The Fulltime RV Living Plan

by Merissa on March 22, 2013

in Featured, Fulltime RV Living

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A recap from last week's post….dream house drawn up. Can’t afford it yet. Can’t afford to pay off debt in current situation.

Solution = Fulltime RV living.

After me and the hubby were first married we rented for a few months. It nearly killed us both to see all that money thrown away into something we wouldn’t never get back so we decided to buy a camper and live in it until all our debt was paid off and we could successfully get a mortgage for our first home. (Which we were able to do at the very young age of 20!)

After we moved into our first home we still stayed the same penny pinching couple we had always been but you know how it goes, unexpected things happen. Medical emergencies come up, cars break down, and not all decisions made are the smartest. So we ended up in debt. Nothing major but enough to make us uncomfortable about selling our home and jumping into another mortgage. Plus our goal to be debt free by the time we are 35 (that means no car loans or mortgage!) is not going to happen if we did that.

After going over and over everything we decided there was only one solution. Fulltime rv living. We had purchased a motor home in the summer of 2012 for travelling, camping locally, and living in while we built our new home. Now we understood that to get accomplished what we wanted to do we would have to live in the camper for much longer than just while we built the new home.
I’m going to be real with you here because I feel like we can learn from each other’s mistakes and successes. So here are some real numbers and ideas we figured out before deciding such a big thing.

Passport America, Save 50% on Campsites
Like I said before, there was NO way we could continue to live in our home and pay off all our debt. Not unless we wanted to live there forever. Not an option. After figuring out where we were going to live in the camper (more on that later) and the bills that we would still need to pay we realized we would have at least an extra $1000 each month to pay towards bills. At our income level and where we live, that is AMAZING! And adding up all our debts we figured we would have to live in the camper at least 6-12 months to pay off all our debts at that rate. (More on the details later too)

When we lived fulltime in an rv before we lived there for 9 months. I realize not everyone can live in a camper but we learned that it is entirely do-able. We actually loved it! It’s a very simple lifestyle being in such a small space and it dramatically cuts down on stress.
So our choice was…stay in our current home, in debt, for who knows how long.

Or move into a camper, smaller space, but have a much better quality of life.

For us, the choice was very clear. That doesn’t mean it was easy though!

Catch up on our full series about Fulltime RV Living!

Have you ever done something out of the norm to pay off debt?

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{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jean March 22, 2013 at 10:12 am

Five years ago we bought an RV and “ran away from home” for a year. While our RV living was for another reason (we had a very difficult year with multiple family members dying in a short period of time), it was the best thing we did.

I’m with you, I love the simplicity of a small space. You learn that “stuff” most people take for granted really isn’t necessary, and you learn to live with less. You learn what’s important to you, and it’s so “free-ing” It’s difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t been there. Some of the best times of my life!

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2 Raven March 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm

My husband and I did the SAME thing! We were sick of the debt piling up (college debt and house debt) and moved into an RV trailer last July. For the most part, we love it! We love the small, cozy space and the cheapness of it all. We were fortunate to find a full-time RV park on lakefront property and with mountain views and it is ridiculously cheap! We could never afford to live on property like this by ourselves, and since we love it so much, we plan to live here for at least another year. By then, we hope to have enough money for our own property…where we will continue to live in an RV! 🙂

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3 Pennie March 25, 2013 at 4:15 pm

May I ask where or what part of the country you found the “ridiculously cheap” campground with nice views to live in full time.? We can’t find anyplace near where we live that allows year round camping for less than $500 per month…

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4 Merissa March 25, 2013 at 5:08 pm

We are in South Dakota. Most campgrounds aren’t so cheap even here but we have a membership to this campground so that’s why our “daily fees” are low. However we also pay a yearly fee for the membership.

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5 Cheryl September 25, 2015 at 6:35 am

Hello, I am serious thinking about making my camper my home but how do you go about setting it up in the winter time to use the water system and bath? Things freeze around here as you know and it does get really cold in the winter time. Please let me know as I am looking to do this within the next month. Thanks Cheryl

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6 Merissa September 25, 2015 at 4:05 pm

Hi Cheryl, I would highly recommend talking with someone in person that has wintered in a camper. It’s good to get a visual of the things you will need. You will need to set up skirting around the camper. Depending on the camper you may also need heaters around your water and tanks. You will also need a heated hose to be able to fill up the camper in the winter and you will need to make sure you will still be able to get water from your water source through the winter (the campground we wintered at had heated hydrants). It’s also good to be prepared for things if they DO happen to freeze. Have extra water on hand for drinking and hand bathing and things like that. I hope that helps a little!

7 Cheryl September 25, 2015 at 6:38 am

Forgot to include that I am from South Dakota. Thanks

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8 Raven March 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm

We live in South Carolina by Lake Keowee. We found this RV park by luck/chance, as it is not located on google at all. 🙂 If you are interested in area, email me!

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9 Pennie in Michigan April 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I’m probably just really dense, but I have tried and tried to figure out how to email you (Raven)…I couldn’t find any “contact me” info on your website…am I blind?

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10 Raven April 5, 2013 at 4:44 pm
11 Becky September 28, 2014 at 9:05 am

Im planning on fulltime rv living near Lexington SC as soon as my home in Tn sells. Looking at campground options now. Any suggestions? Please email me.

