What It’s Like Living In An RV

For the past year, me and my husband, as well as our two dogs, have been living in an RV. Some people think we’re crazy (okay, most people think that), others are extremely interested and want to do it as well, but the most common question we receive from anyone is “What is it like…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: December 28, 2023

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Living in an RV is a lot of fun. We sold our house last year and haven't regretted it one bit. Are you thinking about living in an RV?For the past year, me and my husband, as well as our two dogs, have been living in an RV.

Some people think we’re crazy (okay, most people think that), others are extremely interested and want to do it as well, but the most common question we receive from anyone is “What is it like living in an RV?”

Makes sense, as living in an RV isn’t the “normal” American dream.

Just over a year ago, I never thought I’d live in an RV either. It was never a dream of mine or anything like that. I never gave it a second thought.

However, one step into an RV and I knew it was for me. Living in our RV full-time has been the best thing ever, and we truly love living in an RV.

In case you’re new here, below is a picture of our home:

Living in an RV is a lot of fun. We sold our house last year and haven't regretted it one bit. Are you thinking about living in an RV?

In the past year, we’ve traveled around 15,000 miles in the RV, with even more miles put on our Jeep.

We’ve already traveled to many awesome places in our RV, such as:

  • The Pacific Northwest (Wes cycled 1,000 miles from Port Angeles, Washington to San Francisco, California, while I drove myself and our two dogs in the RV). We went to Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, Kalaloch and Ruby Beach, Hoh National Rainforest, La Push Beach, and many other beautiful places. This was the trip of a lifetime!
  • Utah (many times) – Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, and many other places.
  • Colorado (many times) – Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado National Monument, Dinosaur National Monument, and many other places.
  • “Home” in Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Arizona – Saguaro National Park, Tucson, Sedona, and many other places.
  • California – This was a part of the Pacific Northwest trip, but we continued on and hopped along beaches all the way to Los Angeles.
  • Wyoming – Yellowstone National Park and Grand Tetons National Park
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park

And much, much more.

If you’re interested in RVing, check out these other blog posts on Making Sense of Cents:

Here is what it’s like living in an RV.

 

You can park your home wherever you want to.

This is probably one of the best things about living in an RV. Going on vacations is nice, but I love being able to bring my entire home with me. This way I’m not forgetting anything, and because my home is always with me, I still get to live comfortably.

We get to park our home wherever we want. This means that we can follow great weather, visit family and friends whenever it’s convenient for everyone, move to awesome new places whenever we want, and so on.

Following the weather is something that we truly love. We really only have clothes for one season, so we avoid places that are cold.

I pretty much wear flip flops, shorts, and tank tops year round, which is really nice.

 

It’s exciting living in new places all the time.

You cannot beat the kind of views we’ve had out of our RV window.

And, there have been a lot of them.

We’ve seen beautiful national parks right outside our window, amazing mountain ranges, all different kinds of landscapes, and more.

This means that there are always plenty of things to do. Boredom is a thing of the past, and I really cannot remember the last time I said I was bored. We can go on hikes all the time, paddle board, try a new restaurant, go Jeeping, biking, and more.

 

Not seeing friends and family all the time is different.

I’m not going to lie, when we first started RVing, I was a little sad.

Not seeing friends and family as much as we were used to was hard, especially knowing that we’re missing out on big life events and all of the little things in between. We still try to go home as often as we can.

However, this feeling has passed a little bit. I no longer get that FOMO (fear of missing out) feeling as much as I did in the beginning.

Now, we really just try to enjoy the times when we do go back, even if they are brief.

 

Working while living in an RV is a great thing.

Living in an RV has taught me to better manage a comfortable work-life balance, work ahead, as well as seek ways to increase my passive income.

Due to all of this, my business income has significantly increased, and I now manage everything much better.

Working while living in an RV is super nice, as you can probably tell!

Plus, having great views while you work is very motivating. It’s really refreshing to sit in the passenger seat up front, and just work while glancing at the scenery right outside our front window.

Also, I’ve had a lot of you ask what I’m using for internet. I am using a Verizon MiFi Jetpack. I also have AT&T for our cell phones so that we are always covered. This may sound crazy, but every RVer we’ve met has the same set up.

Note: Read more about how I earn a living on the road.

