Living in an RV: Travel Costs

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Travel costs of living in an RV

Thinking about full-timing in an RV? Curious about the true costs of living on the road? For those who have never RV’d before it can be difficult to accurately estimate expenses for this entirely new lifestyle. Some articles provide too little information; they give a general overview of things you’ll be paying for, but no insight into how much to budget for each category. Other sites provide too much information, detailing all of their expenses each month, even those unrelated to RVing (like haircuts and coffee).

I’ve tried to strike a happy medium here, giving as much detail as possible about the relevant expense categories you’ll likely encounter if you become permanent rovers. Before we dive in, though, it’s important to note that everyone’s lifestyle is different; I try to make note of where our choices may differ from the majority, but just keep in mind that you could spend significantly less than us… or on the flip side, significantly more. We don’t go to extremes to save money (such as boondocking extensively), but nor do we live lavishly.

Hopefully the following information will provide a starting point that you can use, adjusting for your own circumstances, to get a sense for what it costs to live full time in a motorhome.


OVERNIGHT FEES

You can get away with paying nothing (or next to nothing) per night while dry-camping, or you can pay up to $180 per night for the privilege of staying in luxurious RV resorts with swanky facilities.  Realistically, most people fall somewhere in the middle.

In our experience, a very good price for an RV park with full hook-ups (electricity, water, and sewer) is around $30-$35/night.  When we find a decent and conveniently-located place at that price, we almost always settle in for a longer stay.  We’ve occasionally paid $40-$45/night, and in two locations with limited alternatives (San Diego and San Francisco) coughed up $65/night.

The biggest indicator of cost is location; if the RV park is in a popular city, close to attractions, or nestled in a tropical atmosphere, you’re undoubtedly going to be paying more for the privilege.  New Orleans during Mardi Gras, Key West in the winter, New York with a view of the Statue of Liberty: it all comes at a price.

Travel costs of living in an RV

In addition to RV parks, local, state, and national campgrounds are often a great option.  You can find nightly rates from $5-$35, though these spots often don’t provide full hook-ups (if any at all) and sometimes lock the gate at night. Many campgrounds have a dump station accessible for a small fee (~$5), but be sure to confirm that the water is potable before you fill up your freshwater tank.

Finally, you can often park for free in locations without hookups (e.g. in a parking lot or unused field).  This practice is referred to as boondocking or dry-camping, and while some travelers with solar panels and water reclamation systems have dedicated themselves to never paying for a night’s parking, even exploring this option just a little can make a big difference to your budget.

The most common boondocking locations are commercial enterprises that allow overnight parking (discussed in more detail below), but you can also stay for free on BLM land, in national forests, and other public lands.  If you’re interested in boondocking long-term, Happy Vagabonds has tons of helpful information on the subject (particularly regarding best practices for conserving resources).

TIPS FOR LOWERING YOUR COSTS:

Passport America; Travel costs of living in an RV

  1. Get membership in a discount club. There are a number of options you can choose from, but the best in our experience seems to be Passport America; a number of campgrounds and RV parks honor it, the membership fee is fairly low, and you get a 50% discount!
  2. Pay by the week or even month. Usually if you pay for a week in advance the RV park will give you a discounted rate (it usually comes out to seven nights for the price of six).  You can also save WAY more money by paying per month at many locations.
  3. Figure out what amenities you really need and find places where you only pay for those. We’ve discovered that we can live without water/sewer hook-ups for up to ten days (as long as there are shower facilities), but our extensive array of tech gadgetry means we frequently seek out electrical hook-ups.  We’ve been able to use that knowledge to our advantage, booking a number of extended stays in national park campgrounds offering only electricity for significantly cheaper rates than we would have had to pay for full-service RV parks.
  4. Dry camp when you travel. IMHO, there is little to no reason to stay at an RV park (or even a campground) if you’re just traveling through and staying one night.  You’re unlikely to use their facilities, it takes time to hook and un-hook hoses/cables/sewer, and you could be parking somewhere else for free.  Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Camping World, and most truck stops (Pilot, Love’s, etc.) have policies that allow trucks and motorhomes to stay overnight in their parking lots.  However, I would suggest calling first to confirm; while corporate policy may be to allow it, at some individual stores the land is actually owned by the city, which may have different ordinances regarding overnight parking (we’ve run into this issue mainly with Wal-Mart and K-Mart).  In most states you can also park overnight at rest areas along the highway; unless they explicitly have signs that say “No Overnight Parking”, it should be okay for at least eight hours.
  5. Stay with friends and family. As long as there’s adequate space in a driveway, yard, or on the street, staying with people you know is a great way to save money (and hopefully have a great time!).  You can often run an extension cord for power, and your free showers come with abundant hot water and water pressure.  Win-win situation.

GAS

Paying for fuel can be one of the biggest – or at least most unexpected – costs of full-timing.  As we transitioned from an apartment into life on the road we found it was easy to mentally convert RV park fees into rent, but in the excitement of planning our first trips we initially overlooked the cost of actually getting from place to place.  It’s true that fuel eats up a significant portion of an RVer’s budget, but how this affects you depends on your perspective; as one old-timer put it, “well, it may be low for a car, but it gets great mileage for a house!”

Your fuel efficiency may be low for a car, but it gets great mileage for a house!

Realistically, most Class A and C motorhomes get somewhere around 8-12 mpg (towing a trailer or fifth wheel is a different story, as it depends on the fuel efficiency of the tow vehicle).  Dealers like to tell you they can get up to 15, but given anything but ideal driving conditions that’s pretty unlikely.

Our Fleetwood Jamboree Sport, a 32-foot Class C motorhome, gets around 9 mpg.  With its 55-gallon gas tank it can take us around 450 miles between refills, but each trip to the pump dings us for about $150, so roughly speaking the fuel costs for the motorhome are about a dollar for every 3 miles traveled.

