I have lived in my RV with my family for 4 weeks at a time. But someday, my wife and I may decide to live in ours all the time, and so I wondered about the pros and cons of living in an RV full-time.
Here’s what I learned:
The pros of RV living include saving money on both ownership and ongoing maintenance, and the freedom to move to better weather. However, the cons include having to place items in storage, having to grocery shop more frequently, and being away from family and friends.
But those are just a few of the biggies.
Before you decide whether or not you want to live in an RV full time, you should read this article. I’ll get into the above pros and cons in greater detail, but also share 25 of the most crucial pros and cons you’ll want to be aware of before diving into the full-time RV lifestyle.
Let’s jump right in.
PROS of Living in an RV Full-Time
1. 41% cheaper than owning or renting a home
Renting a home is more expensive than taking out a mortgage or living in an RV, so we won’t discuss it in detail.
Buying a home can work out to be a lot more expensive than buying an RV. Buying a house can cost upwards of $250,000 while buying an RV, even a class A RV, can only cost between $50,000 and $200,000.
Spending around $100,000 on an RV means that you will get everything you need for full-time RV living. And even with gas, campground fees, and RV maintenance, you still come out on top by as much as 41% over homeownership.
For now, if you are wondering how to buy an RV to live in, we have the ultimate guide for you in this recent article. Here you will find everything you need to know to go out and buy an RV to live in comfortably.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
2. Maintenance costs can be 53% cheaper than owning a home
When you own a home, you do a lot of maintenance.
You might find yourself spending quite a bit of money every month, or you will pay quite a large sum of money once a year to fix that AC or roof that needs fixing in your home.
This is where you start to save a lot of money by living in an RV.
When you live in an RV full-time, you can save up to $200 per month on maintenance costs.
That really starts to add up after three or four years. Your most considerable maintenance cost will come from servicing an RV vehicle, but it is essential to remember that you will still own one or two cars even if you live in a home. So, we usually do not factor in the vehicle to these maintenance costs.
If you want to know more about the costs of living in an RV vs. living in a house, I have written a recent article about it.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to about comparing the costs and much more. Just click that link to read it on my site.
3. You can drive to better weather each season
Being able to travel wherever you want is probably the best thing about owning an RV.
And it is one of the reasons that most people who own one bought it in the first place. You will find that a lot of people who live in an RV full-time have developed routines.
For example, during the summer, you can stay in the northern part of the United States in Colorado, Ohio, and so on.
During the winter, you can evade cold weather simply by starting your engine and driving to Southern California, Florida, Texas, and other warm climate areas.
It is all about choice, and if you choose not to deal with the cold weather, rain, and snow, you don’t have to. If you like the snow, well, start your engine and drive to where ever you want.
The first and foremost rule for winter driving in snow or ice is this: Just don’t. Pull off the road, turn up the heat, put on the coffee, and wait until the weather clears and the road crews get the roads back in safe (snow- and ice-free) conditions. #albanyrvresort #rv #GA pic.twitter.com/izVboCOl6k
— Albany RV Resort Inc (@AlbanyRVResort) December 13, 2019
4. No commuting daily to a job
The average American spends around 54 hours per year sitting in traffic.
This number is expected to increase to approximately 64 hours by 2025. That means that you waste more than two days every year simply driving to and from work. For a lot of people, this is unacceptable.
When you live in an RV, you will most probably be working from home or running your online businesses as I do.
When you eliminate the need to commute to and from work, you essentially eliminate a lot of stress from your life, contributing a lot to your mental well-being and happiness factor.
5. Increased connection with your spouse and/or kids
One of the biggest pros of living in an RV is spending quality time with the people you care about the most.
Spending more time with your spouse and your children will create a strong connection between your family.
However, the strongest bond will be formed from something else.
You can significantly increase the connection and bond between you and your family by creating enjoyable experiences together.
While living in an RV, you will experience new challenges and adventures every day. This will create stronger memories within each individual in the family. It is these memories that will bring everybody closer together.
6. Get to see all areas of the country
The United States of America covers around 3.7 million square miles.
The country is quite massive. Most people will never have the chance to see a lot of what the country offers them. For people who live or even go on holiday in an RV, this is different. It would be best if you think to yourself, how many states have you flown over when going on vacations?
