Hi everyone – I hope you’re staying warm. In the spirit of the new year, I’m going to share the 10 things we love most about Full-Time RVing.
While some of our friends and family understand why we love to RV, plenty of people have asked me to explain the appeal and expressed that they don’t understand, and could never do what we’re doing. I hope this list helps you understand the appeal – at least from our perspective, and if you’re a full-time RVer yourself, we’d love to hear what your favorite things are about RVing in the comments.
Without further ado:
#1 – Our RV feels like a Mobile Fort
Most of us built forts at some point when we were young. Whether it was a real fort, like a tree house, or a temporary fort, like those made out of couch cushions or blankets, you can probably understand the feeling of being cozy and protected in a smaller space.
Our RV (his name is Arty) is the best fort imaginable! Not only does he have beds, TVs, a microwave, and a bathroom complete with shower and toilet, but we can drive it, park it, and live in it just about anywhere. When you’re set up in an RV park you have all the amenities of home, and it works nearly as well while out boondocking – especially if you have a generator (we do).
You can even add a skull and crossbones flag if you’d like (reference to Calvin and Hobbes), although I prefer to keep our RV low key on the outside. That said, you can modify and customize your RV in all the ways you imagined as a kid and then some – fun!
#2 – We Buy Less
While RVs are expensive, most cost less and have a smaller carbon footprint than a house. They also come completely furnished included electronics and appliances. Even if you modify your RV like we do, you use less equipment and supplies to do so.
You’re also limited by space. You have limited closet space so your wife can’t go nuts buying shoes and clothes (right, Kat?), and instead of a garage full of junk you’re limited to what your can carry in your storage bays. In our case that’s not much!
The only thing we do find ourselves looking at (on occasion) is larger and nicer RVs..
#3 – We Live More Efficiently
When you have restricted space you’re forced to live efficiently. For example, our refrigerator is only 6 cubic feet. That means we need to pay attention to the food we buy and limit leftovers. This usually means that we eat leftovers the next day so we seldom waste food. This keeps our food budget down and saves us money.
Another example – because our water heater only holds 6 gallons, we can never take a hot shower that lasts more than about 8 minutes. That means we use less water, and less heat/electricity to heat the water. We also turn off the hot water heater when we won’t be using it for a while – there’s no point in keeping water hot all night, and it only takes about 20 minutes to heat up in the morning.
#4 – We Spend More Time Outdoors
When you RV, the outdoors are an extension of your living room. We have a mat and a couple zero gravity chairs, as well as a small collapsing table all covered by our awning. It takes pretty bad weather – really wet or really cold – for us to skip a morning drinking our coffee outside.
Add to this that most RV Parks and campgrounds have outdoor activities like walking paths, mini golf, tennis courts, and pools & hot tubs that give you a reason to stay active.
Finally, because we’re usually somewhere temperate, it’s much more likely to be nice outside.
#5 – We Meet Lots of Interesting People
In general RVers are a friendly bunch. I have conversations with people I’ve never met before almost every day. That isn’t to say that RVers are nosy, but if you’re outside in an RV park chances are people will talk to you.
Just yesterday I went to the clubhouse to shoot some pool while I was doing laundry, and before I knew it I was playing doubles with 3 other gentlemen from different parts of the country. We chatted about places we’ve camped in the past, and where we were going from here, and that helped me plan the next month of so in my mind.
The sense of community you get from spending time with others is something that’s slowly leaking out of our society, but it’s alive and well in the RV community. I wouldn’t have it any other way – and I’m an introvert at heart (no really!)
#6 – We Always Travel Forward
One of the things I used to hate about road-trip vacations is that you have to allow time to drive back home.
When you’re a full-time RVer, you bring your home with you so you can always travel forward – no need to go back. While conceptually this sounds obvious, actually living it is a revelation!
I remember taking road trips from Southern California as far north as Seattle, and as far west as New Mexico. I always enjoyed the drive there, but dreaded the end of the vacation when you’d have to drive a thousands miles (or more) home.
It reminds me of the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation with Chevy Chase. They drive all the way from Chicago to Wally World in Southern California, but what you don’t see is the drive all the way back home. Yuck!
#7 – We Have The Freedom to Go Wherever We Want
This is a big one. While we’re spending the winter in Florida this year for the first time, we’re doing it by choice. We could just as easily be in Texas, Arizona, or California. There’s nothing keeping us here – we’re in Florida because we wanted to know what it’s like to be a snow bird, and because I’d like to see the Everglades and the Keys.
