It may be fun to just hop on your RV and hit the road for fun adventures, but there are a lot of factors that you need to know. With the pandemic or not, you should always have a solid plan where you would go when it comes to full-time RVing. Know the ins and outs before you fully decide to live permanently in an RV.
Can you live permanently in an RV? Absolutely! With proper research and knowledge about RVing, you can live your life on the road full of adventures. Planning, knowing what RV to buy, insurance to get, how to earn money, and so much more comes into play when living permanently in an RV.
In this article, I will talk about the different factors that you have to consider when living permanently on an RV. These factors include what insurance to get, what RV to buy, how to plan for the road, full-time RVing during a pandemic and safety issues. I will also talk about the benefits of buying land or buying RV lots and so much more.
Starting Your Life on the Road
Living on the road full time is a big decision that you can make. You may think it is a free-wheeling lifestyle, but it does require a lot of careful planning and preparation. Make sure to have a plan for everything, such as where you will be staying every night and how you can secure food.
Different Options for RVs
RV stands for a recreational vehicle, and it isn’t a single-vehicle. Rather it is a category of vehicles. In the following sections, we will talk about the main categories of RVs.
Ever So Popular Motorhomes
Motorhomes offer living accommodations, and there are different classes available for people to choose from. Class A motorhomes are luxurious, easy to use, large, and bad gas mileage. You can see this class of motorhomes being used by celebrities when they go on their tours.
On the other hand, class B motorhomes are smaller and more agile. They are also known as sleepers and camper vans. Lastly, class C motorhomes are more fuel-efficient and comfortable to drive than class A. Also, they are more modest than the rest of the types listed above.
Tow Vehicle With Trailer Homes
Trailer homes require a tow vehicle to get from one place to another. There are different types of trailers: pop-up or foldable trailers, travel trailers, toy haulers, and fifth wheels. The pop-up or foldable trailers are compact and may need to be folded before they can be used physically.
Travel trailers are usually a wide range of towable ranging sizes. Toy haulers are the RVs that generally have a ‘garage’ where you can place large toys such as ATVs or snowmobiles. Travel trailers are great for those who love extreme sports and the adventurous soul.
Lastly, we have the fifth wheels, which are the largest RV on the market and the heaviest. They require a specific type of in-bed tow hitch and are harder to drive for those who are new to the full-time RVing life.
Where to Stay
Most places require reservations, and you don’t always expect easily to find a place to park or even sleep. There are also limits set on how long you can stay in campsites. So planning your journey at least a few weeks in advance is the best thing to do. This way, you wouldn’t be pressured into finding a place to stay at the last minute.
Public parks usually charge nightly fees and don’t allow RVs to camp for more than 14 consecutive days. You stay overnight in national parks, state parks, RV parks, and RV resorts. Also, Walmart offers its parking lots to RVers and allows overnight parking. Now, when camping in a Walmart, you get to have a well-lit spot to spend the night.
Boondocking is another place where you can camp for free on public lands. It is a way of staying in a land without any options of hookups. If you want tips on how to boondock, you can read this article.
Money, Money, Money: Your Source of Income
Full-time living in an RV is not cheap because you have to think about camping fees, gas, maintenance of RVs, and RV storage that can add up quickly. The initial investment you have to buy an RV may have you dipping into your life savings. Unlike retirees, they have the savings to live comfortably on the road full time.
Having said this, you would need a stable job that can put food on the table. Most RVers are engaged in internet-based work to fund their lifestyle. They do this by blogging or vlogging, promoting their adventures on the road. Others have jobs that allow them to travel, such as construction.
There are plenty of jobs that you can choose from, and I have listed some of the jobs that are readily available for you.
Beet Harvest is a job where you harvest sugar beet. This job is relatively short, where they provide 10 to 14 working days. The pay starts at $16.45 per hour, and increases are given to skilled labor positions. They also provide increases for return workers, who usually come back for consecutive seasons. The hours are pretty long where you will be working a span of 12 hours a day.
The best thing about working for them is you get to stay at their campsite for free, which is part of the compensation package. With this type of work, you will not receive 1099 at the end of the year and will not see value noted on your pay stubs.
When it comes to compensation, the first eight hours of the shift are paid at a regular rate. Then, the last four hours are paid at a time and a half. Shifts are also offered on Saturdays, which are paid at a time and a half. On Sunday shifts, you will be paid at either time and a half or double time, depending on the location.
