Many people have asked for this blog post, so here it is. Traveling full time in an RV is incredible. It is truly a dream come true, but I’d be lying if I told you there were no cons to this lifestyle. Personally, I think the “highs” far outweigh the “lows” but I’ll let you come to your own conclusion.
I’ll go ahead and start with the highs.
1. Ocean’s the limit. I think this is the most obvious benefit of traveling via RV: being able to travel the continent(s) with no limitations except the ocean…and potentially a passport.
2. Family time. This is my favorite perk to full-time RVing. Without the schedules and extracurriculars that ordinarily bog down days of static living, we are free to be with each other and adventure together day in and day out. (Extroverts here!) There is a definitively strong bond that has formed in our family after the year we’ve spent together on our travels-one that I don’t think we’ll ever shake.
3. Traveling via RV is a huge money saver! We certainly wouldn’t have afforded this trip had we been purchasing hotel stays and airfare for all 50 states. Gas can be expensive (a con that I’ll get to) depending on how often and how fast you’re moving from place to place, but even that can be budgeted and planned out ahead of time.
4. Consistency. Traveling with 2 young kids isn’t always easy, and we’ve found that kids LOVE schedules (even if they’re loose ones). We have absolutely loved being able to put the kids to sleep in the same bed every night. They are so comfortable and very much at peace in their home-on-wheels. And that makes all of our lives easier.
5. Minimalism. Living in 100 square feet space is obviously limited, and shockingly, this isn’t a con! We have so enjoyed the freedom of the minimalistic lifestyle. The idea of living simply so we can simply live is something we’ll forever cling to. It’s also a breeze to clean.
6. Community. This is simultaneously a high and low (I’ll explain below), and the high is 2-sided. The travel community is such a sweet one. We have had the privilege of meeting so many other full-time RV travel families along our journey. Dave and I always leave those meet-ups feeling refreshed, encouraged, and completely understood- especially in the wake of so many others’ comments about our crazy lifestyle. Additionally, having the freedom to travel all over has allowed us the ability to visit friends whom we haven’t seen in years. Every meet-up with new friends and old has been treasured in our hearts and imprinted in our memories.
7. Camp Fires. All parents love their kid-free time after the kids go to sleep. Whatever you’re used to doing, those things become more limited when you’re living in 1 big room together. For Dave and I, our post-bedtime escape has become the campfire. We bundle up, sneak out, pop a bottle of wine, and listen to our favorite sermon series while watching the fire blaze.
Now for the lows.
There aren’t many of them, and I really had to rack my brain to come up with this list.
1. Gas. We visited the lower 48 states in our little RV over the course of 1 year. That is a TON of gas, and honestly, I don’t want to begin to calculate the cost of it all. As I mentioned above, you can control the amount of money spent on gas per month by traveling less frequently and staying in each place for a longer period of time.
2. Slow-moving. Download your podcasts, audiobooks, and playlists because so much of your life will be spent driving. BUT, the scenery out of a car window is SO MUCH BETTER than it is out of a plane window!
3. Limited hot water. I’ve heard you can get a tankless water heater, but that RV hot water tank is tiny. A usual shower looks like this: Shampoo head and rinse quickly. Put conditioner in, lather up the loofa, turn the shower head away from you and turn the hot water off. Scrub body while cold water is spraying in the corner. Once done, turn the hot water back on, turn the shower head toward you, rinse the suds and conditioner out and promptly turn all water off.
4. RV repairs and storage. RV repairs are inevitable- even after purchasing a brand new trailer. And storage is necessary if you plan to fly anywhere on your journey (like Hawaii). The problem we’ve found with both of these is that this industry is slammed. There are not enough RV repair shops or storage facilities (if you’re looking to start a business- target the RV industry. It is booming.) Most repair shops are booked out 2 months in advance. So, have patience; your schedule has to be flexible when you travel full-time. 🙂
5. Long-term RV parks. I don’t want to sound discriminatory here, but there is a pretty drastic difference between transient RV parks and long-term RV parks. At this point in our travels we don’t discriminate between RV parks any longer. When we find a place we want to explore we usually just search for the closest RV park. The downside to long term parks is that they usually don’t have as much to do around the camp- especially for kiddos. In contrast, KOAs are SO fun for the whole family because they’re geared toward the impermanent traveler.
6. Lack of hosting space. Whenever we have a group of people over at the RV we quickly remember how short on space we actually are. Dinners have to be moved outside to a picnic table, and only the bravest of visitors opt to sleep over on the couch bed (2 people to date). Dave and I LOVE hosting people, and it definitely makes us sad that we don’t have the most ideal setup to do so- especially on rainy days.
7. Community. We talked about community being a “high” of RV travel above, but it is definitely a “low” too. Daily we have come to miss our family, friends, and local church. The kids miss their friends that they were used to seeing on a regular basis. I miss having play-dates with other mommies. Dave and I miss going on dates while having family watch our kids. And we really miss volunteering in our local church. Do we recommend full-time RV travel? Unreservedly YES. Traveling with our little tribe in our small space over this vast country has solidified memories, relationships, security, love and connection between the 4 of us that we will truly cherish forever.
Are you a full-timer? Or have you ever traveled in an RV? What would you add to these lists?