 

Watching scary movies in an RV makes them even scarier.

If you’re a fan of scary movies or TV shows involving zombies (like The Walking Dead), everything becomes even more enjoyable (i.e. scarier) when you’re watching it in an RV.

Note: Good luck letting the dogs out at night after doing this.

 

Driving an RV can be fun, but also stressful.

Wes always drives our RV, and I’m always sitting up front with him so that we can have a second set of eyes watching the road at all times.

Driving an RV isn’t necessarily hard, but there are a lot of bad drivers out there who are especially bad around RVers. Plus, you have to watch for construction areas, big dips in the road, and so on.

Due to this, we limit our driving to 250 miles a day on travel days. However, because we travel fairly slowly, travel days don’t come around too often.

 

Making friends when living in an RV is interesting.

Whenever we make new RV friends, it’s like we’re long lost best friends. There’s always an instant connection, lots of laughs after just a few moments of meeting each other, and going our separate ways (a normal thing in RV life) is always a little sad.

One time we had a young couple knock on our RV door and ask us if we wanted to hang out with them for drinks that night. We had never met them before, but they said they saw us roll into the campground and that they wanted to hang out.

This is a completely normal thing when living in an RV, haha!

 

Downsizing is liberating.

Living in an RV means that you’ll have to downsize. While some people dread this, getting rid of nearly all of your stuff is extremely liberating.

When we sold our house and moved into an RV, we donated and got rid of a lot of our belongings. At first it was difficult to get rid of so much, but it became easier as time went on.

These days, all we have is what we have with us. We have a small amount of everything, and we like it best this way.

We are much more mindful of what we buy, we waste hardly anything, and this is allowing us to save money as well.

Plus, when you’re RVing, you no longer have a need to buy as much stuff because the outdoors take up all of your time. Whereas before we would waste time by going to the mall, Target, and other stores- we hardly ever do that now. Now, we spend a lot of our time exploring new places.

Read more at Downsizing Your Home? Here’s How I Went From A 2,000 Square Foot House To An RV.

 

We still get along in close quarters.

One of the top questions I hear is “Do you guys get along even though you’re in such a tight space?”

Yes, we do. If we didn’t, RVing would be near impossible. We’ve been near RVers who’ve gotten into heated fights, and let me tell you- fighting in an RV isn’t fun, haha.

Everyone can hear you, and there’s really nowhere to escape to.

 

Yes, RVers take showers.

For some reason, some people believe that RVers don’t take showers or use the bathroom. We have both a shower and a bathroom in our RV, so you don’t have to worry about that any more 🙂

Showering in an RV isn’t as nice as showering at home. We have to watch the amount of hot water we use, but we haven’t really had any problems with that so I don’t have any complaints.

 

Food tastes better when living in an RV.

Me and Wes always talk about this, but it’s true – meals in an RV always taste better. I think it has to do with always having great views.

Are you interested in living in an RV? Why or why not?


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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.

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  1. Marguerite

    Hi Michelle: ah! being in the great outdoors 12 months a year in shorts and sandals sounds heavenly. I live in Eastern Canada where that’s not possible – we only have 3 or 4 months when it is -end of May to early October and it’s my favorite time of the year. I am doing some purging in advance of a possible move and I will try, yes try, to imagine that I will be moving to an rv – and see how that can help me let go of stuff – although it won’t be easy for clothes – since we have 3 seasons up here. Enjoy your everyday Summer.

    1. Thank you! Everyday summer is great 🙂

  2. ST Mastering

    very interesting post.I enjoyed it a lot.Got a clear idea about how it feels to live in a RV.
    I will definitely give it a try.
    especially for the food.I can’t wait any longer.

  3. Thanks for sharing on your experience RV’ing Michelle! I’m probably one of the few people that thinks it’s a cool type of lifestyle. Although I do want to travel a lot more, I think spending a few months to a year RV’ing is something I’d like to do. It would be a really fun experience to live around a country. You could work on your blog from coffee shops around the country. Sounds fun.