TIPS FOR LOWERING YOUR COSTS:

  1. Stay in one place. Traveling slowly is the best way to lower your fuel costs.  We started out very much ignoring this concept (as you can see in our monthly analysis below), and as a result we paid dearly in our gas costs.
  2. Drive slowly and ease up on cruise control. Even though it may sometimes feel safe to drive faster on the highway, stick to 50-55 mph if you want to conserve gas. Additionally, be very mindful when cruise control is engaged; using it on even a small hill will have repercussions on your fuel efficiency.
  3. Limit how often you run the generator. Generators run directly off gas, so limiting your usage could have a major impact on your fuel costs. However, sometimes you just can’t avoid using your generator; for example, we use it to charge our batteries so we can power our laptops when we’re not plugged into shore power.
  4. Don’t tow a secondary vehicle. Your motorhome’s fuel mileage will take a beating if you add on the extra weight of an additional vehicle.  Consider using bikes or a moped to get around.
  5. Tow a secondary vehicle. On the other hand, using a vehicle with better gas mileage for day trips and errands in lieu of a gas-guzzling RV might be more cost-efficient — it all depends on your traveling style.
  6. Don’t buy a diesel pusher just to save on the cost of fuel. Coaches with a diesel engine definitely get better fuel mileage than those that run off gas, but we’ve found the difference isn’t worth the significantly higher price of diesel-engine RVs.  These coaches are some of the most expensive on the market, and if you do the calculations you’ll find that an extra 5-10 mpg fuel efficiency isn’t worth the money long-term if you’re just considering it for the savings in gas.  Now, if you find one used, or your great aunt gives you one for free, that’s a different story…..

RV INSURANCE

RV Engulfed in Flames; Travel costs of living in an RV

Most companies that insure personal vehicles (like GEICO) will cover your RV as well, or you can find a provider through sites like RV America Insurance.  After much calling around I found that many insurance companies won’t cover a motorhome being lived in full-time, and those that do often charge exorbitant rates.

We settled on GEICO, where we already had coverage for our car.  A six-month comprehensive policy (just for the RV) costs us $284.70 ($47.45/mo or $569.4/year); this was by far the best price we found.

TIPS FOR LOWERING YOUR COSTS:

  1. Get multiple quotes. GEICO ended up being the cheapest we found, but shop around and see what other offers are out there.
  2. Go with comprehensive coverage. It’s tempting to settle on the cheapest plan, but having comprehensive coverage could save you a ton of money if there was ever an issue that needed to be covered (accident, theft, fire, etc.).  Keep in mind that you’re insuring your home; if something goes wrong not only will you have to fix it, but you’ll have to find somewhere else to sleep until everything is resolved.

INTERNET

Travel costs of living in an RV

The two most popular ways to stay connected on the road are satellite internet and 3G mobile broadband.  We choose the 3G route because it’s cheaper, less of a hassle, and you can use it on the go (whereas you need to be stationary to use a satellite dish).

We pay $60/month for 20 gigabytes of data through Verizon (actually, it’s through a reseller that lets us increase Verizon’s default cap, but the signal still travels over Verizon’s network).  Our start-up costs came to $290: $100 for the mobile broadband device, a $50 set-up fee, and $140 for our Cradlepoint CTR500 3G/4G Router (turns the 3G signal into normal wireless that we can share between our multiple laptops).  You can check out our travel guide for more information on our set-up and the various mobile internet options available for RVers.

TIPS FOR LOWERING YOUR COSTS:

Free WiFi Hotspot; Travel costs of living in an RV

  1. Use the free wifi offered at many RV parks. If you anticipate staying primarily at RV parks and don’t mind being without internet on occasion, you may be able to get by with the public wifi offered.  To ensure the best reception, request a site in close proximity to the access point (where the signal is being beamed out).  Even then the signal may not be strong enough for heavy lifting (like streaming videos), but browsing should be fine.  If you rely solely on this option you’ll find yourself sans internet while in transit or whenever the park’s wifi is spotty, and you’ll definitely want to call ahead to confirm the network is up (and still free — more and more parks are moving to a paid service) when you make your reservation.
  2. Use the 3G internet on a smart phone. Whether it’s a Blackberry, iPhone, or Android, you can use the phone’s wireless to check your email, browse the internet, or download a plethora of useful travel-related applications.  If you don’t use the internet frequently, having a smart phone as your sole internet access may be an option (or you could pair it with the park’s wifi if your needs are only intermittent).

PROPANE

In most RVs the stove, hot water heater, and central heating systems will be run off propane.  If you’re just using propane to cook with, you’ll probably forget anyone ever has to refill the tank — it’s amazing how little fuel the stovetop uses.  If you’re using your propane in a heating capacity, however, that’s another story entirely.

When we were in San Francisco we had to refill our LP tank twice in three weeks because we repeatedly forgot to turn off the hot water heater after showers (yep, learned that lesson) and used central heating almost every day to combat the incessant foggy chill.  Once we became more conscientious of the “off” switch and got an electrical space heater, however, our propane stretched much further.

Now, we only use propane for cooking and hot showers a few times a week, and we refill our tank about once a month.  The tank holds 14 gallons, and propane averages around $2.50/gallon… so each refill costs us about $35.

TIPS FOR LOWERING YOUR COSTS:

  1. Turn off your hot water heater!! So simple, yet so easy to forget.  For us, repeatedly forgetting to flip that switch after a shower ate up almost as much propane as BP spilled in the gulf.  Almost.
  2. Invest in an electrical space heater. If your internal heating is run off propane, and you’ll be plugged into shore power relatively frequently, definitely buy an electrical space heater.

MAIL

Travel costs of living in an RV

If you’re full-timing, you’ll need your mail sent somewhere.  There are actually a number of different mail forwarding systems that’ll set you up with a mailbox and then forward the accumulated mail to you at regular intervals (or, for life on the road, whenever you contact them with a new address).

Many fulltime RVers set up their “permanent address” in South Dakota, Florida, or Texas (due to those states’ being more tax-friendly).  In South Dakota, probably the most popular of the three states, two well-known mail-forwarding options are Alternative Resources and My Dakota Address.

While these can be some of the cheapest options, we were unable to establish legal residency in one of those three states due to our business being registered in California.  Given our limitations, I found that a local UPS branch was the most accommodating and affordable option for us.

They offer mailboxes (not P.O. boxes – it’s an actual street address, which can be important in some circumstances) in a variety of sizes, starting at about $20/month (plus an initial $20 set-up fee) for the smallest personal-use boxes.  (We use their business option, which is about twice as much).

In addition to the monthly fee, you’ll also need to pay to have your mail actually forwarded.  We usually have ours sent about once a month, and the postage cost is around $20 each time.

TIPS FOR LOWERING YOUR COSTS:

Have magazines and catalogs recycled instead of forwarded. The more junk you cull, the less weight you pay for.
  1. Be careful what you have forwarded. Whenever we call with a new forwarding request, we ask them to recycle all the magazines and catalogs that come in.  They’re also more than willing to sift through the pieces of mail over the phone and ask which ones we just want tossed.  The more junk you cull, the less weight you pay for.
  2. Cancel paper statements. Almost all checking, savings, and credit card accounts provide the option of electronic statements. There is even online tax software available when tax season rolls around.  Sign up!  Do the same for your health insurance, car insurance, car loan, student loans, phone and internet bills, etc.
  3. Put yourself on the “no junk” lists. For the first few months (or, ideally, the few months before you leave), look at every piece of mail that comes in and consider whether it’s worth the cost.  For junk mail, you can often call a number provided to request removal from their list.
  4. Have packages sent to the address you’re staying. Most RV parks are very amenable to receiving and holding packages for guests.  Don’t buy stuff online and send it to your mailbox (only to pay to ship it again); wait and buy anything you need online when you can ship it directly to where you’re staying.

