What to Ask Yourself Before Moving into an RV

Kenny & Sabrina Phillips Kenny & Sabrina Phillips  |  02.21.2018

When Sabrina and I decided to start living out of our RV, it was a big decision and one that we did not take lightly. There were a lot of things to consider and it took us almost a year to get everything in place before we could make the transition. We used that time not only to shop for our RV, but also to question “Is it right for us?” In this article we are going to share some of the questions we asked ourselves in hopes that it helps you decide if this is something you would like to pursue.

Before we start, let me say that if you are planning on keeping your RV in one spot for long periods of time with full hookups, then we really do not feel there is much difference between living in an RV versus an apartment or condo and you will be just fine. We change locations a lot in our RV, usually as often as every eight days and this is where we think some lifestyle adjustments will come into play.

Do you bend, or do you break?

I think it is important to know your tolerance level for when things go wrong. Sabrina and I are exact opposites when it comes to RVing. The whole world needs to be crashing down around us before I even sit up to pay attention, Sabrina not so much. The better you are at going with the flow, the easier it will be to enjoy and even laugh when there are things going wrong with your RV, campsites, road, traffic or even the weather. Not every day will go as planned, and we feel its important to be able to make small adjustments quickly to stay on track.

How are you with downsizing and living small?

This can be a big hurdle. Some people go “all in” by selling or donating most of their belongings and some put stuff in storage just in case. Either way, you will have to get accustomed to living with less. Sabrina and I decided to let go of nearly all of our possessions, meaning everything we now own fits in our RV and tow car. When we first started downsizing it seemed easy, but as time went on and we had fewer items to choose from it became more difficult to figure out what stayed and what had to go. Our best advice on this subject is to give yourself plenty of time to downsize. Even now, we look around and say we have too much stuff!

moving into an RV full-time

How will you support your new lifestyle financially?

Sabrina had already started traveling full time for her work, so adding the RV to our life actually made things easier. This may not always be the case, and you may need to come up with a solid plan for making income on the road. Maybe even a backup plan in case your first idea does not work out.

Can you say goodbye to friends and family?

When you pack up and hit the road you will most likely be leaving many people behind. This will not only affect you, but them as well. You will no longer be able to text your best friend and say, “Hey let’s meetup!” or tell a family member, “Stop by Sunday for the game!” Luckily, with today’s technology and social media you will be able to do video chats with loved ones and keep in touch daily. They will even be able to follow your adventures and live vicariously through you. When it comes to a holiday or big family event, you’ll be able to pick everything up and roll on over to them. Additionally, you will now be meeting and making new friends with every new place you go.

moving into an RV full-time

How will you handle maintenance and day-to-day upkeep?

It does not matter if you purchase a new RV or a used one, there is always maintenance that needs to be done. If your RV is new, you may need warranty work. Or if it is used and you do not feel comfortable doing work yourself, you will have to bring your RV to a dealer to have work done. This will involve scheduling appointments and bringing the RV to a shop where they could have it for hours or even days and you will have to find alternative living arrangements during those time periods. If you are a little handy, you may be able to save money and continue to work on your RV yourself while you live in it, but this still means you might have to change your plans to allow for the extra time to make repairs. Which brings me back to, do you bend or do you break?

moving into an RV full-time

Living in an RV can be a very rewarding experience. But, answering these questions will help you be realistic about what to expect and prepare for any potential challenges – which makes it much more enjoyable. What other questions would you ask while thinking of going full time in an RV?


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10 Comments

  1. pam and dale hendrickson Posted on 04.06.2018

    We are in the process of selling and giving away most of our stuff and then selling the house. We bought a 36’ class a diesel and had a motorcycle trailer/ tow dolly built for our harley and van There are several nice campgrounds in our area where we live now so we can always stop by and visit family and friends. As for repairs my husband is a maintenance mechanic and hopefully he can figure out things that are going wrong plus there’s so much information on the Internet people are so happy to share. Our biggest thing is finding places for all the storage Notthat we have a lot but the more storage the better Even tho we bought the RV knew we still are making some modifications for it to fit our lifestyle.
    Which is the best to use for establishing residence in south dakota? We have been considering same.

  2. Robert Stefanow Posted on 03.06.2018

    Lewis Edge, great story, Great life, I just need the Guts to take the plunge!
    We live in south New Jersey ourselves.
    U R an inspiration. Thanks for sharing.
    C U down the road someday!

  3. Russell Golly Posted on 03.04.2018

    Best figure out a “come off the road” plan ahead of time. We were 7 years full timers but a big medical problem hit my wife, Now are confined to a retirement home, Not the original plan but we knew it would happen, just not so soon. Enjoy the open road, I miss it!

