Living In An RV Full-Time – Should We Do It?

A few months ago, we bought an RV. We’ve been living in an RV full-time, except for around five days total when we’ve gone home to restock or to get warranty work done. Other than those days, we have been full-time RV living, traveling, and having a great time. We’ve gone to many national parks,…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: December 28, 2023

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

Full-Time RV Living - Is Living In An RV Full-Time For Us?A few months ago, we bought an RV. We’ve been living in an RV full-time, except for around five days total when we’ve gone home to restock or to get warranty work done.

Other than those days, we have been full-time RV living, traveling, and having a great time. We’ve gone to many national parks, visited friends and family, and have had a great time being location independent.

We really love RV life, which has led us to wonder whether or not we should just take the leap and do this full-time for real.

We are leaning more towards doing this full-time than not. As you will read below, the reasons we have for not doing it are insignificant – they are mainly just things we can easily find solutions for. Nothing is a big deal at all!

I guess the main thing holding us back is that we’ve never done anything like this before and it seems like such a scary thing to get rid of a “normal” home and live on the road.

Below are some of the various things we have been thinking about when it comes to whether or not we should try living in an RV full-time.

 

Our RV isn’t that big for full-time RV living.

We had no idea in July (when we bought our RV) that we would be thinking about living in an RV full-time. However, we are so in love with it that full-time RV living sounds like a reasonable next step for us.

Our RV is only 24 feet long, though. We have had no problem with the small amount of space yet, but I’m not sure how a whole year or longer would be in it, especially since we have two dogs.

Something we could do when we are feeling a little cramped is to get Airbnbs, which I think could really help. So, that’s one easy solution!

 

We would save money by living in an RV full-time.

Overall, full-time RV living would save us money because right now we are paying for our house in Colorado yet we are hardly ever there. We could save money by not having to pay our monthly rent, utility bills, and so on.

We expect that we will spend most of 2016 in our RV as well, so it would most likely be a huge waste of money if we had a house on the side.

If we decide not to have a house, we will have to look into what to do about not having an actual address and also choosing what state we will be “located in” for tax purposes.

Related article: How To Live On One Income

 

BUT we have a lot of stuff.

While I am all about downsizing and having a minimalist life, we do still have a lot of stuff.

My stuff won’t prevent me from living in an RV full-time, but I do need to think about where we are going to store everything.

I have over 100 large photo albums that my dad left me after he passed away (I’ll never get rid of those), furniture, and more. These are all things I don’t want to get rid of especially due to the fact that we will most likely buy another house in 2017.

We also have a car. Our RV can’t tow our car, so we would most likely need to do something with it. If we decide to be in the RV full-time then we may just decide to sell it.

 

Full-time RV living will be a memorable experience.

Living in an RV full-time will be the experience of a lifetime. We will be able to travel all across North America in our RV and that is something we are very excited to do.

We both love traveling and seeing new things. Being in an RV and doing that will be a crazy experience and one that we will never forget.

Related article: Beginner RV Tips – Dreaming Of A Life On The Road?

 

Mail will be tough when living in an RV full-time.

I run my business from our RV and that means I occasionally get checks and other important documents in the mail.

I know there are RV mail services where everything can be scanned and emailed to me, however, I will have to do something so that I can cash the checks I occasionally receive. Some companies only pay by check, so cashing them is something we will have to think about.

 

I can still keep up with my business while living in an RV full-time.

One thing I have learned ever since being on the road in the RV is that my income and business have not been negatively impacted by it. In the beginning, I was a little nervous about what would happen. However, I now know that everything is going to be just fine.

I actually believe that full-time RVing (well almost full-time!) has helped me. Being able to work on the road and travel at the same time is really amazing.

Also, I’ve had a lot of you ask what I’m using for internet. I am using a Verizon MiFi Jetpack.

Related page: My Latest Online Income Reports

Should we try full-time RV living? Would you try living in an RV full-time?


Filed under:

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

Like this article?

Join the Conversation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I’m one of your big fan Michelle! Living in an RV full time is definitely an exciting one! I had watched some movies about a family who lives in an RV.

  2. Go for it! Life is short and even if there are the odd challenging aspects of living on the road, the experiences would definitely be worth it.

