So you’re thinking about taking the plunge? Are you ready to leave it all behind and hit the road? You see those Youtube channels and read those articles and think to yourself, “they are living the life.” And to be honest, they are for the most part.
Some people have a plan to travel the states in an RV after they retire. Some people choose to leave the rat race early. RVers each have their own stories and come in many different age groups. But they all have one thing in common, they decided the conventional life is not for them. Some people do it to minimize their possession. I’ve always felt that your possessions hold you down and having too many can make you feel like a prisoner. But before selling everything and quitting your job, you’ll want to consider if the lifestyle is for you. In this article I will attempt to give my two cents on things to consider before becoming a full-time RVer.
Do you have enough money?
RV life is a lot cheaper for the most part. Most full timers no longer have a mortgage or a lease for a “real home.” That alone could save you thousands depending on where you lived before. But that doesn’t mean you’re now living free. You still have to account for necessities like food, gas, park fees, and RV maintenance. You should have a healthy nest egg saved up before hitting the road. Mechanical issues do and will happen. Some may be minor but something like a new engine or transmission will run you into the thousands. For the little things, it helps if you are handy and know your way around a toolbox. But if not, you can always learn! There is an abundance of Youtube videos that teach basic RV and travel trailer maintenance. Learning to do the little things by yourself will not only be rewarding, but it could save you a lot of money.
What will you do for income?
So I spoke about having a nest egg to get you going, depending on how much you have, it might not be a good source of income for the long haul. You are going to eventually need some money coming in. If you are a retiree, then chances are you are living off of a pension or 401k. And thats great! Just be sure to budget your money properly. I recommend setting a monthly budget using a spreadsheet and stick to it like glue. If you don’t have a pension to rely on, or need something to supplement it, then you will have to find another source of income. Luckily, there are TONS of opportunities for people like us. Here is a list of gigs you can do as a full time RVer:
- Telecommuting – this is when a company lets you work from home. These types of jobs are great because they usually offer the employee the flexibility of working from anywhere. The most common types of telecommuting jobs are marketing, call centers, CPA’s, web design, virtual assistants, and much more. One site I have had luck with is FlexJobs. They have a huge list of companies that are hiring employees that want to telecommute. At the time of writing this article their fee was $14.95 per month but it is definitely worth it because their list are quite extensive. There are also free sites like Craigslist.org. To look for telecommuting jobs, just select you city, then hit the jobs link, on the left there is a check box that say telecommuting, when you select that box and hit search, it will only show jobs that offer working from home. One downfall to these types of jobs is they may require a specific type of internet connection like cable or DSL. This might not be feasible for someone constantly moving. Also, some jobs require that you stay in a general area and might even require meeting in and office once in a while. If that’s the case then this also may not be for you.
- Blogging – did you know there are people who make a killing from writing a blog? Blogging is easy and fun but it takes a lot of time and patience. Blogging will not make you money overnight, in fact, most bloggers don’t see money coming in until about a year. This is way most bloggers fail. If you keep writing good content over and over, eventually the traffic will start to roll in then you can start to make money by linking to affiliate programs and amazon products. You can even make money of of ad space on your blog. Blogging is perfect for full time RVers. Think about how much you will see and learn while living on the road! Wouldn’t it be nice to put it all out there for the world to see and make money at the same time? There are a lot of resources to learn about blogging. One good source is of course youtube. Just search for starting a WordPress blog and I guarantee you will find hundreds of videos. If you are like me and like everything in one spot with easy learning materials, check out these guys at Project24. They have a great course on becoming a blogger and making money. Their guide is broken down step by step and easy to follow for practically anyone.
- Youtube – I have mentioned youtube quite a few times and for good reason. People are making some serious money on youtube right now just from uploading videos of what they are up to everyday. And believe it or not, they are making thousands of dollars. You can practically make a video on ANYTHING. Once you have 4000 watch hours, you can apply for monetization. So basically anytime someone watches an ad before or after your video, you’ll get some money. They key to this method is getting subscribers and putting out some good content. Like blogging, it may take some time. But it’ll be worth it in the end.
- Shopify – What if you could run an online store from your laptop and not even have to have your own inventory? Many people are doing this right now with Shopify With shopify, you can set up your own online store and dropship products from different wholesalers. This used to be a very tedious task to do on your own but shopify makes the whole process very easy. They have a huge list of wholesalers and products for you to sell on your site. When someone places an order, you just fulfill the order though your wholesaler and have the product shipped directly to your customer. Setting up a shopify store is fun but can be daunting if you don’t know where to start. I have used a service called Fiverr to freelance the whole process. You can hire an expert on Fiverr to create your shopify store for you. Once it’s up and running, all you have to do is follow up on orders and promote your site. Running a shopify store will not make you a million over night. Like the other steps above, it requires hard work. But once you are established, there is really no limit to the amount of money you can make.
Where will you park your RV?
This is really a loaded question. To answer this, you really need to know what kind of budget you will be working with and what kind of RV’er you want to be. For instance, people who know they will be on a strict budget may not want to spend money on a simple parking spot. There are tons of RV parks around the country. Some are very extravagant and come with a hefty price tag. Some, well, not so much. I have stayed at parks that fit both ends of the spectrum. Also, consider how much driving you want to do. Some people can’t stand staying on one place for too long and just want to hit the road. For you, I recommend a mix of RV parks, Government Lands / Campgrounds and a little boondocking. If you are not sure what boondocking is, see my article about it here. I won’t get into too much detail about it because the article is extensive, but boondocking is great for someone who is just staying the night or for someone on a tight budget.
If you prefer the finer things in life, consider an RV club membership. RV clubs work a little like timeshares. You pay a monthly fee or lump sum and you have access to various RV parks throughout the country depending on the plan you purchase. While I don’t recommend them for everyone, they can actually save quite a bit of money if you are a frequent traveler. There are usually time-in and time-out rules depending on the property and club you join. One that I have had personal success with is Thousand Trails. They break their camping pass down to 5 different zones in the US. This worked for me because I am mainly on the West coast and only needed one zone at forst. You can always ad more zones as you go. You can stay 7 days in the Thousand Trails system and after only 4 days out, you can go back to another preserve (or the same one) for another 7 days. The price for one zone is about $575 and you can add more zones for $199 as you go.
As you can see, based on the current per night rates at most RV parks, this membership will pay for itself the first month you use it to it’s fullest.
What if you get sick on the road?
Unfortunately, most people don’t think about this it’s too late. Healthcare in the United States is stupid expensive. And if you don’t have health insurance, you could be up the creek without a paddle. Just one E.R. visit could easily reach into the thousands. Medicare is a great option if your are permanently disabled or past the age of 65. If you are a veteran, consider the VA health care system if you don’t already receive that benefit. Medicaid may not be a viable option because it usually one works in the state you reside in. If you are constantly on the move then it’s almost useless. For the rest of us, there are many options available for health insurance if you know where to look. I have had some personal luck with FinalQuote. They work with all the top providers like Cigna, Kaiser Permenente, and Blue Shield. You just tell them the amount of money you are willing to pay and they will set you up with a provider that suites your needs the best. I went with the cheapest plan because I am still young and don’t get sick too often but you can adjust depending on your personal health situation.
How to Become a Full-time RV’er – Conclusion
So as you can see there are many different things to consider before you sell everything and move into your rig. But, living in an RV full time is often a much cheaper option for most people. Whether it is out of necessity, or you have that wondering spirit, most people I have talked to say they wouldn’t give it up for anything. The freedom will become addicting and a whole new world of adventure will soon unfold before your eyes. It might seem overwhelming at first, but in the end you will wish you did it sooner.