Full Time RV Living Travel Guide
Have you ever dreamed of full time RV living? Our family jumped into RV life over 7 years ago and never looked back. We share tips and tricks for RV living in this travel guide!
Why Is RV Living Becoming A Popular Lifestyle?
Over the last few years, there has been growing attention toward living in an RV full time. Why is RV life becoming more popular?
One word, FREEDOM! Many travel lovers are finding value in letting go of owning more stuff to make room for living more. Exchanging possessions for experiences is life-changing.
World changes in the last few years has more and more people desiring to become digital nomads or to work remotely. If you can work anywhere, why not work while traveling and living in an RV?
Why Did Our Family Decide To Jump Into RV Living Full Time?
We have always been travel lovers, but with jobs and our house, there was very little time or money left to travel. We lived as a typical suburban family but always longed for more.
We always felt like we needed more time together and really wanted to focus on building family memories. It was hard to put our finger on it, but we just felt that we should be living life more.
Could 5th Wheel RV Living Work For A Family?
When we learned that some families had found a way to start living in an RV full time, we just knew that this RVing life could be the solution to what we were searching for. Back in 2014, this was still a bit unheard of, and we didn’t have many resources to figure out how to make our RV lifestyle dream happen.
In fact, we had never even been camping or in an RV before! In 2015 we sold the house, bought a 5th wheel camper, and dove into our new travel life as full time RVers. Here we are 7 years later and still rolling along.
(This post contains affiliate links. Purchases keep the lights on for this blog at no additional cost to you. See the Disclaimer.)
(Don’t miss more tips and tricks for RV living below these posts.)
How Much Does Full-Time RVing Cost In 2023? A Family Shares The Cost Of Living Full Time In An RV Per Month
Would You Enjoy RV Living Full-Time?
Wouldn’t it be nice to know if you would enjoy RV living before diving in? I know we sure would have loved to know!
Most people who jump into the RV lifestyle with the right expectations enjoy RV life. It’s important to know that it isn’t always easy. Living in a camper full time has its challenges, but it is worth it!
Pros And Cons Of RV Living – Is It Like Living On Vacation?
As spectacular as RV Living is, it’s quite a bit of work to travel and not always like an RV life on vacation. Daily living and problems are part of traveling, just like any lifestyle.
People that tend to love living in an RV are those that have flexible personalities. There will be RV mechanical breakdowns, problems with camping reservations, and your travel plans will sometimes completely fall apart.
It helps to view the incredible parts of RV living and the challenges of the RV lifestyle as all part of your adventure!
How To Live In An RV Full Time
Once you have decided if RV living is right for you, it’s time to get down to the details of making RV living happen. Having a clear plan for RV life can help you get on the road with less stress.
Before buying an RV to live in, it’s helpful to decide if you will be traveling in your RV or if you will be stationary RV living. Stationary RV life affects many parts of RVing life, such as budget, buying an RV to live in, and RV residency.
Establishing An RV Residency Or RV Domicile
If you are traveling in your RV full time, you will need to establish an RV residency, also known as a domicile. Some RVers choose the best state to register an RV or a state they will spend a lot of time and do business in as their full time RV permanent address.
Best State To Register RV
Popular RV residency states are Florida, Texas, and South Dakota due to their friendliness toward RVing full time and the ease of vehicle registration. Consider taxes and specific vehicle registration requirements, including if you need to be present when selecting which state meets your RV domicile needs.
Using An RV Mail Service For RV Residency
Using a mail service for RVers provides an actual physical address for RV residency, such as Escapees domicile, which we used. A PO Box is not sufficient for establishing a domicile. Using an RV mail service makes setting up your full time RV permanent address easier.
Best Mail Service For RVers
Most RV mail services are set up to serve the most popular RV residency states for domicile. Florida mail forwarding services include Escapees mail service, My RV Mail, Good Sam Mail Service, and St. Brendan’s Isle. Americas Mailbox is a popular RV mail service for South Dakota.
Escapees mail service also provides service to Texas and South Dakota for RV domicile. We have used Escapees mail forwarding service Florida our entire time on the road. We have always been happy with the service.
