Do you hate the thought of living in one place for the rest of your life? Maybe you want to experience the freedom that comes from living life on the road. Whatever your reason for wanting to know how to live in an RV, we’ve got you covered.
People who live on the road are a unique group. They value things like the freedom to decide where to live and not knowing what the next day will bring. They enjoy a simpler, less expensive lifestyle.
If you want to know how to live in an RV, you’ve come to the right place. Follow along as we explore this exciting topic.
Why Would You Want To Know How To Live In An RV Full-Time?
For some people, buying a home and living in it for years is their idea of the American dream. They establish family traditions and take pride in their homes and the lives they build.
But for others, that type of life sounds like torture.
These independent souls long for flexibility, the ability to travel as a lifestyle, and the freedom to pack up in an instant and begin their next adventure. These are the types of people who long for the open road and want to know how to live in an RV.
The Pros and Cons of RV Living
If you’re wondering how to live in an RV and are thinking about beginning this exciting lifestyle, it’s wise to look at the pros and cons of the lifestyle before you make a decision. After all, leaving everything behind and taking to the open road is a drastic lifestyle change.
Here are some pros and cons of learning how to live in an RV.
There are many positives of learning how to live in an RV. Here are three you should know about.
The Grass is Greener - and Maintained
When you live in a traditional home, yardwork is part of the deal. You have to mow the lawn, edge around the borders, and many people spend part of their precious weekends doing this work. But when living in an RV, you will never have to do yard work because the RV park does all the work for you.
All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the scenery.
Play Nice or Leave
When you own a home and live next to bad neighbors, it can make life difficult. Unless one of you sells your home, you could live next to unpleasant people for years.
But if you park next to a bad neighbor in an RV park, you can usually move spots in a jiffy. Just think, no more loud, bossy, intrusive, or rude neighbors to deal with!
No wonder so many people want to learn how to live in an RV.
When you learn how to live in an RV and take to the open road, your life will be one big vacation. Even if you work while traveling, you’ll likely still live a life that’s filled with travel and adventure.
As with anything, learning how to live in an RV comes with cons as well as its many benefits. Here are three to think about.
Too Close for Comfort
After you've learned how to live in an RV, you can forget about privacy. Your traveling companion will know everything you do. And the lack of privacy extends beyond the walls of the RV. In some parks, the RV parking spaces are squeezed tightly together. So your neighbors may know your business, too.
If you need space away from people or are shy, give some serious thought to RV living.
Dirt Shows Up
When you live in a small space, any dirt or messes will become the focal point of your living space. For example, if you cook a meal and don’t feel like cleaning the dishes right away, the mess will literally be in your face until you do.
It’s true that you can clean an RV much faster than a house, but you will have to do it more often.
Where do I Put That?
Unless you purchase a luxury RV, you will have to learn how to live with a small refrigerator that doesn’t hold much. That means you need to learn the art of stocking a tiny fridge.
All those large juice bottles and oversized salad boxes? They’re not going to fit in your little fridge.
Instead, you will need to break down your food into smaller bags and containers. Also, you will have to shop for food more often because of the space shortage.
It's a challenging part of learning how to live in an RV, but well worth it.
Test RV Living Before You Go Full-time
Before you decide to leave everything behind and take to the road, it’s a good idea to test the lifestyle. After all, you’re probably talking about leaving your job, buying an expensive RV, and saying goodbye to your friends and family.
Doesn’t it make sense to know whether or not you will enjoy the lifestyle?
Here’s how to test the RV lifestyle before you make the leap.
I Promise I'll Bring It Back!
RV rentals have popped up all over the country since RVing has become so popular. To find one, you can look to large, commercial suppliers or smaller local companies that rent RVs. Also, RVshare is a peer-based RV rental agency where you can choose privately-owned RVs to rent from your state.
When renting an RV, you should look at the RVs in person to determine the size you think is right for you and your family.
First, determine whether you’re more comfortable with a drivable RV or one that you tow. Then, walk through it, sit at the table, lie on the bed — do whatever it takes to imagine yourself in there for weeks at a time. And then choose the right size for you.
Part of learning how to live in an RV is knowing what you need in an RV and then seeking just the right model.
Become a Temporary Nomad
Now that you have an RV, it’s time to hit the road. Plan to stay on the road for a few weeks, or even a few months if you have the time. By the time your test trip is over, you will have experienced all there is to know about life on the road.
You will know whether or not you can live in a tiny space, what it feels like to cook in a small kitchen, and how you like the feel of driving or pulling the RV.
