Updated: Oct 10
In 2019 I convinced my Husband to sell everything we owned to move into a 300 sqft RV (with our 80lb dog) to go on our own adventure. We became full-time RV’ers for 3 1/2 years.
I’m so glad we did, but I’m also really relieved that it’s over.
It’s pretty well documented that we’re a generation obsessed with experiences and travel. Mix that with the ever-increasing flexibility of work and school to be done online (Starlink is making the internet accessible even in the middle of the ocean now) and it’s no wonder so many of us are interested in becoming Digitial Nomads of some kind. That number has BLOWN UP since the Pandemic confined us to our houses for years and helped us start putting our lives into perspective.
People are done waiting for retirement to get out there and live their dreams!
RV’s have become a really popular way to do that here in the US without having to worry about overseas visas, taxes etc. that you’d run into if you wanted to pop around Europe, for example. At the beginning of the pandemic, it was difficult to even get your hands on an RV, with some manufacturers having wait times of up to a year after ordering.
Although I’ve written tons of articles on the benefits of RV life (I’ve even made the argument that it could be the perfect starter home for our generation), I wanted to share the downsides for everyone looking into it so that you can go in with your eyes wide open and make the best decision for you and your family (yes, tons of people do this with a whole FLOCK of kids!).
After 3+ years of full-time living (and seeing thousands of other similar complaints from the Full-time RV groups I’m in online), here’s what I believe are the top 10 problems with RV life.
1. Isolation and Loneliness
RV life can be isolating, especially when you’re traveling alone or for extended periods of time.
You generally buy an RV to check out new places. However, because you’re in new places all the time it can be damn near impossible to make new friends and find social activities there. If you’re moving all the time, why would you even try? For many people, you’re out there for the adventure, not necessarily the relationships.
Hitting the road also involves leaving behind friends and family. While it’s true that we have technology and most people are only a phone (or video) call away, not having the people that you care about readily available for months or years on end can really take a toll on your social life and your mental health. You’re basically signing up for a ton of long-distance relationships.
Although some people do caravans and meetups, this isn’t really the norm for most people (despite what youtube might have you believe). Most people depend solely on whoever lives in their RV with them and online groups of other RV’ers for socializing.
More times than not, we found ourselves fairly isolated. For the short-term, we were ok with this. But be aware of it going in.
Make routines around calling your favorite people. When possible, make plans to visit them, or have them come stay with you. We LOVED getting to see friends and family from different parts of the country when we were in their neck of the woods.
One of the most common questions we consistently got over the years was how we got internet while traveling. Spoiler: It took a lot of research and some planned redundancy (But it’s gotten a lot easier recently than when we started). While technology has made it easier to stay connected on the road, you’ll probably struggle with connectivity issues. Many RV parks and campgrounds have limited or no Wi-Fi and cellular service, making it challenging to work or stay connected.
We called this being “internet insecure”, and it could get pretty stressful when our signal would drop in the middle of a workday. There were a few times when we had to pack up the car and head over to Starbucks to use their internet until work was out.
That said, there would have been MANY more days like that if checking internet speeds hadn’t been on my checklist for picking future locations. I found a google doc where people regularly crowdsourced internet speeds at different parks, and this is how I chose our next spots.
However, It also meant that there were tons of really cool locations I would have loved to visit, that I knew were off the table for us. Oh well.
RV’ers keep blogs, (we always use and suggest others check out mobile internet resource center) that help people keep up on the latest hacks to get the best internet. One of the most promising ones that people are using as I write this is Starlink. Even cruise ships are starting to try it out for getting good internet to people in the middle of the ocean. WILD.
3. Financial Cost
We moved into our RV because we wanted to travel, and surprisingly to us, ended up with a lifestyle that was MUCH more affordable than living in an expensive apartment near the office (where we barely ever got to do anything or see each other because of commuting). This affordability was a huge part of how we paid off our debt and traveled full-time while doing it.
That’s not the case for everyone.
I have seen hundreds of people share stories about how their cost of living went up drastically by moving into an RV, and they can’t for the life of them figure out how anyone thinks it’s a cheaper lifestyle (spoiler: it takes some planning and some concessions just like it would in a normal house to cut costs).