MAINTENANCE & REPAIRS

Even if you purchase a new or high-quality used coach, you’ll undoubtedly still need to make repairs.  The inside of a motorhome is typically designed with space and weight as primary considerations, so they aren’t nearly as durable as most of us are accustomed to in our living arrangements.

To give you an idea, here’s a list of the repair and maintenance costs we encountered during the first six months of owning our 2010 Fleetwood Jamboree coach (purchased new from a reputable dealer):

  • Out-of-pocket repairs @ service center (~$300): re-wiring AC outlets to better handle inverter; reinforce bumper to hold weight of bike rack.
  • Out-of-pocket maintenance @ service center (~$100): regular engine maintenance; oil change; tire check.
  • DIY (~$35 for parts): replace vent cover cracked by hail; replace blown fuses; track down and fix two minor leaks.
  • Covered under warranty (no cost to us): replace cracked shower head; re-seal outside storage compartments that had minor leaks; minor cosmetic fixes to outside molding.

TIPS FOR LOWERING YOUR COSTS:

  1. Take advantage of your warranty if you have one. Keep note of every single (even seemingly minuscule) problem that emerges and see if you can get it covered under warranty.  For most things the answer is likely to be ‘yes’, and even if it’s not it doesn’t hurt anything to try.
  2. Fix as much as possible on your own. Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly handy, you’ll be surprised at how well you rise to the challenge when there’s necessity!  Keep a small toolbox on hand, stock up on spare fuses, and see if you can address any problems on your own before taking it to the professionals.  For instance, neither of us are the “fix-it” type, yet with a little persistence and a screwdriver we solved The Mystery of the Leaking Wall when a service center couldn’t find the source.
  3. Take care to keep things in good condition. Didn’t someone popularize the phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”?  I’d like to credit my Grandma, but Google tells me it was apparently some bloke by the name of Ben Franklin.  In any case, take care to wash the outside of your RV periodically, clean all surfaces regularly, keep counter-tops free of water, avoid excess moisture inside to prevent mold, and protect the flooring and carpets.

ONE-TIME INITIAL COSTS

There are a lot of other items you’ll likely need to purchase when you’re just starting out.  Some are necessities specific to RV living (like hoses), while others provide comfort or convenience in the tight living quarters.

Here is a sample list of some things you may need to purchase:
RV Sewer Hose; Travel costs of living in an RV

  • Necessary Supplies: sewer hose, white hose for potable water, green hose to flush black water tank, special RV toilet paper (breaks down and doesn’t stick to tank walls).
  • Suggested Supplies: durable extension cord, cable line (at least 25-ft), kneeling mat for emptying tanks, seat covers and floor mats to protect the cab or driving area, chemical compounds to clean and deodorize the black tank, small traveling tool-kit, Brita drinking filter, sticky mats to line the cabinets and keep everything in place when you’re on the move.
  • Other potential one-time set-up costs: towing system,mobile internet gear, extension pedals (if you’re a short driver), bike rack and cover, outdoor grill, collapsible table and camping chairs, storage containers, non-breakable dishes.

RV LOAN PAYMENT

If you buy your RV (either new or used) through a dealership, you’ll likely finance and have a monthly payment.  It’s important to factor this cost into your monthly budget.  In the next few weeks we’ll post tips on how to negotiate the best price for your RV (and we’ll include details about our own buying experience), but for now we’ll just say that our monthly payment is $460.


EXAMPLE MONTHLY BUDGETS

We’ve kept track of how much we’ve spent each month.  Our traveling style may be vastly different from yours (and in fact it’s pretty inconsistent from month to month), but hopefully these real-world RV budgets will help give you an idea of what you’re likely to be spending on RV-related travel costs.

August 2010

Nightly Fees $636 (15 nights @ no cost, 1 @ $30, 6 @ $35, 5 @ $42, 3 @ $62)
Gas $395 (drove San Francisco to Seattle: ~ 1,100 miles)
Propane $42
Repairs $300 (re-wire outlets, reinforce bumper)
Mail $65 ($45 monthly fee + 1x forwarding @ $20)
RV Insurance $47.45
Internet $60
Loan Payment $460

September 2010

Nightly Fees $588 (14 nights @ no cost, 12 @ $35, 4 @ 42)
Gas $1014 (drove Seattle to New York: ~ 2,900 miles)
Propane $28
Repairs $0
Mail $70 ($45 monthly fee + 1x forwarding @ $25)
RV Insurance $47.45
Internet $60
Loan Payment $460

October 2010

Nightly Fees $768 (7 nights @ no cost, 5 @ $19, 2 @ $31, 9 @ $35, 8 @ $37)
Gas $643 (drove NY to VT to Cape Cod to TN: ~ 1,800 miles)
Propane $45
Repairs $0
Mail $68 ($45 monthly fee + 1x forwarding @ $23)
RV Insurance $47.45
Internet $60
Loan Payment $460

November 2010

Nightly Fees $772 (9 nights @ no cost, 1 @ $12, 14 @ $35, 6 @ $45)
Gas $355 (drove TN to Savannah, GA to Tampa: ~850 miles)
Propane $36
Repairs $100 (engine serviced; oil change and tire check)
Mail $60 ($45 monthly fee + 1x forwarding @ $15)
RV Insurance $47.45
Internet $60
Loan Payment $460

December 2010

Nightly Fees $839 (6 nights @ no cost, 25 @ $33)
Gas $161 (drove Tampa to Miami: ~250 miles)
Propane $30
Repairs $0
Mail $60 ($45 monthly fee + 1x forwarding @ $15)
RV Insurance $47.45
Internet $60
Loan Payment $460

January 2011

Nightly Fees $1095 (4 nights @ no cost, 12 @ $30, 12 @ $34, 3 @ $112)
Gas $373 (drove Miami to Key West to Miami: ~323 miles)
Propane $38.50
Repairs $0
Mail $45 ($45 monthly fee)
RV Insurance $47.45
Internet $60
Loan Payment $460