If you loved your temporary RV lifestyle, chances are you’re ready to move on to the real deal.
Let’s take a look at that now.
What Type of RV Will You Buy?
Your first step to becoming a full-time nomad is to find and purchase your RV. But once you start looking, you will quickly realize that the term RV is broad.
And each type of RV appeals to a different personality. Here is a breakdown of the various types of RVs and what you need to know about each one when learning how to live in an RV.
Motorhomes are RVs that you drive. They are essentially a vehicle and house all wrapped up in one package. But motorhomes come in three classes.
The Big Guys
Class A motorhomes are the big boys of RVs. They look like very large buses, but inside they have all the comforts of home. These are luxury RVs, and the people that own them are typically famous (think tour bus) or very well off.
Not So Large but Large Enough
Next in line are Class C motorhomes. You can also drive these RVs, but the chassis is hooked up to a van. You can spot these motorhomes because the body of the RV extends over the cab.
Although Class C motorhomes offer plenty of interior room, they are more affordable than Class A motorhomes.
For The Thrill Of It
If your dream is to take to the open road and live a minimalist life, a Class B motorhome or campervan is your best choice. These RVs are great because you don’t need to haul another vehicle to go places when you don’t feel like driving a large RV. But you will compromise on space to get that benefit.
This class of RVs typically offer a bed, stovetop, fridge, and sink, but not much else. You will have to use the campground showers and toilets.
If you would rather pull your home on the back of a truck, you should look at travel trailers. These are another convenient option because once you set up at a campsite, you are free to use your regular vehicle to explore the area.
There are a few types of travel trailers.
The Big Ones
Fifth wheels can be just as large as a Class A motorhome. But instead of attaching to the rear of a vehicle like other travel trailers, fifth wheels hook up to a special type of hitch located in the middle of your truck bed.
Teardrops are tiny egg-shaped travel trailers that are easy to pull. They are so small that when you pull one, you can usually park in the tent section of the park. That’s significant because these areas offer more privacy and better views.
But you will pay in space. You will find many teardrop styles. Some have tiny kitchen areas and minimal bathroom features, while others have none.
Included in this type of travel trailer are T@Bs, T@Das, Scamps, and Casitas. All have varying space and amenities. You should go to a local dealer to compare the features and sizes of these tiny trailers.
When learning how to live in an RV, you will have to decide how small is too small for you and your family.
Not So Much
Vans and popups are other types of RVs, but most aren’t suited for full-time living unless you want to rough it. Think Volkswagen bus. They don’t offer kitchens, bathrooms, storage, or a lot of space. But if your plan to is to travel the country in the most minimalistic way possible, you should take a look at them.
On the other hand, you can find luxury vans that have most of the amenities you need for full-time living.
If you can’t quite decide which type of RV is right for you, take this free quiz. It will help you narrow down your options.
Mini-Lesson: How An RV Works
If you’re going to buy an RV, you need to understand how it operates. After all, if you’re like most RVers, you will do some (or all) of the maintenance work yourself.
There are two main areas you need to understand when buying an RV.
Let It Flow
When learning how to live in an RV, it’s important to understand how you get water to the sinks and bathroom area.
Attached to the outside of your RV, you will find a freshwater tank. These tanks typically hold 10 to 30 gallons of water. You fill them by using a hose, turning on the spout, and letting the water fill up the tank.
If you also have a home, you can use your water sprout, and if not, many RV parks, gas stations, and other stores like Walmart allow RVers to fill their tanks.
Once the freshwater tank is full, you will need to turn on the water pump inside of your RV. The pump operates with a battery. Once you switch it on, you should be able to open the tap or flush the toilet as you would normally.
When you’re looking at an RV, make sure to hook it up to a freshwater source and check to see that all the faucets and toilet are working.
Now, That's Shocking
RVs have two electrical systems on board: a 120v and a 12v.
The 120v is the same type of power that you use in your home and will run things like your RVs air conditioning system, the refrigerator, and the stove. When you park at an RV park, you will plug your motorhome into a 120v outlet. (By the way, when you plug it, it automatically charges your 12v battery.)
When you’re camping at a lake or other area where you can’t plug in, your RV will run on the 12v battery. Most RVs have refrigerators that will run on a 12v. But the battery won’t do much. It will, however, allow you to have indoor lights as you camp.
Some people use solar panels to charge their 12v while camping, while others prefer to travel with a generator.
You should test all of the electrical outlets and appliances when looking at an RV to determine if the electrical system works properly.