  4. John Merrill Posted on 03.03.2018

    I love being a full timer. I can visit my kids and family in different parts of the country. The people in the campgrounds are always nice and friendly. My Winnebago offers everything that I need and want.

  5. Lews Edge Posted on 03.03.2018

    This article brings up some good points and questions. We initially bought our Itasca Sunova 33C in May of 2012 for my wife and me to use for vacations and weekend getaways. After owing our coach for seven months we took a one-month December/January vacation in Florida and discovered that we could live small and comfortably without fighting over limited living space.

    Eventually my wife began referring to our coach as our “escape pod” from the high taxes and expenses of home ownership and maintenance. Having emancipated all of our children, we no longer needed a house with nearly 3,000 feet of floor space, nearly 1 1/2 acres of land, a 40,000 gallon in-ground swimming pool and more than $12,000/year in property taxes.

    Anticipating retirement we put our house on the market in late 2016 and closed the sale the following March. To keep our house “always ready to show” during the marketing period, we lived in our motorhome, parked in our driveway, which had full hookups, That was another test for our RV living.

    We filled two 30-yard trash containers with “stuff” that I had collected over 37 1/2 years of living in that house and sold at auction all unneeded furniture and household belongings that had value. We stored things that were irreplaceable, such as thousands of photos, slides, movies and video recordings. Our home buyers bought the power tools and workbenches that were in my basement woodworking shop. Having fully transitioned from film to digital photography, I had sold all of my color and black and white darkroom equipment the previous summer.

    It was still bitter cold in New Jersey when we sold our house, but we stayed in a nearby campground for another week until we could wrap up the last of our business matters. Heading due south, we had a six-inch icicle hanging from the rear of our coach which thankfully melted when we made the transition to warmer weather. After visiting with relatives in Tennessee, Georgia and northern Florida, we visited with friends in southeast and southwest Florida, traveled up Florida’s west coast, out Florida’s panhandle and enjoyed the mild warm spring weather of Alabama’s Gulf coast for awhile.

    From Alabama, we slowly meandered northward toward South Dakota, enjoying many stops along the way, where we planned to establish legal residency. We had already arranged with a mail forwarding service in Box Elder to register our vehicles and forward our mail. Establishing residency and obtaining SD driver’s licenses was a piece of cake. After exploring the spectacularly beautiful Black Hills, Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse memorial and other attractions, we headed further west toward Yellowstone NP.

    After spending a week camping in Yellowstone NP, we drove north to Glacier NP and then into Canada to explore national parks near Banff in Alberta. The trans-Canada highway took us to Vancouver and the breathtaking Pacific road to Whistler. Then it was time to travel south to Seattle/Tacoma and to Portland Oregon to visit with family there.

    While in the western USA we traveled west through Oregon, explored Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Arizona from the Grand Canyon to Tucson. With the Christmas holiday season approaching we traveled from Tucson back east to be with my two youngest grandchildren and their parents. By January 1st, we were back in Florida to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather until about mid April when we plan to slowly meander up the east coast to Canada’s Maritime Provinces. From there, we’ll eventually wind up back in Portland, Oregon by August 1st, ready to explore more our country’s beautiful western landscapes. When and where we’ll stop our wanderlust life remains to be determined.

  6. Jim Mahan Posted on 03.03.2018

    Down sizing, and thinking small was difficult. But due to circumstances, not in my control. I have lost everything. Crazy situation. Looking to get a View 24V. It’s just me and a pup later. I just hope things turn around for me. I was in a 31 ft RV trailer.. NOT VERY STEALTHY! The View would be, and highly maneuverable.

    Happy Rving

    Jim

  7. Jack Ferrell Posted on 03.03.2018

    Thanks, Kenny. Great questions. We are a couple of years out (or not) from mostly full-timing. We purchased an ’18 Navion at Christmas time. Two questions:
    What model class A do you own?
    In general, what jobs and roles are you and Sabrina doing? Roles I am referring to either sales, customer service, clerical, research, etc.
    Thank you.

  8. Les Lakie Posted on 03.03.2018

    How frequently do you lubricate the tracks on your slides (photo)?

  9. Lou M Posted on 03.01.2018

    Great point about family and friends. Everyone thinks about living with less and the finances when going full-time. However, we seldom think of how it will be without being able to stop by friends or have family over for dinner. The upside is your sure to meet new friends.

  10. Daniel Potter Posted on 02.25.2018

    We just started living in our Winnebago journey today and we gave a whole lot of stuff to a family in need. We had our first leak since it rained so hard but I didn’t feel bad because our house had water blow in the back door. We sat in the RV and actually expected it to happen so it wasn’t a big deal. I ran to an auto store and grabbed some sealant. Hopefully all is good now. What items could you not go without? What do you recommend for a new flooring in the galley?