Most importantly we’re in Florida because it’s relatively warm here in January and February.
Yes we’re limited by our fuel budget, and yes some parts of the country are more expensive than others, but in general we can be wherever we want to be, and that sense of freedom is awesome!
There’s the added benefit that if all else fails we can drive to wherever we can make a decent living. We can take a workamping job in any part of the country, head to the Dakotas and work for oil or natural gas companies, or work at Amazon fulfillment centers in Kentucky, Nevada or anywhere in between.
There’s no house to sell or moving truck to rent – we’re ready to go anywhere at any time!
#8 – We Follow Temperate Weather
We both grew up in New England, and if you’ve ever lived in the Northeast you know that from November to March you spend a lot of time inside. Sure there are winter activities like skiing, snowmobiles, and ice fishing. But there are also required winter activities, like scraping your windshield and shoveling your driveway.
Now we can be in temperate weather all of the time. If it’s too cold somewhere, we can drive further south. If it’s too hot, we can drive north, or head to the beach or mountains.
We plan our latitude around seasons, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Why be in the midwest when it’s hot and muggy, when you can be on the coast of Maine in beautiful weather? Why freeze in Maine in January when you can wear shorts and flip flops in Southern California?
We no longer need to compromise, and we both love it!
#9 – Our Budget Is Flexible
When you live in a house or apartment there are lots of fixed aspects to your budget. Your rent or mortgage costs a certain amount, utilities, food, fuel, and so on.
When you full-time RV your budget is a lot more flexible.
We can boondock for free in many areas, and can usually do so for up to a week at a time. We have the option of staying in very inexpensive RV parks with low monthly rates – I’ve seen under $300/month in some places.
Of course we still have fixed expenses – such as insurance, food, and a car payment, but our other expenses can range anywhere from $2000/month for camping at a fancy RV resort in a desirable location, to $0/month by boondocking. We can spend $1000 on fuel and drive around the country, or $0 and stay in one place.
We can even pay as little as $60 to store our RV for a couple weeks (we did this in Atlanta), and stay with family during the holidays – it’s all pretty flexible.
#10 – We Get To Travel!
The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
– Saint Augustine
One of our favorite things is to go somewhere we’ve never been before. New roads, new cultures, new foods, new sights and sounds, all are at the core of RVing for us.
We love to visit National Parks and hike and bike on new trails. We love the change of scenery as you go from the coastal sage scrub in Southern California, to the Joshua Trees and Yuccas of the High Desert, and on to the red rock of Arizona, and the lighter, salmon-colored rock of New Mexico.
We love the rocky coast of Maine with it’s fishing boats and lobster pounds. We love the stunning views from the Blue Ridge Parkway and it’s rhododendron-lined campsites. We love the fog that rises from the Smoky Mountains after a hard rain, and the stunning waterfalls that appear as a result in the Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina.
I could go on like this for pages – but as much as I love many of the places we’ve visited, there are far more places that we haven’t seen that we look forward to visiting either this or next year. Those places include the Everglades, the Florida Keys (Kathy’s been, I haven’t), Big Bend NP in Texas, Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico – again, my list is far too long to cover here.
There are two kinds of people in this world, those who prefer to stay in once place, and those who can’t wait to see what’s around the next corner. For the second group, I can’t think of a better way to live than in an RV!
Bonus – We Spend More Time With Family
If all of your family lives in the same town you do, this may not be as important to you, but for us we have family all over the place. We have family in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Ohio, North Carolina, and Georgia. We have friends in California, Washington, Minnesota, and Tennessee. We have a lot of people that we’d never get to see if we didn’t full-time RV.
Back when we had a house and jobs in Corporate America, we both had 2 or 3 weeks worth of vacation. That usually meant a 1 week vacation together, and 1 week spent visiting with family. We used to run all over New England trying to visit as many people as possible during that short week, and ended up not getting much quality time with anyone.
Now, we have much more flexibility. We spent 2 months in New England during which time we saw everyone individually while still having plenty of time to do and see the things we wanted to do. Then we spent a month driving down to Atlanta, after which we spent some time with more family over the holidays.
That isn’t to say our life revolves around our family. Rather, we get to see family and friends on a regular basis without having to use precious vacation time to do so – and that’s changed most of our relationships for the better.
Those are the 10 things we love most about Full-Time RVing. Next time someone asks me why we RV, I’ll point them to this post (and if you Full-Time RV, you can do the same).
What are your favorite things about Full-Time RVing?