February 2011

Nightly Fees $514 (9 nights @ no cost, 7 @ $23, 1 @ $27, 7 @ $29, 3 @ $39)
Gas $533 (drove Miami to AL to MS to New Orleans, LA: ~1000 miles)
Propane $0
Repairs $160.47 (check propane & batteries)
Mail $68.09 ($45 monthly fee + 1x forwarding @ $23.09)
RV Insurance $47.45
Internet $60
Loan Payment $460

March 2011

Nightly Fees $420 (15 nights @ no cost, 17 @ $24.70)
Gas $726.35 (drove New Orleans to Austin to Albuquerque: ~1300 miles)
Propane $26.42
Repairs $0
Mail $59.20 ($45 monthly fee + 1x forwarding @ $14.20)
RV Insurance $47.45
Internet $60
Loan Payment $460

April 2011

Nightly Fees $395 (16 nights @ no cost, 1 @ $18, 2 @ $49.70, 11 @ $25)
Gas $1100.70 (drove NM to CO to UT to Phoenix to San Diego: ~1800 miles)
Propane $0
Repairs $652.60 (bought towing supplies we lost, fixed black tank issue we caused)
Mail $45 ($45 monthly fee)
RV Insurance $47.45
Internet $60
Loan Payment $460

May 2011

Nightly Fees $42.70 (30 nights @ no cost, 1 @ $42.70 in Sacramento hotel)
Gas $193 (drove San Diego to southern Oregon: ~830 miles)
Propane $0
Repairs $0
Mail $62.50 ($45 monthly fee + 1x forwarding @ $17.50)
RV Insurance $47.45
Internet $0 (canceled internet when we sold RV)
Loan Payment $0 (sold RV in San Diego!)

FURTHER RESOURCES

Example RV Fulltiming Budget (includes costs per day for multiple months)
Secondary Example RV Fulltiming Budget (extensive, multiple budgets and categories)
Further Information on Boondocking


{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

bean January 22, 2011 at

This is great, amazing job with the breakdown. Certainly something to spread around relevant corners of the internet (and that way getting more readership, too, if you want it)
bean recently posted: Free Stuff!

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christy January 23, 2011 at

Thanks, Bean! When we first started out it was really hard to estimate how much we should budget for each category (and even what the main categories would be!), so we thought it would be helpful to share our own experiences. :)

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Jamie January 24, 2011 at

this is a helpful list and very in-depth, but what about other costs like groceries?

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christy January 24, 2011 at

Hi Jamie, that’s a good question. I considered including a category for groceries/food, but ultimately decided against it since it varies so much from person to person and I assumed in most cases it probably wouldn’t change that much from what you’re used to.

That being said, it turns out living in the RV has impacted our food costs in a few ways:

1.) The fridge is pretty small, forcing us to by small bottles of condiments and such (which are less economical)
2.) Cooking in an RV kitchen is definitely different than cooking in a large, well-stocked home. We’ve found ourselves buying more pre-packaged and ready-to-eat items than before (for instance, canned soup instead of making our own).
3.) We eat out WAY more being on the road, but that’s mostly because we enjoy new cuisines and it’s a way for us to experience a local area… so for us it’s a key part of our traveling, but it has made our food expenses go up.

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Christy @ Ordinary Traveler January 25, 2011 at

Awesome post! I love the details and how you showed the breakdown of what you spent for each month. My mom and step-dad are retired now and they live in a large trailer for half of the year. The last couple of years they traveled all over the US, but this year they found a good spot in Yuma, AZ for about $300/month. I think I could get used to this lifestyle as long as I’m not the one driving! :)
Christy @ Ordinary Traveler recently posted: Devils Punch Bowl – Cedar Creek Falls 14

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christy January 25, 2011 at

When we first started I was so nervous about driving as well! I’m 4’10″ so we had to get pedal extensions installed and I use a foam cushion for added height. That part feels strange, but after awhile driving an RV is a piece of cake… relatively speaking. :P

I do most of the driving on long treks (multiple hours) and Kali drives in cities. The biggest issue is navigating poorly-designed gas stations and then roads that expect you to pull u-turns all the time. We made our first u-turn in the rig a few weeks ago after finding ourselves in a pickle, and it worked! We only needed five lanes of traffic and a low curb, lol.

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OurTakeOnFreedom January 27, 2011 at

Regarding overnight parking, we’ve found that we can park anywhere in our 25′ Class C. We’ve overnighted all over Los Angeles, including in the heart of downtown, with no problems whatsoever.
OurTakeOnFreedom recently posted: Lucas!

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Christy January 27, 2011 at

Hi, welcome to the blog! There are many times we’ve wondered why we didn’t get a smaller RV, lol. :) Ours is 32 feet, so we’re pretty conspicuous and it’s difficult to park (even more so because we tow a Jeep). Probably one of the best ways to save money on overnight fees is to get a small motorhome so you can take advantage of the free parking opportunities.

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Burton Haynes February 21, 2011 at

Hello, first off: great blog. This post was very useful, keep up the good work!

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Christy February 21, 2011 at

Awesome, I’m glad you found it helpful.

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Rob Bloggeries April 20, 2011 at

Those nightly fees really add up. I think everyone (myself included) assumes you just sleep on the side of the road. Guess it’ has to do with safety to some extent? What about truck stops?
Rob Bloggeries recently posted: The Walking Bangkok Food Tour

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Christy April 20, 2011 at

Truck stops are an option, though we tend to use interstate rest areas or Walmart parking lots instead because they often have security (which addresses the safety issue).

Parking on the street is also an option if you can find an area that doesn’t explicitly prohibit it, doesn’t have street cleaning, has enough space to accommodate your rig, and isn’t so residential that you’re parked directly in front of some stranger’s house! We know a number of people with smaller RVs (in the 25-ft range) that park on the street all the time, and a common tip is to find residential areas w/ apartment buildings (it’s not clear who you’re associated with, so you’re less likely to be bothered).

We try to boondock as frequently as possible to save money, but our house batteries just can’t sustain our high laptop usage for extended periods of time. One way we’ve gotten around this is to park as close as possible to libraries or cafes – we can use their internet/power, and still walk back to the RV for lunch! ;)

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Jo May 25, 2011 at

Hi, I just found your blog yesterday. This article was very helpful. I’ve bookmarked your site so I can plan well for our trip. Thanks for all the good info!

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Christy May 26, 2011 at

I’m glad you found this helpful, Jo – good luck planning your trip!