Depending on what you buy, how you travel etc., RV life can be expensive, especially if you’re constantly on the move. Fuel costs, maintenance expenses, and campground fees can add up quickly. The cost will DRASTICALLY differ depending on what RV you buy, how you travel etc.
Let’s also not forget about the upfront costs! If you don’t already have an RV, you’ll need that (depending on which setup you want, that might entail an expensive truck to pull it too). You’ll need tons of non-negotiable accessories to get you started (hoses, leveling systems, surge protectors etc.). We spent a few thousand on all of that once it was over.
You can check out all of our top recommended RV essentials here.
The cost will DRASTICALLY differ depending on your lifestyle while you’re doing it, just like it does when you live in a house.
Don’t just assume that moving into an RV will save you money. Look into some of the camping memberships (we got one that brought rent & utilities down to just $575 A YEAR after the initial purchase that was well worth it for us), have an emergency fund saved up, buy used to avoid depreciation (3–5 years is the best range), be honest about how often you can travel because longer stays generally mean cheaper lot rent.
4. Maintenance and repairs
I mentioned how the cost of this can add up, just like with a house or a car. But honestly, that’s not what I want to focus on here. I want to focus on the sheer inconvenience of needing to do these things while you’re living in it.
When you live in a house and go camping in your RV every once in a while, it’s easy enough to get maintenance and repairs done. You can take care of some of it yourself, or if it’s more involved you’ll probably drop it off at a service center. When your RV IS your home, it can be a straight-up NIGHTMARE.
First off, the service center for most RV dealerships is built around the idea that you do in fact have a house. So you’re expected to drop it off for MONTHS at a time for major issues. Depending on the issue, sometimes you can also have a service person come to you, but that can be more expensive and who knows what state your home will be in until it’s taken care of.
Let me tell you two personal stories to show you what I mean. (feel free to skip to tips for this section)
Waterless in Pennsylvania
We were hooking up the RV to leave Hershey Pennsylvania (my favorite park we’ve been to), to head up to the Poconos right as Fall was turning to winter (read: it was getting colder and darker every day). As we pulled out, TONS of water came gushing out of the bottom, which had a sealed underbelly to help protect it from the cold (also meaning, we had no way of being able to get underneath to see what the problem was, and we needed to get on the road if we didn’t want to be driving in the dark up the mountains…which we did not).
We were stressed the entire way there. When we finally got into our new spot, we contacted a few mobile RV repair people, but they were booked out for MONTHS. They all advised us not to use our water until we could determine the issue, because we could very well destroy the RV (our home). Meaning, we spent the next month using the Public bathhouse down the road for everything from showering (in the unheated building), to doing dishes. I peed in a jar every night and emptied it in the morning to avoid trekking through the dark in 20 degree temperatures at night (it even snowed quite a bit while we were there towards the end of the month). Every night, we also carried a bin of our pots and pans to the sink to get them clean. It was absolutely awful.
When we did eventually find someone that had an opening, we had to pack everything up, take PTO for the day and drive 2 hours through the mountains after a freeze just to finally get a diagnosis, but not a fix, because he didn’t have what he needed to get it done there.
Luckily, we did find out that we could start using our water again with some slight modifications. No more peeing in a jar or doing dishes in the bathhouse sink!
Busted Gray Tank — MONTHS of being displaced
You know how they say that bad luck happens all at once? This was one of those times. We had a family member living in our living room/office/kitchen/dining area (all the same room) for a month getting clean from an opioid addiction, my grandfather (who raised me) died of COVID, and our gray tank busted (meaning we couldn’t use our water again). Absolutely AWFUL timing for another water issue.
This meant bringing the RV into a service center (it couldn’t be handled by a mobile tech), and staying in hotels. For a bit, this was fine, but our insurance benefits ran out fast and the service center wasn’t in a hurry to do anything about it. We then had to move into a family member's house for the next 3 months. We were lucky this was even an option.
Should this have taken so long? No, and we were told it wouldn’t.
The 3 months added up slowly because they were so backed up in service, when they did get to it they never had the right part, when they would fix it and tell us we could leave, we’d find out it was still leaking etc. It was a shuffle back and forth for 3 months. It was terrible.
We even started looking at buying or renting a small condo and almost gave it up completely. Looking back, this was the beginning of the end for us with RV life. It would have been so much easier to deal with these issues if we’d had a home base to be in while everything got repaired. It really opened our eyes.