    Plus, if it gets a bit cramped at times, get a tent! If the weather is cooperative, it could be an awesome ‘office’.

    Besides, what’s the worst thing that could happen if you change your mind? You get your gear out of storage and find another rental.

  3. The thought of losing the mortgage expense would be so tempting. I wanted to give you some VERY helpful advice: I do virtual assistant work for someone who’s business IS helping others know the good and bad about full-time RV life. I actually edited her last book, “How to Hit the Road-Making Your Family’s Full-Time RV Dreams A Reality!”
    We have been an RV family for a long time and I’ve dreamed of the full-time life. When I edited Kimberly’s book, I learned things that I would have never thought of. She’s a great businesswoman like you and is very informative. Here is a link to the book so you can read the synopsis: http://www.amazon.com/How-Hit-Road-Familys-Full-Time-ebook/dp/B005FBSBS2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443613771&sr=8-1&keywords=kimberly+travaglino

    blessings,
    Shan Walker (The How to Guru)

    1. Thanks! I’ll check this out.

      1. I just remembered that there is a youtube video about Kimberly that wrote the book to help those thinking of full-time. Even though they have kids and your kids have 4 legs, I think it would be very informative to you just the same. πŸ˜‰ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4raixJGB8kI

  4. Tara

    If you’re worried about your stuff, outside of memories, I’m sure you could sell it all and then just pay for storage of your memories in a climate controlled storage unit. The cost of that is significantly cheaper than rent.

    However, if you have lot of inherited furniture as well, then perhaps a tiny studio apartment would make more sense if it was too much to fit in a storage unit. If it was near loved ones, they could check on it for you when you were too far away for too long.

    Also, UPS rents out mail boxes. Unlike a PO Box, you can receive UPS and FedEx packages at a UPS box. Also, they let you know when you do have mail. They might even have forwarding services. It’s much more pricey than a PO Box but it’s cheaper than an apartment!

    Whatever you do, if you feel you can’t keep the dogs any longer, reach out to someone who can take them. So long as they avoid a kill-shelter and move into a loving home, they’ll be ok. But if you plan on keeping your dogs regardless, then glad to hear. πŸ™‚

    1. I’m not the type of person to get rid of my dogs. They are my children πŸ™‚

      1. Tara

        Glad to hear! Too many people adopt pets without thinking of the far future and why you can’t just dump them at the drop of a hat.

        1. Haha I’m definitely not that person! I hope my blog post didn’t make you think that I was thinking about that.

  5. If anyone could pull it off successfully and filled with happiness, it seems like you could! I can always sense the excitement and joy when I see your Instagram posts. I’m not sure I could personally live like that mostly because I can’t envision leaving the classroom right now. But man, would that be a cool way to spend a summer!

  6. Hey, why not? You only live once! And if you got sick of it, you could always just settle down somewhere! I say go for it before you have kids (if you plan to). Everything gets harder once you have little ones. Live it up!

  7. Todd & Heather

    Just stumbled across your blog via Flipboard. We started the full-time RV lifestyle six months ago, and our only regret is that we didn’t start sooner.

    VERY simple solutions exist for each of your concerns. For example, you could scan each photo into a digital format and display each picture in a digital photo frame, rather than store them away for intermittent viewing. In addition, most savings and loans offer “shared banking” whereby u can deposit / withdraw fee free from any other savings and loan within the ‘shared banking’ network.

    Check deposits can also be done via many banks mobile apps – just take a photo of the check. Easy peasy.

    Most other snail mail functions can be converted to digital. Vehicle Insurance, mobile phone, satellite tv, Heath coverage, etc can be paid via credit card, debit cards or direct bill pay via a bank.

    We domicled through south Dakota due to no state income tax and lower vehicle insurance and registration costs. Plus, obtaining a SD drivers licence required only one night stay in the state.

    If we can help answer and additional concerns you might have, drop us a note. One and a half million people in the USA live full-time in their rvs. Time to Mike it one more!

    1. Hello!

      Yes, everything I said in the post has an easy solution, as I said in the post. I’m grateful for that! I don’t plan on scanning the photos though as one of the nice thing about the photo albums is that my father put them together πŸ™‚

      South Dakota is the state we have been looking at. Great to hear that you chose it as well!

