Pros and Cons of Full-Time RV Living

pros cons full time lg

Did you know that about a million Americans live full-time in their RVs? RVing full-time can be a blast. But it’s not for everyone, so what are the pros and cons of full-time RV living?

The pros of RV living include:

  • Exploring many different places, climates, and scenery
  • Being able to move seasonally to more habitable climates
  • Saving a lot of money
  • Meeting new people
  • Downsizing one’s life

The cons of RV living include: 

  • Not being able to consistently spend time with family and friends
  • Having to homeschool kids if they are school age
  • Low-quality or inconsistent internet
  • Not having a dedicated place to call home
  • Having to sell or store most of what you own
  • Finding an alternative income source while on the road

But we’re just getting started. I’ll share a lot more vital info you need to know before you embrace full-time RV living.

Let’s dive right in.

Are RVs good for long-term living?

RVs are excellent for long-term living. They allow occupants to experience the outdoors, explore a variety of places, meet a lot of different like-minded people, and do it in a relatively affordable way. 

Little wonder, at least a million Americans live full time in their RVs.

There are many reasons why RVs are good for long-term living. Let’s look at 3 of them.

1. A Nest Egg

One of the most important reasons involve finances.

Managing one’s finances is arguably the smartest thing one could do, especially when you’re still relatively young. Instead of incurring a lot of expenses living in a big house, you could opt for a rig and invest your money so that you can follow your passions or eventually retire early.

Even if you plan to eventually buy a home later when you’re a lot older, it’s smart to have a lot saved or invested. Long-term RV living helps with this because it’s easier to cut down and control one’s expenses and save up.

2. A great experience and seeing new things

Another great reason is the many adventures you and your loved ones would be able to experience.

You’re not stuck in one location. Let’s face it, that can be boring. An RV turns you into an explorer. Now and then, you can explore many fascinating places.

You’re “boundaryless” as you get to know the land of the free. There are many fun things to do while RVing. So, you’ll have experiences you’ll cherish for a long time.

I don’t think that given a choice, most people would want to stay in the same location for a long time. They would probably want to actualize their wanderlust. My family and I have been experiencing that for years. It’s awesome.

But wait…before you trade in your home for an RV, is RVing cheaper than having a house?

Check out a recent article of mine where I took a deep dive into the issue. Does RVing save you money? When does it make sense to sell everything and hit the road? I answered these questions and some more in the article.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

3. Making New Friends

One of life’s most transformative and enriching experiences is meeting new people and forming relationships with folks who like what you like.

RVing is a lifestyle that’s been adopted by a lot of people. About 9 million Americans own RVs. I bet you’ll meet a couple of them and make lifelong friends.

What is it like to live in an RV full-time?

Living in an RV full-time requires learning to live with a much smaller amount of material possessions and living efficiently. It also requires patience when living with others as everyone is in close quarters. The focus is on accumulating amazing experiences, not accumulating things.

But it has its challenges.

If you have kids, unless there’s a school not too far from where you’re parked, it would affect their education unless they’re being homeschooled.

If you’re the type who loves being close to family and friends, you’d need some adjusting to do because you’d be far away from them when you’re RVing, at least most of the time.

Unless you’re into stationary RV living.

Another challenge is how to earn a living. If you don’t have a trust fund or a lot of moolah stashed away, you may have a hard time with your finances. It’s smart to explore how to earn a living online.

I earn 5-figures a month doing that.

Want to know more about how I make that kind of money online? I have a very comprehensive article on my original website that walks you step-by-step on everything I do.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Just like with most things in life, I ought to say that most challenges you’ll encounter can be addressed. Maybe not perfectly. But, the challenges haven’t stopped a million Americans from RVing full time.

RVing full-time is the dream.

It’s a life of adventure and closeness to nature. It’s about having a greater opportunity to bond with your loved ones because it’s a minimalist lifestyle. You’re all just focused on essentials.

It’s also calming. If you’ve been feeling trapped living in the city, the alluring sights and air of the outdoors might just be the best medicine.

Is it legal to live in an RV full-time?

It’s legal to live in an RV full-time, although some states and cities prohibit permanently parking it on private property. Some HOAs prohibit that also. But, it’s perfectly legal to live in it in designated places and campgrounds. And moving occasionally just adds to the adventure.

It’s vital to distinguish “camping” from “living.”

Say you’re building a permanent structure on your property. Some rural subdivisions allow you to live in your RV for up to 6 months while the structure is being constructed.

As a temporary dwelling, in this specific case, it’s legal.

But, it may be illegal to turn your RV into a permanent home. It’s a recreational vehicle, after all. So, it’s smart to check out the laws and property zoning regulations.

Even if there are no zoning restrictions or homeowners’ regulations that prevent living in your RV on your property, you’ll need to add power, water, and sewer to it to make it a fully functioning home.

The key is to research what the law allows in your area.

There are some places where an RV is allowed as an Accessory Dwelling Unit, provided there’s already a permanent dwelling unit on a property. And there are some rural areas where it’s perfectly okay to live in your RV on your property.

You could do a long-term rental at an RV resort where you can live permanently. The main upside is that you can make use of their facilities and utilities.

And not moving it frequently puts less wear and tear on the RV. But never moving it can also damage its mechanism.

So do plan to move it occasionally.

What to Know Before living in an RV

Before deciding to live in an RV, consider the correct size and style based on the number of occupants. Decide if the RV will be moved seasonally or permanently parked. Lastly, consider how income will be generated and how bills will be received and paid.

There are a lot of things to ascertain before you hit the road. Let’s check out two of them.

What kind of RV should you get?

There are different kinds of RVs such as motorhomes, campers, trailers… It’s ideal to study up a bit about each type to know the one you’d like (and that you can afford).