    1. I think a lot of people think it’s a cool type of lifestyle 😉

  4. Amanda

    Love this, Michelle! My husband and I have been camping since before we were married. We absolutely love it. Though we’ve never lived in the camper, we’ve spent up to three weeks at a time in it (with 4 people). I can’t agree with you more about the people you meet in the campgrounds – it’s like you already have this common bond, even if you are just meeting. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Ree Klein

    Oh Michelle, every time you post something about living in your RV I get all fired up! We bought a 34 footer nearly two years ago and have taken it on both long and short trips. We’ve paid for nice camping spots with hookups and done a lot of dry camping. I enjoy both but probably the dry camping more because it’s so peaceful.

    The thought of going full time in the RV is very exciting to me and if we took the plunge and sold everything, including our Southern California home, we could probably “retire early” and be fine. BUT…I’m also afraid. And once we leave So Cal we’ll never be able to come back and afford to live here.

    There are things that I love living in our small home…but do I love them that much? It’s hard to tell until you pull the trigger and try living without them. I don’t want to pay for storage or be a landlord so it would have to be an all-or-nothing adventure. I suppose you can always buy more furniture if you decide to go back to “normal” living.

    Life is short, and let me tell you that it feels much shorter once you pass the half century mark and your family and friends are beginning to get sick or pass away.

    Maybe once you post your next RV-living article I’ll be ready to pull the trigger 🙂

    1. Haha, sounds good! We absolutely love RVing and we don’t regret selling our house at all.

  6. I can’t figure out how you managed to do 15,000 miles in a year. That sounds like an awfully lot. And you stayed in the United States while doing this? I can imagine if you went into Mexico and Canada maybe.

    We love traveling in our RV as well.

    1. We drove home a few times, which easily adds around 3,000 miles roundtrip every time.

  7. Leslie Shannon

    Michelle, I’ve really enjoyed your “living in an RV” posts, ever since finding your blog ‘by accident’ on Pinterest. For several years, I’ve known that I want to be a full-time RV’er when I retire (hopefully within 5 years – yes, I’m in my 60’s already – ouch). I always think of questions I want to ask, but have yet to do so…. here are a few things I wanted to ask:

    1) did you ever consider a fifth wheel vs a motor home? Have you run into 5th wheelers that have given good reasons for their choice over a motorhome? I can’t seem to make up my mind and was looking for some pro and con thoughts from someone who is already a full-timer.

    2) I’ve read your blog posts about down-sizing and can’t wait for that “liberating feeling”, once I get started. I do have some precious pieces of furniture and keepsakes that I will never be able to get rid of. If you have those things, how did you store them, or did you give/loan/safe-keep them with friends or family? Do you carry things with you like photo albums or anything like that?

    3) any advice for a single full-time rv’er?

    Thanks, and keep blogging – I’m really enjoying ALL of your posts!!

    Leslie

    1. Hello!

      1) We like having our home all in one, so a motorhome made more sense to us. Plus, we have a Jeep and like to off road in it, so having a fifth wheel wouldn’t make any sense for us since we can’t pull a fifth wheel with a Keep.

      2) We gave our keepsakes to my in-laws to store for us.

      3) I’m not a single full-time RVer, so let me know what type of advice you’re looking for and I’ll see how I can help 🙂

      1. Leslie Shannon

        Thanks, Michelle! Re the jeep vs. whatever…. yep, that makes sense…. I was thinking that if I went with a 5th wheel, I’d need to have a pickup to haul it, and would then use the pickup as my vehicle while the 5w is parked. I’m not an off-roader, but still wondering if (for a single) it would be better to NOT have two engines to have to maintain (motorhome + towable car). I’ll keep thinking on that one! Have you run across single RV’ers in your travels? My sweetie passed away several years ago (we had a travel trailer we used weekends only) and he did most of the work, although I know I’ll be capable of doing it alone when necessary. I was just wondering if you’ve spoken to singles who might have any advice to pass along…. thanks for replying! Enjoy, and I’ll be “out there” soon!! All the best!

        1. Yes, we’ve come across a few single RVers. I recommend joining RV groups on Facebook and asking this question as you’ll get direct help from them 🙂

  8. I’m definitely interested in traveling one day in an RV. I couldn’t see myself living permanently with 2 kids and a hubby. Our 1,200 sq ft home doesn’t even seem like enough space for all of us and I literally go crazy trying to hide out in a spot for some me time, lol. However, never know…just like you couldn’t see it happening at first, you never know what you end up gravitating towards.

