Motorhoming | Family Motor Coach Association
Close your eyes and imagine the freedom of going where you want to go with your RV, when you want to go, and staying as long as you want before moving on. Sounds terrific, doesn't it?
But before you hit the road, there are important things you need to take care of to make sure your full-time RV dream doesn't turn into a nightmare. Here are five helpful hints to keep in mind before you go RVing full-time:
1. Discover if Full-Time RVing Right for You
Even if you've been taking RV vacations for years, it's a big step to make the decision to go RVing full time. Couples must both be in this with equal enthusiasm. Remember, no matter how large a rig you've got, it's a small space for someone who doesn't really want to be there. Before you put your house on the market, consider renting an RV for a year while you hit the road for a test drive of the full time RV lifestyle.
Hint: Check out RV websites and message boards. Get in touch with other full time RVers, and ask all of your questions. Full-timers also have annual conventions, so you might want to check one out before signing on with full time RVing yourself.
2. Crunch the Numbers Before You Go Rving Full-Time
Before you make the decision to go RVing full time, sit down for some serious financial planning. Set up your budget and figure out approximate costs of everything you'll spend money during a year of full time RV living including groceries, insurance, cell phone, gas, and rig maintenance.
Then add a percentage as an inflation cushion. When you get to the gas column, add a little more, given the ever-changing prices at the pump. Check the final figure against your savings and investment income, and you'll have an idea of how long you can afford to stay on the road.
Hint: There are computer programs that can help you manage personal finances and retirement planning. This will help estimate what a year of full time RVing will cost, and will come in quite handy on the road as you pay bills and keep your finances current.
3. Learn How to Make Do-It-Yourself Repairs While RVing Full-Time
On the one hand, RVing full time saves you the hassle of dealing with all those household repair chores that keep piling up. But on the other hand, it's up to you to make sure your RV home is kept in tip-top shape both inside and out. Unless you were a mechanic/handyman/handywoman before hitting the road, you'll have to learn a certain amount of "Doing It Yourself" maintenance and repair skills. Research how to drain your hot water heater and how to check your hookup when you get to/leave a campsite and other important maintenance issues to keep your rig running smoothly and safely.
Hint: Read an RV how-to maintenance manual to get an idea of what's in store for you once you're on the road RVing full time.
4. Make the Transition from House to RV?
Most new full-time RVers ask "What about all my stuff?"
If you're making a commitment to the full-time RV lifestyle, you'll probably sell your house, give a lion's share of your belongings to friends and family, and have a massive yard sale. But then there's the stuff you've squirreled away that you can't bear to part with like the birthday gift your daughter made for you in the fourth grade.
For personal items that won't fit in the RV, consider renting a storage locker when you first set out and see how you feel about what's in there when you come back to town. Hardly anyone ever misses the stuff they've left behind. Besides, having less leaves more room to pick up a knickknack or two on your travels!
Hint: Let your children and other close relatives choose a favorite item to display at their own homes. You'll be able to "visit" the stuff when you're in the area, and they'll always have a reminder of you.
5. Stay in Touch When You're RVing Full-Time
21st century technology has made it easy to keep in touch when you're RVing full time. Get used to e-mail as your primary means of communication with friends, family and personal business contacts. You might want to revise your cell phone plan once it's your only telephone line. A Personal Mail Box service can hold your snail mail and forward it to you on your route. Or, if you have a home base that you return to every couple of months, you can pick it up then. And, don't forget to arrange to have regular monthly/quarterly payments done via automatic electronic withdrawals.
Hint: There are many online communities for full-time RVing information and resources.