For all other states, the best mail forwarding service is a nationwide digital mail option. With The Traveling Mailbox or iPostal1, you can choose your state to establish RV residency and view mail digitally anywhere in the US.
There are legalities to selecting an RV domicile, and we are not lawyers or providing legal advice. Please consult with a domicile attorney if you have questions.
Tips For Buying An RV To Live In
The best RV for full time living will have the space requirements for daily living and the RV size you feel comfortable driving and parking. It’s honestly tough to find that balance!
Many people jump into RV living from a large house and think getting the largest RV possible is best. They want the space and all of the bells and whistles.
When choosing an RV to live in, bigger is not always better. First, consider if you will be stationary or where you plan to travel. If you want to camp in many state parks or national park campgrounds, then smaller is better in many parks.
Best RVs For Full Time Living
Full time RVers choose everything from campervan living, living in a motorhome full time, and travel trailers for full time living. The most popular choice for RV living with kids is either a 5th wheel or a travel trailer with a bunk house feature.
Once you know the places you would like to travel to and their campsite size requirements, you can consider the living space and your must haves for RV living. Keep in mind the towing capacity of your vehicle and the GVWR on towable RVs.
You never want to get close to maxing out your towing capacity when your 5th wheel or travel trailer is full of your RV living possessions. The best trucks for towing campers have more towing capacity than needed for your RV.
Insurance For RV Living
A huge step that some people miss is getting the right RV insurance policy for the RV full time lifestyle. A standard insurance policy does not offer the coverage and protection needed for living in an RV full time.
Full Time RV Insurance
A full time RV insurance policy has additional coverage for contents, emergency hotel coverage, and protection in case someone gets hurt visiting your RV. This policy is somewhat similar to a homeowner’s policy. You will have problems arise in RV living, and it is crucial to have insurance for full time RVers.
We went through the insurance agent our FMCA membership provides, and they helped us find the perfect coverage for RV life. We have had claims, and our full time RV insurance coverage through our FMCA RV agent met our needs perfectly.
Full Time RV Health Insurance
It’s also important to make sure your full time RV health insurance will cover you out of state during your travels. Many plans have out-of-state emergency coverage but depending on your health needs, you may need to upgrade to a plan that has nationwide regular insurance coverage.
Check out the RVer Insurance Exchange for help adding nationwide health insurance coverage or telehealth coverage that works for your travels.
What Is The Cost Of Full Time RV Living?
Full time RV living costs vary widely depending on how people like to travel or if they are stationary. Stationary RV living cost is much lower and more predictable month to month because no travel costs are involved.
Overall the cost of RV living is lower or about the same as living in a house. On paper, the cost of living in RV full time may look much cheaper than living in a traditional home. Still, many unexpected travel and RV repair expenses pop up when you are always on the road.
What Is Our Family’s Average RV Living Full Time Cost?
Over our 7 years on the road, we have found that full time RV living costs about the same as we spent living in our house. Some months spent in one location, using campground memberships, and without repairs are much cheaper than living in a home.
However, months that we travel large distances, pay retail for campsites, or have RV repairs can be more expensive than a traditional sticks-and-bricks home. It really varies widely.
We have seen the cost of living in an RV range from $1,600 a month to $6,000 a month. Our average RV living full time cost is around $4,300 per month for a family of 3.
Is Cheap RV Living Possible?
Cheap RV living is possible. Ideas to reduce RV living costs include boondocking, paying off RV and vehicles before beginning RV life, staying within one area, and using paid-off campground memberships for campsites.
Prepare For The Unexpected – Cost Of Living In An RV
To prepare for unexpected travel and RV repair costs that pop up during RV living, we always recommend having a savings account and a monthly portion of your RV budget set aside for extra costs. You may also need funds to cover extended hotel stays if you can’t stay in your RV during repairs.
How To Make Money On The Road – Work For RVers
Some people that RV full time are retired, while many are still working age and have to either bring their current job along online or find new on the road jobs. Luckily there are many jobs you can do while traveling in an RV.
Travelers that work online are often referred to as digital nomads. With a good internet connection, you can make money on the road from your RV and anywhere in the world.
Post-pandemic, there are more online jobs than ever before. It is possible to become a digital nomad in your current field or a new one. Common online jobs are in customer service, but almost any field has online opportunities that can work as RVing jobs.