Work on your patience. You’ll need it, I promise. Be prepared for stuff to break. Because it will.
Have a savings fund set up to deal with it all, even if it’s just general maintenance (which can be as small as spraying protectant on the rubber seals, and as large as completely resealing your entire roof).
We used the hell out of our extended warranty plan. We EASILY used 5x what we spent on it. It was a really good buy.
Get full-timers insurance that covers hotel stays. Even if it runs out like ours did, it’s better to have it than not.
Get prepared to do little things on your own to avoid having to depend on others as much as you can.
Me doing dishes in a 30-degree public bathhouse in thermals to stay warm & my husband fixing our stove.
5. RV campgrounds
This is likely going to be your biggest expense, and finding a good one with availability can be challenging because they’re booked up (you have to book anything in Florida during the winter at least 6 months in advance for example). It involves a ton of planing ahead of time if you want to make sure the internet situation is going to work, if the spaces are big enough for your rig, if they have the right amount of power (30 or 50 amp), and if they have full-hookup sites (so you don’t have to pack everything up and move out every time you need to dump your waste).
Aside from all that, some RV parks are downright depressing. We’ve definitely stayed in some that were advertised as resorts and campgrounds but were in fact closer to long-term trailer parks. I don’t personally have too much of a problem with this, but it’s worth mentioning. It can be a pretty different crowd than people visiting national parks with their families.
On top of that, RV parks can have a smell to them. I won’t sugarcoat it, that smell is the sewer from everyone dumping their waste. If you’ve ever gone by a water treatment plant or a sulfur marsh, that’s what you’re getting constant whiffs of. YUM.
Check the reviews of where you’re going. There are definitely some nice places! They tend to cost a lot more, so factor that in if you care.
Sometimes though, you’re going to want to visit places that just don’t have great options for places to stay. In that case, plan lots of activities in the area that drew you there in the first place rather than spending time in the park if you don’t like it.
If you stay longer, you generally get discounts. Month-long rentals are cheaper than weekly stays, and are much cheaper than nightly rates.
6. Limited space and privacy
This one kind of ties into the RV park section too. But it’s a bit more than that. Not only do you have limited space and privacy inside of your RV with the people you’re living with, but you can be pretty packed in next to your neighbors too. Some parks have you packed in like sardines.
I’ve heard everything from screaming children to very boisterous love-making sessions from neighbors while being INSIDE of my RV. Outside it’s even louder. That’s right, I’ve had to turn the TV up in my living room in order to drown out “Mary and Paul” going at it. When your walls are styrofoam and you’re 15 feet apart, this is pretty much what you can expect. No reasonable expectation of privacy, and very little space to even park your vehicle.
Although there are some fairly large toyhauler conversions that I’ve seen (and you probably have too) which really do maximize living space, it’s just a given that RV’s are smaller than houses. Your living arrangements will reflect that. You’ll learn to get creative with your space and picky about what you own. If you’re the kind of person that can’t imagine your partner seeing you pee or hearing you do other things in the bathroom, you’re in for a quick reality check.
Let me put it this way, having a second bathroom in our current apartment is one of our GREATEST luxuries after 3+ years of sharing a single bathroom with styrofoam walls. In an RV, privacy became a thing of the past…fast.
If this is any indicator, one of the most common questions I see asked in the RV groups is how to have sex without your kids knowing.
Spoiler: the whole thing will shake and they probably will hear stuff if you aren’t dead quiet. Most answers range from “they’ll get over it, it’s a normal part of life” to “we tell them we’re doing laundry or it’s a stormy night”. Either way, not much privacy. A lot of people resort to sending their kids out to play and just dealing with the fact that all the neighbors can hear what’s going on.
On the most extreme end, I’ve seen tons of stories (and have some personal experience from friends) of this lack of living space leading to breakups and divorces. Some people need more space than others, need more time and space to cool down after an argument, and are sometimes just too violent to be living in small spaces with breakable walls. If your marriage (or relationship) isn’t in a good place, I wouldn’t suggest moving into a smaller space with more stressors.
That said, I’ve also seen cutting expenses and going on adventures save some marriages, so use your best judgment there. I personally loved how close we were all the time, but I’m also fairly clingy.
Be picky with your layout and honest about what your must-haves are. We needed a separate room that had a door so that we could both be in meetings at the same time if needed. We turned a closet in the bedroom into a standing office for those times.
