“Approximately 1 million Americans live in recreational vehicles full-time.” And that number is continuing to grow according to a recent survey. Benefits of living the RV life include lower homeowner costs, flexibility, and the freedom of eliminating unnecessary possessions. If you are thinking of making the big switch to downsize your life and hit the road with your RV there are a few options, tips, and housekeeping items that you should consider first.
- Mail & residency: Even though one of the perks of living in your RV is not being tied down, now you need to consider where you are planning to receive your mail for the long haul. That could mean setting up a P.O. box or sending mail to a trusted stationary friend you can contact regularly. Depending on if you are planning on staying in a new state for a long period of time, you may also need to research some terms of residency and how to establish it as you move from place to place.
- Family & pets: When it comes to making the switch to permanent RV living one key component can be the people or creatures you are sharing your life with. If you are starting a family or already have children it may be important to assess the logistics of having more people in a small space. The same can be said for having pets to take care of and share space with. More people potentially means more storage space needed, and pets living in a small space need to be well trained and their personal needs maintained regularly.
- Career & cost of living: A major factor to consider is your current career’s flexibility. Will you still be able to attend work from your current parking location? Can you drive to work, are you able to work from home, or is it time for a career change altogether to meet your new lifestyle? If the latter seems to be the case, it is important to track your spending needs and trends when living in your RV and create a new budget that matches your income and expenses (water and electric hookups).
- Travel or stationary: Another question you need to ask yourself is if you are planning on parking your RV permanently in one location or planning to travel and stay in various locations. If you have done your research and have a permanent plot at an RV park you might want to consider reinforcing your supports once you get settled and protect your undercarriage from the elements and critters that frequent campgrounds. If you are planning on moving location you may want to consider practicing “boondocking,” meaning spending a few days without the electric or sewage hookups. This can cut back on accumulating costs and allows you to get more accustomed to the occasional (and inevitable) breakdowns that come with living in an RV.
- Space & necessities: As you are planning and preparing for the previous tips, it is also imperative to decide just how much stuff to bring with you into your more minimalist lifestyle. A major determining factor when deciding this is the number of people you will be living with and the amount of space you have for storage. Essential items – food, toiletries, clothing, survival items – should always come first on the “within reach” list, but once you have those stored and accounted for it’s time to consider what to add as the “useful or nice to haves”. Many people will set up a storage unit or arrangement with someone who is stationary for keepsakes, seasonal items, and records that are not needed on hand at all times but should still be kept.
If turning your RV into your permanent home is the right move for you, it can come with added responsibility and lifestyle changes. But those who have done so successfully say that permanent RV living can be functional and freeing materially and financially. As you consider making the switch, it is necessary to do your own research, planning, and test runs to ensure that you are prepared and making a choice that fits the lifestyle you truly want to live. Who doesn’t want to feel like they are on a vacation no matter where they are parked?
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