So You Want to Get Into Fulltime RV Living….Now What?!

by Merissa on March 29, 2013

in Featured, Fulltime RV Living

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Make sure to read part 1 & 2 (Preparing to Move On and The Fulltime RV Living Plan) posted so far about our journey.

So we made the decision to move go into fulltime rv living. Now what? Where do we even start?

First we had to decide where we were going to park the thing. Travelling is not an option at this time because of the hubby’s job so it would have to stay put. At first we planned on putting it right on the land we wanted to build on but since we have yet to find the right land we knew we would have to move it to a camp ground.

We picked the same campground we lived at before. We have a membership and it’s very nice and clean. There are also dozens of other fulltimers living there so we would feel a little more like we belonged. The cost is low because of our membership ($175 per month plus electric in the winter months) so that was do-able. The campground also offers free garbage, water, cable (which we don’t have now so it will be a luxury!), and internet so those were all bills we wouldn't have to pay. Score!

We called the campground right away to make sure nothing had changed from the last time we lived there so there wouldn't be any surprises and we could figure out how to plan accordingly.

Now we had to figure out how to make sure our camper was ready for full-timing. Thank goodness we’d already done this before so we knew better how to plan! Our rv is four seasons. That means all the plumbing, pipes, lines, whatever, ect, are all up inside the camper and not exposed to the elements. The undercarriage is heated around all of the tanks as well. In the south this wouldn’t maybe even be necessary but in South Dakota this is a must have. We will still need to get some heating equipment for the hoses that will bring water into the camper and ensure that our holding tanks empty correctly and won’t freeze. So we will have a few costs purchasing these things we need to make sure everything is warm and cozy.

For our own home we had purchased an infrared heater that heats up to 1000 sq feet last year. Propane is very expense to heat a camper full time so we will use the infrared heater as a supplement. It heats our current home just fine so I don’t think it will have a problem with less than 400 sq feet!

We also had to figure out where our things were going to go. In my next post I will talk about how we cleaned out properly for preparing for fulltime rv living. But you still can’t get rid of anything if you plan on moving back into a house after the camper. We decided that instead of throwing away money on a storage space or burdening our family with our things, we would buy an enclosed trailer. We will be able to keep this with us at the campground so we will always have access to our things if we would need them and when we are done with using it for storage we can sell it.

So now that we got some of the major details worked out (where to live, heating, storage) it was time to focus on actually figuring out how to actually make the move into the camper. Oh boy.

Catch up on our full series about Fulltime RV Living!

Have you ever considered living in an RV? 

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SHARON March 29, 2013 at 9:18 am

What will you do with your chickens and all of you food storage? Sounds very exciting.

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2 Merissa March 29, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Our chickens were butchered…we were having issues with them and they hadn’t been laying for months so they were butchered and canned. Some of the food storage we were not using so we sold it to someone else (like wheat and things that we can’t eat anymore) and the rest is in our under the camper storage area.

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3 Jen E March 29, 2013 at 9:18 am

I apologize if you’ve answered this elsewhere, but I was wondering if you are selling / already sold the house and land that you are living on now? Or are you renting that place? Here in KY houses are sitting on the market for what seems like forever, but I don’t know much about how real estate is doing in other areas.

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4 Merissa March 29, 2013 at 1:13 pm

We haven’t gotten our house on the market…we are still finishing it up (painting, ect) Houses here are selling very very quickly as long as they are in the right price bracket (which ours will be) so we are really hoping we have good luck!

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5 Valerie Z March 29, 2013 at 9:36 am

We bought our camper last year, mostly for recreation. But, also for a backup living situation. We are a military family and can get orders to move at anytime. The waiting list for on base housing is sometimes months to years long and finding a rental in your price range can also take a long time. A few months in a hotel adds up fast. Especially hotels without kitchens.

So the camper will be our full time home, although probably only for a few months at a time.

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6 Leslie March 29, 2013 at 2:31 pm

This sounds so interesting to me, but with 6 children ages 15 yrs down to 16 mo, I don’t think there would be enough room.

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7 Merissa March 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Leslie, you’d be suprised at how many people a camper can fit! Ours personally has a master bed and then 4 bunks in one room + more beds in the living room!