You would have to work at temperatures that are below freezing and usually at night. Employees would need to prepare for work and make sure to wear layered clothing as much as possible. Operations can shut down when the days are too hot, too cold, or too wet.
If you have completed the agreed commitment, you will receive a five percent Harvest Completion Bonus as an extra thank you for the hard work. Basic job requirements are needed, and you must be able to lift a minimum of 25 pounds.
Blogging or Vlogging Your Adventure
Money making online is popular nowadays, and both platforms have a vast potential to earn money. You can make money through a YouTube channel or blog. You would need to meet a number of subscribers to earn. There are plenty of YouTube channels out there that have a huge revenue.
Most vloggers make around $1,500 as long as you work hard on it. YouTube pays through AdSense, and you can also have merchandise and sponsorship as an extra income. There are a lot of competitions on YouTube, but with the right niche and hard work, you can earn more than enough for your lifestyle.
With blogs, you have to choose the right topic and something that you love or enjoy doing. Bloggers monetize through cost per click (CPC) and cost per 1,000 impressions (CPC). Usually, the CPM is around $2.80 to more than $34, and CPC ranges from $1 to $2.
Blogs out there have millions of regular followers and bloggers who make a decent amount of money. As long as you enjoy writing, this is the perfect job for you. Adding media with posts can improve the blog value as well.
Working in Campsites
Workamping is ideal for the full-time RVer. Most campgrounds need extra hands with cleaning and organizing activities for guests. There are plenty of perks that you can get from workamping. You can get a free stay at the campground for the span of work you provide for them.
They provide minimum hourly wage on some sites, but it will get you through tough days. The main idea of workamping is to live for free, and you don’t have to worry about paying the campground overnight fees. You can save money and make money at the same time.
Amazon Seasonal Jobs
During the busy season, Amazon hires extra people to work for them. With the pandemic, Amazon has hired more people for temporary work. They pay you hourly for picking up and shipping items for them, usually around the United States and Canada. Usually, they hire workers in California, Texas, Maryland, Georgia, and New Jersey.
The pay ranges from $15 to $16.15 per hour, and you must be at least 18 years old to apply. You should be able to read and speak English well for the job.
Home-based jobs are perfect during the pandemic. It is one of the best ways to earn a paycheck. Positions like web designer, web developer, web marketing or Social Media, software engineer, computer programmer, graphic artist, and so much more are just some of the things you can apply for. As long as you have a stable internet and a laptop, you are good to go.
This type of work provides a steady paycheck and good job stability. Some employers include health and vacation benefits as well as direct deposit salary. Wages usually start at a minimum of up to $20 per hour. Specialized jobs such as computer programmers, engineers, and graphic artists salary range from $50,000 to $100,000 a year.
It takes discipline for this type of work, especially when you are traveling to great places. You may feel disconnected from the office and your team. Make sure you stay current on your skills and remain productive as well as employable.
You can find these types of work on different websites such as Upwork, CareerBuilder, FlexJobs, and Craigslist.
Know The Safety Issues
When it comes to RV parks and campgrounds, some are safer than others. If you want a secure park to stay in, research is the key. Make sure you check the park’s reputation and policies that they have. It is an excellent idea to develop good habits yourself, such as locking your vehicle when leaving it.
You need to make sure that windows and curtains are closed when you are out and about. You can also meet neighbors and make arrangements with them to look out for one another. Purchase a safe where you can place valuable or expensive items such as your documents.
Now, lowering the cost for your van may be tempting such as not paying for campground fees. However, it is not safe to set up camp in public spots, especially when alone. You can be exposed to dangerous environments or people. Always make sure to find safe lots to park and camp.
Buy Your Own Land: Something You Can Call Your Own
Buying your own land is another option you can do if you don’t like moving around too much. With this option, there are different permit requirements that you have to take care of, and may vary from locality to locality. These permits are usually handled at a county level, so make sure to contact the county building office in the area and check county building codes and zoning requirements.
Now, there is no special requirement when two or fewer RVs are parked in one land. The permits will only come if you decide to build structures such as decks. You also need to build septic and an approved driveway on the land.
Buying land can also help you get a permanent address. The application of address will be part of the process of obtaining building permits. Claiming an RV as a permanent residence can be good for your taxes and other important government things you have to worry about. Now, the IRS considers an RV to be a home when you can cook, sleep, and have a toilet in it.