When you live in an RV and travel in it, you see more of the country than most people.
You also get to experience different ways of living and different cultures within each state. Keep a record of the places you have been.
Trust me, after four or five years of living in an RV and traveling in it, you will realize just how much of the country you have seen.
I wanted to check out the beautiful state I’m from so I rented a RV, drove it around California and it was awesome 🚎 pic.twitter.com/3NeNI09Fpb
— katieryan (@katiemakerdao) June 8, 2019
7. If you don’t like an area you’re in, it’s easy to move
When you live in a home, it is easy to control and account for what you and your family do to maintain and upkeep that area.
But, you cannot account for what other people do, and you cannot account for how the economy of that town, county, or state fluctuates over time.
If the place where you are living starts to degrade, you can end up losing a lot of money when selling your home.
When living full-time in an RV, you will not face this problem even if you are permanently situated somewhere. See, if the economy within a local town, suburb, or state starts to decrease, all you have to do is start your engine and drive to the next best place.
Also, sometimes it is just fun to move somewhere else and experience new challenges.
8. Meet interesting new people regularly
When you go on RV road trips, you are going to meet a lot of interesting people.
Not only are you going to meet like-minded individuals who are RV enthusiasts like yourself, but you are also going to meet with the locals, and you will quickly find that each town has its own culture.
You will learn exciting things and have great conversations with these people.
You might also make lifelong friends, and because you are in an RV, you will see them more than you think because going to their destination is now a lot easier than what it would have been before.
9. A good way to see family in other parts of the country
Family members are constantly moving around, at least in some families.
Sometimes it is hard to control where you get job offers or where you end up going to university. Finding time to visit your family members spread out across the country can be challenging at best.
If you live full-time in an RV, you can make more time to visit your family members.
When you visit your family members, you can either stay with them or stay in your RV without the need to rent hotels, cars, and things of that nature.
So we wanted to say a big thank you to the team @AutotrailVR for all their effort in the 2020 campaign. It involves a lot of people from design, production, marketing and everyone in between. This is the Adventure Range#motorhome #photography #photographer pic.twitter.com/P9il8q4DZN
— Kamara Photo, Video & Drone (@kamaraphotos) February 23, 2020
10. Go where you want, when you want
We all have freedom. However, we also have responsibilities, and those responsibilities can keep us from doing whatever we want, whenever we want.
When you live full-time in an RV, you still have responsibilities. However, you take those with you on the road instead of allowing them to hold you back.
If you live in an RV full time, you probably work from home. Therefore, taking your work with you should not be a problem, leading us into our next section.
11. Easy to earn an income on the road blogging or YouTubing
Just because you now live in an RV doesn’t mean you don’t need to work.
You still need to bring in money. Working from home has become more normal than it has ever been, but if you are not lucky enough to have a job that you can do from home, don’t worry because there are other ways of making money online.
You can either start a blog and with some good SEO training, you can have your blog reach millions of people.
Ultimately, this will bring in money.
You can also start a YouTube channel, and as long as you pick a specific niche and have some knowledge on how to create videos that get views, you will begin to earn money from YouTube.
I do say that it is easy; however, it is essential to remember that things take time, and if you plan on living in an RV full time, it is recommended that you start working on these online businesses before you even set out to buy your RV.
Want my help in setting up a blog or YouTube channel? I do consulting on that since I now earn 5-figures per month doing just that.
Just CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute meeting with me for only $100.
12. No yard work!
I want you to think about how much time or money you spend on maintaining your garden.
For new homeowners, this is a novelty that can feel therapeutic at first, but as time goes by, you find yourself resenting the idea of having to mow your lawn, plant plants, and get rid of weeds.
You don’t have this problem in an RV.
Your only concern is maintaining the structural integrity of the RV while also keeping it clean inside. Other than that, it is the responsibility of whichever campground you are on to maintain their facilities.
🚌 “Work From Home” is ANYWHERE When Your Home is an RV…
Does Anyone Else Dream to Live Like This?! pic.twitter.com/ulBcgK3GRQ
— Your Best Life Co. (@YBLCompany) November 18, 2020
CONS of Living in an RV Full-Time
It is never good to dwell on the negatives and cons. So, for this section, we will try our best to deliver solutions while discussing each con.
