Being able to hop in an RV and hitting the road to pretty much anywhere sounds like a life most of us want to have.
What are the downsides to living in an RV full time?
This is something I think about all the time!
Living on the road can help you save money and it definitely gives you a sense of freedom but let’s be honest, it’s not a “normal” way of living
With an RV, you can’t have a normal job or a normal social life, but you do have one life-changing thing…
This is why many people (myself included) are considering or have considered RVing full time.
If you are considering RV’ing full time you need to weigh out the pros and cons of RV living before jumping straight into it.
This is why I reached out to some awesome bloggers who are living in an RV full-time or have done so in the past!
They are sharing their pros and cons of RV living with you so you can have some insight before buying that RV and hitting the road.
Let’s get to it!
Making Sense Of Cents
Michelle runs the amazing blog Making Sense Of Cents where she blogs about personal finance, travel, and more! Here is a brief background on Michelle’s story:
Me and my husband (and our two dogs) RV’ed full-time for a few years, and now we live on a sailboat. We absolutely loved it and explored it a ton!
Michelle shares her pros and cons of RV living below:
We absolutely loved living in an RV and I know that we will do it again one day. Some of the things that we loved included:
- You can live by the beach, mountains, desert, near/in national parks, and anywhere else. Living in an RV means that you can live wherever you want to live. The United States has so many beautiful places to see and live, and because it would be hard to just pick one place, RV life allows us to live in as many as we want. And, you can RV in many other countries and continents as well!
- RVing is great for adventure lovers. For us, we loved being able to park our home right next to amazing hiking and biking trails, as well as being able to rock climb, amongst many other outdoor activities.
- You can follow the weather. Since we could park our home wherever we wanted, we would often follow the weather. We like to stay in temperatures that are just perfect – somewhere around 70 degrees year-round.
Michelle states that she has no cons about RVing full time and that she really misses it!
Michelle also provided her top tip for someone looking to RV full time, here it is:
My top tip for those looking to RV full-time is to test it out first to see if you would like it. For us, we were Jeep camping for months before we decided to get an RV – so we knew we would like it. You may want to rent one first to see if it’s for you.
Recommended Post: 11 Reasons To Choose RV Life
Think Save Retire
My wife and I are 37 and 34-year-old early retirees traveling the United States full-time in our 30′ Airstream Classic travel trailer. We set sail in 2016 and haven’t looked back.
Our solar-powered rig gives us the flexibility to stay almost anywhere for extended periods of time without the need to be “hooked up” to the grid. It’s an amazing freedom.
Here are Steve’s pros and cons of RV living:
- We get to see amazing things; beautiful national parks (especially off-peak!), desert landscapes right outside our front door, attractions that we probably wouldn’t get to see otherwise
- The freedom to travel (and live) anywhere your heart desires, and then move whenever you like (many RVers “follow the weather” by living in the north during the summer and the south during the winter)
- It can be nearly as cheap as you want it to be, especially if you’re okay spending time outside of campgrounds; BLM land (especially out west) offers a wealth of options to stay in beautiful places absolutely free
- You’ll get to see how people live their lives outside of where ever you live; even in the first-world U.S., a lot of people live much, much differently and RVing helps us see the reality of the people in our own nation
- Full-time travel means we won’t have the same community that we once had; most of us don’t have the opportunity to integrate into the local community because we’re moving around too quickly
- It’s easy to feel like you’re “constantly on the go”, but your travel style will greatly influence that; for a lot of us, a slower pace tends to be more relaxing
- Much less living space; it doesn’t really bother my wife or me, but it’s definitely a big change from living in a house; if you like to spread out or “have your own space”, it might be a challenging experience
Steve shares his top tip for someone looking to RV full time below:
My #1 tip for those looking to RV full-time: Travel in as small of a rig (travel trailer, 5th wheel, Class A motorhome, etc…) as you can. The smaller your rig, the easier it will be to pull/drive, the better gas mileage you’ll get, the cheaper it will be to buy and maintain and the more spots you’ll be able to fit into.
I’ve seen A LOT of people struggle to fit their oversized RVs into camping spots all around the country. It’s not a pretty sight. Whenever possible, travel in as small of a rig as you can while still feeling comfortable.