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Ellen July 22, 2011 at

With two years of fulltiming under our belts, we still feel like newbies! We do pretty much all the things you recommend here, with a few differences…

We invested in a RoboCut (another brand is Flo-Bee) haircutter — it was about $60 I think, and because I like my hair short anyway, it’s paid for itself over and over. Plus I don’t have to find new places to get my hair cut all over the country ;-) It’s simple to use and I’ve been complimented a lot on my hair (all credit to my husband for his finesse with the RoboCut), so it’s not like my hair looks hacked off or anything… So I’d recommend this to everyone.

We also don’t have pets. I know, I know. When you have a pet you love and it’s one of the family, you don’t want to part with him/her — and you shouldn’t. But when you live on the road, and watching expenses, think very carefully about investing in a cat or dog before you do. I can only guess at how much $$ we’ve had to devote to other things because we don’t have costs associated with pets.

I’m keen on tracking all of our expenses, and have since we went on the road full-time a few years ago. This has been really helpful because we see trends that we wouldn’t otherwise. We do record every load of laundry and every newspaper (for example), but I lump all of our insurance and other items like magazine subscriptions, etc., into an “annual costs” bucket. I divide that out by 12 and add that into the monthly budget.

Obviously there’s no wrong way to do this — just the way that’s works for you.

But I would caution people not to stop with the “RV only” costs when considering a monthly budget. Otherwise you’ll end up with an empty wallet before you run out of expenses….

My two cents :)
Ellen recently posted: What’s for Desert?

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Christy July 22, 2011 at

Thanks so much for your awesome comment, Ellen! I used to cut Kali’s hair using one of those little trimmers (I don’t think it was a RoboCut or FloBee, though) and it saved us quite a bit of money for a few years… but ultimately we stopped using it. The trimmer was nice because his hair is all one length (so it was easy to not mess up!), but then that meant tons of little bits of black hair would fly all over our white bathroom and would not clean up afterward! It might sound like a small thing, but it was infuriating, lol. It’s amazing how much hair sticks to every surface possible.

I definitely agree with you about tracking all your expenses, though. We tried to focus on just RV-related stuff in this article because I doubt people want to know how much we spend on deodorant and socks, but we track everything for ourselves just so we can keep a handle on expenses. And you are so on the mark about how expensive pets are! We love our dog and are happy he’s in our lives, but looking back we probably wouldn’t have made the same decision to get him in hindsight. He’s lovely (most of the time) but makes it more difficult to travel and is quite the expense. Anyone on a tight budget should definitely think twice before getting a pet, at least in my opinion. :)

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Mary July 27, 2011 at

Great blog! We full-timed for 13 months in a 21′ class c, with all my hubby’s work gear, and our 11 yr. old son’s school stuff! It is amazing what you can live without. A few suggestions you didn’t mention that we found helpful: especially in the off season, we found a lot of campgrounds advertised amenities that were not available, and yet the charge was the same price listed in our campground book. Might want to call first if that swimming pool or putt putt is important to you. Boondocking – once when my husband was away on a job, my son and I asked the owner of the restuarant where we were having dinner if we could stay in the parking lot, and once we stayed in a parking lot where we had attended a concert (with permission). We were in bed before the lot cleared. My best advice is just to take the setbacks in stride and have fun with the experience. I don’t blog, but I did keep a “trip book”, a daily diary of where we were, what we did, funny stories, expenses, etc. We have had a lot of fun reading over those journals now that the boy we had then is a 23 yr. old with a baby daughter. He counts that year as one of his best life experiences. He has been in every state except Hawaii, and most of Canada.
We only turned on our water heater for showers. It took so long for hot water to reach our sink, it was usually easier to heat a small amount on the stove or even in the microwave. We used campground showers when possible. We also had a small electric heater to use when we had electric hook-up.

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Christy July 29, 2011 at

Hi Mary, thanks so much for your great suggestions! I definitely agree with you that boondocking can often take place in the most random locations. :) We often stayed in parking lots that were sort of abandoned, or even at Publix (a grocery chain on the east coast). As long as we didn’t stay overnight at a strip mall that employed a night security guard or in city with a “no overnight parking” ordinance (like Key West and a lot of Florida) we were mostly fine. But still… getting that knock on the door at 3am to move on is never fun. :)

We also rarely used our hot-water heater; it took forever to heat (okay, maybe 20 minutes) and burned through a lot of propane. We tried to use the campground showers whenever possible and washed dishes with cold water. And, like you, we’re a HUGE advocate of an electric space heater! Better to use the campground’s electricity instead of your own propane! :)

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Michael Tysontwitter: MichaelTyson August 17, 2011 at

Good lord! That’s most definitely made us reconsider attempting motorhoming in the US – our jaws dropped when we saw those site fees – terrifying!

We’re accustomed to paying somewhere between US$6 and US$18 a night for sites with hookup/water/dump facilities here in Europe and the UK.

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Christy August 17, 2011 at

Wow, really?? In the U.S. oftentimes you have to pay a small fee (like $6) just to boondock with no hook-ups at all!

I’m really excited to hear that it’s so much cheaper in Europe, though – we’re not quite ready yet, but Kali and I have definitely considered buying a small campervan to explore that area with. In fact, discovering your blog about how you and Katherine have gone about it was one of the inspirations for our original U.S. RV trip. :) So it’s nice to know we could keep a handle on overnight fees, particularly since we pretty much always need electric hook-ups to power our laptops for work.

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Michael Tysontwitter: MichaelTyson August 17, 2011 at

Phwoar, that’s just nasty =) It’s a couple square metres of asphalt, people!

Yeah, Europe’s been great! Our total expenses – food, transport, accommodation, Internet, power, everything – last month in Belgium were about US$630! Sounds like our needs are very similar too – we can’t do without power for more than about 2 days, cos of our lappies. (That’s really cool that our blog was one of the things that set you pondering RV-ing – awesome!)
Michael Tyson recently posted: Equipment: How we’re staying connected to the Internet in Europe

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Rachelle August 27, 2011 at

This site was so much more helpful than any others i have been on. Thank you.

Does anyone travel and live FT in their RV with kids under age 7?
I am so ready for the open highway but trying to decide on a unit.
I have always leaned on a Class C with a slide for center living space am I better to hold off and buy in the USA as I have heard the prices are a lot better in the US — Or buy in Canada where we are from.

Do you ever get bored or lonely for people you know?

What about school, can you still provide all that a child (gr. 2) would get going to conventional school while on the road?

Do you ever miss having an actual dwelling ?!?

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Christy August 28, 2011 at

Hi Rachelle,

Thanks for the comment! How exciting that you’re thinking of living in an RV fulltime. We don’t have kids (so no personal experience to share), but I know that it’s definitely manageable living with children in a motorhome. The website Families on the Road would probably be a great resource for you. They list different families that are doing what you’re interested in (see http://www.familiesontheroad.com/fotr.html for a list) – it might be helpful to contact some of them to get ideas on exactly how they go about it.