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8 Victoria March 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I love this idea so much. My husband’s work moves around a lot, and we’ve talked a bit about living in an RV so we’re not constantly looking for new places to rent. The hold up is our two teenage daughters. But when they’re out of the house, I think this will be our next move. I’m excited to see how you’ll make it work!

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9 K'Lynn March 29, 2013 at 3:18 pm

My husband & I have been full-time RVers for over 4 years. We love it! We have our 5th parked at the lake. We do have a storage building where we keep our off season clothes & a few other things we didn’t want to part with. We will soon be moving to 20 acres we just purchased & we’ll continue to live in our RV.

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10 Charity March 29, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I anxiously look forward to your posts on this move. We haven’t bought the RV/trailer yet, but have a couple ideas of where we will park it. Our house was just listed at the begining of March & we’re hopeful, as there has been considerable traffic through it. I did the full-time RV thing with my parents several differant times, and have been encouraged lately by your blog & others that are doing it with even more children. We recently saw this family of 14 who are full-timers; more insanity than I could personally handle, but kudos to them anyway!
http://todaynews.today.com/_news/2013/01/28/16696496-american-story-family-with-12-kids-roams-us-full-time-in-rv?lite

Since you’ve done it before, I’m looking forward to hearing how you address organization/etc…My biggest question now (while mapping out strategies) is pantry/refrigeration needs, as we are also preparing to start the GAPS diet.

I’m sure you’ll address this in future posts, but, I’d be interested to hear what is on your “must have” list, and how you’ve worked through cubic space needs…I’ve mentally been working through the “take it, leave it, sell it” list in my head for the last year or more; I’ve found there are very few things that will “make the cut”….lol
Looking forward to the next posts!

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11 Merissa March 29, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Thank you for all the ideas for my future posts! I will remember them as I write 🙂

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12 Cheryl G April 3, 2013 at 8:47 am

We sold our house and furnishings over a year ago & it feels great! We are still in what we call the “shedding process”. Learning more about what we can do without & how little we actually use certain things. We spend our winters in South Texas & summers in Indiana. Loving it so far.

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13 Angel April 12, 2013 at 9:29 am

Sounds Interesting and quite fascinating. The hubs had mentioned doing this after retirement. With your time being split in to different locations, what do you do for income? And what part of Indiana?

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14 Linda March 31, 2013 at 8:18 pm

sign me up! thanks

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15 Jackie April 5, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I guess you could say my husband and I are Full time R.V ers, part-time. My husband is retired from his 30+ yrs at a factory and without seeking the job has ended up as the maintainence foreman for a campground that has over 300 seasonal sites. the campground is only open May to October but during that time we live in our R.V full time.Our site rent is free because of my husbands position.Our site includes full use of all the facilities,Pool,mini golf playground,outside chess, horseshoes,sat P.M movies,hayrides,exersize room,hot tub, spa,onsite restaurant,fishing boating,paddleboating,2 laundry rooms,3 Bath houses(we use our own)campfires. And we love it. We have everthing we need,satellite t.v internet, our cell phones, our infared heater.we have attached a screened in room with a solid roof which as increased our living space when the weather is good.we have an extra refrigerator in the screen room,a small yard to enjoy,a deck for family getogethers,and a small utility shed for storing things like the lawn mower and my husbands tools and work supplies.We still have our home but only use it during the winter months.Our Single mom daughter lives in our home so that gives her some alone time during the summer while we are away, and gives us peace of mind that things are being taken care of.If we had our way we would live in the R.V FULL TIME.Higly recommend it

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16 April May 10, 2013 at 9:25 am

We are a family of 6 who homeschool we are looking in to buying a bunk house camper so we can get credit scores up as well as if we want to travel we can! Still trying to wrap my mind around having my own space again which is exciting because the last two yrs been living in just about same amount of space but it isn’t ours! now to make it work if we do this!! Love your blog thank you

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17 Beth June 23, 2013 at 9:37 am

My husband and I have decided to rent our house out and move into our camper full time. Our kids are grown and this big empty house is depressing. Not so much that we want to sell, but enough that we are excited about taking this adventure. It has been liberating clearing out all of our junk I must say. My concern is knowing how much to try and fit in the camper. I don’t foresee needing many dishes, and maybe a couple pots, pans, baking pans. What have you learned from your previous camper living that you might want to share with me? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We will be leaving our caper in one park for several months. I have friends that own a fantastic campground not far from where we currently live.

