The Pros and Cons of Full Time RV Life

Even though we didn’t leave New York for good until October 18, 2016, we technically became full-time RV’ers on April 23, 2016. That is the day we moved out of our apartment and into the RV for good. I remember that day very well. We will revisit that day, our thoughts, feelings, and overall attitudes, and review our 7years on the road. Well this year, April 23rd just happens to be on a Sunday. That will be a nice trip down memory lane. In the spirit of the upcoming 1-year anniversary, I would like to give anyone who is thinking about doing this lifestyle an honest look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of full-time RV’ing.

Selfie in Sunset

I will say, so far we absolutely love it and have no regrets. Some things we expected, some we did not, and some we thought we had laid out the best plan but later found out we did not. I feel the biggest quality you need to full time is the ability to adapt. If you have the ability to adapt to a situation or environment, it will make life easier to enjoy the good times and will help you deal with and straighten out the bad times or situations.

The Good

  • You are Mobile!!!. You can go wherever you would like to go. Do you want to chase warm weather?  Visit family members in other states? Visit friends in other states? Attend family functions and reunions. Yup, you can do it no matter where it is. Find a campground and you’re there. How about seeing MT Rushmore, or seeing beautiful sunsets and sunrises right outside your window. Camping out in the mountains, the desert, or near water. Whatever is your pleasure, you call the shots.
  • Wherever you go, you will have all your stuff with you. No more forgetting your toothbrush or sweatshirt.
  • If you love the outdoors, this lifestyle is second to none. The views, sunsets, wildlife, etc are completely awesome.
  • You will meet people from all over the world
  • Much faster to do weekly cleaning chores than in a big house
  • Even if you have to work on the road, most jobs are fun. If not, they are temporary and you move on after an assignment.
  • You learn to live with less stuff/Junk. You have no choice.
  • You always have your own toilet and shower wherever you go
  • If you stay at campgrounds for longer than a week or two, you will get cheaper rates. Monthly rates are much cheaper than daily or weekly rates.
  • If you do not like your neighbors, you can move to another site or even another campground.
  • Did I mention you’re mobile?

The Bad

  • You are mobile. That means you will be driving. When vehicles move, something eventually breaks. RVs are not built half as good as houses or even autos. That means you will usually be fixing something or paying someone to fix something. You will also need to pay attention to roadways. Are the bridges high enough for you to drive under? Did your GPS just take you down a dead-end road that is too small to turn around in and now you have to back out? Did you just drive into a huge traffic jam? You’re more susceptible to weather. Your RV is not as secure as a house. You had better pay attention to the incoming weather and be prepared to move. Check out my post on the weather.
  • Even though you will have all your stuff with you when you travel, all your stuff will be a lot less now…lol
  • The great outdoors. By being in the great outdoors you will now have to deal with more outdoorsy problems. Are ants crawling up your hoses and into your RV? How about snakes, spiders, and flying insects? It’s true, you can have all those things in a house but you’re much more susceptible to these things in an RV.
  • Meeting people from all over the world is pretty cool. Becoming friends with them is even better. When you live in a house, your friends and neighbors will be there the next day and beyond so you can get together whenever you like. In an RV, you could wake up in the morning and the cool neighbor you hung out with last night (or maybe even you) could be leaving. With all of the different ways you can stay in touch with people these days, it does make staying in touch much easier. It’s definitely not the same sitting around a campfire with someone on facetime or skype as it is sitting with them in person…lol
  • Your weekly cleaning chores are a snap in an RV. Yeah, I can’t really think of a bad side to that one…lol
  • Working on the road is much trickier than in a house. There are a ton of options though and if you think outside the box, and are a little creative, you can actually have fun with this. See my page on different ways to make money. The bottom line is you need to make money to live. You can live off the money from your savings account, retirement income, your own business, or work camp but you will need money from somewhere.
  • You will not be able to go on shopping binges. You will have to evaluate every single purchase you make. There is simply not enough room to have it all. We usually buy things that can be used for multiple tasks.
  • While it’s great to have your own toilet and shower, there are a couple of downsides to that. The first is that you will not get the same water pressure in the shower that you do at home. If you shower at the same time that everyone else in the campground, it will lower your pressure even more than usual. Don’t expect to take long hot showers either. Most RV water heaters only have a 6-gallon capacity. If you’re bald like me it’s not so bad. If you have long hair, navy-style showers may work best. You always have the option of using the campground shower also but that defeats having your own…lol.
  • Your internet connectivity is going to be a big problem. Campground wifi is horrible most of the time. You will need to figure out a way to stay connected.
  • Be prepared to go to the laundromat. Although some RV’s come with washers/dryers, most do not.
  • Medical care could be tricky. If you are not retired and don’t have medical insurance through your job, finding good affordable health insurance can be a challenge. If you do have insurance, you will not have a regular Dr unless you come back to the same area at least once a year.
  • If you move from place to place regularly, the cost of fuel will be high.
From a scene in the Movie RV with Robin Williams
From a scene in the movie RV with Robin Williams

The Ugly

  • There are lots of things to learn as a new RV’er. The one thing that can really ruin a day fast is getting a “poop” shower. Now I don’t think things will ever get as bad as they did for Robin Williams in the movie RV (pictured above) but after all, everything is going into a holding tank. There are valves and hoses that are used for disposal. Valves could fail and hoses can leak. 
  • It’s no fun backing into campsites with your RV. Especially if you are new at it. It can be a little intimidating at the beginning. All I can say about this is you will get better at it and always use a spotter.

All in all, full-time RV’ing is not for everyone. Everybody puts up all the fun things they are doing and the beautiful scenery. We do that too. The biggest thing to remember is that you are not on a permanent vacation. It is your new way of life. You will need to do some of the same things you would do if you lived in a house. Food shop, maintenance, and work are some of them. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that like most people you run into in the campgrounds are on vacation. It took us time to let that sink in. 

If you have any questions or comments on this subject or would just like to add your personal experiences you can post a comment below.

2 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Full Time RV Life”

  1. I would think your RV might get a little dirtier a bit faster then when you live in a house. Primarily because there is no pavement. Is that true?

    • Good question. Most people (including us) use some kind of mat on the ground while camping in a dirt spot. In addition, we also use a welcome mat for both outside and inside the RV. These mats keep a lot of dirt/sand out just like mats you would use while living in a house. Most RV’s are using some type of wood flooring instead of carpeting. You simply take a broom and sweep the dirt/sand right out the front door. Try that in a house!!! If you do have carpet in your RV, a quick vacuum will do the trick. Either way, it is still much faster to clean a much smaller space than a large house.


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