In terms of schooling, a lot of traveling families do “roadschooling” or “unschooling” – it’s the idea that kids might not get the traditional curriculum taught in the classroom, but traveling offers so many unique opportunities to learn history, science, math, geography, etc. Again, Families on the Road has some great resources on this (http://www.familiesontheroad.com/roadschooling.html).

To answer your other questions:
We got a little lonely on the road, but the beauty of living on wheels is that you can easily visit different friends and family around the country/world. You’ll also make friends and meet people along the way, so it’s not bad – just different.

The biggest things we missed were having our own yard or garden, but that was manageable. And then just the random things you take for granted by staying in one place — like always being able to see the same doctor or health professional!

I can’t really advise about buying an RV in Canada versus the U.S., but you should definitely consider issues like taxes, where you plan to register it, etc. I know it varies state by state (and will really affect how much you pay overall), but I have no idea how that compares to Canada.

Class C motorhomes are quite nice and you can get them in a lot of different sizes, and I would agree that having slide-outs is amazing – it really opens things up! I would recommend going to your nearest dealer and just walking through a bunch of motorhomes without any intention of buying. Just get a sense of what size you feel comfortable with, what kinds of layouts you would prefer, necessary features, etc. Then start narrowing down from there.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions, and good luck. :)

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Hampers September 19, 2011 at

I have been reading this blog all day. Needless to say I haven’t done any work this afternoon!

Thank you, though, I live in an RV and have really enjoyed all your articles so far.

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Christy September 19, 2011 at

Haha, we do the same thing when we find a new blog. Sorry we’ve affected your productivity, but I’m glad you’ve found it all useful! :)

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grant October 10, 2011 at

Great Blog! I full time in western Canada, and spend a good chunk of my spare time trying to find ways to do it cheaper. I seldom if ever use campgrounds, but my work takes me into fairly remote locations which often have regional campgrounds that have power hookups for less than $10 per day which is less hassle than using my generator. I tossed out the onan and went with a honda eu3000 which is large enough for my requirements and with the eco switch is half the cost of running the onan in fuel costs. the downside, I haven’t been able to find a solution to plumb the fuel line so have to fill the tank every few days, and having to go outside to start it. at – 20 is no great thrill.

as for cheap heat and water heating, webasto makes a diesel /kerosene heater that has been used for years onboard semi trucks for bunk heat, and while an expensive initial investment, I still grin when it costs less than $.50 an hour to heat my RV . I have to add that in talking with installation techs for webasto thy indicate that many people (including truckers are adding tanks to run them on kerosene now as it provides cheaper heat and they don’t run as well on the reduced sulphur diesel that is being sold now

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Christy October 11, 2011 at

Wow, thank you so much for this info, Grant! I imagine heating is a huge concern in Canada, so finding ways to heat your rig for much cheaper would be well worth the extra energy. :) We went through so much propane for heating before we realized it, so for a heavy winter those costs could be killer. If/when we go back to RVing, I definitely want to look into some of the options you mention.

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Becky October 23, 2011 at

I think this is a great blog, I read in yahoo news recently about a guy living off of 11k a year in a very small looking camper type. I was considering it. Or something like if you google tumbleweed homes? I understand you are paying for your home per month…I actually throught living in an RV was cheaper.. I tallied up some of your monthly expenses and it was easily 1800 a month. For right now for me, living in a one bedroom apartment is the cheapest we can afford ^.^ Let alone how do you not kill each other with less space? lol! great luck on your adventures. Do you work as well while you travel or is this retirement?

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Christy October 26, 2011 at

Thank you so much for your comment, Becky! It’s definitely possible to live in a small RV and spend very little money — if you’re able to dry camp regularly, you purchase your RV used and very cheaply, and you stay in one place for longer to save on fuel costs. We spent so much in camping fees because we needed the electricity to power our computers – we work online, so we were always running out of battery power when we were unplugged! For us it was worth the cost because we were able to get work done (and thus make money to cover those fees), but it was very annoying, lol. We happen to get along really well, so we had no issue with the small space… though having our dog underfoot (and always hyperactive) made our RV seem smaller than it actually was. :P

We actually don’t live in our RV anymore; we sold it a few months ago and are traveling more slowly abroad…. and saving a ton of money through things like housesitting.

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Sam November 5, 2011 at

Very diligent of you to keep track of your monthly costs. We only did three months and I have no idea what we spent in gas or nightly fees. I know our biggest expense by far was gas as we managed to mostly stay the night for free and we were moving a lot – zig zagging across the northern half of the US visiting the national parks. Thank god for the cheaper gas prices in the US.
Sam recently posted: Antelope Island State Park

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Christy November 5, 2011 at

We’re thinking about buying a small campervan to explore the UK with, and I seriously shudder to think what we’d be paying for gas! We complained bitterly about the gas prices in the U.S. during our trip (that summer they skyrocketed), but that’s still nothing compared to what Europe would be like. I’m just preferring not to think about it. :)

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Funk November 20, 2011 at

GREAT ARTICLE CHRISTY! It will help anyone interested in the field of RV’ing. Do you have an A or C class RV? We’re looking at getting a 40′ Berkshire. What would be an average yearly income for a couple to travel full-time? We’re willing to use coupons, WalMart parking lots, etc . . Any cheap road to save money. (Based from your experiences.)
Do you know of any legit, on the road, jobs for RV travelers?

I subscribed to your site and followed you on twitter.
Thanks Again.
Funk
E@Media

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Christy November 21, 2011 at

Hi Funk, thanks for the comment! We had a 32-foot Class C Jamboree Sport, but we sold it this summer after a year of living in it so we could travel abroad. We went with a Class C because we loved the layout of the one we found and Kali used the cab up top as an extra workspace, but Class As often have a ton more space. They can be kind of unwieldy if you’re doing a lot of boondocking, but there are a number of folks who make it work in big rigs.

I think the yearly income for full-timers is all across the spectrum – we know folks who make very little and get by with careful planning, work camping, boondocking, odd jobs, etc…. and then those who live in their RV and have full-time online jobs.

Work camping is a fantastic option for full-time RVers, but we’ve never done it so I don’t have a lot of info to share. We’re personally big proponents of working online – with a laptop and internet connection, you can take your work anywhere! There are a lot of options and resources out there if you’d like to work online – writing gigs, web development, graphic design, project managers, virtual assistants. There are a lot of odd jobs posted on freelance boards and websites (like ODesk) that you can peruse to get a sense of what’s out there.

