Top 10 Things I learned after moving into an RV Full-Time
1. They are small and have extraordinarily little space – When we sold our home and most everything in it, we were still hopeful that we could take more than we should have. When moving into a Class A, their size can be deceiving. For the first three weeks, we felt crowded and overwhelmed. We just had way too much stuff. Make sure when you are downsizing, you are only keeping the things that you must have. I will talk a little more about this in another post; however, remember it will be just you and your family; I doubt you will be entertaining others, bring what you need, and nothing more.
2. The size of your rig depends on where you can camp – Because of the size of our motorhome, we are limited on where we can camp. Ours is 41-feet which does not allow camping in most State Parks. We are limited to RV Resorts and Campgrounds. Boondocking is not out of the question, but you need to be mindful of the locations you choose to set up camp without the amenities of home. We cannot navigate our way up to small narrow roads or out onto soft sandy beaches. If you feel that your lifestyle would lead you to those out-of-the-way places, you may want to look for something smaller and easier to maneuver on the backroads.
3. Pay attention to the weather- Remember, you are moving about the country. It’s not unheard of to get snow in Colorado in March or Montana in June. Pay attention to hurricane weather when traveling in the south, especially near the Gulf of Mexico. It would not be a bad idea always to be looking ahead a week or two, listening to forecasts, and reading about the weather in the news. The weather can significantly impact your driving conditions and the damage it can cause to your motorhome.
4. Not everyone will understand your lifestyle- When you live on the road without a permanent home, people can view this in many ways. Some may think you are homeless and have no money. Others will think you are rich and very adventurous and extravagant. Please keep in mind why you chose to live this way and don’t let other’s opinions influence you or your choices. We chose this lifestyle for the adventure and ability to see so many parts of the US that we would never experience otherwise. I would not trade this life for all the hotels, motels, and airplane rides anywhere in the world.
5. Preparing meals can be a chore- This was something that I had to adjust to very quickly. You don’t have access to multiple mixing bowls, large mixers, and a ton of counter space. Planning worked better for me. We used our BBQ outside for grilling, our air fryer for baking, and our instapot for slow cooking and making soups, stews and roasts. We packed our spices in plastic containers that we store overhead. I try to make some things ahead of time, allowing for less of a mess and helps keep things less stressful around mealtime.
6. Get a routine down when setting up/breaking down camp – You will want to write out all the things that need to be completed and in which order. We have chosen a routine that works for us, and this will need to adjust to each family’s style. My husband takes the outside, and I take the inside. We have a schedule we follow every time, and we also have effective communication, so there is no overlapping, and setting up will be done in a sequence. For example, if you have slide-outs, you want to make sure the front seats are pulled forward enough that the slide-out doesn’t rip or tear them; sometimes, it can even break them, which would not be an excellent start to any camping trip.
7. Be ready to fix things – Because things will break – One of the must have’s you need to put on your packing list, a good set of tools. Please know that even if you buy a brand-new rig, it will have issues, and you will need to “tweak” something at some point. Get ready for delays, breakdowns, and sometimes overnights in parking lots to get things fixed and get back on the road. Remember, this is part of owning a motorhome. Don’t get discouraged; everyone has had to deal with this at one point in time.
8. Do not think Full-Time RV living is inexpensive – When you dream of selling your home, buying that motorhome, and hitting the road, we assume how affordable life will be when planning that budget. Keep in mind that you may not have a mortgage, but you replace that with a motorhome home payment. You will also need to purchase insurance on your rig along with that roadside assistance. You will now be buying gas/diesel for your new home to get you from one location to another. As we all know, gas/diesel is not always cheap. It would be best if you budgeted for repairs and upgrades. What happens when that air conditioner goes out, and you are in the middle of 113-degree weather? The rig you are driving will eventually need new tires, and this is not an area you want to skimp on; you want excellent quality tires that will last you for a while and keep you safe on the road. If you bought an older motorhome, you would like to do updates to the interior, and even if you do them yourself, it’s still going to cost you money. Many people forget the hidden costs that will suddenly appear out of nowhere and hit unexpectedly from time to time.
9. Online resources are invaluable – Surround yourself with groups of people online that live the same life as you do. You can find these groups on Facebook and other social media sites. You can also find them just by googling the name of your rig, such as “Monaco RV groups.” When affiliating yourself with others who own the same type of rig you do can help narrow down the cause of any issues you have and help find a solution and make things less stressful.
10. Don’t fret about the small stuff – This has been one of the most important lessons that I have learned along this journey. It’s easy to get caught up with the messy motorhome, dirt on the floor, and the bathroom that needs to be cleaned because you have been boondocking for three days. I have learned to remind myself of how lucky I am to experience this life, one day at a time, and the dirt and dust can wait. Sometimes there are piles on the couch because we have too much stuff, there’s laundry that needs to be done, and sheets that need to be washed. It will get done in time, but try to enjoy the moment, the lifestyle, the scenery, and the memories you are making without letting the insignificant things get in the way. Just learn to appreciate the adventure.