  8. Paul Latta

    Michelle,
    What’s the dilemma? Sounds like you’ve given it a trial run and it’s working out ok. Sell the stuff. If you decide to settle down, it can always be replaced. As for the photo albums and other irreplaceables, leave them with a trusted family member and use their address as your place of residence. Have them mail the important stuff, once a month, to an upcoming destination where you can pick up at the local post office. Leave your car there too. If that’s not an option, upgrade to an RV that you can tow it behind. I say go for it.

    1. Haha as I said above, there is no dilemma πŸ™‚ It’s just making the change that we are thinking about.

  9. Kate @ Cashville Skyline

    It sounds like you really want to do it, Michelle! And I’m sure there are ways to work through the negatives you’ve listed about. Didn’t you say the dogs have their own separate area? πŸ™‚

  10. I’m a huge fan! The worst thing that can happen is you decide you need a home base and get another house/apartment. Ditch the monthly rent for a year and see how it goes! Storage places are pretty cheap to keep furniture you don’t want to depart with.

  11. I’ve heard that South Dakota is very friendly to folks who live mobile. My parents do the RV thing and they are now based out of SD. It was easy to become a resident and they have a mail forwarding service based from there. The state income tax rate is low too I believe.

    What about having kids? I think it would be really hard if to have kids while living a mobile RV life. If you are planning on having kids, then maybe just live on the road for a few years until it’s time to “settle down” again?

    1. Hello!

      Yes, South Dakota is what we are thinking about.

      As I said in the post, we would only be doing it full-time for around one year, so children wouldn’t be a problem πŸ™‚

  12. Aww why don’t you like traveling?

  13. Seems that your initial run living in an RV is working out very well. Living in an RV full time sounds pretty amazing from all the travel opportunities you will have. Feeling cramped is an issue but as you stated, you can use Airbnb to get some “house” time.

    If you guys end up having kids, you may need to have a bigger RV to be living full time in an RV.

  14. Jordan

    Since you aren’t able to tow your car, how will you get around when you want to hop into the big city or grab lunch in town? That’s the biggest thing I would be worried about, other than that its a great idea!

    1. We haven’t had a problem without it yet. There’s Uber, we have bikes, a moped, and we can walk πŸ™‚

  15. I love the idea. I want to buy one of those tiny homes and have little to no mortgage but when I think about the day to day reality of it. No way. It’s just not enough space. I would go crazy. I think you can do anything for a year so maybe do it for a year just to experience it, but the long term reality of the inconveniences that go along with such a small space (especially when you don’t HAVE to) will probably mean it won’t be a long term thing.

    1. Nope, definitely not long-term. Just a year πŸ™‚

  16. Jesse Gernigin

    Congrats Michelle! Have you looked into running mail drops? Hikers do it all the time. It is a great way to have two or three central locations you can pick up your mail at.

    1. There are several RV mail services where you can just log online and look at your mail. That’s what I think we’ll end up doing.

  17. Valerie

    I found your blog yesterday and spent hours combing through your website. I’m hooked! I say go for it! I would in a heartbeat.

  18. Emily

    I would definitely live in an rv for a couple years if my husband was up for it. The only problem I see with living in an rv full time is that we’d have a hard time finding and or affording one large enough for our 6 children and us. But I say, get rid of your house/rent and enjoy traveling and living in the rv until you don’t enjoy it anymore or you outgrow it because you’re having children and you feel it’s time to put roots down somewhere special . Just pay for storage for your other stuff. It’d be way cheaper than an apartment. Also do you absolutely have to live in such an expensive city? If you are location independent you could easily buy a place somewhere nice where the cost of living is still not very high. I like small pretty towns close enough to large towns or cities. My idea of ideal is owning (debt free) some pretty land, and building (debt free) a house on it, and also owning an rv (debt free) so that my family and I can travel together and see family, friends and new places, get inspired and get away.

    1. Thanks Emily! I think we are going to do it.

  19. Janet Fazio

    I have a friend who sold their house and all of their furniture to explore the US for a year with their dog in a RV. They had a great time, and eventually settled on Wisconsin to set up home. I think it would be fun for the short term. Not sure I could do it forever though.