Nathan is the author behind Wand’rly which is a blog created for full-time travelers. He wants to show you that you can live a free life by living minimally. Here is a brief background of Nathan’s story:
I’ve been living in vans and RVs since 2008, from old beaters to completely renovated Airstreams, maintaining a VW Bus all through Mexico, and plenty more.
My family and I have traveled around North America in them, most of my kids were born on the road, and we plan to continue doing so indefinitely. At the moment, we’re living out of our 1976 Airstream near Purgatory Ski Resort in Durango, CO for the winter.
Here are Nathan’s pros and cons of RV living:
- Spending unlimited time exploring with your spouse or family.
- Opening your mind as you realize the little redneck town you came from does not, in fact, inform the consciousness of everyone in the world.
- Establishing new friendships, especially for younger kids who are along for the ride. You just tend to migrate toward meeting and then meeting up with other traveling families, though, so it’s not something that can’t be overcome.
- Homeschooling teens as they get older can be much more difficult than with younger kiddos.
Nathan shares his top tip:
Take it slow, drink in the places you visit rather than trying to do every state as quickly as possible or see everything. Doing a few places well tends to be more rewarding than scooting all over the globe until you burn out.
Recommended Post: Complete Guide To Travel Full-Time
Mike from Ninja Budgeter is a personal finance blogger that teaches you to live a fulfilled life on a budget. Here is a brief background of Mike’s story:
I lived in a 36′ 5th wheel trailer for four years with my wife, our dog, and eventually, our first daughter. I highly recommend RV living to anybody who wants to simplify and save money. If you’ve got some adventure in you, it’s a great life.
Here are Mike’s pros and cons of RV living:
I would say that my biggest pros for RV living would be:
- Saving money. RVs are easy to finance and if you have a spot to park one, you can pay it off while living cheaply and then sell it and use the money for a down payment on a home.
- Simplicity. RV living forces you to not accumulate crap. I was happy with our uncluttered, simple RV life.
My biggest cons would be:
- Weather. RV living can be really tough when it’s super rainy, windy, or during other extreme weather.
- Maintenance. Generally, trailers require more maintenance than a home. I found myself doing a lot of washing, caulking, replacing plumbing fittings, etc. Not a huge deal but it’s good to be handy if you’re going to live in an RV!
Mike shares his top tip below:
My best tip for somebody considering this lifestyle is to take a lot of time choosing an RV that suits you and your life. There are dozens of different types of RVs from campers to travel trailers, fifth wheels, and park models.
Within those, there are hundreds of different trim levels and floor plans. Make sure that you spend a good amount of time shopping and deciding what best suits your lifestyle.
Lindsey and Adam run the amazing blog Nuventure Travels (which is an awesome blog name!) where they share insightful travel tips so you can start your adventure on the road!
I’ll let Lindsey take it away:
We’re Lindsey and Adam Nubern. We’ve been traveling full-time around the world since 2014. For two years, we traveled full-time in our 17-foot Casita travel trailer around the USA.
We recently transitioned to a basecamp lifestyle where we live part of the year in our home in Colorado and part of the year adventuring in our travel trailer.
Lindsey and Adam share their pros and cons of RV living below:
- You have the freedom of choice to move your home and where you are to anywhere and at any time!
- For us, we have a smaller space than living in a home, so we have less stuff to maintain, less stuff to clean, and more time to be outside, go on adventures, and have fun!
- You save money! The way we travel, it’s less expensive for us to live in our travel trailer full-time than live in our home.
- When you’re traveling to new places all the time, it can be lonely even if you’re with your significant other. You don’t have your good friends to call up and get a drink or go on fun adventures with. Our recommendation to combat this is to spend part of the year near family and friends so you can be part of normal life and get-togethers. Also, meet other RVers on the road digitally on Instagram, Facebook, or through other communities that you can meet up with and plan fun adventures with.
- If you boondock a lot or move from location to location quickly, you are consistently spending thinking-time and energy on keeping track of how much power you have to charge devices; how much water you have for drinking, cooking, and showers; and how much space you have in your grey and black water tanks. When you’re in a home, you don’t have to worry about those things. To combat this and to save money, we travel slower and stay in places a month at a time. You get a better deal at a campsite if you stay longer.
- Many times your location is determined by the weather. Living in an RV is awesome when the weather’s nice and warm because the outdoors become your extended living space. However, when it’s cold, you want to be inside, cozy, and warm so living tiny can start to feel like you’re living in very tight quarters. To overcome this, we travel to where the warm weather is. Living in an RV is more enjoyable that way.