You might be interested in the following blogs as well:
http://www.technomadia.com/ – Chris and Cherie have been RVing for years and just bought a large bus (and they boondock a lot). They work online and have a ton of RV resources.
http://wheelingit.wordpress.com/ – Nina and Paul have done lots of boondocking in a Class A and share info on how to find the great spots they’ve stayed at. Also a great wealth of RV info.
http://hitekhomeless.net/ – Johnny and Jenn are RVing on the cheap and have lots of experience work camping.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. :)

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Gwen January 22, 2012 at

Thank you so much for your information. I am considering becoming a full time RV living with my daughter. She is 15 and it was her idea at first. I am a little concerned about how safe it would be living on the road, with just the two of us. I am located around Sacramento CA and plan to start out in CA and surrounding states at first.
I am also a cancer patient. I do have to return to my hospital in Sacramento every month for treatments. I have always wanted to travel and live in a RV in the future, but my future is now and I would really love to do this. I have been looking into this for a long while and have decided it would be better to be out doing things then just sitting around. I know my biggest problem will be going back to Sacramento every month. So that will limit how far i can go at one time. I am going to be on a very limited budget, but thanks to you and your breackdowns, It has giving me a idea of what my costs may be. any additional advice will be helpful. thank you again for all your and your posters information. Gwen

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Christy January 24, 2012 at

I think it’s so great that you’ve decided to head out on this adventure with your daughter! And of all places to be “tethered”, Sacramento isn’t too bad — you’ll have more campground options (and space) than the East Coast, more to see than the Midwest, and all along the West Coast there are tons of National Parks and BLM land where you can park for free/cheap. Plus, since you’re in the middle of the state, you can explore in all directions! :)

You can most definitely get by on a smaller budget than what we posted – we stayed in RV Parks more often than we preferred because we needed the electricity to constantly power our laptops for work. Since we wanted to see the whole country we also drove a ton (with a 32-foot rig, pulling a Jeep), so our fuel efficiency was less than stellar. If you’re sticking to a smaller region and driving a smaller vehicle, and don’t mind dry camping or getting creative with where to park on occasion, your expenses will likely be way lower.

Nina and Paul at Wheeling It (http://wheelingit.wordpress.com/) write a lot about their favorite free boondocking sites (as well as other campgrounds), so I’d recommend searching their blog for CA/NV/OR options and maybe give them a holler as well. They’re super nice and have been RVing for years. :)

When you head back to Sacramento each month, will you need to drive around the city, or can you use public transportation? If you’ll need a vehicle, then you might want to consider either getting a small Class C that can be parked on the street (like 24-feet or so) or a truck that pulls a trailer, so you can leave the trailer somewhere and just drive the truck as needed. Or you can get a larger Class C (30-35 feet) and pull a tow vehicle, but that gets more expensive. The added benefit of a Class C motorhome (over a trailer) is that you can more easily find one that has two sleeping areas – a bed in the overhead cab and a bed near the back (or whatever the layout is). Since both you and your daughter will be traveling together, this might be an important consideration.

I was a little worried about safety when we first began, but we honestly didn’t have a single problem. It helped that we had a dog with us that liked to sit in the front seat and didn’t mind growling, but mostly he just growled at hapless people walking by in parking lots. :P In the beginning we stuck to campgrounds and RV Parks, and then once we felt more secure we started boondocking. I think the same safety precautions apply as to anything else — if the area feels too sketchy or deserted you shouldn’t park there, make sure your cell phone has reception if you’re going somewhere remote, and keep your doors locked whenever you’re inside. And another benefit to a Class C motorhome over a trailer is that if you feel uncomfortable, you can just hop in the front seat and drive away!

I hope this helps, Gwen – let us know how it goes! :)

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Gwen January 22, 2012 at

Sorry, I had one more question about the RVs. Which style in your experience have you heard are the best to handle and how do they different in gas miles? I have been deciding which type would be best overall. thanks for any help Gwen

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Christy January 24, 2012 at

Oops, I forgot to respond to your question about handling and fuel efficiency!

Larger trailers (like fifth-wheels) are definitely harder to handle and are a pain to back up, but some of that problem is mitigated with the smaller trailers. Class A motorhomes (the ones that look like tour buses) feel much different to drive – we test drove one and it was bizarre! I imagine you get used to it after awhile, though. Class C motorhomes are pretty handy because you’re basically driving a van chassis with a motorhome over the top, so the cab feels pretty familiar. The smaller you go the better fuel mileage you’ll get, but I’m not sure which is better in terms of gas mileage – a small motorhome or a truck pulling a small trailer.

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jim March 19, 2012 at

Guys,
Great site. I am currently living vicariously thru you and your experiences. My spouse and I are not. any where near retirement (it’s a good 10-15 years away) BUT we ARE going to RV – sometime. I want to save up the $ and buy a used one with cash. It will just be the 2 of us for the most part (maybe an occasional trip with 2 little grandkids) so, do you have any suggestions for us? How much should we expect to spend on a good, but used, rv. We’d like to take long weekend trips to start, but still see the day where we’ll be rv’ing for weeks on end. Any input would be greatly appreciated. We took one trip to Alaska and rented a 24 ft class C. It was perfect for our needs and it was an incredible experience. But, that’s the only experience we have to gauge this. Thanks much

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Christy March 20, 2012 at

I’m so glad you’re enjoying the site, Jim! :) I think it’s a great idea to save up money now and then invest in a motorhome for short trips before you transition into RVing for longer periods. And if you’ve already tried out a 24 ft Class C and enjoyed it, then half the battle is won! It’s always best to get the smallest rig possible (cheaper, less gas, easier to park and boondock), but a lot of folks get nervous about living in a smaller space so they end up going larger.

I’m not super positive what your budget should be, but I think around $15,000 for a used (but new-ish) RV in solid condition… or maybe less? I think you could probably (definitely?) go lower, especially if the rig has a lot of miles on it. I would recommend searching around on Craigslist for fun since you aren’t in any sort of rush — check out RVs in various cities and find ones you think might be a good fit (condition, size, miles, etc.), and after a little bit of that you’ll probably have a great idea what sort of price range to expect.

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Chad March 31, 2012 at

Hello Christy and Kali,
Love the article. I will be crawling through your other articles for more goodies. I have been thinking about Techno RVing for some time now. Got divorced a year and a half ago, and with no kids it is just me, and a 20 year old cat that sticks to carpet, like a spider to a glue trap, because she has to many claws on her paws. Normally a dog person, but ‘Yoda’, adopted me.

