Last Updated on July 3, 2023
Living in an RV can be a dream come true for many. The sky’s the limit and you can drive anywhere, whenever you want. I’ve been living in one for 3 years and must tell you that living in an RV is a big change, and if you are not ready, that can end up being a nightmare. Before you decide to live in an RV there are a few things you need to consider first.
Before you Make the Change
You need to evaluate your decision as to why you want to leave your conventional home. There are no right or wrong reasons, you just need to be sure you know why you are making this change. Is the simpler life better for you and do you have the opportunity to live a more freeing lifestyle? You also need to involve everyone in your family. Or at least all that will be living in the RV. It will be smaller quarters, so you need a consensus that living in an RV will work for all involved.
You also need to consider if you have young children and pets. Living with older children that need to attend schools can be challenging unless they are to be homeschooled. You also need to remember that children will take up more space and have more needs such as clothing, medications, toys, and equipment that you will also need to bring along. It is not so easy to minimize the things a child needs. As for pets, the smaller space can make you very aware of the smells they produce and the messes they make, so be sure to consider all scenarios when you live with someone dependent on you. Pets need to be also considered when it is colder or hotter outside. If you want to leave your pets home in the hot or cold weather, you will need to make sure your AC or your heater is on. In most cases you will need a generator to run your AC, so you will need to run that at all times you are gone. There are also parks that don’t allow pets or it will cost you extra.
About insurance and permanent address
You also need to get the right insurance, not just for the vehicle but for you. Progressive has a full-timers insurance which is for people who live in RVs. It’s similar to rental insurance. You will need a health policy that covers you no matter where you are or have a home base where you can go back if needed. Some policies only cover you if you have a permanent address on file so you need to find a way to have one.
For taxes and other legal requirements you will need to have a permanent address, so it is important to get this established if you are not keeping your home. All states require proof of residency before you can get a driver’s license and you usually need to open bank accounts and get insurance. Sometimes a post office box is enough, but not always. Be sure to research all guidelines for living in an RV and permanent addresses. You can also consider using a family member’s address if they agree.
See the article on Living Full Time in Your RV: How To Set Up Your Residency?
Finally, you need to get a mail-forwarding service set up as well as online banking. Mail-forwarding services vary so look at all the options before deciding on a plan for you. Some services even come with a physical address that can help with your permanent address problem. For all bills and banking going paperless will be the easiest way to stay on top of things while you are on the road. This way bills do not get lost in the mail and you can prevent late fees.
Internet: in most cases, you can use a mobile hotspot with a good provider that will give you a good amount of data. There are other ways to get internet, see the article: 5 ways to get internet when you are living in an RV
Getting Ready to Downsize
Once you have done all the research and are ready to start RV living, you need to get the best RV for your budget and needs. You can choose between motorhomes, fifth wheels, and campers depending on your budget and what you are looking for. Motorhomes offer the most luxury and are most similar to your home, but will also be more expensive. Campers and fifth wheels are cheaper and must be towed, which can be positive when you consider that you also will have a car too.
Next, you need to downsize your belongings. Whatever is not going with you either needs to be sold or put in storage. Downsizing offers one great benefit in that you can remove stuff from your life that is not needed. You really focus on the things that matter most to you when forced to downsize and find that a lot of clutter can be removed from your life. This is almost as freeing as driving on the open road. If you plan on keeping your home, you can always store your belongings there, but whatever is not important should go for good.
Living life in an RV
You thought about it, you researched it, you are prepared and you have your RV. Now it is time to get to living. As exciting as it is to live on the road, there are still some responsibilities you need to remember a few things to take care of besides finding the right adventures.
Manage your income: You may not have a mortgage and expensive bills each month, but you still have bills. You may also not be able to work on the road so you need to account for all finances coming and going There are numerous ways to earn money while living on the road, so you should look at these options to ensure you can continue to keep living your new dream lifestyle. See the article: Ways To Find Remote Jobs To Live Your RV Life Free
Budget: Estimate your expenses before you venture out and stick to a budget once you are out on the road. You should expect to spend between $1500 and $3000 per month living in an RV and while this is cheaper than living in a home, you need to make sure you budget wisely and do not over-extend yourself.
Choose your stops wisely: Plan out where you will be making stops, making sure you get close enough to towns to take care of things. You want to stop where there will be facilities and stores to meet your needs. The places to keep in mind are restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, campgrounds, and laundromats.
Maintain a second vehicle: You may not need a second vehicle, but it is always a good idea to keep and maintain one. You never know when your RV could break down and you don’t want to be stuck. You can tow the car or keep it centrally located. Having a car is also a fuel-efficient way to explore the landscape better, since driving an RV around windy roads is not always the easiest thing to do.