Full-time RV living is becoming an increasingly popular lifestyle. It offers minimalism, adventure, ways to save money and many other benefits. However, getting ready to move into an RV can seem a bit overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Learn why living in an RV full-time is such a beneficial and unique experience as well as RV packing tips that will help you get on the road.
BENEFITS OF FULL-TIME RV LIVING
RVs are typically used for road trips with friends and family. However, some people love RVing so much that they make it their only way to live. Living in an RV on a full-time basis has a lot of advantages. Find out why so many people take to living on wheels for an RV lifestyle.
Did you know that living in an RV can actually be cheaper than traditional living options? In 2016, the average rental payment for an apartment was approximately $1,145.13 for a single-bedroom efficiency, for an average cost of $13,741 a year. In addition to rent and mortgage payments, normal living options also come with other expenses such as homeowner’s insurance and utility bills. Once you add everything up, it can cost quite a lot every year.
One of the greatest benefits of RV living is the amount of money someone can save. The purchase price of RVs varies wildly depending on the age, style and features. An RV that is in good condition can generally be purchased for as low as $10,000, with prices soaring to $300,000 and more for luxury models. A person interested in RV living can therefore obtain one for far less than the purchase price of a traditional home. The large amount of money that is saved from making that one-time investment can be put toward other things that you would like to spend money on as opposed to monthly bills.
Not only that, but some campgrounds offer exclusive benefits for loyal members, making an RV abode an even more affordable option. From earning daily discount rates and rewards points to earning free nights of camping, you will be surprised at how much you can save when you know how.
FULL TIME RV FLEXIBILITY
Signing a lease or taking on a mortgage means that you plan on rooting yourself down to that location for the amount of time that is stated within the contract. While some people love the idea of sticking to one place, there are others who find the freedom of RV living much more inviting. You can travel freely without ever having to leave your home or belongings behind.
Whether you have a job that requires you to travel or you simply enjoy the change of scenery, a full-time RV lifestyle offers the benefit of taking your home with you wherever you may go. Visiting friends or family across the country is easy since you can bring your own accommodations with you. Where you go, your home goes, making RV living the ultimate choice for those who love the freedom of the open road.
SIMPLIFY LIFE WITH FULL TIME RVING
With many people wanting to live a simpler life, minimalism has become a popular trend over recent years. When you live in an RV full-time, every inch of space that you have available to you must be used wisely. This makes an RV the perfect living solution for those who wish to not only simplify their lives also to enhance other aspects of their lives.
Imagine not spending a ton of money on things such as furniture and electronics that you do not have space for inside an RV. Now, consider what else you could do with the money you save from not purchasing those things. You can put it toward big, expensive dinners, visiting amusement parks and other attractions and anything else that you want to experience in your life.
MEET NEW PEOPLE
Traveling gives you the opportunity to meet a wide range of new people from all walks of life. Even though RV living tends to consist of a lot of change and travel, there is a sense of camaraderie amongst those who choose this lifestyle. It is not uncommon to become friends with those who share the love of living in an RV.
While making friends with normal neighbors who you see nearly every day can be nice, it is not quite the same as experiencing new locations with different people. Living in an RV full-time provides you with the chance to make connections with interesting people who you might not have otherwise met.
HOW TO START PACKING
RV living requires you to downsize the things you keep in your life. Choosing what to pack in your RV can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially if you are a newcomer to the RV lifestyle. There is only so much space inside to work with, which means you need to be selective in everything you decide to bring along for the ride. Check out some of these helpful tips to learn how to prepare for full-time RV living.
BE SELECTIVE IN WHAT YOU BRING…
While it may at first seem like everything you own is a necessity, that is not exactly the case. There are some items that should certainly take priority over others, such as the basic items needed to properly operate the RV. You should also consider bringing additional accessories that can be helpful, such as a tow bar or an extra storage rack. Basic tools such as screwdrivers, pliers, a hammer, drill and so on, are also good to have on hand, but you do not have to worry about carrying the entire contents of the tool shed with you.
As you are deciding what needs to come with you, keep in mind that space is limited. Are there certain things you wish to bring with you that could easily be found and bought while traveling? Ideally, you should begin with the bare minimum of things and then add to them as needed. Starting out with a little less will be easier to manage than starting out with way too much.
…BUT DON’T LEAVE ALL THE COMFORTS OF HOME BEHIND
If there are certain items that you absolutely feel like you can’t go without, find a way to make it work with the space you have. Just because you are downsizing, that does not mean you have to let go of every comfort of home. Even if it seems unnecessary when it comes to functionality, some items can still provide joy. Those items should be given careful consideration when deciding if you really need to leave them behind, especially if they hold special sentimental value.
