your floor space perhaps you could add a charging station. Find a power-strip which can be mounted on a wall, usually with 2 screws and find a little wall space. Mount the power-strip and then make some small shelves or use cup hooks to hang your electronic devices from. Coil up your cables and use Velcro cable ties to secure them neatly out of the way.
Little to no natural sunlight
Sunlight is what keeps us sane, and helps release necessary enzymes and hormones in your body that determine your sleep-wake cycle. RVs are extremely dark, even in the middle of the day. With tiny windows that do not allow too much light in, it can turn into a depressing place real quick. Therefore, you will have to buy some extra high-quality lights and install them around the space just to make yourself feel normal and natural. A lot of people buy RVs that have a window on the top of the vehicle for this reason, but you can also install solar panels and artificial lights to mimic the sunlight. All the bulbs in these RVs have LED equivalents which you will find at most auto parts stores which use less power, are cooler and while a little expensive, last longer and are really much brighter. Fixtures with built-in LED’s (no bulb to change) can be found online and usually have reflectors built in for even more light.
No storage space
RV closets are ridiculously tiny and do not allow for much storage space. You might want to turn into a minimalist to help curb your temptation towards consumerism, but you will quickly realize that RVs actually don’t allow for the minimalism level of clutter as well. If you are traveling with a spouse especially, sharing space within what is already a restricted space can become a cause for fights very quickly. Menswear is bulky and large, and women, typically at least, require more accessories and makeup. Add this to the fact that your winter wardrobe will end up taking up more than 50% of your space, and this may just mean it becomes difficult to travel in your RV in cold weather.
A lack of privacy will drive you crazy especially if you are traveling with your children. A couple needs their own space to chill out in, and most importantly, an individual needs his or her own space to wind down. This is bad enough if you think it just means you are in each other’s faces on a daily basis, but it also means you do not get any bathroom privacy. Yikes!
General repair and maintenance
A brick and mortar home is simply not going to break down nearly as much as a vehicle would. Like any vehicle, your RV will need to be kept updated on its servicing and maintenance work, and because this is a vehicle you will use far more than any, you will also need to bump up the yearly servicing to a quarterly one. You may end up learning to fix your own issues throughout the RV, from fans to water systems, to seat cushions to your television set, but that too will incur significant monetary expenses.
Cooking and shopping can be a challenge
Most homes contain spacious modular kitchens that host a wide variety of different kinds of food, from meat to grains and vegetables at your disposal. Grocery trips can fill up your entire pantry, and you can use the food at your whims whenever you feel like it. In your RV, you simply cannot have enough space to bring home any kind of food and arrange it however you wish to while you cook, using up several stoves and several counters in your quest to prepare a three-course meal. You may have to stick to significantly less variety in your meals and stick to one-pot meals most of the times. You may also have to go for canning and preserving foods so that you can get a wider variety of things to eat your food with.
So Why Go The RV Route?
You may be curious about this life and wonder, after reading the above advantages and disadvantages, as to why people go for this life at all. Why go through the convenience at all for years at a time?
For a lot of people, living in an RV is our way of turning our dreams into reality. They may be willing to make simple, short term sacrifices in their lives in order to live the life they want to live in the future. This journey of building an off-grid home focuses on these people striving to live a life away from debt in order to achieve freedom in the future to pursue their own dreams and goals, not the goals that society has set in place for them.
Living in an affordable RV can open a lot of doors for you, and in our minds, it is a tool to help us get to where we want to be someday. You too can live debt free on your own property and free to live however you want.
How To Prepare To Dive Into The RV Life
Once you’ve been bitten by the RV bug, you just might find yourself dreaming about pulling up your life’s anchor and finally cutting the ties that hold you down in one place full-time and jumping straight into the lifestyle with no regrets, only dreams. And for many of RVers, that’s exactly what they do. There are tons of ways to do the RV lifestyle full-time, or even part-time. This is a totally subjective thing that may or may not work for everyone, but tweaking it to suit your needs and lifestyle can help. You will simply need to be flexible and accommodating.
The full-time RV lifestyle doesn’t have to be a fantasy—but you do need to plan for it. If you’re ready to make the switch, here’s what you need to prepare for full-time RVing.