Simple Tips For Maintaining Your RV
Once you buy an RV, it’s up to you to keep it in good running condition. To make your new home last longer, you should routinely perform these maintenance tasks.
Keep dry silicone lubrication on hand on hand and apply it to your locks, hinges, sliders, and anything else that moves. That will keep all the moving parts in good working order.
Keep It Tight
When you drive an RV, it shakes and rattles — and that causes things to come loose. To ensure everything stays functioning as it’s supposed to, use a screwdriver to tighten up things like cabinet doors, outdoor ladder rungs, and everything else that needs to be re-tightened.
Spic and Span
Things work better when they don’t have layers of grime and dirt on them. That only causes more wear, which means you will have to replace the mechanical parts of your RV sooner than you should have. To combat this, use a good wax to keep the grime away and everything turning as it should.
Be sure to check your tires before and after each time you travel some distance. You should ensure it is at the right torque, and if not use a torque wrench to change the settings.
Your freshwater, grey water, and black water tanks should be cleaned about once every couple of months, depending on how often you’re on the road. Use bleach or Borax and run it through the tanks to sanitize them.
If water gets into the RV through cracked or broken exterior seals, it can cause a lot of damage. Prevent this by using EternaBond tape and making sure each seal and crack is sealed up and dry.
How To Plan Your Routes
Planning is everything when it comes to learning how to live in an RV. That is unless you’re one of the free-spirited types to who plans to throw a dart at a map in the mornings to decide where you will travel. If that’s you, go for it.
But for the rest of us, planning is a good thing.
Here are some tips that will help you plan your first (and subsequent) travel routes.
Is It Cold Outside?
One of the first things you’ll learn on the road is that the weather is important. For instance, you don’t want to travel in the Deep South in the heat of the summer unless you like extreme temperatures and mosquitos.
Most RVers plan routes in the mountains during the summer and then go south in the colder months.
Save Me A Spot!
Unless you want to experience frustration in your RV travels, you should book your RV spots as far in advance as possible. That is especially true during the summer months, as well as any holidays. It’s possible to wing it during the other seasons, but many RVers still book their spots to avoid surprises.
It's A Package Deal
If you have fur babies, not all RV parks will allow them in. That’s another reason planning is important. Look for RV parks that love your babies as much as you do and only book your spots in those areas.
How To Earn A Living On The Road
Not everyone who wants to learn how to live in an RV is retired. There are plenty of people who hold jobs while traveling.
How is that possible, you ask?
Here are a few ways to keep a steady income while traveling in your RV.
Where The Jobs Are
When looking for a job that allows you to work where you travel, you should look to the specialty job boards that cater to RVers. For example, Workamper.com is one such board. It offers a variety of jobs for people who can use their skills for a short amount of time while they’re in the area.
You can also check out camphost.org to find jobs as camp hosts for campgrounds across the country. Many of these positions allow you to stay at the campground for free — which will drastically reduce your living expenses. In most cases, you will also earn a fee. Work-camping.com is another site where you can find camp hosting jobs.
Take Your Job With You
Not all RVers work for other people. RV entrepreneurs travel the country, all the while working on their business. For example, you can become a blogger, open a website store, or start a publishing career — all from the comfort of your RV. Listen to the RV Entrepreneur Podcast for inspiration and ideas.
Tips And Tricks For RV Life
By now, you’re probably ready to take to the road and start your adventurous life. But before you go, we’d like to offer you a few tips and tricks that will help make your new life a success.
Here are three ways you can make learning how to live in an RV even simpler.
I Don't Feel So Good
Getting sick while traveling is a hassle. After all, you don’t have access to a regular doctor, and it’s not always easy to find one if you’re in a remote location.
But some companies offer health care options for people who live their lives as nomads. Here are a couple of options you should know about.
You Don't Have To Rely On Smoke Signals
Just because you travel as a way of life, that doesn’t mean you don’t need a way to receive mail. Luckily, others have gone before you and figured out a way that even RVers with no roots can get their mail.
Most RVers use apps and their computers for most bills, but sometimes you need a place to receive other mail and packages, too. Here are some of your options:
It’s difficult to live without Wi-Fi, isn’t it? But sadly, many RV campsites don’t offer it. But that’s okay because there are a couple of things you can do to ensure you’re never without a Wi-Fi connection.
Here are two:
Answered: How to Live in an RV
If you’re a nomad at heart, isn’t it great to know that learning how to live in an RV isn’t that difficult? Sure, you will face challenges that people living in homes don’t, but that’s part of the fun.
Do you live in your RV full time? If so, we would love to hear about your adventures in the comments below!