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Ah, the RV life. To live and travel in an RV full time, to have the freedom to explore this beautiful country, to spend every day with the people we love…this is the American dream, right?
Yes, for many people this is the dream, and rightfully so. Living this kind of life is pretty fantastic in a number of ways, which is something more and more people are clearly learning, as evidenced by the growing number of full timers out there.
Ugly Truths About RVing Full Time
That said, what many don’t consider is the fact that there are pros and cons of RV life. In fact, there are some seasons of RV life that throw us all kinds of curve balls and feel nearly impossible to navigate. That’s right, RV life is not all sunshine and rainbows, but knowing what to expect going in can definitely help you prepare for those less-than-awesome aspects.
If you’re trying to prepare and wondering what negative things might come your way while traveling full time, this is the article for you. Below are 10 ugly truths about RVing full time that nearly every RVer has to face at one time or another.
Things Will Break
Here’s the thing: RVs are not made to last. Most are put together in a matter of hours using low quality parts and pieces that simply will not hold up to everyday use or regular trips down the road.
What does this mean for us full time RVers? It means that things will break. Water lines will wiggle loose, the roof will develop leaks, appliances will develop issues, and flimsy trim pieces will break free.
On top of all that, it’s highly likely that frequent travel—and especially towing—will put extra strain on your vehicle, causing car and truck troubles. This means you won’t only be dealing with RV repairs, but vehicle repairs as well.
The good news? For the most part, RVs problems are relatively easy to fix on your own. Use YouTube and your own bag of tools to avoid costly RV repair bills and long waits as your RV sits in the shop.
Expenses Add Up
Many people head into RV life thinking they will be saving money. Some actually do, but in many cases, the RV lifestyle is not quite as cost effective as the excited newbies originally hoped.
You see, the truth about RV living is that there are lots of hidden costs, or at least expenses you may not have thought to include in a written budget. These things may not seem like much at first, but when added together, they start to add up and put you way over budget. This often forces new RVers off the road.
When figuring out the monthly cost of living in an RV, it’s important to factor in things like extra money spent eating out while sightseeing, the costs of seeing various attractions, the costs of any or all of those aforementioned repairs, RV and vehicle maintenance, and the likely higher cost of healthcare while traveling.
Vacation Mode is Not Sustainable
Another one of the cons of living in an RV is the temptation to live in “vacation mode”. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t sustainable. Chores, work, and schoolwork are all a reality and have to be kept up with. Budgets need to be considered, and problems will arise that require fixing.
Fortunately, while we can’t all live in a vacation wonderland, we can do and see much more while living in an RV than we’d ever get to while living in a stationary house.
Sometimes Close is Too Close
Living in close quarters is one of the pros and cons of RV living. What we mean by this is, living in a small space is wonderful for pulling your family closer together and helping to build amazingly strong relationships, but it can also be a pain from time to time.
Finding privacy when you need it can be incredibly difficult, and if you have trouble sleeping at night, finding a place to hang out while others sleep is nearly impossible. There’s no good way to separate bickering kids when it’s raining out, and if everyone wants to hang out in the living area, you might have to get creative to find enough seating.
There are ways around all of these problems, but you might need to think outside the box to do so. Check out this post for some ideas.
You Have to Deal with Your Own Poo (Literally)
Most people are well aware of the fact that they will have to dump their own sewage while out in their RV, and we think most people can guess that this is one of the cons of living in an RV. Still, it’s worth mentioning because, while the job of dumping poop does become routine, it never quite loses its disgusting quality, especially when the hose decides to jump out of the pipe mid-dump.
The solution? Unfortunately, there isn’t a good one. However, always keeping disposable gloves on hand and checking (and rechecking) your connections is a good start.
Mail Can Be a Pain
Ever wonder how RV nomads get their mail? Well, there are lots of ways to go about it, and you can read about those here. Unfortunately, almost all options for receiving mail on the road involve having a middleman send your mail wherever you happen to be when it arrives.
This is fine if you’re in one place for a while, but can become difficult when you’re traveling quickly, especially if the mail is delayed for any reason.
In order to avoid a lot of the mail frustration, we recommend receiving your mail as possible via email. To help with this, there are some mail forwarding services that will scan your mail and send it to you in PDF form. Often, this is sufficient and removes the need to receive physical documents.
As mentioned above, life doesn’t stop just because you decided to travel full time. Sometimes things crop up that will require you to pause your travel and return back to your state of origin or travel to family. Jury duty is one example of this, but medical emergencies and even deaths in the family can also cause disruptions to your travels.
Be prepared for these emergencies and the last-minute travel that may go along with them by keeping a special savings account to cover the expenses they will cause. This will help lessen the blow a bit.
Loneliness is an Occasional Reality
Even with your entire family living in a 300-square-foot box with you, the truth about RV living is that it can get pretty lonely from time to time.
Sure, you have your spouse and your kids to keep you company, and you might even have friends and family visit you where you are on occasion. Still, even while seeing all kinds of amazing sights, you will eventually wish for more consistent company on the road.
This is where Fulltime Families can help. There are thousands of other people on the road, and this means there are thousands of potential traveling friends out there. By attending rallies and other events and making a point of introducing yourself to campground neighbors, you are sure to start making connections. As you do this, you will likely begin to run into the same people along the way, and may even start to plan meetups and caravans of your own.
While this doesn’t solve the problem of loneliness completely, and you will likely be left feeling a bit alone at times, it does help a lot and gives you a lovely community as you travel.
Day-to-Day Tasks Can be Challenging
Many of the cons of living in an RV come into play when trying to do simple day-to-day tasks. Cooking, for instance, is incredibly difficult to do in a teeny tiny kitchen with very little counter space. Showering in a tiny RV shower is almost comical at times, and finding a place to do computer work can be a challenge.
Combating these issues may require a bit of creativity and planning ahead. However, there are ways around each and every problem that may arise in your day-to-day life as long as you’re willing to do some problem solving.
Messes are Constant
Another drawback to living in an RV comes in the form of constant messes and clutter. It’s hard to keep toys out of the way when a small collection of 3 or 4 items uses up the majority of the floor space in your living room. Additionally, there’s the ridiculous amount of dirt that has a tendency to build up on your itty bitty floor as kids run in and out.
Just as you find ways to complete daily tasks despite challenges, you do find ways to avoid some messes over time. You learn to purge as much extra stuff as possible to reduce clutter, and put down an outdoor rug and ban shoes inside to get rid of that dirt buildup.
Still, there will always be messes. Luckily, cleaning house is relatively quick in such a small space.
There you have it, folks. Those are our top 10 ugly truths about RVing full time. That said, we also listed some great solutions to the vast majority of these problems. Be planning ahead and going in with realistic expectations, you should be able to avoid disappointment and face these problems head on so you can address them and then get on with living your best life on the open road.
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