Abby is the co-founder of the RV Miles Network, and along with Jason Epperson produces the weekly podcasts See America, America's National Parks, and RV Miles. Partner, mom and national parks lover, Abby travels full-time with Jason and their three boys and blogs about life on the road at OurWanderingFamily.com.
By Abigail Trabue
Becoming a full-time RVer can be an amazing life change, but it can also be a stressful one if you haven’t given the proper thought to what you are getting in to. Trust me, after almost four years on the road, there are plenty of questions Jason and I wish we’d asked ourselves before we took off and did a complete life 180.
If buying an RV and enjoying the nomadic life is something you are really considering, but you aren’t sure if it is right for you, here are a few questions to consider:
Are You Comfortable with Downsizing Your Life?
You will have to downsize your life. You’ll either do that by paying monthly for a storage unit, mooching basement or attic space from a family member, selling everything you own, or some combination of the above. It may sound obvious, you need to be cool with going from your home to a much smaller one, with very limited storage. If having stuff is something that brings you joy, RVing may not be for you.
Are You Someone Who Needs Familiarity and Routine that Rarely Changes?
Yes, you can absolutely build routine into your life as a full-time RVer, but the view outside your door is going to change regularly, and you will need to find your way around new towns, grocery stores, etc. If you like the familiarity of knowing where everything is at your local grocery store or having your neighborhood barista know your exact morning coffee order, you may find RV life stressful.
If You Need to Work, Do You Have a Job That Will Travel with You?
Unless you are retired, a recent lottery winner, or just really, really good with your investments, you’re probably going to need work, and we are here to tell you that if think you’re going to make a living off your blog/YouTube channel, you’re not. If you can work remotely, really consider what that will look like on the road. Dedicated workspace? Constant connectivity? We’ll address many of these questions in a future post, but they’re important questions to ask yourself now.
Are You Doing This Because You Want to Save Money?
RVing can absolutely be an affordable way to live, but if you are going into full-time RVing thinking you’re going to save all this cash, chances are you won’t. You will have repairs, you will have unknown things come up, you may find yourself sheltering-in-place at a private campground and paying a monthly rate close to a home mortgage. How much money you save will depend on what kind of RVer you want to be and so have a realistic view of how you would like to live and what that will cost you monthly.
Is Everyone in Your Family on Board with Going Full-Time?
If you all are not on the same page, this is not going to work. You and your partner need to be 100% all-in or it won’t work. Your kids need to be all-in or it won’t work. For us, this was a family decision. Have those talks, and realize that if a family member has real reasons why this isn’t for them, you will need to address those, or table this life change until the time is right for everyone.
What is it About RV Life You Find So Attractive?
Only you can answer this question, so take some time and make sure that what you find so appealing isn’t a glossy Instagram photo or an edited YouTube video, because while those can be a part of your RV experience, they will not be your only RV experience. For every glossy photo, there are 40 messy ones that didn’t make the cut.
What is it About Your Current Situation You are Unhappy With?
Again, only you can answer this question, and once you do, is it something RVing will really solve? RVing will come with its own stressors, so make sure you don’t fall prey to a “grass is always greener” scenario.
Are You Comfortable with Maintenance and General Repairs?
Because you will have to do them. Your home is a moving earthquake and things will break, things will need to be regularly maintained and that will fall to you to do. Having a mobile tech come to your campground can be a real pain, especially if you’re in an area where mobile techs are few and far between. Having to take your rig in for service, means you are taking your home in for service, and you might find yourself in a hotel for days or weeks. There are a lot of awesome resources out there to help you be your own RV handy-person, so you can learn all you need to know.
If You Have Kids, are You Comfortable with the Idea of Homeschooling and Being Your Child’s Teacher?
Whether you call it homeschooling, roadschooling, unschooling, etc., you will be taking on your kids education 100% once you become a full-time RVing family. How do you feel about that? How do your kids feel about that? Prior to our family getting on the road, we were already homeschooling in Chicago, so we had a good idea of what works for our kids, but even with two years of homeschooling under our belts, the transition to roadschooling was a big one. We have a few roadschool articles you might find helpful, and we’ll have a video on the subject out in the near future.
Do You Have a Health Condition that Would be Difficult to Manage on the Road?
If you, your partner, or your kid(s) have a health condition that requires frequent visits to a medical provider, this may not be the best time to go full-time RVing. Seek the advice of your healthcare provider if you are unsure if this lifestyle will be right for you and your family. Trust us when we say, a medical emergency on the road can be a nightmare.
If, after answering the above questions, and having those truthful talks, you still feel full-time RVing is for you, go for it! There’s a reason we have stayed on the road for as long as we have. A life of travel can be a truly rewarding experience, and you’ll appreciate it and enjoy it even more if you’re fully ready for it.
The RV Miles Full-Time RV Series is a multi-platform exploration of life on the road, and you can be a part of that conversation. Join us on YouTube, Facebook, in our Facebook Group, on Instagram and on the RV Miles Podcast.