Be picky with what you bring along. You won’t have a ton of space to store it. That said, organizational things like popup shelving and hollow furniture can really increase storage. (Once I got everything organized that we brought along, we still had a good amount of space left).
Get outside of your RV and the RV park to enjoy some space to yourself or yourselves depending on what might be wearing you down.
7. Wastewater Management
In a house (that’s reasonably kept up), you flush the toilet and never have to deal with it again. You shower, do the dishes, and brush your teeth without ever thinking about it or having to worry. That is NOT the case in an RV.
With an RV, you’ve got tanks that hold your wastewater. Black tanks for all your sewage that your toilet empties straight into, and gray tanks for everything else (think the sinks, and the shower). If you’re doing it right, you’ve got to constantly be monitoring the levels in the black tank so that you know when to close your gray tanks and accumulate enough water to flush out the system when you dump. Which you’ll need to do every few days.
This is exactly why it’s super important to get a site with full hookups so that when you’re ready to dump, you can just head outside, pull some levers in the correct order, and close them back up when things are good to go.
Doesn’t sound too terribly difficult, and it’s not, but it’s a whole new process to learn and be thinking about during your normal routine.
Here’s some problems that can come up from not being on top of it or doing it incorrectly. (I have seen each of these happen to multiple people personally and hundreds online).
Problems that can come up
If you leave the black tank open while you’re plugged into the sewer at all times, all of the liquids will leave and the solids will stay behind. You’ll have a poop pyramid to deal with and you’ll need to call someone out to break it up and flush it out. It’s not cheap and doesn’t smell great.
Most RV’s nowadays come with a black tank flush, where you hook up a dedicated hose (please don’t use your drinking water hose for this) to the water system and it sends water into the black tank to get the gunk that’s left over, off. If you close the black tank before starting the freshwater flush accidentally, it will overflow all of that gunk back up into your toilet and into your RV. It will be ruined. We’ve unfortunately seen this happen to someone, and their home was done for.
If you don’t close the gray tanks early enough, you won’t have enough “cleanish” water to flush the sewer hose out with. This is fixable, just takes some time. When you realize you need to dump, you’ll need to close the gray tanks and turn the sinks and showers on to accumulate water. This took about 45 minutes for us when it happened. Not an issue if it’s a normal day, but quite the inconvenience if you’re trying to dump to leave the campground and now you’re 45 minutes behind. Because I promise, you don’t want to unhook and deal with that sewer hose before you’ve dumped a TON of soapy cleanish water through it after your festering sewer water just made its way through. YUCK.
On top of all that, you also have to make sure the ecosystem in the black tank is good to go. That involves adding enzymes to it to keep it healthy. Every RV tech we’ve ever run into has warned us against using pods of any kind (instead they suggest the powders), but tons of people still use them. They tend to lead to clogs, sometimes they don’t disintegrate and do their job, and can lead to fly infestations along with terrible smells.
Is all this manageable? For sure. But it never smells too great, and if you’re squeamish, I’d suggest looking away from the clear elbow that attaches the hose to the sewer hole, because you’ll see EVERYTHING that’s come out of you and everyone else in the RV for the past week or so.
But it’s also just another thing to deal with. Luckily, it was always our gray tanks that were leaking when we had issues and never the black tank, but I’ve seen that happen to others too.
Learn how to properly dump. There are steps that absolutely can’t be skipped. Keep an eye on your sensors for the tanks. Also know that they can be wrong and get gunked up, so you’ll probably just need to get an idea of what your schedule is and how long it takes you to fill up the black tank (when you flush, it starts to “burp” and have a different pitch. Gross, I know). Make sure you’re using a good enzyme to keep your tanks healthy (we used happy camper and never had any issues).
And most importantly, don’t ever be in a rush while doing this. you really don’t want to overflow your house with sewage because you forgot to the leave black tank open while you flushed it out.
I’m putting this on here only because it came up a ton when I was looking into moving into the RV. My friends and family were also super concerned about it. That said, I haven’t ever had any issues.
Worries about other people
Some people assume that RV parks are full of dangerous people doing shifty stuff willing to take off with your belongings. Nothing can be further from the truth in my experience, because most RV’ers have been super helpful and we’ve never had anything go missing.