That’s if you haven’t got one already.

If that’s the case, you’d love a recent article of mine where I offered the ultimate guide to buying an RV to live in. I revealed the best RV to live in all year- round and whether you should buy new or used. I even shared the cheapest state to buy an RV.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Each RV has its distinguishing features. You need to know the specific type that’d suit you.

Perhaps you’d like to have your kids with you, or you’re just going to be with your partner. Do you want something that’s sparse or one that comes with all the great stuff you’d need on the road?

You can also rent one for a while to know what being an RVer is really like. And, if you decide you’d rather get your own rig, is it smart to buy a new or used one?

I suggest you get a used one.

It’s not only cheaper, but it’s best not to spend too much at this stage. And some new ones have issues. A used one that is only a couple of years old and under 10,000 miles has most probably had most of the issues fixed under warranty.

Is it expensive to live in an RV?

Compared to living in a house, it’s cheaper to live in an RV.

On average, living in an RV is 41% cheaper than renting or owning a home. Buying a home could set you back by about $250,000, while with $50,000 to $200,000, you can get an RV.

In fact, with $100,000, you can buy the amazing late-model RV of your dreams.

Of course, having an RV has its associated expenses. But, it’s still a lot cheaper than buying or renting a home.

To help you make an informed decision, a recent article of mine explores 25 crucial pros and cons of living in an RV full time. It’s a deep dive.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Lastly, we have tasks like laundry. Some campgrounds have laundry facilities. But they all cost money and many are old-school coin machines. And who carries a bunch of coins these days?

But can/should you get a washer and dryer for your RV?

Luckily, I cover all the pros and cons of RV washer/dryer combos in a recent article. Just click that link to read it on my site.

What states allow full-time RV living?

Full-time RV living is allowed in all states. But where it is parked, and the legalities of that vary from state to state and even city to city. Some of the top states preferred for RV living include Texas, Florida, and Montana.

You’ll need to choose a state that will officially be where you live for tax, legal, and public obligation purposes.

But, as an RV’er, the whole idea is to explore the land of the free. So, you’re free to explore many awesome destinations across many states.

The following is a bigger list of the most preferred states:

  • California
  • Virginia
  • Washington State
  • New York 
  • Florida
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Arizona
  • Oregon
  • Texas

You may simply want to stay in places where the temperature is warm throughout the year, or you could focus on seeing as many places as possible.

The latter is what the list above would help you do.

Is a travel trailer good for full-time RV living?

The biggest consideration when you plan to live in your RV full-time is space.

After all, if you’re used to living in a traditional home, it can be a tough transition to now find yourself living in a really small space. And while the full-time RV lifestyle can sometimes include exotic locations in all areas of the country, RV resorts, and beautiful, scenic, outdoors, at the end of the day, you still have to live in your RV.

So you want it to have enough space where you don’t go stir crazy. How big do you need it to be? That depends on a few factors such as:

  • How many people are in the RV?
  • Are the people in the RVs introverts or extroverts?
  • How much downtime do the travelers need?
  • Are you mostly using it to sleep and will spend most of your days in nature?

And aside from living space, you also have to think about storage space. After all, even if you kept a home or have a storage unit somewhere, you’ll still likely have more stuff with you than the average weekend warrior.

So in most cases, a travel trailer could be too small unless we’re talking about 1 or maybe 2 people.

A fifth wheel type of RV is probably a better option as it will likely have multiple separate bedrooms, and they often have kitchens that are full-sized and more like the kitchen you might be used to in a home.

But a 5th wheel is not the only option likely to work.

Of all the different types of RVs, Class C and Class A RVs likely work also. A small RV like a Class B, however, will likely be way too small for the nomadic lifestyle employed by full-time RV’ers.

Should you keep a home base if you live full-time in an RV?

If money is not a factor, keeping a home base is a good idea for full-time RVers.

That’s especially true if this is your first time living in an RV for an extended period of time. After all, what if you get tired of it a month or two in?

Plus, even if you’re empty nesters, what about the holidays?

Family members may not want to host every holiday every year. And every now and then, it might be nice to take a break from the road and come home for a few weeks or a few months and relax.

Plus, having a home base means you don’t have to sell most of your stuff or pay year-round for a storage unit.

If you like the idea but don’t have that much money, maybe sell your current home and then buy a new smaller home as your future home base.

Where are the best places to stay in an RV for full-time living?

Full-time RVing means being able to go anywhere you choose.

And while that can include different states, national parks, and regular RV parks, you may find it better to seek out a smaller number of new places and then stay at each place for a month or two rather than moving constantly.

Your regular maintenance costs will be smaller if you aren’t constantly driving.

But you’ll also want to consider places with full hookups, which often excludes state and national parks. Full hookups give you more options in terms of using everything in your RV and enjoy those creature comforts after a long day or enjoying the outdoors.

So for my money, seeking out RV resorts is your best option. These typically have not only full hookups but also usually have:

  • Swimming pools and/or hot tubs
  • Are more scenic
  • Are close to amenities such as grocery stores
  • Have laundry facilities
  • Offer superior Wi-Fi

And for weekend warriors, not having those things isn’t a big deal. But when you’re on the road 365 days a year, those things can help you rewind and recharge and help to keep that life-on-the-road burnout to a minimum.

What is the Cost to Live in an RV Full Time? (financial, personal & more!)

Conclusion

In the article, we looked at whether RVs are good for long-term living and what it’s like to live in one full-time.

But we also explored whether it’s even legal to live in an RV full-time. Then, we considered what you ought to know before living in an RV full time, such as whether the factory warranty is good enough, and if RV warranties can be transferred from one owner to another.

Lastly, we wrapped things up by checking out which states allow full-time RV living.


Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

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