Having the option of waking up in a new place with a new plan every day sounds pretty great, and there are a lot of pros to the RV life. But let's take a look at some key things to know so you can feel confident in your decision.
1. You Can't Fit Everything In An RV
It may seem obvious, but it bears repeating: you can't fit all of your possessions from home into an RV.
The best way to declutter is to sell what you can and donate/throw out whatever else you can stand to part with. Wise choices need to be made when it comes to the must-haves vs. the nice-to-haves. This also means that your shopping habits from your previous life will likely need to change.
Renting a storage facility or storing items with family and friends might be an option for some, but part of the appeal of the RV lifestyle is minimalism and simplicity, so you might as well embrace it.
Simplifying your life is not just a material challenge, but an emotional one as well. It's a big change, but fortunately, many say it's a truly liberating experience.
2. Come Up With A Detailed Budget
Much of the appeal of RV retirement is the lowered month-to-month cost compared to home ownership, but it's still not cheap. Count on repairs, oil changes, gas, and other unforeseen expenses.
To avoid unnecessary stress, it's best to prepare a thorough budget before making the commitment to full-time RV living. Figure out how much income you'll need, and how much money you have to spare after covering all of the necessary expenses.
One pro tip is always to maintain an emergency fund, because major repairs on a motorhome can be extremely expensive (they can even run into tens of thousands of dollars). Be prepared so that any unanticipated repair doesn't derail the rest of your budget.
Also, unless the RV will be your only means of travel, you might want to establish a side fund for other vacations.
3. Choosing The Right Vehicle
RVs are in a realm of their own, and if terms like Class A motorhome, fifth-wheel, and pop-up are not familiar to you, it's time to start the learning process! Let's dive into each of those options.
Class A motorhomes are best for hitting the highway in style as they're typically the biggest RVs available. The standard sizing is 30 feet in length, so for a more luxury, spacious experience, a Class A is likely the right choice.
Pop-up trailers are for people seeking more of an authentic camping experience, but they're generally not suitable for extended periods of travel. They're best suited for a trip to the lake for a weekend, for example, as they give a nice taste of the outdoors while serving up some comfort.
A fifth wheel is a nice in-between option for many since it allows you to stay in one place for a little while just as easily as hitting the road. It's basically an RV unit that attaches to a truck and can be separated at any time.
As you can see, there are lots of options! Perhaps it's wisest to rent some of the different options first so you can see which features you value most and which you can live without. Dip your toe in the water before diving in, if you like.
4. The Least Glamorous Part Of Owning An RV
If you thought all your household chores were a thing of the past, think again. It's not the most enjoyable conversation to have, but ahem dumping is a crucial responsibility when a person owns an RV.
Try a practice run before your waste tanks are full, because an accident with a half-full tank is much less disastrous than one with a full tank! The hoses can bend in the wrong places at the wrong times, so you'll want to take extra care and be patient.
Research ahead of time where you'll be stopping to empty your tanks because many dump stations have been removed from campgrounds and rest stops due to the maintenance costs associated with them.
5. Having An Itinerary Is Highly Recommended
Part of the appeal of an RV retirement might be the carefree lifestyle, but if you're hoping to enjoy experiences like campgrounds, beach camping etc., you'll need to be prepared. These spaces book up far in advance because there are a lot of other RV owners and great minds think alike.
Plan out your trips far in advance so that you can get exactly what you want, and be diligent about counting the costs. RV parks vary greatly in terms of prices and amenities available. Some have fitness centers, hot tubs, and sports activities, while others have minimal extras and much more affordable pricing.
There are also some parks that don't allow children, so if you're traveling with grandchildren or expecting visitors, you'll want to know that well in advance.
Whatever you decide, we hope you enjoy hitting the road!