Full-Time RVing is an amazing lifestyle of freedom and adventures. Full-Time RV life is not without its challenges though!
When SHTF with health, mechanical failures, and extreme weather events, it can be difficult when there is no house to go home to. Full-Time RVers share ways to handle life challenges out on the road.
Full-Time Living In An RV When SHTF
It’s not if, but when life disasters will happen out on the road. Just like life challenges happen in a house, they are inevitable in your RV.
There is no reason to worry though! A little planning ahead can help remove much of the stress that comes with these bumps in the road.
The Most Common Life Challenges RVing Full-Time
So what things can really happen when you live on the road? The most common life hiccups on the road are medical issues, mechanical failures, and weather or fire events.
Here Is Our SHTF List Over 6 Years Of RV Living:
– A major chronic illness diagnosis with our daughter required traveling to specialists
– A blown eardrum left us stuck in a mountain valley for 1 month unable to go into higher altitude to leave
– 2 Hurricanes: 1 we spent in a hotel, 1 our truck broke down right before, which left us at the campground
– 1 Tornado which damaged our roof
– 2 Floods: 1 we had to quickly evacuate as a river swept across the campground, 1 kept us stuck inside the campground for a week due to road closures
– 2 Forest Fires: 1 required evacuation, the other required a huge reroute with cancellations
– 1 Sand Storm: we had to ride it out in a parking lot
– Too Many To List: both with our truck and 5th wheel
– Memorable 5th Wheel Failure: our bumper broke off of the back of the 5th wheel on the highway and drug across I95 with our bikes still attached
Don’t let our list of crazy events deter you from full-time RVing. Seven years of RV living with thousands and thousands of miles traveled, there are bound to be some snags.
And yet we are still rolling along. It is worth it!
Keep reading to find out ways to deal with challenges like these. Don’t miss the story at the end!
Why Not Having A Home Base Makes It Harder When SHTF
So we have already made peace with the fact that there will be some challenging times in your full-time RVing adventures. So why are all of these issues more difficult on the road than in a house?
No Familiar Local Resources
When you are living in a house you usually are very familiar with the area. You have doctors, mechanics, and possibly your RV dealership nearby for help.
No Place To Live During Repairs
When your RV home breaks down, you sometimes don’t have a place to stay while it is being repaired.
Not In One Area Long Enough To Take Care Of Issues
When you are moving from place to place and SHTF, you usually aren’t scheduled/reserved in a place long enough to get appointments and handle issues. Trip plans and reservations fall like dominoes when you have to stay longer than planned.
No Close Friends Or Family Nearby For Help
Sometimes it is really nice to be able to have a close friend nearby to come and help you or even just offer a little support.
8 Ways To Minimize The Stress When SHTF Full-Time RVing
So at some point life challenges are going to happen out on the road. What can we do to make those RVing problems less stressful?
A little advance planning goes a long way in helping you stay on the road or get back on the road faster. Sometimes you just can’t prepare for anything that could come your way, but you will be so glad you have these 8 resources.
1) Enough Savings
I am going to shoot it to you straight with a little tough love here. Don’t get into full-time RVing without a decent emergency fund. If you already are in this situation, make it your top priority to build your savings now.
Okay now that the mom in me has spoken, why is this so important? Every little hiccup with RVing can be really expensive!
RVs are constantly needing repairs. Yes even brand new ones! We have owned 2 new RVs and they really do break all of the time. All RVs do.
And before you ask it, no the warranty is not usually helpful because it can be very difficult to get an appointment to get it fixed under warranty. It is easier with the dealership you purchased it from. That is a whole different blog post!
Savings can be a necessity with RV and vehicle repairs, rerouting travel plans, and hotel stays during repairs.
2) Avoid The Run Around With RV Repairs
Most RVers have a story at some point of how they dropped their RV off for repairs that were supposed to be done quickly. They got their RV back weeks or months later.