Lindsey and Adam share their top tip:
For anyone looking to RV full-time, our number one tip is to do small experiments to learn how you like to travel and what kind of rig you like. Take a few trips and experiment with different speeds of travel and rigs that you are thinking about. You learn a lot in just a couple of days of your travel style and the pros and cons of different rigs. For example, if you like to move fast a sprinter van/campervan may be a good fit for you.
If you like to move slower, a travel trailer may be better. For us, we lived in a campervan in New Zealand for five months by buying a campervan and we traveled fast, but every time we wanted to go to the store or go on a hike we had to drive to, we had to pack up everything in “our house” like all the pots, pans, dishes, coffee cups and then we could go.
We learned if we wanted to RV full-time, we needed to move slower to be less stressed and save money by getting deals on campsites. So we wanted a small travel trailer we could park somewhere, unhook, and then use our car to run errands to the grocery store or go on adventures.
Recommended Post: Buying A Campervan In New Zealand
Follow Your Detour
Lindsay and Dan are the authors behind the amazing blog Follow Your Detour. They have been traveling around the world since 2010 and started to RV full time in 2017! They have a lot of experience traveling and RVing so let’s hear their story:
We’ve been RVing full-time for 2 years now. We’ve driven around 40,000 miles, visited 36 states, crossed into Canada and Mexico, have explored 13 national parks…and we aren’t done yet!
Lindsay and Dan share their pros and cons of RV living below:
- We originally hit the road primarily to travel but had no idea how much it would impact us in a greater way. It’s opened up so many opportunities for us. We’ve started and grown a business, we feel more inspired and intentional on the road, and have experienced tremendous personal growth in so many ways.
- It’s improved our marriage! We spend more quality time together, including long drives where we talk for hours. It’s given us a shared goal to work towards and allowed us to create bigger dreams for our future together.
- We’ve met so many awesome people along our travels. The RV community has the kindest people and we’ve been blessed to make so many lifelong friends.
- We miss being plugged into and involved in a community. We can’t volunteer at church anymore or do certain hobbies, such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Dan’s case.
- It can get be challenging to balance feeling like you’re on vacation and reality. When you work from the road, it’s tough to find a routine and schedule that keeps you productive. There’s always something outside your RV door that’s begging you to explore, which can be a huge distraction when you need to get your work done.
- We wish our entire family could come along with us! Being away from family is always tough, but thank goodness for FaceTime.
Lindsay and Dan share their top tip:
The pros hugely outweigh the cons! We’ve loved every single day of living on the road and can’t recommend it enough. Our # 1 tip for beginners looking to RV is to GO FOR IT and go for it NOW. Don’t plan every little detail out, just take the leap (responsibly of course) and figure it out as you go. You’ll make mistakes but you’ll learn quickly. Life’s too short to wait to chase a dream and live a life of adventure and freedom.
Recommended Post: Most Common Questions About Full-Time RVing
These Are Unique Pros and Cons To RV Living You Need To Know!
I just wanted to thank these awesome bloggers for sharing their insight on the pros and cons of RV ownership!
As you can see, deciding to RV full-time is a big lifestyle change that you should definitely be prepared for.
I love the fact that you get the freedom to roam as you please and you get to follow the weather with an RV as Michelle and Steve pointed out.
As Nathan pointed out, homeschooling kids can get rough when you RV full time and as Mike pointed out, there can be a lot of maintenance needed with an RV.
A big con that Lindsay and Dan pointed out is that you lose a sense of community and family when you are constantly on the go, but with modern technology, the transition can be easier.
Living in an RV might or might not be right for you. Make sure you weigh out the pros and cons before jumping straight into it!
If you ever asked yourself “is it cheaper to live in an RV?”, the answer is most likely yes!
As Lindsey and Adam stated, saving money is one of the biggest perks of living in an RV!
You should make sure that you will be happy RVing full-time first, regardless of the money.
Living in a small RV means that you will have to live a more minimalistic life with less “stuff”, I recommend checking out my post on things to stop buying to save money to start cutting unnecessary spending from your life.
What do you think about living in an RV full-time? Do you have any other pros and cons of RV living to add? Let me know in the comments below!
Are you ready to take control of your money? Check out these awesome money resources which will help you to make and save $1,000’s!