Full-Time RVing Is Not Like Living On Vacation
When you think of full-time RVing, do you imagine exploring a new place every day and having a campfire every night? That was the vision I had in the planning stages of our families’ big adventure.
I love everything about travel, and vacations are our most memorable times in life. So why not live the vacation?
Many days in full-time RVing do really feel like a vacation, but many days don’t fit this vision I had. Why? This little thing called life happens and it turns out that it follows you wherever you go.
Let’s explore 5 differences.
1) Real World Life Gets In The Way
You know that amazing feeling you have when you go on vacation that everything has all been planned out and you don’t have to deal with anything in life except for being on vacation? A true break from daily life?
Full-time RVing is your daily life placed in new exciting locations. It is a mix of all the tasks and problems you normally deal with, but in a smaller space that is always moving.
Yes, there are plenty of days of exploring and campfires. There are also plenty of days of paying bills, work or school, RV and vehicle maintenance, medical appointments, grocery shopping, and everything else you do in your daily life.
2) Full Timer RVing Can Be Hard Work
Now that you are considering how your daily life would fit into your full-time RVing picture, here is something else to add. RVing itself can be hard work.
When you live in your RV, you have lots of stuff and some of that stuff may not have tidy secure places in cabinets to live in. Don’t forget about those decorations you put up to make your space feel homey.
All of that stuff has to be packed and unpacked, set up and torn down, with everything secured each time you move to the next location.
Then comes all of the trip and route planning. Full-time RVers are pretty much full-time travel agents.
Where to go, where to stay, which route to take to get there, and what to do once you’ve arrived, is a nonstop planning process. There are constantly campground reservations to make or change.
It’s all plenty doable but these are additional life tasks that become part of your journey.
3) RV Maintenance And Repairs Are Never-Ending
I know one of the visions we had about RVing full-time was how much time we would save by not having to maintain the lawn and constantly fix something on our house.
While you won’t need to mow the lawn anymore, RVs have just as much maintenance as a house and sometimes even more.
The roads and highways in this country are rough. They say every time you move your RV down the road that it is like an earthquake. Something is constantly broken or damaged.
Repairs aren’t something that you normally need to deal with on vacation, but they are a part of daily living in an RV. Bring a good set of tools along and I guarantee you will learn a lot in the process of maintaining your RV.
4) Everyday Budgeting Is Different From A Vacation Budget
Oh and then there is the budget. You knew I had to talk about this one.
Most vacations are planned and saved for well in advance. You usually have a limited amount of days to do as many things in the area as possible.
You try to do all the main tourist things, eat out to save time, and really hoop it up. Vacations are usually a time to splurge, after all, you only get so many vacation days.
Most people don’t have the budget to live in daily vacation mode during full-time RVing. This is the part I struggled with the most in our first year.
We were only in a location for a few days each time and I wanted to see it all. I didn’t know if I would ever get to return to the area and didn’t want to miss out on anything.
We also would max out everyday sightseeing which would leave us tired, starving, and eating out too much. It can be tough to stay on budget.
This leads me to my final point, we were tired.
5) RVing Can Be Exhausting
Do you know how everyone jokes that they need to go home from vacation and go back to work to rest?
Both vacations and full-time RVing can be exhausting. The difference is that when you are RVing, there is no going home to rest.
In the honeymoon phase of full-time RVing, most people tend to travel pretty fast. They move often and want to see as much as possible. Some are still trying to roll with the vacation mindset.
Since most RVers travel with the weather, there can be a feeling of urgency to see what you can before the seasons change and you must move to better weather.
In the beginning, we tried to see it all and moved every few days. The sightseeing, packing and unpacking, long driving days, and nonstop travel planning left us exhausted.
We were trying to do it all and felt quickly burnt out in the first year. We needed to find a pace that worked for us.
Full-Time RVing Is Actually Better Than Vacationing
You didn’t think this would be an article to talk you out of full-time RVing, did you? RVing is an exciting lifestyle, but it is an easier transition when you go into it with more reasonable expectations.
Every full-time RVer goes through a break-in period where they find the balance between life and travel. You too will find your flow.
Enjoy the process of figuring it all out. After all, it is a gift to have these experiences.
We are still figuring it all out. We go through seasons of life where we have to slow things down sometimes.
Don’t be afraid to tweak your travel plans. We constantly change our plans and our minds. It is all worth it to have the freedom to explore and make new memories together.
I don’t have the dread of a vacation ending and having to go home. There is always a buzz of excitement surrounding the next place we are headed. Once we found our flow, full-time RVing became the trip of a lifetime!
Can you relate to the differences in my vision of daily vacationing versus the reality of full-time RVing? Please leave me a comment! I would love to hear about your experiences.
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Enjoy your adventure detour!
Scott and Van of The Adventure Detour are travel writers focusing on RV travel, family outdoor travel, national parks travel, and hiking. They have been full-time RV living and traveling across the US since 2015. In 8 years of full-time RVing, they have visited 38 national parks so far with the ultimate goal to see them all. They work as digital nomads while roadschooling their daughter nicknamed Sissy. On the way to all 50 states, they have visited and hiked through 42 states so far. The travel bucket list is forever growing!