Please note that this post may contain affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, We may earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link
I feel that my wife and I have been preparing for RV living for over a year. We started small in the RV living world by getting a travel trailer. But now that we’re ready to step it up and prepare for RV Living full time, I mean to take it to the next level, we have started looking at 5th wheel campers and even looking at a new truck to pull the new RV 5th wheel. Join us on our journey.
If you also dream of the RV lifestyle you may be wondering how do I prepare for full-time RV living? I hope this article can help you in many ways.
RV Ready, Set, Go!!
Preparing for RV Living Full-Time
1. It all begins with a dream.
That’s right, I said a dream. We would go camping in our travel trailer and by the end of the camping trip we were dreading going back home to the same old, same old. So on our way home from the camping trip we would start dreaming about what it would take for us to go out full-time. We’re still young, but do we really want to wait until we’re in our 70’s or 80’s to start with our dream? Of course we don’t. So we got home and started putting pen to paper seeing if it was a pipe dream or if it could become reality. As a believer, I spent many hours talking with God and seeing if this is of my selfishness or if it’s something that would honor Him.
2. Get the Right RV for Your Needs
You will need to decide if you want a motorhome, 5th wheel or a travel trailer. My wife and I have a travel trailer but we’re ready to upgrade to a 5th wheel for more space and features. I don’t have anything against a motorhome, but with a motorhome we would have to pull a car with us when we travel. With a 5th wheel, however, we can unhook it from the truck and then the truck would be our transportation at our destination. We’ve also toured motorhomes and 5th wheels and our personal opinion is that there’s more living space on a 5th wheel. (Check out our post on choosing the right RV for your needs).
3. The Financial Side of Things
Full-time RVing isn’t for everyone and not everyone will be financially ready to do it and that’s OK. My wife and I both have our own businesses that have allowed us to be able to make this dream become a reality. My wife has two businesses – both that she runs from home (or anywhere the RV takes us!) and I have my own plumbing business. I know that I can’t take my plumbing business on the road with me so we will close it down and work my wife’s businesses together while we live on the road. Some of us may need to sell things (garage sale), or even sell your home. I know the scariest part about all this for me and my wife was deciding to sell the house or to keep it. What if we don’t like traveling as much as we think we will?
You may wish to rent your home and do a test run in the RV, first. Or, like us, downsize, sell all of the “stuff” that has accumulated over the years and put the house up for sale.
Can you work from the road with your current job? Or, will you need to find another source of income? Can you afford to live on a pension or investments, instead?
There’s much to consider on the financial side when preparing for RV living.
4. Get your house ready.
If you’re going to sell your house, or even rent it, you might need to make some improvements, repaint, re-carpet or just fix some dings in the walls. Take the time to do any repair or improvements and give away, sell or donate any items you won’t need when living in your RV. (more on this below)
5. All the Little (and Not so Little Things)
There’s so much to consider when preparing for RV living. Questions you may ask yourself might include: if I don’t have a house any longer how will I get my mail? Where do I get my vehicle licensed at? How will I get internet? How will I keep up with Big Brother or This is Us? All valid questions (and we’ll answer each one in future posts).
To start, arrange for online bill paying for as many bills as you can (paperless billing). That way you won’t have to have a physical piece of paper to pay your bill. The less mail you get, the better but you might also consider getting a post office box or using a service like MyRVMail (they have options to have your mail scanned and sent digitally or shipped to you where you are at the time.)
Update your insurance. Since your RV is now your home you need to make sure and take out the proper insurance on your RV and vehicle. You don’t want to get caught behind the 8 ball when it comes to insurance. The law requires that you carry Full-time RV insurance.
Think through all of these things now and prepare so that you don’t have issues down the road.
6. Set a date
Yes, you heard me right. I said set a date! Put that on the calendar and say on this date we are heading out full time. Scary Huh? I never said it would be easy. Do you know how many times my wife and I have dreamed and talked about doing this and never pulled the trigger? Not until we set the date and put it in writing. Do some soul searching, it’s going to be a lifestyle change. You need to face reality and know what it is you’re doing. Leaving your community, your friends, your family and your lifestyle. But hey, if you like the slower paced lifestyle and like to see things that you’ve never seen before then I’m excited to have you on this journey with us.
7. Cut back on possessions
Cut back? I don’t want to get rid of my stuff. OK, maybe you might want to get a storage unit and pay monthly to hold onto the stuff you want to keep. If you find you can live without stuff, then start purging, start figuring out what you can take with you in the RV and what you don’t need any longer. Be sure to think of the things you need, the essentials like coffee maker, toaster, pots and pans just for your kitchen. Then you’ll need to figure out what you’re going to need to bedroom, bathroom and bunkroom or extra room.
Remember that you’ll have way less storage in your RV than you have in your home. What are the essentials? What can you live without? Are there smaller, more efficient alternatives that would work in an RV?
As you cut back, consider whether you want to give away your possessions or donate them or, if you want to sell them. If you plan to sell them, you can use Ebay, Facebook Swap Shops or even have a massive garage sale. You may wish to do a combination of all of them, as we did.
8. Are you ready to do this?
If so, you need to prepare yourself mentally. Saying your goodbyes, leaving your house, leaving the lifestyle that you have known for years. This is probably going to be the hardest thing out of all the steps in preparing for RV living. Getting rid of stuff will be a close second. It’s time to say good bye to the comfort living and say hello to the easy, stress free lifestyle.
9. Prepare a budget
This is vital! before you go on the road you need to know how much you have and how to spend it wisely. It’s always nice to have some sort of savings on hand because you never know what might creep up on you. New tires for the RV or the vehicle you’re traveling in. Something that you weren’t expecting like hydraulics, black or grey tank, water line break, just to mention a few. Know what you’re going to spend on gas a month for travel, how long you want to stay somewhere and what it’s going to cost. Consider meal planning, something my wife and I do on a weekly basis. We will sit down and come up with a menu for the next week and then once a week we go grocery shopping and we stick to our menu. Are you going to need internet, satellite TV, or propane tank refills?
All this will cost money so be sure to have that figured in when deciding what you’re going to do. Then I’m sure you’re going to want to eat out some or do some tourist things. Just be wise.
In a future post, we’ll share our actual RV living budget worksheet and how we’ve actually saved tons of money while living on the road.
RV READY, SET GO!
Follow us on our journey and let us know about your journey. We would love to hear from you and how you are preparing for RV living.
Have a blessed day!
Mike and Sue