Many people dream of embarking on big RV adventures, but are at lost for information on how exactly to make their awesome dream into their new reality. Hitting the road full-time doesn’t happen by accident. In fact, there is a lot of research, planning and number crunching that comes before launching the big adventure and even more to successfully keep it going.
Having a plan in place is the only thing keeping your trip on the right side of crazy and chaotic- although there are bound to be moments that will blur that line entirely! Here’s how to make time to plan out your adventure.
Step 1: Asking the Right Questions
Setting yourself up to be successful is the best way to ensure you succeed. To do that, you’ve got to be able to answer basic questions about your choices, what you’re doing, where you’re going, and be able to explain your reasoning.
Try making a list of questions that you would likely ask, if given the chance to interview a nomadic tribe, then answer them honestly.
Each travelers list will be different, but here are some questions to think about:
- What made you decide to live in an RV?
- How do you homeschool your children? Where do you store the supplies?
- What did you do with all your stuff?
- Do you have a permanent home? Where do you call home?
- How do you get your mail? File Taxes? Vote?
- Will you only stay in campgrounds or is boondocking an option?
- Do you work while you travel?
- Will your travels be weather dependent? Is your RV suitable for winter conditions?
- How much will you have to save to start the adventure? How long will that take?
- Are you guys together all the time?
Step 2: Planning the Adventure
Soon after discussing this epic trip with your tribe, you’ll notice the ever increasing urge to whip out the map and start planning. This is honestly one of the best tools an RV traveler can have! Map skills are a must!
Start teaching yourself and then your spouse or travel partners, how to read a basic map. Let’s just be honest, sometimes stopping for directions is just not an option.
Brainstorming is always the key! Get a few large poster boards and pin them to your living room walls. Organize your goals, thoughts, expectations and fears on colored sticky notes (use one color for each category) and allow the yourself enough time to read and reread the boards for several days.
As things change rearrange the sticky notes. Notice common factors, both good and bad, this will help you when narrowing down what exactly the trip will entail.
After giving getting your thoughts together, whip out the map! Sit down at the dining table, or even better clear out some space on the floor, bring over the poster boards for guidance and start planning where your adventure will go.
Obviously you’ll be starting in your current location, but where will you go from there? We suggest starting your adventure with a destination close to your home to test the waters, but the choice is yours.
Placing stickers on the points or places that you’ve has agreed upon is a great way to start. Once you figure this out, you’ll begin mapping a trip to and from your points on the map. Aside from weather another major consideration, you might want to think about when planning your route, are holidays.
Having a clear picture where you want to be on big holidays, birthdays and even anniversaries, can play a big part in how you decide to map out your road adventure.
Step 3: Buying the RV
After you’ve made a clear plan or at least the start of a clear plan, it’s probably time to start directing your attention to your new home. If you already have an RV this step will be a breeze, but for many travelers though, this is the hardest decision they’ll make.
Deciding which RV is right for your adventure is a tough decision, one that several travelers have made a few times. If you’re lucky, you’ll get this right the first time, but keep in mind as your needs change or the family grows there may be a need to renovate or even find a new RV altogether.
Starting your search at a nearby RV dealership will give you a great idea of what you’re looking for. The first time you go, take the whole family. Let the kids go inside every model. Test everything and anything you can. This will get your dreams racing and give you a picture of what it will be like to live in such a small space.
After your first trip to the dealership, make a list of the good, the bad and the ugly. Pick the items you must have, want to have and things that would just be awesome if you could have. How many sleeping areas do you really need? Will you really need the extra space from a slide out? How long of an RV do you feel comfortable driving? Will you tow a vehicle? If not, you’ll have to drive your RV to the grocery store.
Really sit and think about all the things that you would have to have, in order to make this work. Once you know your comfort zones, then shopping for an RV that meets your needs and expectations, inside your budget, will go a lot smoother not to mention bringing you one step closer to reality.
Step 4: Downsizing
After you’ve successfully completed asking the right questions, planning your adventure and buying your RV, it’s probably time to address the elephant in the room — what are you going to do with all your belongings?
Very few things are actually needed, but for some reason our houses a full of items we’ve purchased for reasons that all seemed legitimate up until this point. Generally, RVs will not be able to offer this type of storage capacity, especially if you have a large family or a large amount of belongings you can’t bear to part with.
Sure you’ll have space for clothing, shoes, personal items, a few books, and your kitchen necessities, but there’s just no way around it, you can’t take it all with you! So really there’s only two questions you need to ask yourself:
1. What are we taking?
2. What are we doing with everything else?
Take a piece of paper or your tablet and make a three column list. Use your first column for the “item name,” the second for the “current location” and the third for the “RV location.” As you go through each room, pick the items that are definitely going into the RV and add them to your list. Keeping track this way, will make things much easier when it’s time to pack up your new home.
As for everything else, the three most popular choices are storing it, donations or garage sale. I recommend donations and garage sale. As you go through your home, make a pile or put a big box in each room to fill with the items you’ve decided will not be coming. Sort your items and price accordingly. Host a garage sale one week from your departure date, to try to earn some last-minute cash and then donate what is left over.
If you decide that storing some items is the best option for you, make sure you consider climate controlled units that offer easy loading and unloading access. These two aspects alone can you save you a lot of trouble in the long run, by making it easy to get your stuff in and out, as well as keeping them safe while you’re gone.
Stay positive, even when things aren’t picture perfect!
Making your RV dream your new reality can sometimes be a roller coaster full of ups and downs. So buckle in and tackle the big hurdles first so you can fully enjoy the adventure, without any added stress. Once you’ve addressed the major concerns on planning for your family’s full-time RV adventure you’ll have a much clearer picture of what needs to be done, where you’re going and how to get there.
Keep in mind, planning can take anywhere from a few months (if you’re lucky) to a few years. Just because there are only 4 steps listed, doesn’t necessarily mean it will be quick and easy. Don’t get discouraged! Just keep moving forward until you’re ready to make the leap. Then pack up, pullout and go find the adventure you’ve been dreaming about.