Sense the divorce, I have been catching up with technology and honing my computer skills. I have an education in software engineering but that was 12 years ago and not maintained. So I basically had to start over again. I will be ready soon to hit the freelance world and I would like to incorporate the RV world with that. Being traveling tech people, I figured you would be the best to ask on a couple of questions.

I live in the Northwest of the U.S. So geographically, I think I am in a favorable situation. But, that is about the only easy part in my decision. My first dilemma is; I do not really want to spend $40 a day to stay in a RV park just to get power and internet. But power and the internet are my life blood. Here is where the viscous circle begins in my case. Not only just power and internet, but a lot of both. I am planning on doing a large sum on work with 3D and video rendering. Something laptops can’t handle very well.

Basically I am looking to create a home studio on wheels. Either an upscale class A that I can take to a clients front door. Or a class C and do the daily office rental for the face to faces. Maybe you could steer me one way or the other in regards to insight on that.

Either way, my biggest issue is I need a lot of power and a constant internet connection, but don’t want to be staying in overpriced RV parks. I am hoping you might have some resources for me to look at for this issue. I grew up around livestock, so parking in a cow pasture doesn’t bother me, as long as there is a power pole with an outlet. Also, my plan is to move with the seasons. Staying in Idaho in an RV during the middle of January doesn’t sound like much fun ;-)

I might be asking for the impossible and have lost my mind. I could easily rent a home studio for less than $300 a month. Just trying to do the same on wheels.

Thanks for your thoughts!!

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Christy April 3, 2012 at

Hey Chad, glad you found our site! I think it’s cool that you’re looking into the “digital nomad” lifestyle; it’s not always easy to work while on the road, but it’s totally doable. Here are some thoughts:

Internet:
We wrote an article on mobile internet last year, which might be helpful: http://technosyncratic.com/2011/01/27/mobile-internet-options/. I’d recommend mobile broadband, and if you’re super concerned about connectivity you can go with two different carriers to increase your coverage (so if Verizon doesn’t provide a strong signal somewhere, maybe your back up device w/ AT&T can connect). It would double the cost, but give you extra security. We went with just Verizon and had decent coverage, but a few times we had to move on because we just couldn’t get a strong enough signal.

Electricity:
For us, power was by far the most difficult to come by. If you want to avoid RV parks I think you basically have three options: 1.) go solar or get multiple stellar batteries (so you can power yourself when you’re not plugged in); 2.) park for free in urban areas and use coffee shops or co-working spaces (so you use other people’s power rather than draining your batteries); 3.) Find cheap places to plug in, like campgrounds and friends’ houses.

We spent a lot of time at coffee shops when we were on the move – we’d park in a Wal-Mart parking lot that was near a Starbucks and just work in there all day for the price of a coffee… then walk back to our RV for lunch. :) Campgrounds are also a solid option, and many have spots that offer electricity hook-ups but no water (which is much cheaper than a full hook-up site). These were some of our favorites — prettier than RV parks, access to electricity, and fairly cheap! If we took showers in the campground bathrooms and went easy on washing dishes, we could make our water tanks last 10 days or so before we had to fill up again, so you can definitely get by w/o water hook-ups. This will run you $5-$10 per night instead of $40.

Having a full office – with lots of tech gear! – in a Class A is going to get super pricey. But if that’s the route that works best for you, I guess consider it an investment? I don’t know much about community work spaces, but I do know that the idea has gained a ton of traction recently and there are a lot more spaces cropping up. But probably mostly in urban areas where it’s expensive to stay in a campground and very difficult to park overnight on the street.

Working online and living in an RV is definitely feasible, but you have to make some concessions. And if you’re anything like us, then much of your existence is going to be spent chasing cheap power sources. ;)

Some resources:
Another (more recent) article about internet: http://www.technomadia.com/2012/03/verizon-vs-att-4g-lte-networks/
A 3-part series about lithium ion batteries: http://www.technomadia.com/2011/10/lithium-update-2-the-promise-of-lithium-rv-batteries/
Campground and boondocking recommendations (can see by state): http://wheelingit.wordpress.com/category/rv-park-ratings/

If you have any other questions about working while mobile, let us know. It’s definitely not always straightforward, but there are a lot of rewards if you can get the electricity situation worked out. :)

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Clinton Sargent April 8, 2012 at

Wonderful Blog!!! We are transitioning to full timers at the end of the year and we found this blog a gold mine of answers that we really needed. I am currently retired Army and my income is perfect for the travel, the big issue was schooling my 5 year old daughter while traveling. Thanks to your blog we now have the extra info we were missing. I wanted to ask though about the mailing issue. Does the options you listed allow you to maintain your residency in your home state (we live in Texas?. This would be very beneficial to us. I was also wondering if you had comprised a list of the areas you had stayed for free? If so would you e mail to me or recommend places of intrest.

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Christy April 10, 2012 at

Congrats on becoming fulltimers soon, Clinton! We haven’t had to deal with the issue of educating kids while on the road, but I know a ton of traveling parents who have had success with homeschooling and unschooling. If I remember correctly I think I posted some links about that in a previous comment in this thread. :)

But anyhow, residency in Texas. You’ll want to find a company that offers you an address rather than just a P.O. Box. Our box with UPS is an actual permanent address – that’s one of the benefits they offer. So our mailing address is the street address, then Suite — (instead of a box). That way it’s not immediately evident that it’s just a mailbox.

A lot of companies that cater to travelers know that you’ll need an address for residency, so my guess is that the companies I listed above offer the same in terms of a permanent address. I would give them a call though and just explain your situation – you’ll be fulltiming in an RV and you need a mailbox that offers a permanent address for residency purposes. At least one of them should suffice, and if not I’d recommend checking out UPS. It’s a bit more expensive, but it’s worked really well for us.

I wish I had list on where to stay for free, but we had so much trouble hunting down spots! Maybe check out the blog Wheeling It? They do a lot of reviews on campsites and parks, and I know they also boondock a lot – they might have some reviews of free spots as well. Cheers!

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George Dawson April 16, 2012 at

I am thinking about full timimg. Why did you stop and sell your RV

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Christy April 17, 2012 at

It just stopped being sustainable for us, mostly due to our work obligations. We found ourselves being too yoked to RV Parks so we could power our laptops. But mostly we were eager to travel abroad! We only planned to live in an RV for a year or two before heading abroad, so we already had that in mind and it just made sense for us to take that next step.

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Steve October 19, 2012 at

One of the more useful articles on the real costs of RV living I’ve stumbled across!

I don’t notice any mention of health insurance. I understand some people get it free from the government, but for many of it can be a very expensive proposition.

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