  9. Melissa M.

    This post brought back memories of when I’d stay the night in my Aunt’s RV at the campground in which she lived… for some reason scary movies were so much scarier in that small space! And if it there was thunder and lightning at the same time–forget about it! Haha!

  10. Lauren

    I really enjoyed this article, thanks for sharing your experience!

  11. This is fascinating and answered all the questions I had wondered when reading that you lived full-time in an RV. I have always really admired people that throw the traditional path out the window and sell everything to move to another country or travel around in an RV in your case. Do you plan to see all of the national parks? That would definitely be on my RV bucket list. Which has been your favorite so far?

    Your blog has been a huge inspiration to me starting a blog, so thank you! I am hoping to save up to take your affiliates course soon.

    1. Yes, we definitely want to see all the national parks. We like to see everything slowly though, so we are in no rush 🙂

  12. Karla (my wife) and I have been researching this very topic recently. We sold our business in 2014 so are early-retired (40s). Our one-and-only daughter is a junior in college, so it’s just the two of us.

    There are a LOT of decisions to think about though once you start researching the topic. I’ve heard shorter is better (under 34′) because they can stay in most camp areas where bigger RVs can’t. We sleep in a King bed at home and wonder how important that is – we know that sleeping well would be key. Is it worth looking for an RV with a washer/dryer? Generator is important, but how about battery banks and inverters? Gas or diesel, and will a gas pull a toad well enough? Is satellite TV worth it? Is satellite Internet necessary? (No Netflix without Internet).

    Just so many questions that I’m not sure how we’ll ever get to the point of “just doing it”.

    I have heard though that most people aren’t happy with their first RV – because they don’t know what they need/want until they’ve tried it. So maybe we shouldn’t stress over the details, and even go “lower” than what we think just to get started.

    Would appreciate any additional thoughts you want to share on the process you went through in picking the RV… and if now that you’ve been at it a year, are there upgrades you made, or things you wish were different?

    Thanks!
    Brad

    1. Length is all up to the person and what they want. We started out shorter and now we’re longer, and haven’t had any problems yet. We also have a king bed, with a washer and dryer. We like our washer and dryer because it’s easier and we were spending anywhere from $40 to $100 a month on laundry.

      We started with a very basic RV and we actually just traded in our second one for another last week. This WILL be our last one, though, as it’s exactly what we’ve been wanting and now we know exactly what we want. This one is a diesel – we realized that traveling in a gas Class A with two people and two dogs was pushing the weight limit dangerously close.

  13. I hope J.D. and I get to live RV life one day. We are always talking about getting an RV or even a “tiny house”.

  14. Its great to hear you still love living in your RV. You made the right choice! This might be too personal, but do you plan on having kids? If so, have you thought about still living in the RV at that point or would you settle in one city?

    1. Yes, we do – not sure on the timing, though. We still plan on living in an RV or we may be sailing at that point 🙂

  15. Lindsey Mozgai

    Living in an RV would be awesome. I feel like I’m the type of person who is nearly always bit by the travel bug. We have traveled so much this year alone, but there are so many times when I’m like why do we have to go home! Now if only I could get my fiance on board…

  16. I think the RV life would be fun. I would love driving one in the south. I’m not sure if I could do it out west, though. Way too many many mountains and hills. I have a slight fear of heights, so I’d have to be a passenger.

    1. Haha I totally get what you mean. Wes does all the driving 😉

  17. George

    Hi Michelle, I love your blog and follow it regularly. My wife and I are planning to full time in an RV in the next five years or so (retirement) and I have to ask – how is it living in an RV with two dogs? That’s one thing I worry about a bit – we have two small (both are about 10-11 pounds) and I’ve been wondering how easy it is to travel with them. Do you take your’s with you when you go hiking, etc. I know some places don’t allow dogs – how do you deal with that? What about sitting around outside the RV – do you use a long leash so they have some room to roam? I know I’m asking a lot of questions – but we really are going to go and I can’t even think about not taking our dogs. I appreciate any advice you have in this area.
    And…keep up the good work.

    1. Rving with two dogs has been great – we haven’t had any problems.

      Yes, our dogs go hiking with us. If they aren’t allowed on the trail, then we just leave them at the RV and go on a long hike somewhere else with them either before or after.

