Like any lifestyle change, making the transition from a traditional home to full-time RVing involves planning, compromise and adjustment. Some adjustments to full-time RVing are obvious, while others are learned through time and experience. Whether your new home is a fifth wheel or a self-contained RV, here are a few tips to give you a head start on your new life.
Downsize – A Lot
The downsizing process can be stressful, especially if you’re emptying a large house you’ve lived in for years. But after sorting through everything, deciding what to keep and what to sell, donate or give away, many people feel a real sense of liberation by finally letting go of all that “stuff”.
Space – for you and your things – will probably become a premium, even in a large RV. However, this is where your creativity comes into play. You may surprise yourself at the clever ways you can find to create an extra niche for something you can’t live without.
When living on the road, it makes sense to set up a “home” base to receive mail, vote and file tax returns. Many full-time RVers who still own property in their original state of residence retain that address and rely on a relative or friend to forward mail.
But others prefer to establish a home base by leasing a year-round spot in a private RV park. Some parks allow you to receive your mail and can be used as a permanent residence.
If you prefer to stay mobile, consider using a private mail box (PMB) service that will hold your mail until you pick it up or notify the business where to forward it. Make sure the service is aware that you’re a full-time RVer. Do some research and choose a well-established PMB service.
As a full-time RVer, you may want to continue working while traveling to supplement or maintain your income. While some jobs require staying in one location for a while, others (maybe even your current job) can be taken on the road.
Internet access is essential for RVers. It’s more than an amenity – it’s vital for keeping in touch with family and friends, earning an income, entertainment, travel planning and managing your finances. Most of the national wireless providers offer plans and devices that allow you to stay connected on your smartphone, tablet or laptop with high-speed options on limited or unlimited data usage.
Work camping is part-time work geared specifically towards RVers. Many of these jobs are offered at busy tourist destinations and some offer free or reduced rate RV sites as part of the job’s compensation. This type of work is popular with full-timers, as they get to make money while visiting many destinations on their own travel lists.
Like any vehicle, an RV requires regular maintenance. Knowing basic engine repair and being familiar with other mechanical components of your new home can save you time and money. It’s also vital to learn how to properly flush and winterize the RV’s water system and how to troubleshoot the electrical system before hitting the road.
Enjoying the Views
If you don’t plan to lease a home base, one challenge is finding a place to park while on the road. Some campgrounds, even those that are fee-based, can be primitive, so do some research when planning to visit different areas.
- The US Army Corp of Engineers Campgrounds are in scenic areas and usually include clean showers, bathrooms and basic amenities.
- The Bureau of Land Management offers free and fee-based camping in wilderness areas and developed campgrounds.
- The National Parks are seasonally high-traffic areas, so try to schedule a stay at a campground during spring or fall for less crowded facilities.
Hitting the open road and heading for the horizon is an exhilarating experience. Being able to live this way day after day for as long as you chose creates a sense of indescribable freedom.