Places To Find Digital Nomad Or Online RVing Jobs
A great source to find online jobs that work well for RV living is Rat Race Rebellion. Another excellent resource for online employment is Flex Jobs. Most job search websites also allow you to filter your search for work at home or remote positions.
Best Internet For RV Living
Having reliable internet is a must for living in an RV full time. RVing life requires staying connected to loved ones back home, working online, and sometimes school on the road.
The newest and best internet for RVers is Starlink RV satellite service. Other RV internet options include using one or more RV mobile hotspots through various cell carriers. Calyx is a newer hotspot unlimited option on the T-Mobile network.
Workamping Is The Perfect Work For RVers
Some jobs you can do while traveling in an RV are actually camping jobs. One of the most popular jobs for RVers is workamping, also seen as work camping. Work campers are RVing jobs offering a campsite as part of the position.
Paid Versus Unpaid Work Camping Camp Host Jobs
Most workamping jobs are paid while others are volunteer opportunities for great campsites. Many work camping positions are camp host jobs within campgrounds. Work campers often check campers in, complete yard work, work in the camp store, clean the campground, and sell firewood.
How To Find Workamping Jobs
Check out these websites for work camping jobs: Workcamper News, workampingjobs.com, Kamper Jobs, and Happy Vagabonds. Also, check out jobs at specific campground chains such as KOA, Sun Communities, and Encore/Thousand Trails.
Camping Jobs Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are another place to look for work camper jobs. Check out these Facebook groups for opportunities: Workampers, Workamping In The USA, Workamper Reviews, and Workamping Jobs With Wages. Facebook groups are a way to find smaller campground opportunities that aren’t featured on the websites or a way to find out about a job before it is posted elsewhere.
7 Types Of RVing Jobs To Make Money On The Road
1. Seasonal Work For RVers: Beet Harvest, Tree Lots, Pumpkin Lots, Seasonal Tourist Area Jobs, Amazon Camperforce
2. Online Digital Nomad RVing Jobs: Freelance Work In Current Industry, Network Marketing, Customer Service
3. Amazon FBA Seller
4. Travel-Related Freelance Work: Bloggers, Travel Writers, Content Creators, Influencers
5. Workamping Or Camp Host: Private Campgrounds, State Parks, Corps Of Engineers, and National Recreation Areas
6. RV Transporter Job
7. Oilfield Gate Guard Jobs For RVers
Full Time RV Living Must Haves
It helps to create a full time RV packing list to keep track of the must haves for RV living. When we launched into RV life, I went room by room in our house and made a list of the items that should go with us in the RV.
8 Must Have RV Kitchen Accessories
One downsizing area that can be difficult is the RV kitchen. Our RV kitchen must haves include:
1. Travel Berkey Water Filter
2. Kuerig K-Mini Coffee Maker
3. Baking Stone (improve RV oven heat distribution)
4. Electric Hotplate
5. Ninja Foodi 14-in-1 Cooker
6. Collapsible Silicone Strainer & Measuring Cups
7. Webber Q1200 Outdoor Propane Grill
8. Lightweight Corelle Dishes.
Must Have RV Tools
Many people overlook the need to have a good RV tool kit. The raw truth about RV living is that things often break on RVs. You also may want to remodel or upgrade different areas of your RV.
RV Tire Tools
Building a complete RV tool box is essential to life on the road. First, you want to make sure that your RV toolkit includes 1-2 bottle jacks, road flares, and other tire-changing essentials.
It is also helpful to carry a small air compressor and tire pressure monitor to be able to adjust your RV tire pressure wherever you are camping. Having a lugnut wrench is also important to check your lugnut torque frequently.
16 Essential Tools For Full Time RV Living
Common basic must have RV tools include:
1. Socket Set
2. Hex Key Allen Wrench Set
3. Electric Drill & Bit Set
4. Hammer & Rubber Mallet
5. Screwdriver & Changeable Bits
6. Adjustable Wrench
7. Assortment Of Fuses For RVs
9. Glue: Wood Glue, Super Glue, & Gorilla Glue
10. Tape: Duct Tape & Electrical Tape
11. Wire Cutters
12. Work Gloves
14. Cable Zip Ties
15. Voltage Multimeter
16. Telescoping Ladder
RV Clothing And Camp Shoes For Living In An RV Full Time
RV Capsule Wardrobe
Our favorite solution is to maximize RV clothes storage by building an outdoor capsule wardrobe for each family member. We choose high-quality neutral pieces that mix and match well but also hold up to outdoor activities.
