Last updated on September 22nd, 2023 at 08:28 pm
Full-time travel sounds pretty glamorous, and we really enjoy it for the most part. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t drawbacks to it as well. In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of full-time RV travel. Watch the video below or continue reading for the top 5 advantages and disadvantages of full-time RV life.
Do you know how people ask if you want the good news or the bad news first? Well, I always choose the bad to get it out of the way. So that’s what I’ll do here. First I’ll list what I consider the challenges of the full-time RV lifestyle, and then the benefits.
Drawbacks of Full-Time RV Travel
We’ve experienced each of the following to a certain extent over the last six years of our full-time RV journey. Believe it or not, some of them are more recent than others. So, just know these aren’t necessarily things you only experience at the beginning of your full-time RV travels. In fact, you may be so enamored of the freedom of your new lifestyle that you may not notice the challenges your first year or two.
Continual Upkeep is Required. No matter what make or model of RV you buy, regular maintenance is a fact of life for full-time RVers. Think about it, you are driving your home down the road at 60 mph on a regular basis. Also, since RVs are meant to be mobile, they are also built to be lightweight–so the fittings and fixtures aren’t as high quality as a traditional sticks & bricks home. Then add in that you either have automotive systems in your RV or tow vehicle. Plan for routine maintenance and be flexible in your plans when the unexpected occurs. Most importantly keep a sizable maintenance savings fund. We will be writing another post soon about out-of-pocket expenses we’ve incurred even with the manufacturer and extended warranties.
Fluctuating Expenses Wreaks Havoc on the Budget – With so many variable costs (maintenance, fuel, campgrounds, etc.) it is very difficult to stick to a regular budget. We are very strict about maintaining a budget and have gotten better at anticipating changes before they occur. The most important thing you can do is track your expenses. We use the every dollar app and immediately log each and every penny that we spend. This helps us maintain awareness of where our money is going and make changes where needed. Click here to see our full-time RV travel expenses last year.
Internet Woes. We purchased a Pepwave router to go with our Verizon hotspots. They aren’t cheap, but we’re still working remotely, and it was getting more and more frustrating trying to get a decent signal. Even when you get a good signal, mobile internet just doesn’t reach the level it did in the house. The Pepwave allows us to link to our cell phones, hotspots, and the campground WiFi (when available) from one location and even set priority orders. Click here for a very informative guide on staying connected using cellular data.
It Can Be Lonely. Hitting the road means leaving your family and friends behind. It can be difficult and costly to get back to visit regularly. Also when you’re traveling full time, you rarely spend a substantial amount of time in one place. Because of this, it can become very hard to build meaningful relationships. When you do make genuine friendships, you often leave shortly thereafter.
My greatest full-time struggle is missing my sons!
Uncertainty. Some people like the spontaneity of the full-time travel lifestyle. However, I’m a planner. For people like me, the uncertainty of long-time travel can be disconcerting. Not having a clear plan for the future, and in some cases not even knowing if you’re going to make enough money for the future, can be a very daunting and stressful experience.
While these are all legitimate downsides of full-time travel for me, they may not be for you. Everyone is different and every journey is unique. For me, the following advantages make it worth this full-time travel lifestyle.
Benefits of Full-Time RV Travel
Experiencing New Places. I have always loved travel! I enjoy visiting small towns and big cities alike. I take solace in a walk on the beach or the woods and equal pleasure at a national park or museum. Traveling by RV allows me to keep moving and experiencing new places.
Rainbow Springs was one of my favorite places we’ve visited so far.
No packing. Extended travel is so much more enjoyable when you have your stuff with you. One of the things that I have always had a hard time with is packing lightly. I always want to have options of clothing. In addition, traveling by RV allows you to take all your toys (bikes, kayaks, snorkel gear, etc.) with you when you visit new places.
Having Time to Smell the Roses. One of the main reasons we wanted to travel full-time in an RV was so that we could enjoy slow travel. We enjoy staying in a location for at least a month. During the winter we often stay for up to 3 months in one spot. This gives us a chance to experience more of an area and get to see it as locals do. Read more about our slow travel style.
Growing our Relationship. After raising three boys, we thought we had a very close relationship and we did. However, living and traveling full-time together in this small space has brought us even closer together. We have learned how to communicate with each other better and our relationship is stronger for it.
Learning Flexibility. I’ve always been a planner and have a contingency plan for the main plan. Traveling full-time has taken me out of my comfort zone because there are too many variables to anticipate. It has helped me learn to be more flexible and dare I say, spontaneous.
The full-time RV travel lifestyle is so different from any other. Though it’s filled with undeniable benefits and brings you incredible experiences, it is by no means an easy way to live and comes with a lot of its own challenges. These are just a few considerations to make when deciding if full-time RV life is for you. What other concerns do you have? Drop us a note in the comments and let us know.
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