1. Having to sell most of your belongings or rent a storage unit
Depending on your age, you might have quite a lot of belongings that you don’t want to get rid of.
You have a few options when it comes to your belongings. I know, getting rid of your belongings may seem daunting.
If you don’t want to get rid of anything, you can rent a storage unit.
Who knows, maybe one day you settle down in a house again, and you can fetch your stuff. However, if you plan on selling everything, I recommend that you do so at least a month or two in advance.
This is because selling second-hand goods, especially when you do so privately, can take more time than expected.
2. No way to have downtime from your spouse or family
Whether it is a class A, B, or C, an RV lacks enough space for you to get some alone time in an RV.
Yes, you can get away from everything. All you have to do is do an activity by yourself. This activity could either be a sport, a hike, a hobby or even just going to a restaurant by yourself.
With all of that said, if you are looking to relax in the RV by yourself, the number of times you will get to do this will be limited.
This is great for creating connections between you and your family, but it can also become pretty stressful when all you want to do is sit by yourself with your thoughts.
3. Inconsistent Wi-Fi
If you live full-time in your RV, chances are you need to be connected at all times for work and school. You also have to keep up with your family.
You also need a stable internet connection to keep your kids entertained when you cannot do so yourself.
And while most RV parks claim to offer Wi-Fi, the truth is most campground Wi-Fi will be limited and slow.
So I recommend that you upgrade your current cell plan to offer mobile hotspot/tethering data.
AT&T, notorious in some eyes for customer service, still has the best network and coverage range. But check with your current provider and see what they can offer.
Our hard standings are open all year round for any size caravan or motorhome. 16 amp power supply, personal water supply, grey waste, satellite and Freeview connection, Wifi and ethernet and the serene tranquillity of this beautiful valley #camping #caravanning #ElanValley #Wales pic.twitter.com/AtKjM5ENMj
— Elan Oaks Camping (@ElanOaks) February 7, 2019
4. Kids won’t see their friends regularly
If you are permanently situated in a town or area, this won’t be much of a problem.
Yes, your kids won’t see their friends while traveling, but being permanently situated is almost the same as having a home with a lot less responsibility and more freedom.
If you move around a lot, there is a way to keep your kids connected with their friends.
You can do this by allowing them time to stay connected online via social media and even on Skype calls. One of the best ways for your friends to stay connected with their friends is to play online games.
Make sure you have a good mobile data plan to use their phones as hotspots for whichever platform they game on, and they will always stay connected with their friends.
For people with kids, you might also be concerned with education.
So, here is a recent article where I discuss “road schooling.” I talk about everything you need to know, including the logistics and laws of homeschooling your kids in an RV. I also give you some essential tips and tricks my wife and I used when we road-schooled our oldest daughters.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
5. Easy to feel isolated from family and friends
It is not only your kids that won’t be able to see their friends regularly.
It will also apply to you, and the more social you are, the more this can affect you. However, the best thing for you to do is stay in contact with your friends via social media.
Also, if you are a very friendly person, it will be easier to meet people on your journeys.
And you will find that your list of friends will grow significantly within the first two years of your travels on the road. So, while this is a con, there is a silver lining.
6. Having to find new RV repair shops everywhere you go
You are going to have to maintain your RV.
There is absolutely no way around this. It is best to fix the minor issues that may arise rather than allowing them to build up and cause more significant problems with the RV. For this reason, you will want to know where the best repair shops are before you get to any location.
If your passenger is bored, it will be best to plan and look for repair shops along the way to your destination.
As you travel to the more secluded parts of the country, it will become harder to find a repair shop, let alone a reputable one.
Always try and have your repairs done by a reputable repair shop.
Your RV or trailer isn’t just a vehicle, it’s your home away from home. When it breaks down, you’ll need swift assistance to get you to a repair shop. Road Heros is available 24/7 to handle any emergency. https://t.co/46Lket94MA #RoadHeros… pic.twitter.com/esctRPyg1g
— ROADHEROS LLC (@RoadHerosLLC) March 13, 2019
7. Road fatigue
You have most probably heard of road rage, but did you know that there is also such a thing as “road fatigue”? Many sales reps suffer from this at some point during their career, and it can take a toll on your well-being.
