10 important things the RV Lifestyle is…and is not

 10 important things the RV Lifestyle is…and is not

The RV Lifestyle is a lot of things to a lot of people. But before you chuck everything and go all in, here’s a reality check.

We’re going to tell you 10 things that the RV Lifestyle is. And 10 things the RV Lifestyle is not. The pros and cons of the RV Lifestyle.

For starters, let me make it very clear that Jennifer and I are not fulltimers and never plan to be. But we are ¾ timers, meaning that are usually away from our main sticks and bricks house in Michigan for 75% of the time.

We love the RV Lifestyle. We really do. We’ve been at it now since 2012 and have every intention of continuing to experience it into the foreseeable future. The best way to understand is to see for yourself by visiting our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel. We have videos of our trips, our RV suggestions, RV tours and we answer hundreds of questions from viewers. Just go to https://youtube.com/rvlifestyle

But there is a lot of unreasonable hype being generated these days that sometimes leaves us shaking our heads in disbelief.

We’ve met people who have bought that hype hook, line and sinker. And six months later, they are kicking themselves for going fulltime, selling their home, and everything it had for what they thought would be a romantic life of adventure and never-ending fun on the road.

We love the RV Lifestyle. We may have a small home but we also have a really big yard
We love the RV Lifestyle. We may have a small home but we also have a really big yard

So we have compiled two lists of 10 things we think everyone who plans to embrace the RV Lifestyle on a fulltime or mostly fulltime basis:10 things the RV Lifestyle is…and 10 things the RV Lifestyle is not.

Again, we freely admit our bias. For us, we think the 10 things the RV Lifestyle is are more significant than the 10 things the RV Lifestyle is not.

But we want to strip away the hype and be transparent here so people will make the right choices for themselves.

Ready?

The 10 things the RV Lifestyle is NOT

 

1-The RV Lifestyle is not cheap

RV’s cost a lot of money. So does maintenance. So do campgrounds. So does fuel, insurance, and food. As soon as you drive a new motorhome off the dealer’s lot you can drop its value by 20% because of depreciation. If saving money is a reason you are thinking about the RV Lifestyle, think again. Unless you live like a pauper, it is probably comparable to what your life now costs.

2-The RV Lifestyle is not easy

Lots of decisions have to be made. There are lots of things you need to learn about. Ever new town means you need to find the supermarkets, pharmacies, best routes. Finding a place to stay each night requires research and planning. There is a sort of decision fatigue that all those who are fulltimers experience. And it’s day in and day out.

3-The RV Lifestyle is not for those with chronic health conditions

All that fresh air may be generally good for you but if you have a chronic health condition, extended absence from your health care providers is not advised. It can be hard to find health care in new towns.

If you have chronic heath issues, the fulltime RV Lifestyle may not be for you
If you have chronic health issues, the fulltime RV Lifestyle may not be for you

4-The RV Lifestyle can strain even the best relationships

All that togetherness invariable will bring conflict. If you deal with it honestly and with respect, you’ll get through it fine. But the fact is, he RV Lifestyle will not make an already strained relationship better. It will, in fact most likely make it worse.

5- The RV Lifestyle can be very unhealthy for some

It is not a 24 x 7 vacation. We’ve seen way too many RVers overeat and overdrink and it is not pretty. All that sitting in the motorhome or vehicle as you drive is not healthy. If you are not physically active ad eating healthy meals, a couple of weeks of overindulging on an RV trip will expand your waistline and put needless stress on your health.

6-The RV Lifestyle doesn’t guarantee you a place to stay

Campgrounds are crowded and usually require reservations. Boondocking spots sometimes fill up, too. Walmart parking lots are not always welcoming because more and more towns and municipalities prohibit overnight camping in commercial businesses that are not licensed as a campground.

7-The RV Lifestyle doesn’t have enough service and repair facilities to meet the needs

Your RV will break. Driving down the road is the equivalent of having a 4.0 earthquake constantly shaking your sticks and bricks home. Try to book a service appointment at most RV dealerships and you will likely be in for a rude awakening. Most are booked up for weeks in advance.

8-The RV Lifestyle will cramp your style

There is never enough room. It takes a lot of practice to get into the minimalist mindset. Storage space in closets, cabinets, and outside cargo areas are quickly taken up in an RV and some of them have stingy weight limits about how much they can carry. Add the occupants, a pet, pots, pans, a toolbox, clothing, a grill, some lawn chairs and clothing, and many an RVer is stunned to learn they are over those weight limits.

9-The RV Lifestyle can be lonely

Moving from place to place is a challenge for many. If you do not make friends easily, well, other RVers will give you plenty of space. The folks you met over the weekend and got along so well with have moved on. You’ll probably never meet them again. It takes work to fit into an RV community and a lot of folks just never do.

