In the first three parts of this multi-series article, I have covered a lot of ground! Hopefully, I have helped you create your plan to get you closer to the dream of enjoying full time RV living! There are many aspects to consider.
I receive questions about the full time RV lifestyle both on my website and from emails. From those and from the RVing websites we monitor, that is how I chose the topics written about here.
Please check out parts one, two if you have missed them!
To wrap things up in this article I will address some of the finer points that will help you move towards your full time RV living freedom! At this point I hope you have given thought to the RV you want to purchase, you have been out on the road in an RV to gain some experience, and you have also given thought to the things I have previously mentioned.
Gaining Experience From Others!
The best way to accelerate your knowledge of what it is like on the road is to talk to others, read articles such as this, attend RV rallies, and visit RV Parks where full-timers hang out! Anyone who travels in an RV can give you some useful advice and share some learning experiences.
But keep in mind, just because someone feels strongly about something does not mean that it will necessarily be true for you! It’s always best to listen or read what people have to say and filter that information to decide if it applies to your situation.
A great place to go to network with full time RVers and those also investigating the full time lifestyle is at the Workamper News Rendezvous. It takes place in Heber Springs, AR, in late October. It is a three-day event with seminars, food, fun and networking, all in the beautiful hill country of Arkansas!
Pam and I have attended this event for years. Last year we were there to help out at the event. What a great time with hundreds of great people! We enjoy being there and meeting all the new folks that are wanting to know more about life on the road!
Take an RV Maintenance Course
Having an engineering background, as well as commercial electrical experience, I thought I would have no problem being able to handle maintenance issues on my RV! I quickly discovered that I had no idea how everything worked! A humbling experience for sure!
When asked how many electrical systems an RV has, I answered incorrectly. So, given that fact as well as other sources of confusion, I decided I had better get myself educated if I was going to be able to handle the needs of my aging RV!
As a member of Workamper News, I came across a five-day RV tech course that claimed to teach people how to fix eighty percent of the things in an RV that are easy to access and easy to fix. I thought that sounds like just the ticket for me, so I attended the class.
I have saved myself thousands in repair costs. Not only that, I started my own mobile business as an RV Inspector. And, I can also help people in RV parks and on my website with solving RV maintenance issues, mostly electrical.
I highly recommend learning as much about your RV’s systems as you can! They are not like a house. They can be complicated and difficult to diagnose problems unless you understand an RV and how its multiple systems interact with each other to function properly.
If you would like to know more, please drop me an email at email@example.com and I will get you more details!
Getting Rid of the Stuff!
If you are selling a home and moving into an RV, there are lots of things to either get rid of or store. You can’t bring it all with you. Remember, it all equals weight that has to be moved down the road!
Some people may decide to keep their house and rent it out. That can make things easier with taking care of some of your stuff! Others may need to sell the house to have the funds to buy the RV. Some may decide to sell the house and store belongings with family members, or maybe secure a storage unit.
Pam and I went total vagabond! We sold our 3,800 square foot house, had a five-day estate sale, as we called it, and got rid of eighty percent of all our stuff. The rest we moved to Florida in a small truck while we rented a place and progressed towards the lifestyle.
Once in Florida, we sold everything else while moving into our RV home. Even two years after moving into the RV we were still getting rid of little things we did not need. Now we have a rule: something new comes in, something else has to be thrown out or given away!
If you are unsure about what to keep and what to get rid of, store it for a while in a storage unit. If you are on the road and find you don’t even miss those items, guess what? Time to get rid of them! Pam and I go through our stuff every six months, and if we have not used things in that time, we get rid of them.
It’s a minimalist’s lifestyle, and certainly not for everyone. But I can tell you it is so nice to be able to decide today that I am going to someplace new, and I can have my tiny home ready to travel in less than an hour!