Planning and brainstorming
Remember what we said about subjective things? You will need to be doing some serious brainstorming with your spouse (if you are traveling with them) in order to get a clear concept of what the idea of RV life even means to you, and how you can make the most of it. Ask yourself questions like: what will you do with your possessions? Will you leave them behind at mom’s house, or discard them entirely? Will you need to earn an income while you are RVing full-time, or do you have an existing passive source of income? How will you do that? Do you have a list of places you want to see, or will you become a stationary RV dweller? How much will you travel every month or every year? Will you do this indefinitely, or do you have an end goal in mind? You will have to accept a life that is more fluid and less predictable, which will be extra difficult for you to adjust to if you are a creature of routine. However, you will also get more freedom to do the things you want. You will also need to say goodbye to your community if you are traveling the country. However, you will meet new people along the way and forge friendships that will last a lifetime. If you have a spouse or kids traveling with you, they will be with you all the time, but this also means that you will get to invest in your relationships in a special meaningful way.
Make a list of things to do
Every to-do list is going to vary widely because each person’s situation is unique. To start, sit down and make a list of what it will take to uproot yourself and hit the road. As you cross items off your list and learn more about transitioning to full-time RV living, your list will grow longer and more detailed. It can be anything from research campers, research domicile residency, start decluttering, research where to camp, cancel utilities, research healthcare and insurance options, research and start earning a remote mobile income, and sell most of your possessions, and choose a mailing service.
You will need to take daily steps to declutter your home and simplify your life. What you choose to get rid of will depend on your plans. think carefully about what you want as you go through the process of decluttering. This level of decluttering can be draining and emotionally intense, especially if you decide to get rid of everything. However, it can also be incredibly liberating to pare down your things to the minimum.
Figure out your necessities
How much clothing you take will depend on where you expect to travel. Most full-time RVers follow the weather, meaning they head north or west during the summer, and south during the winter. Constantly living in a mild climate means you will need a few thick and heavy clothes. You might be able to get by with a small wardrobe or, if you have space, you might want to take more with you. The trick to putting together a workable RV wardrobe is to choose clothes that all look good together (so you can easily mix and match), and to choose clothes that you can easily layer if the need arises. Don’t try full-time RVing if you’re not financially prepared for it. Before you make the commitment, assess your financial situation and figure out what kind of lifestyle you can afford. How healthy are your finances? What will your budget be? Will you need to keep a job?
Kitchen tools and appliances
You might be surprised at what you find you need (and what you don’t) when you start living in your RV. So make a list of things you need to keep and decide to only buy something new when you realize you have a need for it. Appliances are a whole different story. Whether you need your laundry done and you need to buy a washer-dryer combo for your RV, or if you wish to invest in a smoothie mixie for easy breakfast options, you will need to be clear about what you wish to buy.
Get your life in order
Even if you are traveling about the country along with your whims, you’ll need to declare a state for your domicile. This is not the same thing as your residence. Your domicile determines where your motorhome is registered, what state issues your plates and driver’s license, and what your insurance is under. It also has income tax implications. You will need to take care of your insurance in case something happens to your “home.” Most full-timers sell their home when they hit the road, but that’s not always the best option. If you’ve got a lot of debt or need to pad your finances, selling your house might be the right way to go. If the house is paid for, you could consider renting it while you’re gone—especially if you plan to return at some point.
Join RV clubs
You can’t get too far in life without receiving help, advice or commiseration from other people who have walked the same path. There are several organizations that will help make living in an RV full-time easier. In addition to the great discounts on campgrounds, these clubs give you access to a wealth of valuable, insider information from people who are already living on the road.
The planning process can be difficult when you haven’t done this before, and you don’t have many references to go off on. However, this is exactly the kind of hard work that will eventually pay off in the end when you get to live your dream life. Just imagine you deciding and planning everything in perfection, and the emotion that is bound to wash over you when the D-day arrives and you wake up giddy with excitement to embark on this new stage of your life. Did you agree with our article? Do you have any suggestions for anyone reading this article? Let us know what you think, we would love to hear from you.