10-The RV Lifestyle is not forever

There will come a time when you come off the road. You will be limited by health concerns, tired of the extra work, and challenges and will long for some stability. This happens to all of us sooner or later. But there are some who are caught off guard when that day comes.

We could probably come up with more but we think those 10 cover most of the negatives.

Now let’s get to the positives.

The 10 things the RV Lifestyle is

remote working from a rv at the picnic tabe
We love the RV Lifestyle

1-The RV Lifestyle is all about freedom

Where do we want to go today? Is a beautiful way to start the day. Okay, maybe it’s not quite as carefree as that but there really is great freedom in the RV Lifestyle, freedom to visit the areas of North America you most want to see, freedom to stop and smell the forests…the oceans…rivers…makes…deserts…mountains and freedom to stay and go pretty much as you please.

2-The RV Lifestyle is fun

Our RV is our Happy Place. We have both noticed we smile more when we are in it. We have met so many interesting people, experienced so many awesome things and marveled at the beauty of God’s creation so often that it’s literally taken our breath away. We laugh more when we are in our RV. That's just a fact.

3-The RV Lifestyle can be good for your relationship

There’s nothing else like living in close proximity to your spouse or significant other that either smooths out the differences or brings them to a head. For Jennifer and me, it’s brought us closer together. We have gotten to know each other better, appreciate each other more, and become even better friends and helpmates. We love each other more because of the RV Lifestyle. And we’ve heard from other couples who report the same.

The RV Lifestyle makes it so nice to be together
The RV Lifestyle makes it so nice to be together

4-The RV Lifestyle lets us see our kids and grandkids more

Like many longtime empty nesters with kids and grandkids spread all over the country, our RV makes for comfortable travel. We “moochdock,” a lot, staying in their driveways in our RV. That way we can visit and hang out together all day long but, at night, we always have our own bed to sleep in, our own bathroom to use.

5-The RV Lifestyle is an adventure

It is unpredictable. There is serendipity. You will be surprised. Even what others may think is a setback can, with the right attitude, lead to new discoveries. I realize I’m getting a bit philosophical here but I have come to realize that I truly am not in charge and that if I take life as it comes, being smart, staying safe but not expecting perfection, then there is always something to be learned. Usually, it’s good.

6-The RV Lifestyle helps clarify life

Food on the table. A roof over one’s head. Good friends. Nature. Do we really need more? Even if we say we do need more, there’s no room for it in the RV. We work from our RV. But it’s easy to stop work, too. Workaholics – of which I indeed was for most of my life – don’t know how to stop. Sooner or later RVing workaholics learn how to balance work and life. Thank God. I missed so much before. Our RV travel has given me a whole new perspective.

7-The RV Lifestyle helps you enjoy your hobbies more

Do you enjoy photography? Your RV will make it easy to get to places that make for stunning photographs. Ever wanted to take up fly fishing? Do more antiquing? Paint in watercolors? Just about any hobby you can imagine will be enhanced by the RV Lifestyle.

8-The RV Lifestyle is as connected to the world as you want

We never feel out of touch or disconnected from the world. Thanks to the ubiquitousness of the Internet and cellular technology, I am able to work remotely from an RV from just about anywhere. We have satellite TV, wi-fi, and all the tech tools that we would have at home or the office. But it's so much easier to disconnect when we want to from the RV. We control our consecutiveness better in the RV than we do at home. There's something sacred about boondocking in the wilderness that just causes us to turn the noise off. It's there if we need it. But in our RV, we need it less than we ever thought possible in our pre-RV days

9-The RV Lifestyle will broaden your horizons

You will learn new stuff every day. You'll dig into the history of the land and its people. You'll appreciate the different regions of the country, understand the way the weather works in a way that only experience can provide. You'll see wildlife up-close and learn about forests and watersheds and so much more.  RV travel is education at its highest level and you will become curious and find your perspective and understanding expand with each trip. Trust us in this. Nobody tells new RVers about this benefit. But it may just be the biggest of the gifts the RV lifestyle provides.

 10-The RV Lifestyle will change you for the better

If you stick with it, I can almost guarantee this. You will have more patience, be less judgmental, kinder, happier, and generally, a better version of yourself than you were before. It's partially due to the cumulative effects of the previous nine reasons, I'm sure. But its also something that just happens from the lifestyle. When you physically see the land and meet the people as only Rv travel makes possible, you realize how much better the world is then what you would assume by reading the news or watching televisions. It's a good world out there. And you will be smiling more.

So there you go. What are your thoughts? Use comments below to add to the 10 Things the RV Lifestyle is NOT, or the 10 Things the RV Lifestyle Is.

Jennifer and I hope to see you out there!