Insurance, Financing, and Mail Forwarding
Insuring an RV is no big deal! There are several companies that offer affordable insurance on these tiny homes. The thing you don’t want to forget to tell whoever your insurance carrier may be is that you are using the RV for full time living. They should have an additional endorsement option that will cover you in case disaster strikes.
If you don’t have this, and they find out you were living full time in the RV, they may refuse a claim. Pam and I have been with Progressive for our eight years on the road. So far that has worked out. We have checked with other companies, but because of our long term relationship with them their costs have remained the most affordable.
If you are going to need financing to buy your RV home, you will need to look carefully for a lender that will work with you. There are only a few companies that will finance full timers. If you secure financing and don’t tell your lender that you will be living in the RV full time, they can cancel the loan if they find out. They can also repossess the RV if you can’t secure funds to pay off the loan. Most lenders will make you sign an agreement that will include the full time RV living issue. So, be sure to be honest about your intentions when talking with lenders!
I briefly touched on this next point in the first installment of this article: getting your mail to you as you travel about. This can be a headache, especially for those pieces of mail that are time sensitive. Fortunately, in today’s world of technology, most things can be routed to you electronically.
For those things that can’t be delivered electronically, like driver’s license renewal notices, vehicle registration tags, voter information, certain financial documents, IRS notifications, etc. you need to have a way for these things to get to you no matter where you are!
Happily, there are several services that offer you a way to establish a physical address where mail can be sent to, and it can be shipped to you when you want, and where you want. We can check our electronic mailbox anytime we want to see what has been sent to us. Services such as these start at ten dollars a month and go up from there depending on what level of service you choose. And of course, you pay the postage and a small packaging fee to get the mail to you.
Setting up a mail forwarding service is very easy! It has worked well for us for the six plus years that we have used MyRVMail as our mail forwarding service. All we need to do for our mail to reach us is to be in one spot long enough. This is all handled online and works seamlessly!
If Florida is not your choice as a state to call your domicile, then there are several other options in the mail forwarding game. Escapees has one of the largest mail forwarding services as well as Americas Mailbox and DakotaPost in South Dakota. Let Bill at Dakota Post know that Howard sent you!
Travel Discounts and Camping Clubs
There are camping clubs and RV related organizations that you can join that will give you discounts at RV parks, service centers, tire dealers, and on other products and services as well. Organizations like Passport America, Good Sams, Escapees, and FMCA, just to name a few.
Pam and I have been using Passport America for years. They offer fifty percent off nightly rates at over 1,900 RV parks and campgrounds around the country. There are times when there are stipulations for the use of that rate, but full timers can always make that work!
Take a Driving Course!
If the thought of navigating your new home on wheels gives you a bit of uneasiness, have no fear! There are solutions to ease your worries! There are driving schools that will work with you to help you better understand your RV and the best ways to drive and park it.
I would highly recommend this if you have never driven anything over twenty-four feet. Also, if you decide to choose a 5th wheel trailer as your tiny home, and you have never towed a long trailer before, save yourself the heartache and take a course! Motorized RV’s also have unique driving characteristics that need to be considered as well!
It is not only driving an RV that can be troublesome but backing it too! You need to learn how to communicate with your spotter that should be behind you helping assure you don’t damage your RV! An efficient hand signaling system can save you from ruining both your RV and your marriage. These are the things you can learn from an experienced driving instructor!
Time to Hit the Road!
If you have followed this series of articles and covered all the bases, you hopefully will be ready to venture out as a new full time RVer! It will be a day of release as all the burdens of property and stuff will be cast away as you depart your hometown and head for points unknown.
Will it all be wine and roses? No! Problems will come, just like in any lifestyle, but they will be temporary, and situations will change quickly for the better.
If you have planned ahead, taken your safety into account in regards to the RV and it contents, assured proper maintenance of the RV, and you can navigate your home on wheels confidently, then you will enjoy the full time RV lifestyle to its fullest.
Pam and I wish you the best as you move forward and happy travels to where ever the road leads you!!