Before we had that experience though, we did take some precautions based on fears. We added motion lighting around the RV, added a lock to the front of the trailer so someone couldn’t hitch up to it and steal it, added a GPS tracker in case someone did take it, and got a security camera (that we rarely ever used).
I’d also say to use some common sense when it comes to staying out of danger. Border towns seem to have a higher rate of RV’s getting stolen (or so I’m led to believe), leaving valuables out overnight increases your chances for theft etc. Be smart.
Whatever you feel like will keep you protected in a one-off situation, make sure you’re prepared so you don’t have to worry. Whatever that might be. I will say, if you’re traveling across state lines with protection measures that might be illegal in other states, keep that in mind and plan accordingly.
The real danger
I would say that biggest security risks that we saw were from the appliances in the RV’s themselves.
We’ve seen SO MANY fires.
Fridges from unleveled rigs seem to have been the biggest culprits, but sometimes it’s been electric heaters as well. So make sure your place is level (a really long level will help you make sure), unplug heaters at night, and always check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Realistically, people aren’t going to bother you. But your fridge might catch on fire. And RV’s burn FAST.
9. Navigation and Driving
Part 1: Safety concerns
I’ve mentioned a few times that getting into RV’ing will require some new skills. This is probably one of the most (if not THE MOST) nerve-wracking of them all. Driving this giant ass thing, parking it in your (sometimes) tiny little spot, and everything else involving the road…
It’s enough to test your patience, anxiety levels, and your marriage.
You might be surprised to find out that you don’t need any special kind of license to drive these things. To put that into perspective, RV’s can have a combined length (Truck + trailer) of 65 ft., and a semi/18 wheeler (which you need tons of training and qualifications to drive…and rightly so), is 72 ft. long. You decide whether that makes much sense…
There are tons of safety “suggestions” you can keep in mind, but nobody is going to enforce them, and so many people choose to ignore them or are just plain ignorant of them. I’ve seen literally thousands of people choose to knowingly overload their tow vehicle, distribute weight incorrectly, tow in dangerous conditions, hit low clearance bridges (ripping their roof off), fail to bleed their propane lines when they travel (a big fire hazard if you have a tire-blowout and shrapnel hits a line filled with propane), and speed down the highway next to hundreds of unsuspecting drivers (who are in danger if their mistakes turn fatal).
In the online communities, I’ve unfortunately seen a good amount of these outcomes.
If the families are lucky enough to make it out with their lives, their RV (and everything in it) is usually left in shreds on the side of the road and their truck is twisted almost beyond recognition. It’s not a good spot to be in. Knowing what I know now, I AVOID being next to RV’s on the roads at all costs.
Make sure your vehicle is rated for the weight of your trailer once you’ve got everything put into it. There are a few kinds of weights to keep an eye out for, not just how much it can tow, but also the payload for the vehicle itself. Here’s a good article to explain all of that. If you understand more than just a single number of how much your vehicle can pull, you’re probably better off than 50% of RV’ers (I’m probably being generous there).
Want to avoid blowouts? Keep an eye on tire condition, always check your tire pressure before traveling (we bought sensors that would alert us if there was an issue while we were driving), and DON’T overload your rig. Go get it weighed properly, and learn about how you’re supposed to distribute the weight.
Speaking of weight distribution, MEASURE to make sure you’ve got your weight distribution hitch setup correctly. For the most part, you’ll only have to do this once. Once you know what this is supposed to look like, you’ll also quickly start to see how much people truly skimp out on this (a MAJOR safety issue for everyone involved).
Plan your routes with clearance and steep grade alerts. We used Rv Trip Wizard ahead of time so that we could avoid anything steep or low clearance. Careful, google maps did reroute us a few times once we’d already set our route based on what was safe, and we had to pull over to manually reset it back a few times. ALWAYS keep an eye out for height and grade signs.
Part 2: Driving your home down the road, parking and more
Ok so aside from safety issues, there’s the normal stress and anxiety that comes with moving the RV, even assuming you’re doing everything right and you’re super safe (like we tried to be).
Packing up everything in your house to move can be a time-intensive process. Shove things into the pantry so it doesn’t move, double and triple check the fridge is in a locked position so things don’t come flying out while you’re driving, wrap up breakables and put them into a cushioned box on the floor so they don’t shatter, put towels between the pots and pans, wrap your computer monitors in bubble wrap and baracade them on the bed, lock the shower doors in the open position so the shower head can’t shatter them if you hit a bump and it falls etc. etc. More stuff to keep track of.