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18 Merissa June 23, 2013 at 9:53 am

I’m sure you will end up doing what we did….move a bunch of stuff into the camper only to take it out again! For us it was just a learn as we go thing. Even after living in a camper for 4 months we are still moving out things we brought in and ended up not using. I have very few baking pans (a flat pan, a brownie type pan, a 9×13) and 3 for on top the stove (2 sizes of sauce pans and a fraying pan). For most things you really only need what you can use until you wash. So if you wash clothes once a week, you need a week of clothes. If you wash dishes after each meal, you only need enough for a single meal, ect. I hope that helps!

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19 Ahnna Dorsett July 24, 2013 at 8:00 pm

How did you find a full time campsite for $175/month? I’m in Western Washington, and all I can find are actual RV/mobile home parks for around $400.

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20 Merissa July 25, 2013 at 9:45 am

It was a membership that we also had to pay for yearly. Most monthly parks here are $500 per month +.

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21 Lisa February 22, 2014 at 8:31 pm

This is the first I’ve heard about campground memberships. We had contemplated living in an rv, but was put off by the campsite costs. Was your membership specific to your campground or was it a national campground membership that you could use as you traveled elsewhere?

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22 Merissa February 23, 2014 at 7:31 am

We started by purchasing a single campground membership but then before we were going to travel we also purchased a national campground membership (Thousand Trails). It’s worth looking into the pros and cons of both options. With Thousand Trails we had the upfront fee and then a yearly fee but then camping for the rest of the year is free to any of their over 65 parks.

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23 Gypsymom March 9, 2014 at 11:22 pm

Hello we are a homeschooling family of four and are currently considering living in an RV full time. This has been a life long dream of ours and are ready to finally make it a reality. We live in a home now that we built on family owned land and have no house payments because of that. We do not have savings but my husband does have a decent amount in his 401k, which we could pull out of coarse with some penalties. We currently have less than 8,000 in debt. I have searched many sites and we have narrowed it down to wanting to try work camping. Have you ever tried this? What would be your thoughts on how to get started on this adventure? What are realistic financial goals to live like this? Any thoughts on our particular situation? thank you for sharing your experiences.

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24 Merissa March 10, 2014 at 7:43 am

I did work camping for the first few months of our living in an rv. It ended up being a bad experience for me but it was because of a lack of communication with the managers of the rv park. I simply couldn’t do my job if I didn’t know what they wanted me to do! I also realized after a while that the trade for the “pay” for our campsite alone wasn’t worth it in the future if we did it again I would only take a work camping job if they offered a free campsite and at least minimum wage. It’s a good idea to figure out a good budget before you do anything. Try and figure out what rent will cost you (if not workcamping) and how much you will need for other expenses (gas to travel, propane, repairs on the camper, utilities, ect). I hope that helps!

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25 Heather Pontious April 5, 2014 at 10:15 am

We area family of five and homeschooling. We are probably going to lose our house soon due to unemployment, but are currently getting benefits. We own an rv and are considering living full-time in that to save (whether a job comes now or later) in order to buy the goat farm we have dreamed of. What kind of camp membership allows you that kind of savings?

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26 Merissa April 5, 2014 at 10:36 am

All campground memberships are different depending on the campground or the camping club and there are literally hundreds of them. If you are looking for one for a specific campground it’s best to call them directly and see what they offer.

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27 Willice Kearan January 2, 2015 at 10:58 pm

We have sold our home and are moving to 45 acres that we own in MS. We will probably be in the trailer for a year while we build our home on the same land. We have no children. My biggest concern is what to put in storage and what to take to the camper. The oven looks so little that I can’t imagine any of my regular size cassarole dishes will fit in there. I thought I’d take cast iron skillets for use top, oven and outside grill. Corelware for dishes. Crockpot and electric wok. Any other ideas? Or any suggestions to leave aforementioned behind? I’m shivering in both fear and excitement!