Happy Trails, Fellow Travelers!

Get more RV travel ideas, tips, news, and perks!

Each Monday we publish our RV Lifestyle Newsletter, where we share weekly articles about RV travel that inspire and inform. We'll start by sending you a free RV travel checklist. Plus, you become one of our Fellow Travelers, which gets you lots of special perks and RV discounts. It's totally free!
Enter your info below and you are in!

Get a free Packing List for your next trip when you join our RV Lifestyle community and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Plus free perks, discounts and exclusive RV travel tips!

The RV Lifestyle gear we use

Curious about all the different RV products and supplies we use? If you want to see a very complete list of the products we use and recommend ourselves, we maintain an updated web page that lists EVERYTHING. You can find that at https://rvlifestyle.com/gear
 

 

 

10 important things the RV Lifestyle is...and is not

Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

15 Comments

  • I like this article. The two sections can be easily summarised as head versus heart, and anyone can figure out which applies to which section. We human beings vary as to which of these two organs dominates our personalities and to what extent. If you know where you are on the spectrum it will help you decide if the RV life is for you.

  • You summed up the pros and cons very well! After traveling over 50K miles all over the US it’s not been perfect but neither is life in general. There have been challenges but those magical moments and experiences are what I remember most. It’s been so much more than I ever dreamed of. You are so right about how it changes you forever!

  • I agree with the article by Mike and reply by Allan the experience of Rving is my happy place and sometime there are no words to explain the feelings of what my eyes are seeing as I top a hill or round a curve in the highway.

  • Great article, I’m sure there is alot to get used to.

  • Great article thanks for sharing and summing up the good, bad, and ugly parts of full time RVing. Stay safe.

  • Mike, extremely well written and great guidance (as expected!) Your and Jennifer’s wisdom have been a great pre-adventure education for me, while waiting to get rolling for our first summer in June!

  • Right on target! Something everyone considering this life must read!

  • We too will never go full time by our choice. However we plan as you to spend a great deal of time in our second home (RV). Thanks for being so brutally honest. It is much needed for everyone. We love you guys and your wisdom. Duane and Deana Floro

  • Great summary from a trusted source. Stay safe

  • Well done. So many people say they want to do it but the reality is different than wanting. We are on our third trip around the US and third year full-timing. I tell people it’s not for everyone and you have to really LIKE your partner…in addition to loving them!

  • Great article. I always look to you guys for your thoughts, ideas and inspiration and did so before we bought. Debbie and I spent about a year looking at different types of RV’s trying to decide; trailer, 5th wheel, motorhome. We settled on a Leisure Travel Wonder Front Twin Bed because of the quality and functionality. She would look at “pretty” and I would look at function. “Pretty” becomes common but “function” is what you live with all the time.

    We won’t go full-time either but do a lot of State Parks near home and plan a couple of “two weekers” during the year. We like to take a “4 day” about once or twice a month and the RV is great. We bring movies from home and don’t use the TV. The only thing that can be a challenge is getting reliable weather on demand. I’m found the NOAA Weather app to be of good use with any zip code.

    Stay safe of the road and keep the advice practical and down to earth. That’s what make you guys a great resource. Ron & Debbie, Plano, TX

  • Thanks for posting this Mike. It is refreshing, especially your 10 observations on what the RV lifestyle is not and good to see more transparency regarding RV lifestyle and travel. My wife and I are retired and have no intentions on becoming full-timers and to be honest with you, I don’t know why anyone would. We travel 2-3 months at a time, with our motor home and enjoy being able to return to a “home base” to replenish, catch up with family and friends and plan for our next adventure. I agree that everyone will have to hang up the keys one day and need a plan, long before necessity creeps up on them. It’s been my observation over the last decade that the industry in general, most blogs, websites and You Tube channels do absolutely nothing to balance reality and fiction when it comes to the RV lifestyle. Unless your still working or working from the road, RV’ing is just a hobby and can be an expensive one at that. Cheers.

  • Well done. I agree on all points and would only add that RVing is a series of trade-offs. For example, you trade space for mobility, and minimalism for conveniences such that going from the RV to the stationary home or vice versa, you appreciate the opposite side of those trade-offs when you gain back what you gave up. This is especially true if you are a part timer. The contrast enhances the appreciation of each.

  • Well said. We were full-timers for almost 8 years and loved every moment of it. We are now, like you 3/4 and liking that as well. As you said, it’s different for different people. I think the most important factor, especially if you do go “full time”, is you really have to like and get along with your partner! Being together 24/7 is huge, no matter the size of your RV! We found that, and being able to give up their “stuff” was the hardest thing for couples to handle. Like I said, to each his own…;-)

  • […] 1o important things the RV Lifestyle is…and is not […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.