Driving through traffic with something 65 ft long is STRESSFUL. Especially when you need to merge onto the highway, or change lanes. Luckily, I drove a separate car behind the RV and was able to lane clear on moving days, but most people don’t have that. You kind of just have to bully your way in. We eventually adopted a “maintain speed and others can merge around you” mentality after almost getting driven off the road a few times (and ACTUALLY getting driven off by a semi that merged into our lane while we were right next to them). When you see your house start to sway from too much wind, or a quick adjustment, that can be absolutely terrifying. Luckily, we were super safe based on everything I mentioned above, so we never had large issues with this, but there were still some scary moments.
Getting to a new RV park and making your way to your site can be stressful when you don’t know the angles of the road, cars are parked all alongside it making it pretty narrow, branches are low, or hills are involved. God forbid you hit traffic on the way or it was a long drive and you arrive in the dark…ughhhh that’s the worst.
We showed up at a park once that literally had the roads being washed away because of a lack of maintenance on the side of the mountain, and we had to find a way around those areas carefully and slowly. At that same park, we saw an RV bottom out on a V-shaped section at the bottom of a long hill, and if they hadn’t reversed back up the hill to find a different way around, they DEFINITELY would have ripped off the entire back of the RV.
Like I mentioned, we had the luxury of a separate car, so we made it a priority to leave the RV at the front of each new park and scout with the car (which was MUCH less stressful to drive around in).
On top of that, learning to back something up that’s so giant into tiny spaces at weird angles is usually where you’re going to see couples screaming at each other and losing their patience. We were moving every 2 weeks and it took us a good 6 months to get really comfortable with it. That said, we did almost hit a tree once, it once took us 2 hours to park in the tiniest spot we ever dealt with (blocking traffic the entire time), and we’ve seen PLENTY of people accidentally run over electric and water hookups (leaving the entire park or a section of it without utilities).
It’s a lot. Honestly, moving weekends were stressful and I’m so so glad I don’t have to move my house anymore.
If you have another car that you can bring along and a separate driver, bring it. Use it to clear lanes while you’re driving, scout out safe routes through the parks, and it’s just better on gas mileage than a standard tow vehicle will be. (Our car gets 34 mpg, the truck gets 17 mpg.). We used the extra car for everything else in the new area, and the tow vehicle was just that, for towing.
BE PATIENT. It’s really stressful to see everything you have going down the road, or being backed into (what can feel like even if it’s not) a precarious spot. If you’re with other people, it’s really easy to snap on moving days, so be conscious of it and try to moderate it.
HAVE CHECKLISTS. This is what helped us stay so on top of things and so patient. We never had to worry about relying on our memories to make sure the hundreds of things that needed to happen in a certain order, were done correctly. Here’s an example of what ours looked like. It was an absolute lifesaver for us.
10. Weather and Climate
I mentioned that RV’s have styrofoam walls. So it should be no surprise that they don’t have great insulation. You can also literally feel the air from outside coming in when you start any of the vent fans (which you’ll need to do when you shower so that the humidity doesn't build up and destroy your walls). Meaning, it’s hard to keep it cool in the summer, and difficult to keep it warm in the winter. It’s also expensive to do either of those. Our 1400 sqft apartment costs us 1/2 in utilities what the RV did.
RV’s are notorious for having leaks and there is a lot of caulking to keep up with. If there is a leak, it can destroy entire sections of the RV fast. It’s important to constantly be doing water damage checks especially if you’re in wet areas. We had a small puncture from a branch that we didn’t even know fell, and had to have an entire roof replacement done (luckily, insurance covered it completely).
That’s pretty standard stuff, but on the more severe side of things, I’ve seen RV’s flipped over from extreme winds, totaled and drifting away from flash floods, and burnt down during the fires on the West Coast over the past few years. It’s wild.
Aside from the RV itself, you’re also going to be exposed to that weather change too if you’re moving all the time. You’ll need to pack your wardrobe with that in mind, and be prepared for allergies that you might not have run into before.
If you have the option, get the extra AC added. You’ll want it. Add the extra pane on the windows if you’re ordering brand new (although I suggest buying used).
