Lucinda Belden is the Program Director for MyRVRadio and a travel writer and advisor who has lived the RV lifestyle since 2019. She specializes in topics such as fulltime RVing, working full-time while traveling, traveling with toys, and unique location experiences.
Non-RV owners believe so many RV living myths, but that’s not a surprise. There are always common misconceptions about subjects we are not overly familiar with. We will fill in bits of our missing knowledge with myths or concepts that make sense to us. Or worse, we will zone in on the stories of a single person that corroborates what we want to be true about the subject. The same is true for living in an RV.
Let me dispel some of those RV living myths.
Myth #1: I can live cheaper RVing than I do now.
The full-time RV lifestyle opens you up to a whole new world of experiences. You will have more control over your budget in some ways than what you did in a brick and mortar. You can choose inexpensive campgrounds which makes your monthly ‘rent’ lower. You can stay somewhere a week or a month and get lower rates. In this way you have more control over your monthly living expenses. But full-time RVing doesn’t mean you can live cheaper.
We are creatures of habit so some of our monthly RV expenses will be the same – dining out, groceries, etc. In some cases, these costs may be more expensive in different locations, and you need to adjust for that. If you have a loan on your RV and/or a vehicle, you should be mindful you will be paying this ‘rent’ as well as the monthly campground rates. You can also boondock to save on monthly expenses but be prepared to be self-contained (no external hookups for water, electricity, or sewer).
Another thing to keep in mind is the extra fuel for any travel that you usually do not spend in a brick and mortar. You may save in some areas, but your budget will be more in new areas of spending.
Myth #2: I will have more time to… (you name it).
Probably not. I initially thought I would start taking long walks, spending more time creating and a list of other ideas. This is one of the biggest RV living myths. The reality is what we tended to do in our house, we will probably continue to do in our RV home. Moving from one environment to another is not enough to instigate change. You also may not want to attempt too many changes at one time. Living in an RV full-time is a large change. If you do plan on having more time to do whatever is on your list, introduce one new change at a time.
Myth #3: I will be on continuous vacation.
This may sound like a good idea in theory but in practice it’s one of those RV living myths that doesn’t work. How do you feel when you get back from vacation? How much of your budget is consumed in a vacation? When you are enjoying the RV lifestyle, you are changing your home status. You do get a bonus though. You will have a different view outside of your RV windows. You will be able to eat locally from different menus. It is the main bonus for full-time RVing.
Myth #4: I will be like a vagabond with no set roots.
You have choices when you live in an RV. You can stay long periods of time in the location you want. You can set roots up if you want, change views when you want. It is the benefit of RVing. Your RV home should not determine who you feel you are and how settled you feel in an area.
Myth #5: I will miss all my friends and family.
We have seen friends and family more than we ever were able to in our houses. Through RV living, we can travel across the country without taking off from our jobs. We can stay longer at our family and friends’ homes because we don’t have to limit our stay to a week or two vacation time. Your RV also gives you an autonomous place to stay so you can spend some time in your RV and not outstay your welcome. We can also put ourselves near family and friends and they can come and stay with us and enjoy a new area they might never get to see.
We have also made new friends in the RV world. And we cross paths as we travel the United States and see each other in new locations all the time.
Myth #6: I will have to give up everything that is important to me to fit in an RV.
Each person must evaluate what is important and what you really want to experience. When it came to going through our important items in our house and move into our RV, I had to evaluate what would be kept and what was not. Everything of sentimental value I went ahead and shared the items with my children. Just a little early. I found out how much I never really needed. A new experience grew out of moving into an RV. My use of everything became economical and conservative. I appreciate that feeling and how I contribute in a small way to taking care of the planet. I may have lost a few temporary things, but I gained a lot more.
(Full-time) RV Living Myth #7: You have to be retired to full-time RV.
We have spent over three years traveling and working full-time in an RV. We have found a balance between seeing the world, working and our other hobbies. We are fortunate to get to do it all before we retired. Knowing some of the things we need to take care of on our new RV home, I prefer it this way. We are young enough to travel and maintain our home with no current health issues.
For all the years we have been RVing, I am far from learning even some of what there is to know about RV living. There are others out there who have spent ten, fifteen plus years – truly living the RV lifestyle. But I have traveled enough to hear some of the incorrect stories, and RV living myths about the RV lifestyle. I hope you have a better picture of what it means for RV living and can approach the idea of doing it yourself – realistically.