Comfort and durability are important to stand up to frequent wear and washing since we have fewer items. We also choose layers and hoodies over bulky coats to save space.
Picking the best shoes for camping, travel sightseeing activities, and outdoor exploration can be challenging. We try to pick rugged shoes that will last and limit the number of pairs each person has to maximize RV shoe storage. We each have hiking shoes, tennis shoes, sandals/water shoes, flip flops, and a nicer casual pair of shoes.
Secrets To Snagging Tough To Book RV Camping Reservations
One of the hardest parts of full time camper living is reserving campsites. The recent popularity explosion in RVing has made it more difficult than ever to book the top camping locations.
Don’t worry though! We have learned a few RV living tips and tricks to grab even sold out state park and national park campgrounds. Check out our FREE GUIDE: How to Score Sold-Out Campsites in State and National Parks.
Best Campground Booking Tool To Find And Reserve Campsite Cancellations
We use a new service called Arvie that finds campground cancellations and also books it right on the spot.
No more hoping to be on the phone and trying to be quick enough to book campground cancellations.
We create a sold-out campsite search, and if a cancellation happens, Arvie books the reservation for us. What a game-changer for RV reservations!
Get your Arvie FREE TRIAL HERE + 10% off to check it out for yourself!
FAQ Full Time RV Living
Is it realistic to live in an RV?
It is more realistic to live in an RV now than at any other time in history! With the massive increase in remote and online job opportunities, even younger working-age travelers and families are switching to living and traveling in an RV full time.
Is it cheaper to live in an RV?
It can be cheaper to live in an RV, but it depends on a few factors. It is easier for stationary RVers to save money versus living in a house. Full-time RV travelers often have increased travel costs that can average to about the same cost as living in a house or apartment.
What are the cons of living in an RV?
The biggest cons of living in an RV are repair costs. Even RVs designed for full time RV living have frequent repairs and maintenance that can get expensive. It can be incredibly challenging if you can’t stay in the RV during repairs.
Which RV is best for full time living?
The RV best for full time living is one in which you feel comfortable driving and parking and also meets your space requirements for daily living. Also, consider choosing an RV with features for boondocking, camping in cold climates, or with a workspace if you plan to use your RV for these situations.
Can you permanently live in an RV?
Yes, you can permanently live in an RV stationary or traveling. Travelers that live in an RV establish a domicile or RV residency, often using a mail service for RVers that provides a permanent legal address. South Dakota, Florida, and Texas are the most common states.
How much does it cost to RV full time?
The cost to RV full time varies widely depending on how someone travels versus if they are stationary. Full time RV travel can range from $1,800-$6,000 per month. Our family of 3 averages $4,300 per month and changes locations approximately every two weeks.
What are the negatives of living in an RV?
The negatives of living in an RV include RV repairs and maintenance, balancing daily living with full time travel, and the work involved in setup, travel planning, and reservations. It is an incredible lifestyle but living in an RV isn’t the same as taking an RV vacation.
Where do most full time RVers live?
Most full time RVers live in Florida, South Dakota, and Texas. An RV mail service can be used to establish a permanent address. This domicile or RV residency is needed for vehicle registration and insurance. Full time RV living in Florida is extremely popular.
Do You Have A Dream To Try RV Living?
Living in a RV full time is both challenging and rewarding. The freedom of being able to travel where and when you want is incredible. The travel memories and time spent together last a lifetime. I hope this guide inspires you to get out there and go for it!
So glad you found us. We are Scott, Van & Sissy. We turned our love of travel into a full-time RV living adventure.
Our goal is to guide you to unique US travel destinations, share RV travel tips, and help you navigate full-time RV travel.
Something that makes us different is our unfiltered approach. We choose to share both the benefits and the challenges of the full-time RV lifestyle.