Your Guide to Full-Time RV Living

Your Guide to Full-Time RV Living

With proper planning, full-time RV living can be a rewarding experience full of adventure, freedom, and beautiful memories. But there is a lot to learn before you hit the road, like picking the right RV, finding the right campground, budgeting, and funding your travel lifestyle.

This post rounds up the best expert tips and advice on full-time RV living. Buckle up and let’s roll!

Decide Whether You Want to Be a Nomad or Stationary RVer

There are two types of full-timers: nomads and stationary campers. Nomads embrace constant travel and exploration, discovering new places regularly. Stationary RVers prefer setting up in one location for extended periods, enjoying relaxation, stability, and a consistent community of fellow full-timers. Figure out which one best fits your travel ambitions.

Test the Waters Before Committing to Full Time RVing

Before you quit your job, sell your home, and spend the big bucks on an RV, rent different types of campers, then embark on several trips. This will give you a good feel for the lifestyle, helping you learn the expenses, physical demands, and even the right type of RV for your situation. You may even realize that RVing isn’t your cup of tea.

Create a Budget

Transitioning to full-time RVing cuts significant expenses, such as house payments and property taxes. But RVing also comes with its own costs. Create a budget that factors in the costs associated with full-time RV living. Here’s a quick breakdown of the major costs:

  • Purchasing the RV - $20,000 (small solo travel trailer), $60,000 (mid-size travel trailer), $100,000 (fifth wheel), $200,000 (campervan), $150,000 class C RV, and $300,000 (class A bus-like RV)
  • Camping fees - $20 to $100 per night ($300 to $1,500+ per month) depending on the type of campground (private or public) and amenities offered.
  • Fuel - With an average RV MPG of 12, expect to spend $260 every 1000 miles.
  • Repairs and Maintenance - $100 to $400 per month
  • Insurance - $200 to $2000 annually, depending on the type of RV.
  • Recreational Activities and Dining Out - $500 per month
  • Groceries and Toiletries - $700 per month
  • Internet and Phone - $200 per month
  • Health Insurance - $450 per month per person
  • Pets - $300

On average, a full-time RVer should expect to spend between $2,000 and $5,000 per month.

Find a Source of Income

To sustain full-time RV living, you need a reliable source of income. Instead of quitting your current job, first negotiate a permanent remote work arrangement at your current workplace. If it isn’t possible, consider remote careers like virtual assistance, transcription, digital marketing, freelance writing, proofreading, tutoring, customer rep, or selling crafts online. Alternatively, try seasonal jobs at campgrounds or national parks.

Pick an RV that’s Designed and Warrantied for Full Time Living

RVs that are built for full-time habitation have sturdier construction materials to withstand constant use. They also have superior insulation, residential-like appliances, and functional layouts to maximize space. When shopping, look for brands that build RVs intended for year-round use. Good examples are Outdoors RV, Grand Design, and Brinkley RV. 

Take Your Pet into Account

If you plan to full time with your furry friend, look for an RV that’s pet friendly. Ideally, it should have features like climate control, an outdoor shower, extra-wide steps, and fabrics that are stain, odor, and puncture-resistant. Of course, you should also invest in other pet travel devices, such as a Waggle temperature monitor, a dog crate, a remote camera, and a safety belt harness 

Learn How To Operate the RV

Before embarking on full-time RV living, familiarize yourself with all your RV systems. That included the electrical, plumbing, sewer, jacks, slides, awnings, generator, and propane system. In addition, learn how to park, back up, brake, hitch, set up, hook up, and tear down the camper. These skills will help you become a more confident traveler. 

Build Some Self-Reliance Skills

To be a successful full-time RVer, you need to become a good problem solver and independent decision-maker. Learn basic maintenance and repair tasks, such as fixing water leaks, changing tires, and troubleshooting electrical issues. Acquire skills in route planning, reading maps, first aid, financial management, and meal preparation. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources, from YouTube videos, full-time RVing blogs to in-person courses.

Declutter and Adopt a Minimalist Lifestyle

To travel light and unburdened, learn to live with fewer possessions. Decide what to sell, what to keep, what to give away, and what to throw away. Only keep what you absolutely need. If you still want to hold on to some valuables or sentimental items, consider renting a small storage unit.

Choose Your Campground Wisely

Look for an RV park that caters to the lifestyle you want. Do you want a retiree community or a family campground? Long-term campers will want a place with community spaces (clubhouse and pavilions), social events, a pool, laundry room, bathhouses, general store, trash service, kids' playground, fitness center, sports court/field, WiFi, discounted monthly/seasonal rates, and, of course, full hookups.

Consider Buying Your Own RV Lot

It’s hard to make long-term friendships if you are always hoping from place to place. Having an RV site you can live in permanently or return to once in a while gives you a chance to forge life-long connections with your neighbors, become part of a community, and have a sense of belonging. And when you want to explore a different part of the country, you have the option to rent out the site and make some money. RV lot prices start from around $10,000 to $200,000+, depending on the location.

Save With Free Campsites

A brilliant way to save money when travelinfull-timeme is to boondock at free locations. Look for dispersed camping options on public lands, such as national forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas. Use resources like, Campnado, Campendium, Boondockers Welcome, FreeRoam, and iOverlander.

Take it Slow

Full-time RV living is a learning curve that requires adaptability and resourcefulness. From managing maintenance tasks, mastering travel logistics to budgeting and navigating setbacks, each day brings new challenges and opportunities. Embrace the journey with patience and an open mind, and you'll grow more adept and confident in your nomadic lifestyle.

Full-Time RVing is a Ticket to Endless Horizons

Full-time RVing allows you to explore diverse landscapes, meet new people, and embrace a minimalist lifestyle. With each new destination, you gain fresh experiences and perspectives, creating a rich, dynamic way of living that continuously inspires.