    1. Yeah, I don’t think I could do it forever. 1 year though – I think I could!

  20. Amy @ DebtGal

    It sounds like it could be the right move you, even if you only try it for six months or a year!

    I’m a homebody, so I need to stick with a house with a nice, big couch. πŸ™‚

  21. Maybe rent your house fully furnished for a year? Make some cash and give it a real go. If in the end you don’t like it you can always move back. I would say do it while you have the opportunity. You currently have the health, money and the time. These things might not last forever, so go for it!

    Good luck!
    Andrew & Vee
    SHM

    1. We don’t own the house we are currently renting – we sold our other home. So we have pretty much nothing holding us back πŸ™‚

  22. I say go for it. I think it would be fun and exciting. If you were to live in an RV for a year you should write a book about the experience. I have a feeling that a lot of people would be interested in that.

    1. Haha yes that would be an interesting book!

  23. Jack

    If you want to do it, why not? All the problems you listed are readily solvable – sell, store, or digitize.

    How do you handle internet while you’re on the road? Presumably there’s WiFi at many campgrounds and you can use mobile data and tether to your phone when you’re not too far off the beaten path. But what about when you’re out in the sticks? That would be my biggest concern. Few things as frustrating as sorry internet when you need it, especially if your business depends on it.

    1. Yes, like I said in the post, all of the things I listed are very small. Our main thing is that it’s such a CRAZY thing to do haha.

      We have a WIFI device so I can get wifi anywhere. I’m actually replying to your comment while driving down the highway on my laptop πŸ™‚

  24. Mail can be a pain and, as you know, JD Roth (of Get Rich Slowly and now Money Boss fame) has been living our of an RV the last six months. He had packages sent to us in Maryland because he knew he was coming through. So there are work arounds… πŸ™‚

    1. Ha I’ll just get everything shipped to your house! πŸ˜›

      1. Sounds good to me πŸ™‚

        1. Haha you’ll regret saying that! πŸ™‚

  25. Lisa

    Living it. Beats being stuck somewhere you don’t want to be. What a lifestyle! Been in 29 ft RV since April. Went all over Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma is next.

  26. Melissa

    I feel like opportunities like this only come up once in a lifetime (things change when you have kids, get older, need to be around doctors, etc.), so I say go for it!! You could always have a PO Box for your mail, although that would mean needing to come back to a certain place to check out it.

    One thing I strongly recommend is, if you’re putting your stuff in storage, keep those photo albums up, high, dry, and in a fireproof safe. Colorado has so many random natural disasters, and you don’t want to take any chance, no matter how remote, that those albums could be destroyed. This is coming from someone whose albums are precious to her as well πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, that’s the main reason why we are afraid of storage lockers. Plus, I know a few people who put their stuff in storage, paid everything on time, and the storage companies accidentally sold all their stuff after confusing them with another room.

  27. living in RV forever ? uhm no thankk it is funny but having pets isn’t so comfty, they need nature, garden and rv isn’t very good for them however finding good deals a year could be possible, knowing that you have a home that is waiting your return:P

    1. Ha, I never said forever πŸ™‚ Plus, dogs have no problem with being in an RV – they get more exercise than the average dog. Don’t worry πŸ™‚ Is there a reason you think they don’t go outside?

  28. I say go for it. Sounds amazing

  29. Gina

    I think you should go for it! It seems like something that you and your husband would really love. Plus, think about all of the different places you could go with that time! I know that you can deposit checks on a mobile device. Maybe there’s a limit to the amount. But, I know that’s how my husband deposits all of his checks. You can always go to an ATM to get cash after. It seems like you said that there are solutions for all of the things holding you back. I personally wouldn’t live in an RV full time just because I’ve been dreaming of a country home for years. But, you should totally just do it! πŸ™‚

  30. I think that you two should give it a try and have Fruita be your “home base.” Just get a P.O. Box and then work on getting stuff switched to automated payments.

    1. There’s actually awesome RV mail services where you can check your mail online. We plan on doing that. A PO Box would be too much work since we would have to go home.