The dealerships often take the RV for repairs and then blame the RV manufacturer for not sending the parts. If you contact the manufacturer, they will often tell you that the dealership never even requested the parts!
Never let this happen to you. If you have to take your RV to a dealership for repairs, here are some very important tips.
How To Avoid The RV Dealership Run Around
– make it clear that you live in the RV
– make the first appointment to have it looked at but NEVER leave the RV on that day
– after they look at the RV, get paperwork that shows what repairs are needed, what parts are needed, what parts they will have to order, and how long the repair will take
– make a second appointment for the repair for when the parts are supposed to come in so you have a spot on the schedule
– call before the second appointment to verify that the parts actually did come in
– verify a second time before you drop off the RV that they have all the parts and the time the repair will take
– remind them again at drop off that you live in the RV (ask them to make a note of it) and need them to stick to the agreed-upon repair time
– consider asking to have the RV back each night to stay in either on their property or to take to a nearby campground (they will want to move you along faster)
Pro Tip: Consider cheaper overnight options during RV repairs: campground rentals and park model rentals, or staying in your RV overnight during the repair process.
3) Use Mobile RV Repair
The best way to fix RV issues and get back on the road quickly is to use mobile RV repair services. This allows you to stay in your RV and keep enjoying your trip.
Most RV campgrounds know of local mobile repair services that are frequently in the park. You can ask for recommendations.
We quickly realized at the beginning of RV living, that using mobile repair services is much less stressful and we have always gotten great service.
RV Extended Warranties With Mobile Repair
Did you know that some RV extended warranties even cover mobile RV repairs? The manufacturer warranty usually doesn’t but extended warranties can. Check the details.
On our first new 5th wheel purchase, we were able to add XtraRide extended warranty with mobile repair when we purchased at the dealership. We used mobile service all the time and quickly recouped the warranty purchase price with use.
Our second new 5th wheel didn’t offer XtraRide through the dealership. However, we were able to purchase it separately on our own.
Not only does this extended warranty cover mobile repairs, but it has a daily hotel reimbursement if the RV has to be left at the dealership for repairs. It covers up to 4 days with a cap on the dollar amount each day.
We have used this feature as well. So consider mobile repairs and an extended warranty with mobile repair, to get things fixed quickly for your RV.
4) Choose The Right RV Insurance
Choosing the right RV insurance for full-time RVing is important. The right policy can go a long way in preventing headaches down the road.
Full-Time RV Insurance
Of course you want your policy to be specifically for full-time RVing. Full-Time policies offer different protections similar to a homeowner policy.
For example, it covers you if someone gets injured visiting your RV. It also includes more coverage for your personal items.
It is important to know that if you don’t have a full-time policy but are found out to be living in your RV full-time, your claim could be denied by the insurance company.
RV Roadside Assistance
Something important to make sure you have in your RV insurance is roadside assistance. Make sure you also know the number to call for towing of oversized vehicles to fit your RV.
You don’t want the towing service to show up for towing a car and say they can’t tow the RV!
Emergency Expenses Coverage
Another benefit you can often add or increase on a full-time RV insurance policy is emergency travel. This covers your hotel and living expenses while your home on wheels is repaired after an accident.
RV Replacement Coverage
You can also add RV replacement coverage. This is usually applicable when your RV is new and for the first 5 years.
RV replacement provides a new replacement RV in the event your RV is totaled. This way you don’t lose out on depreciation of your RV value.
Pro Tip: We used our FMCA Membership to shop for full-time RV insurance. I highly recommend their super knowledgeable service!
5) Avoid The Most Common RV Roadside Problem – Tire Blowouts
Here is a little truth bomb. Your used or NEW RV probably needs new tires!
Yes, even brand new RVs often need new tires. RV manufacturers, especially trailers and 5th wheels, commonly use cheap flimsy tires. This is the reason you see so many RV blowouts.
Have you ever heard the term China Bombs mentioned in RV communities? This is referring to really common blowouts from cheap no-name RV tires.