If you start to feel road fatigue, you should stay in one place for at least a month or two.
At the same time, you might begin to feel cabin fever from staying in the RV. At this point, I recommend finding a short-term rental or even staying in a hotel for a little while.
Maybe visit your friends and family in one part of the country and hope that they are kind enough to put you up for a week or two.
And of course, if you are just sleeping in a stock RV bed, it may be physical fatigue as well as mental.
But you don’t have to settle for a mediocre mattress or pay through the nose to upgrade. Check out my recent article which explores all the ways you can improve sleep quality in an RV, and do it on a budget!
Just click that link to read it on my site.
8. Having to always find new doctors or clinics and making sure they are in-network
It is becoming easier and easier to check the reputation of a doctor, thanks to online sources.
Before seeing a doctor, you can check up on them and see their reviews, and if you are not on health insurance, finding a doctor is a little bit easier.
If you are on health insurance, you need to make sure that you know which doctors are covered by your insurance.
9. Increased food costs
Living in an RV full-time means spending more time and money eating out and getting fast takeaway food.
While at first, it may not seem like such a big issue, the cost does start to build up as time goes by, and when you factor in things like tipping your server, these costs can be pretty high.
Glorious weather is going to be an absolute mind-bender for a lot of people. Cabin fever turned up to eleven. As a very outdoorsy person myself exploring the great outdoors in my motorhome, it’s going to quite a test of endurance this year. pic.twitter.com/IMBB4P1e3o
— 🏴 Bradley Dare 🏴• ⚖️ (@doctorwhotardi8) April 5, 2020
10. RV insurance is 63% more expensive than homeowners or renter’s insurance.
Insurance companies tend to charge around 63% more for RV insurance than homeowners or renters insurance. That’s because it’s not only like a house, but it’s also like a car. So you are paying for both.
I want to add that even with this extra cost, it is still cheaper to live in an RV than in a house.
What makes this extra cost terrible is that you know that you are paying extra. It is the knowledge of it rather than the actual act of paying more.
11. Not a great option for cat people
I know that it is easy to assume that your cat will enjoy traveling.
After all, a lot of cats roam around at night. Even though cats roam around, it is important to remember that they only roam in the areas where they are comfortable.
They are not a pet that likes leaving their familiar surroundings.
We have discussed extensively how to travel with your cat in an RV in a recent article. In that article, you will learn the best practices to make traveling or living full-time with your cats in an RV the most pleasant experience possible for you and your cat.
Just click that link to see my cat tips right here on my site.
If you have dogs, things get a little bit easier. Dogs are loyal to their owners. The more time they get to spend with you, the happier there are, so you will find that some dogs prefer the RV as it means they are closer to you.
If you have dogs and want to take them with you, we have written a recent article that acts as the complete guide to living in an RV with dogs. Just click that link to read more on my site.
12. Not a great option for those with a regular day job
If you have a day job, you can still live in an RV. However, you lose one of the most remarkable features of living in an RV which is being able to travel the country whenever you want. You will need to be permanently situated at an RV campsite.
And you will most probably need to have a separate vehicle to get you to and from work.
I would still recommend owning an RV, although you might only be able to use it during vacations, and this would mean having a storage unit for the RV.
13. More frequent trips to the grocery store
Even if you are a magician when it comes to stocking your fridge and pantry in a way that maximizes the amount of space you have, you will still end up making more trips to the grocery store.
Remember, in an RV, everything is smaller.
Your storage cupboards and your refrigerator won’t hold as much groceries as regular appliances and storage cupboards will.
Basically, you won’t be able to buy in bulk.
You will have to buy what you need and the exact quantities that you need. So, not only will you make more trips to the grocery store, but you will also have to put a lot more planning into the groceries you buy.
This article has been an extensive one.
Hopefully, you now understand what you are getting yourself into when you decide to live in an RV full time. This is also where I like to give my personal opinion.
Look, living in an RV is not always going to be easy. It is the good times that make the tough times worth it.
At the end of each day, going to bed in an RV, you will be able to reflect on a productive day where you did what you wanted to do and that freedom is hard to find.