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28 michelle fox January 13, 2015 at 9:10 pm

Willice – good for you! But if i were you i would dump the electric wok. use your cast iron for stir fry! Save the space. if you like wok cooking (i do) get a small wok and base ( asian grocery or website) and use that. space saver and less to plug in! My partner and i are preparing (in may) to be in our 30 ft minnie winnie full time. friend has property for us to rent and hook up (elect and water) while we save to buy land wherever. downsizing is so cathartic!!

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29 Taylor March 17, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Me and my husband are planning on buying a trailer within the next month and living full time in it with our 4 year old son. I know it will be an adventure and I am sure glad I found your blog. My only challenge right now is finding a place to park it full time. We can not travel and my internet search is coming up short. Please help! I live in southern California. More specifically, we want to be in or close to Redlands, California.

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30 Corson May 27, 2015 at 11:31 am

So, I’m wondering-
How did you guys get to work? Did you have cars with you, then, and parked somewhere at the land you put the RV on?

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31 Merissa May 27, 2015 at 1:50 pm

Yes, we had a vehicle to drive to work.

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32 Geena June 14, 2015 at 3:34 pm

Hello! my partner and i just bought a travel trailer and are going to be full timing in August! Your site has been really useful so thank you! we are going to start off stationary on a friends property. I was wondering if you could answer this question: I was told that if the trailer is parked in one spot for a while it needs to be on some sort of platform to protect the tires.. is this true? Where we will be parking is just a dirt driveway (used to be gravel but there is barely) .. did you have something under the tires when you were parked long term? Thanks! Ill keep reading your page!

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33 Merissa June 14, 2015 at 5:05 pm

We always parked on gravel or concrete. I would at least put down some kind of gravel where the tries will be, or even a few boards to keep the tires from sinking into the mud when it rains.

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34 Paige Evans January 1, 2016 at 5:25 pm

So, long story short my parents want to move into a RV because it will cut costs, be easier to travel, and create more ‘family time’. We have both my parents, me (I’m a 15 year old girl) and my 11 year old brother, along with a cat a dog and a hamster. We are willing to give away the hamster but the cat and dog will have to come with us as we have had them both for 10 years now and they have become our family 🙂 We found a year round campground near our current town and schools, and have everything in order, aside form the camper. I was just trying to figure out if there were some things we haven’t thought of, or flaws you think we should know of before we make this all final. Just anything we should know that we wouldn’t think of would be great. Thanks!

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35 Valerie March 30, 2016 at 5:33 am

Hello Merissa, I was lucky to find you when searching my answers for my question “Can you live in trailer full time in the campground?”. I plan down the road to purchase my own tiny trailer to live full time. I want to stay in a campground full time. I hoped to do this and one of my dreams. Thank you for a great information. I plan to keep you in my favorites.

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36 Sue January 22, 2017 at 2:31 pm

I am a Virtual Assistant and have run my own business from home for over 6 years now. This enabled me to care for my aging parents until they passed away in 2013 and 2016. Now I am left with a house (theirs) that I really don’t want, and that the state may take away from me anyway, due to the Estate Recovery from Medicaid. (Even if they don’t take it immediately, they will when I leave the house or die myself – so it seems pointless to me to live in and improve a house that essentially is not mine.) I have long wanted to move north and have contemplated living in an RV park full-time, but year-round parks where I want to live are hard to find, due to the extreme winter temperatures. Land is cheap there, so I am considering saving up for a few years and purchasing a prepared parcel with acreage that is already set up with utilities, etc and putting an RV on it to live there full-time.
I’ve seen many people do this with some simple modifications to the site that prevent winter damage to their RV, like setting up a concrete pad for their RV to park on, a permanent metal carport roof structure to cover the top of the RV and prevent snow/rain damage and outbuildings for storage.

I can work anywhere as long as I have my laptop and wifi, so those are really my only requirements. I have seen very nice used RVs for very low prices as well, so I figure if I can pay off my bills, save up for the purchase of the RV unit and land as well as the improvements I need to make – and could reasonably do this within 5 years. I’ve pretty much got myself talked into it!

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