Make sure you get something with the “all-weather package” (although there is no standard on this and can mean tons of different things, and varies in usefulness).
We added blackout curtains to all of the windows so that during the summer, we could keep some of the heat out (the areas with the most windows got SUPER hot.
Park under trees to use the shade during the summer, park in the open for the sun to heat you up during the winter. When we couldn’t park under a tree for shade, we found a way to make our own with a sail shade and some heavy-duty stakes
These are just a few tips, but there are groups on Facebook dedicated to RV’ers helping each other stay cool in hot places, and warm in cold ones. It’s doable, but it takes work.
For the more extreme stuff: Keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to change your plans if something like a hurricane or a fire become concerns. Check wind speed on moving days, because you don’t want to be pulling your house down the road going 60 mph with a crosswind gusting upwards of 30 mph hitting your giant brick-shaped home-on-wheels.
Bonus: 11. Doctors appointments
This honestly became a lot larger than I planned, but here’s another big one. Society isn’t built under the assumption that you’re moving every few weeks or months and might not know where you’ll be. Doctors' appointments usually require you to be an established patient, booking appointments usually has to be done months in advance, and even things that can be done virtually like refills will require regular checkups with that doctor.
Luckily, my husband and I are both young and pretty healthy. So we didn’t need to worry too much about this, but routine checkups and cleanings were still a pain. I had to get my prescriptions filled at a different pharmacy every time they needed filling, we definitely weren’t getting our teeth cleaned every 6 months at a new dentist, and when there was an issue that came up, I wasn’t able to see my doctor in person. We relied heavily on quick-care for any issues that arose.
It’s important to mention that a lot of people aren’t so lucky and it’s a lot more difficult to manage life on the road when you need a constant care plan and have chronic illnesses.
Use national chains as much as possible so that things transfer. For my prescriptions, I used CVS. Although it always auto-filled at my previous location (something I’ve never been able to stop no matter how many times I’ve opted out of it and even talked to pharmacy staff to turn it off), I was still able to transfer them. For our eyes, we stuck with Target optical, and for our dentist, we knew we’d be in the area at least once a year and planned our cleanings and checkups around then.
It’s also worth checking in with your doctor to see if they do telehealth calls of some sort. Tons of doctors adopted that during the pandemic, and are still doing it, which makes things a bit easier. Even if you need bloodwork done, there are national chains that your doctor can order it through like Quest.
It wasn't perfect, a lot of dates were skewed, and sometimes we needed to fall back on Quick Care, but that’s the way it went.
Alright, that was A LOT. I had anxiety just writing some of that, I won’t lie.
For many reasons, RV life was an exhausting experience. That said, It was also exactly the experience we needed to be fully content with where we are now and it helped us be more free (debt free) than we ever imagined being able to be this early in life (well before 30).
Although I’m beyond happy it’s over (and I don’t have to move my house, share my bathroom, or deal with styrofoam walls and all that entails), it was a really fun adventure that I’m so glad we took.
For many people, it’s on their list of things to do when they retire. We’ve gotten that out of the way. We’ve lived all over the country, have favorite foods from random little spots (the best nachos I’ve ever had are from this hole-in-the-wall place in Harrisburg Pennsylvania, the chocolate peanut butter pie in Hershey was to die for, and we constantly crave this pizza topped with crunchy chicken from an obscure gas station in the Poconos).
If you’re wondering, there are plenty of other favorite foods, but that’s probably a different post…
RV life can be exciting and adventurous, but it also comes with its fair share of problems. I shared all this not to scare you away, but to make sure that before you jump into such a wildly different life, your eyes are wide open and you can prepare.
Honestly, I’m not sure I would have done it had I known all of this at the time, but we learned and got through so much over time. It didn’t happen all at once. Keep in mind that you can overcome so much, and grow in the process while having an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you and your entire family if you choose to do it.
Learn what you can, prioritize what you want to get out of it, and be prepared for the downturns. You’ll probably come away far more resilient and patient for having done it, I know I did.
And if you read all of this and decided it’s not for you, that’s absolutely fine too. Keep chasing your dreams, keep chasing your freedom! 💕
🎉 Grab my totally FREE: RV Moving Checklist 🛣
🛍️ Check out my Top RV essentials 🚐