Tire blowouts aren’t just an inconvenience, but there is usually a lot of damage caused to the side or underneath of the RV when a tire blows. Plus it is pretty scary to change a tire or even wait for roadside assistance on the side of the highway.
It really stinks to buy a new or used RV and then have to replace the tires, but it is so worth it!
RV Tire Rating
Make sure to get tires rated for your RV weight with contents. If you upgrade the rating on your RV tires, make sure your rim will support the new rating.
There is also a gadget that can sometimes warn you of an issue with your RV tire before a blowout happens. The TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) is made of sensors that go onto each tire and warn you as soon as tire pressure begins to drop.
The TPMS is a great addition to upgraded RV tires. The most important thing though is to have quality RV tires.
6) Telehealth Services
Getting sick on the road unfortunately happens to everyone. It can quickly derail your travel schedule. It is also a major inconvenience to not have any of your regular medical providers available in the areas you are traveling.
What Is Telehealth?
Many RVers use Telehealth Services offered by many insurance plans to have virtual doctor’s appointments. This works great for mild or everyday type issues.
The benefits are clear with Telehealth. You can use it anywhere and can keep traveling while you resolve your health issue.
Another option to quickly resolve a more serious issue is to use urgent care. This doesn’t slow your travels down waiting to get an appointment while still getting in-person care. We used urgent care when our daughter’s eardrum burst traveling in the mountains.
How To Find Full-Time RV Health Coverage
Need help finding a health insurance option with nationwide coverage or that works well for full-time RVing? Want to add Telehealth?
Check out the RVer Insurance Exchange. They specialize in helping full-time RVers find health plans.
Pro Tip: Of course, there will be times when you need more comprehensive care on the road and you can’t avoid having to stay longer than planned in one area.
When this happens, consider requesting a weekly or monthly discounted rate from the campground or move to a campground that offers these longer stay savings. This can save you a lot in campground fees!
7) The RV Community
RVers are some of the most amazing people you will ever meet. Collectively as a group they are friendly, helpful, and resourceful.
There are very few times in life where you are surrounded by people who are all doing the same thing you are and into the same hobby as you.
Every night you are surrounded by a neighborhood of these people. Talk about easy to make friends!
Develop relationships with other RVers both in person at places you stay, and in groups online. When you need advice or support, your RV tribe will be there to help you out!
See this couple in the photo below? This is Paul and Carla. We met them on our first out-of-state stop when we began full-time RVing.
We pulled into the RV campground spot next to them after a stressful travel day. We were brand new, frustrated by an RV issue we were having, and struggled miserably to fit our big 5th wheel into the campsite.
We were having an “Oh My God What Are We Doing This For?” kind of day. (These days were frequent at the beginning.)
Paul and Carla came over, helped us get pulled into our campsite, talked us through the RV issue we were having, and even brought out a bottle of champagne to celebrate beginning our new lives as Full-Time RVers!!!
We met them over 6 years ago and have seen them in different places many times since. They will always be special to our family.
RVers are a wonderful community. They are your road family!
I want to leave you with a little pep talk. Yes, Full-Time RVing can have very stressful moments. However, I am sure you have had many times when SHTF living in a house too.
SHTF out on the road simply because you ARE out on the road. You are doing the thing. You are going for it. You aren’t sitting at home playing it safe!
These rough patches will become part of your travel story. Part of the amazing journey that you are on.
Yes, things will get sticky at times. Know that the issue is temporary.
Slow things down for a season if you need to. Remain flexible with your travel plans and keep rolling on.
You are writing your life’s story of adventure, and oh what an adventure you are on!!!
I hope this inspires you to grab the tools you need to adventure on confidently. What have you found to be helpful when SHTF? Hit, REPLY and let me know!
Have you ever wondered if full-time RVing feels like living on vacation? Check out this post: Why Full-Time RVing Is Not Like Living On Vacation
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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!