      We don’t leash them outside. I know others do but ours would rather walk or just be inside so we don’t like worrying about them getting loose.

  18. I admire your courage and i don’t think you are crazy but i know that live full time in RV isn’t for me however I find always interesting read how changed your life and habits

  19. Sounds pretty cool! I’m not sure if it would be for me because it is such a tiny space. I lived in a small space alone for 5 years and it was fine at first, but I thought I was going to loose it by year 4 ish. However, I do love the idea of the freedom and having less things. Glad it is still something that you really enjoy.

    1. The space hasn’t bothered us at all, and we came from a 2,500 square foot house 🙂

  20. Katrina

    Michelle, hubby and I took the plunge & sold out home about 3 years ago. Bought an RV and moved it closer to our jobs. We loved having more free time from yard work & home upkeep. Not to mention no high electric & gas bills and a commute to work. And NO property taxes!

    I didn’t sell EVERYTHING and do have a few things in storage(I know that’s crazy)
    The hardest thing for me is what to do with the tons of family pictures & momentos from my children. I have a demanding job and don’t have time to organize pictures and put on disk and kids aren’t ready to take ownership of pictures. To me that’s been the most difficult thing about RV living.

    I’ve found out many people are going the RV route and getting rid of their “money pit homes”. Connected with a lot of young families that work from home & home school their children. They get tired of scenery that move on to new local. The freedom is incredible!!

    1. We had a storage unit for around 6 months. We got rid of everything and just kept photo albums (my dad left me hundreds of photos albums after he passed away) and now my husband’s parents store it all for us. The storage facility specifically told us not to put any photo albums in the storage unit and that made me nervous to keep them in their anyways.

  21. That is my goal! My fiancé and I would love to live in an R.V. in the next year or so! Hopefully my blog will take off and we’ll have the opportunity to do so. Your course is helping with that goal. Thank you!

    1. Hope to see you on the road soon 🙂

  22. Phillip Moore

    I have always wanted to go out and live on the open road, or just not be stationary in general. IT looks like you have been all over the states so far, I am still stuck on one side haha.

  23. Nope, no theft. I don’t think it’s any higher than a normal home.

  24. Of course we’d have to agree with all the above points! 😉 We even added children to the mix, launching with a 12 and 13 year old. The 13 is now 19 and off on his own. The 18 year old is still with us.

    We love how being RV based lets us try out different lifestyles with ease. We’ve been big city dwellers, taking public transit to downtown offices. We’re currently parked and “WWOOFing” on a goat farm where my wife milks goats every morning while my daughter cleans pens, feeds the goats and other animals.

  25. Hi.. I’, subscribed to your emails too… Enjoyed reading this. Working on my online plans so I can enjoy more of the “simpler things in life”… camping.. RV’ing (campervan here in the uk).. and just enjoying quality family holidays without stressing about money!

    Producing content (*long content) and the odd few links.. keep on keeping on and Ill keep following you thanks for the updates..
    Shaun

  26. Jeannette

    Hi I am 58, my husband is 63. I love what you have to say.we have been talking about going full time. I had the same job for 30 years., my husband 47 years. I think it,should time right.

  27. Laurel Deveso

    My husband and I became full time RVers a year ago, and we love it! We also had the motorhome vs. 5th wheel debate, and the two motor issue is what decided it for us. So we now have a Ram 3500 to pull our 5er and we can go just about anywhere off road with our truck. And I love the 5th wheel layout with our cozy bedroom up those steps – makes it seem like a small one bedroom apartment to me. But the traveling part is the best. And we only go east of the Mississippi once a year to visit family, so I’m in shorts year round as well. It’s a happy lifestyle for us.

  28. Adam Horton

    Nice lie in this post. You absolutely cannot park your RV anywhere you want because of loony laws.

    1. Clearly I didn’t mean that literally. No need to be so negative.

  29. Steve

    I know this is an old post but do you still live in the RV? I think I would enjoy that life cause I enjoy fishing and hunting and being outdoors.

    1. Hey Steve! We moved onto a sailboat almost 2 years ago. We still have a campervan, though 🙂

  30. MRoberts

    My wife and I have talked about doing this as well, but not permanently – maybe for a few months or so to see a good chunk of the country. What a blast! Hopefully we can do this sometime in the next few years. Great article!