The best states to get land and live full time on an RV are Washington State, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, and Florida.
Buying RV Lots
If the land is too much for you, the next big thing is to buy a deeded lot in an RV park. RV lots are the ‘condo’ option for RVers where it has utility hookups to meet your needs. You can claim the lot as your residence for mailing and tax purposes. Now, you can’t find these lots on major real estate websites. Particular websites are meant for these types of land.
Getting Connected: How to Do It
Now, you would need to get connected with your friends and family. You would also need a mailing system for your taxes and other government needs. For your internet connection, you can sign up for a plan. There are a lot of plans that offer unlimited plans, and make sure to choose a plan that will fit your needs.
If your work depends on the internet, you would need at least two data plans if one goes awry. Make sure to check the coverage of the places where you plan to go and know where the dead spots are. For faster connection, you can buy Wi-Fi extenders and cell boosters.
Now, you can also use public Wi-Fi such as campgrounds’ Wi-Fi and coffee shops, but it can be slow. Also, privacy is not as secure as having your own data plan. Having said this, it may not be secured to use this option if you will use it for work.
If you have important emails to receive, you can use a forwarding address and Escapees. Escapees is a company that will help you set your legal mailing address and mail forwarding address before you hit the road.
Get The Proper Health Insurance
Whether you are in a home or an RV, health is always the priority. It is vital, especially during this pandemic. Nowadays, affordable healthcare is a major huddle. Freelancers without employer-based insurance can have trouble accessing affordable plans and have little choice but to forgo coverage. Here’s an article about everything you need to know about RV insurance.
You are more prone to accidents, especially when you are on the road. Accidents such as theft, illness, injuries, and so much more can happen in just a snap. Before hitting the road, you need to study what is the best insurance to get for your health and your RV.
There are two types of RV insurance that you need to know. The first type of insurance is for the replacement value of an RV when damaged and the replacement of your personal belongings when they are stolen.
Your coverage on the road should mimic homeowner’s insurance. Now, insurance can be expensive but don’t cut back on it. The last thing that you want is for your home or health to be damaged. You also don’t want to find yourself in a tough spot financially because of accidents.
Gas Mileage Is Never Pretty
Don’t expect your gas mileage to be pretty. Depending on the type of RV you have purchased, gas mileage will never look as good. You will spend about six to eight miles per gallon. Gas prices can be painful when doing full-time RVing, and the prices do nothing but go up. This is a fact that you just have to grin and accept.
Be Healthy and Exercise
Leaving your home can be a scary thing because you have a routine. You know where you will work, what you will eat, and how you can work out each day. No need to worry, but you will still get the same benefits in an RV. There are so many things to do to get proper exercise, such as hiking, running, kayaking, and so much more.
There are dedicated gyms that offer memberships throughout the United States, like Planet Fitness. You can access over 800 locations as long as you have a fob. There’s no need to be tied down to one location to access the gym.
Planet Fitness has excellent facilities, so if you are tired of the campground or park’s showers, this is the best place to feel refreshed.
Knowing the Basics
Always know the basics before you hit the road. RVs come with a manual, so it is best to get to know the manual and become well-acquainted with your rig. It is best to know your way around the electrical system and know where the fuse box is. Understanding the plumbing is also a must because you have to empty the tanks daily.
Always be prepared to do some patchwork, such as leaks on the roof, windows, and doors. To fix these problems, you need to find a good sealant to use. Note that there are many maintenance tasks that the manual may suggest. Make sure to follow all the recommended steps so that your RV is in its best shape. Research is the key!
Budgeting Your Money is The Key
Not all RVers have unlimited budgets, so planning is the key. Most communities and anyone you become friends with on the road oversee their money. Track your spending and working from a budget-friendly mindset is crucial. There are different ways on how you can save when you live on the road.
You can sign up for memberships and discount cards as well as passes. You can also take on the season or temporary jobs, boondocking, and volunteering. Finding gigs or work remotely and other work options mentioned above would greatly help your budget.
If you want to know more about the budget you will likely face on the road, here’s a good read for you.
Always Have A Plan in Mind
Now, you may be adventurous and want to get started on your life on the road right away. However, it would be best to have careful planning, and a general game plan is enough. Some plans that you can do know what type of weather is available on your route and what campgrounds are readily available for you on the road.