  31. Hey Michelle, you should drive that up to Canada in the summer months ;D the mountains here in Alberta are beautiful! You’ll love it!

    1. We definitely want to go up there!

  32. Tiffany

    I think you should go full time for sure because you love to travel and you have the ability to work from anywhere. I think each point you made is valid but as you said can definitely be managed. We live in an RV right now but we are stationary and are not traveling right now so we use a p.o. box but I imagine you could get your mail sent to a family member, maybe your mother, who could deposit checks for you. Also since you both spend so much time outdoors I think your dogs would be fine living in an RV. Best of wishes! And here is to many more adventures!
    Tiffany

  33. Do it!! I’ve mentioned before in the comments that this is a dream of ours and I would drop everything and do it in a second if we had enough income that didn’t depend on my husbands job.

  34. Jen

    We have a “virtual” office where all our mail is sent. Periodically we have them send a batch of mail (like when there are a few checks.) That might fix your mail issue. Ours in MN is $55 per month plus postage.

    1. Yes, we were thinking of doing something like this. Thanks!

  35. Heck yes you should do it! I love my life now but I regret not “living on the edge”. Plus, it sounds like there isn’t much of a financial risk b/c your job can go on from the RV. You’ve earned the opportunity to do something people put on their bucket list and one day “hope” to get to do. Take this idea and run with it. It’s the ultimate FREEDOM. Some day you’ll have kids and while you’ll have more love than you thought you could ever give another human being – your freedom is going to turn into hiding from the kids in the closet for 10 mins each day to maintain sanity (don’t judge, it think it’s pretty common). Please do this and share your stories. Also, when you stop in Phoenix, let me know!

  36. Michelle Currie

    I say do it! My husband and I are going to be selling our house and acreage in Spring 2017, storing some stuff and moving into our 5th wheel. We live in Alberta right now and plan to stay here in a RV site for 6 months and go to the States for 6 months. For the mail we will get it forwarded one of our kids houses. Taxes shouldn’t be a problem as we will be coming back after 6 months. We plan on renting a storage facility for the things we don’t want to get rid of right away. When we’re too old or are done living in our RV we will buy a condo close to family. Very excited! Visit my blog. Its not finished yet but working on it 😊 Lifestylepriorities.com

    1. We already did it! This post is a little old, haha πŸ™‚ We love RVing!

  37. We use MyDakotaAddress for our mail and license purposes. We got a storage unit because we have heirlooms that we can’t get rid of. Yes, we are from the states. We stayed here because we have dogs.

  38. Lynn

    I lived in my RV down in the most southern part of the Rocky Mountains in Texas. We were in it for almost 3 years. It does get a bit cramped after awhile if you don’t remember that you have no storage like a regular house. Our rule was bring one thing in, take two things out. It worked for awhile. It was cramped but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Texas has no state taxes.

  39. Mark Rasmussen

    We’re in the process of selling our two homes and buying a 5th wheel toy hauler, so I can take my motorcycle. Also more storage. Our plan is to have an auction, sell off my excess tools and “stuff”,. probably putting some of our stuff in storage for a while until we decide what to do with it. What doesn’t sell on the auction, and we don’t want, will get thrown or donated. We really like the idea of staying in the Midwest during the summer, finding a seasonal job, and then packing up and rolling sometime after Labor Day, or as late as Thanksgiving, and rolling southwest towards Arizona. Maybe when we come back, we might roll north out of AZ, and head up to Montana, and come across the top of the country to MN or WI. I would like to start a part time business of some kind while I’m full time RVing. Thinking along the lines of an online business or working a circuit of sorts with flea marketing. Not sure yet. Maybe we’ll see you out there. Joining your group.

  40. Claire

    I would totally live in a RV if I had one it looks like a fun. Plus you can so some workamping. I have been looking into doing it myself and if I had a work at home job I would do it.

  41. Gary

    Because of belongings you aren’t willing to part with, a homestead sounds like a requirement.
    But if you could pass them on to relatives, it no longer would be an issue. Mail and banking as well.
    Then full time rving wouldn’t be a second thought.

    1. Those three things you mentioned are all easily solvable πŸ™‚