REMEMBER THE FULL TIME RV ESSENTIALS FOR EVERYDAY LIVING
Clothes can arguably be the most complicated thing to pack for living in a motorhome. Ultimately, you will need to pack clothing that will be suitable for any kind of weather. No matter if it is hot and sunny or cold and snowy, you should be sure that you have the right clothing to keep you comfortable for sudden temperature changes. A good place to start without accidentally packing every single item of clothing in your closet includes:
- Coat or jacket
- Sweatshirt and sweatpants
- Tennis shoes
- A few pairs of jeans
- A few pairs of shorts
- Undergarments and socks
- Extra clothing to layer in extreme temperatures
Choosing items of clothing that pair well with one another for multiple outfits can also be a big help. Solid colors are ideal for this and you can build an entire wardrobe around staple pieces of clothing. There are tons of resources available online to help you successfully build your “capsule” wardrobe. Essentially, you can end up with the ability to create dozens of different outfits if your items are interchangeable.
DON’T FORGET THE OTHER HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
It is key to remember that there is not a whole lot of room. Everything in an RV is going to be smaller than what would be found in a typical home. Where there was once room for baskets of laundry and stacks of dishes, there is now very limited space.
For bathroom and kitchen items, it can help to follow the 1-2 per person rule while packing. This means that everything from cups, plates, towels, toothbrushes and other household essentials can and should be pared down so that there are only one or two of each item for every person living in the RV. This will help you cut down on a lot of clutter and give you a little extra wiggle room for the things you need.
CONSIDER YOUR MAIN STAY/PARK LOCATIONS
There are a couple of ways that living in an RV full-time can be done. Boondocking, also known as dry camping for free, will require you to bring certain items. Think along the lines of camping supplies. If this is the kind of RV lifestyle you plan to have most of the time, you may want to be sure that you have important camping essentials such as coolers, lanterns, outdoor tables and anything else you may desire (within reason) to be safe and comfortable.
If boondocking is not your ideal vision for RVing, there is no need to worry. RV parks can be the perfect solution for you. A lot of RV camps allow for an elevated level of comfort compared to boondocking, as you’ll be able to connect to water and electricity. You may still want to consider bringing some bonus items, such as a propane fire pit, hammock, golf clubs or other recreational equipment to enjoy during your stay.
TOP PACKING TIPS FOR FULL TIME RV LIVING
Packing as light as possible is key to comfortable RV living. Explore some of the most helpful tips for full-time RVing so you can feel confident and ready.
PLAN YOUR MEALS
Make a meal plan ahead of time to get you started. This way you will have what you need but will not overfill your RV with food. Meal planning also saves you money from being forced to stop at secluded grocery stores with potentially higher prices along the way.
BRING ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE FULL TIME RV LIFE
You won’t be driving around the entire time you are living in your RV. It is important to have some things to keep yourself busy during your downtime. This can be anything from board games and movies to bikes for trail rides.
SKIP THE BREAKABLES
It’s not always the smoothest drive in an RV. Roads can and will get bumpy. It’s best that you do not have a bunch of breakables lurking about the inside. Invest in dishes and other items that do not break as easily.
DIGITAL COPIES OF ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS
Everyone needs their documentation such as social security cards, birth certificates, marriage licenses and more. Unfortunately, the RV is not the safest place for them to be kept. One of the best things you can do with your important original documents is to keep them in a secured storage facility or a safety deposit box. Before storing them away, scan them onto a password-protected USB drive or upload them to a cloud storage system. That way you will have your proof of identification if you need it and your originals will be kept out of harm’s way.
FIRST AID KIT FOR FULL TIME RVING
Any time you are traveling, a first aid kit should always be readily available. No RV should be without the proper first aid essentials for use in case of an emergency or unexpected injury. It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
EMERGENCY ROADSIDE KIT
As unpleasant as it can be, breakdowns and other emergencies can happen on occasion. Be sure that you are prepared if this should happen to you with an emergency roadside kit including items such as space blankets, some non-perishable food items and water in case you have a long wait for roadside assistance.
RVing does not come with the guarantee of an abundance of power sources. While RVs have access to solar power, car batteries and hookups at powered campground sites, there is always the chance that those will not be available. Keep the lights on and the fridge cold wherever you end up with a backup generator.
Everyone hopes they won’t need to use a fire extinguisher, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep a fire extinguisher where it can be easily accessed at all times and check it regularly to ensure it is still in proper working order.
RV TOILET PAPER
Is there a difference between regular toilet paper and RV-friendly toilet paper? In fact, there is! Be sure to keep toilet paper specifically designed for your RV’s piping system to prevent clogs. It disintegrates much more easily to reduce the risk of any issues.