You can also plan around events because you’ll get pretty bummed out if you miss out on the fun and exciting events in the area. Also, some people like to travel in the low season to save money. So whatever plan you decide, you need to make sure everything will go smoothly.
Traveling With Children
Traveling with children can be difficult, especially during this pandemic. Parks are not always the safest place for children and rarely do they offer child-friendly amenities. Also, there are too many bodies in an RV, and it can get cramped. Children also require plenty of clothing, medication, food, equipment, and toys which can take up storage.
Plenty of people bring their kids along on the road, so there’s no reason to get discouraged. However, careful thought and commitment are needed. You need to think about their education and social well-being.
Full-Time RV With Your Furry Best Friends
If you have cats, dogs, or any pets that you want to bring along, you have to think about it thoroughly. Like children, pets need special things such as equipment, food, and toys that can take up plenty of space. Also, there are some parks and campgrounds that don’t allow dogs or may require a small fee to pay.
In case of emergency, finding vets can be difficult, which adds another layer to the research that you have to do. Odors and messes created by your pet are also noticeable since you have a small space. Also, your pets will constantly be out in nature, so they are prone to ticks, fleas, and other issues.
If you do plan to bring your pets along, make sure they are washed and groomed regularly.
It’s Not All Rainbows and Butterflies
Living in an RV may be fun, but it is not all rainbow and butterflies. You have less interior living space, you have to do different types of daily chores that are not the same at home, and the amenities will differ from what you are used to.
Dumping Your Own Waste
Dumping your own waste is not a chore for everyone. RVs have three available tanks that you need to maintain: freshwater, gray, and black. Freshwater is where you store the water that you drink, and depending on how big your rig is, you can fill up a tank up to 60 gallons.
The Gray tank is used for sink and shower water, and the black tank is used for your waste. RV parks and campgrounds usually have sewer hookups where you can empty the tanks. If you are squeamish, this may be a turn-off for you, and you may decide that you won’t continue your life on the road. However, for those who are not, this is an easy task to do.
Say Goodbye to Little Luxuries
RV is not the same as living in a home. The luxuries that you have in a home may not be available in an RV. If you like going home after a long day and taking a bath, that would not be an option in an RV since bathtubs are not ideal for small spaces. Also, you would need to start washing dishes by hand when you start living on the road since there’s no space for a dishwasher.
Premium Wi-Fi will no longer be available as well, so you just have to get used to the data plans and signals that you have on the road. You would have to learn how to live without some of the things you never thought were so important.
Full-Time RV During Pandemic
During this pandemic, getting an RV and hitting the road may sound like a good idea. It is if you want to practice social distancing while still being able to travel anywhere. However, adventures today are different because some of the camping, hiking or swimming spots are closed or limited to people.
CDC advises everyone to stay home as much as possible. However, some states and national parks are slowly starting to allow visitors. Others are even reopening campsites, and little by little, you can enjoy the fun things again before the pandemic. Choosing an RV is the best way to travel safely today.
Always Plan Ahead of Time
Just like what I’ve said above, planning is crucial when living on the road, whether there’s a pandemic or not. Make sure to reduce the number of stops you make and do research before hitting the road. Consider one destination rather than string together a few places. Setting up in one spot for the long weekend is also another great option. Ensure to focus on relaxing during these trying times.
Make Proper Reservations
Pandemic or not, bookings go by fast. If it’s on ordinary days, there may be a bit of flexibility in reservations on parks and campgrounds. With all the places making necessary changes to their protocols and limiting the people that come in, it is best to check things in advance. You can do this by visiting state parks or campgrounds’ websites.
Get An RV With A Bathroom
Now, not all RVs have showers and bathrooms. With the pandemic, parks and campground facilities may remain closed for safety. Having said this, make sure that you purchase RVs that have facilities. Always make sure that your fresh water tank is full.
Always Disinfect Your RV
Nowadays, you may have to clean your RV more often than before. When coming from outside, make sure you wash your hands before touching anything in your RV. Vacuum any porous surface in your RV and use approved cleaning solutions. Use products with 0.05% sodium hypochlorite (NaCIO) and products based on ethanol (at least 70%).
With a few things to consider, you can definitely live full-time in an RV. However, it does take a lot of research and thought before you hop in a rig and hit the road. Always consider a million times before going out and buying an RV. Remember, space will not be the same, and you have to get rid of some of your belongings in the process. If you do decide to live full-time in an RV, you will have the time of your life!