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12 traci October 27, 2014 at 8:53 am

Hello Raven, im interested in information regarding the campsite you stayed at in sc

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13 sharon October 18, 2015 at 6:17 am

Hi… we are interested in doing winter camping to get away from the snow in Michigan.
Any helpful info would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much,
Sharon

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14 Pinki February 1, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Found several parks in South Texas for monthly of $500 and less, oh yeah, most are ocean views of the Gulf of Mexico

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15 Jerry Jorgensen August 21, 2014 at 2:46 pm

I live in Panguitch, Utah, a great place to live in the summer. The winters are long and cold because the altitude is 6500ft. There is a nice RV camp ground in town that is only $12.50 a night. It fills up in the summer so you would need to make reservations ahead of time.

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16 Milt May 24, 2015 at 5:57 pm

What do you do for an address on your driver’s license and credit cards?

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17 Angela November 16, 2016 at 9:06 pm

Hi we are doing the same. We are tired of paying off debt only to get back into it and not have anything to show for it. My husband has MS and we just found out the diagnosis. We were in crisis mode trying to figure out how to survive on one income with the debt of two working professionals. He taught for 14 years and the last 10 years he spent it getting more and more symptoms that doctors missed diagnosed. Our two son’s have Autism and are high functioning. We needed to do something radical. Our diets had been on a road to major change but we spent a lot of time competing with our families value system. It was stressful. We did the best thing we could we bought a 5th wheel and he will not return to work. Stress invokes more damage to his brain via the lesions. Needles to say we are in Colorado and love living in small space. Our plan is to get out of debt safe to buy our own land to live in Tiny Home with our Trailer to be used buy our son’s one day. @Raven What State are you in?

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18 Heather @ My Kansas Life March 22, 2013 at 2:48 pm

So many people have the dream to live in an RV when they retire…you get to do that now while you’re young! (Albeit for different reasons…)

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19 Spendwisemom March 22, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I am glad that you found a solution that works for you. I would try other options first, but then I haven’t tried RV living and have no idea whether I would like it or not! Good luck. I respect the fact that you want to get out of debt. What a worthy pursuit!

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20 Julie Knodler March 22, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Don’t you live in South Dakota? Won’t you be COLD in the winter!?

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21 Merissa March 22, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Yes we do! There are ways to winterize your camper while you live in it…just think of it as a cozy little cabin!

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22 Tasiyagnunpa Livermont March 23, 2013 at 12:06 am

Definitely want to hear more about the winterizing!

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23 Maine_Chic August 20, 2015 at 5:35 pm

Me too…

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24 Stephanie June 14, 2013 at 8:33 pm

I would love to hear about how you winterize!

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25 Merissa June 15, 2013 at 6:22 am

Ok 🙂

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26 cindy August 6, 2013 at 6:19 pm

My hubby is trying to convince me to year round in our datokata 5th wheel but I am not sure. also we live in Atlantic Canada and there are 2 months that nothing is open, and we have to be in the province 6 months minus a day to get our medical. But yes I too am very very interested in winterizing as we would have to unless we went south winter and home and Canada for summer. we can not afford a house and trailer so have to choose what i want, we are in our mid 50s so now is the time and figure we can go to seniors housing after or an apt. just have to figure what to do with our puppy.

27 Amy March 25, 2013 at 7:01 am

At the KOA in Rapid City there has been someone with his dog staying in a camper this past winter. The camper has been winterized and they seem to be doing fine.

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28 Lori G. March 28, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Where will you park your RV? You don’t have to tell me specifics, but at an RV park, friends extra acreage…. that sort of thing. Dh and I looked into this about 5 yrs ago when we had to move but couldn’t find anyone to rent to us (6 kids, dog, cat and living on one income) and it was only about $100-200 a month cheaper than what we were already paying to rent a house. I do live in Northern Calif. crazy expensive. The campgrounds around here allow you to stay a maximum of 10 days per year. The RV park doesnt allow more than 3 people no matter the size of your RV. This is so appealing to me I’d love specifics. Are you renting a storage unit for all your household stuff , like dressers, beds, furniture, kitchen items etc…?
thanks, can’t wait to hear more,
Lori

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29 Merissa March 28, 2013 at 4:31 pm

We have a membership at a campground in our home state that we pay for yearly and we can stay there full time for $175 a month (plus our yearly fee).

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30 Lori G. March 29, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Wow! Thats wonderful. The local one we have here is $650 a month plus you have to pay electric and other utilities on top of that. So glad for you.

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31 Judy Moore June 6, 2016 at 4:07 am

how to go about seeing if you can get a full time spot at koa campground. Im retired and thinking about movig there.

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32 Amy Sue April 2, 2013 at 4:53 am

Congratulations! What a great short term sacrifice for a long term gain!

I just found your blog and I LOVE it! Thank you for all the great information. I can’t wait to make my own dairy products!

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33 Merissa April 2, 2013 at 7:21 am

Welcome Amy!

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34 capitalkid July 27, 2013 at 1:49 pm

We decided to work towards Full Time in 2009, after many issues with renting through the years. Also, with the impending issues economically.

To Accomplish this,
We lived with family while we saved up for our Tow Vehicle. We paid 8K cash for our 1996 7.3 liter F350 in the fall of 2009. In June 2012 we bought our first 5th wheel. It is older, used and only 24Ft. In the past year we have paid off 85% of our debt, and in another 3 months we will be done.

We decided to upsize our Rv in the next year. In the future, we will buy ourselves some land, and continue in the Rv journey. Preferrably in a state that forbids Eminent Domain.

We dont see, how tradititonal american life with a house, yard, 40 hours week ect can ever return -based on part time work, Temp work or -no work at all.

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35 Nicole October 14, 2013 at 7:11 am

lots of great info I’ve been reading this morning! We just bought a camper and we’re headed to the Ashville north Carolina area we’ve been researching for a year now. we live in northern Maine near Canada where jobs are scarce and neighbors hide in their houses.the average income is about 20,000. we make about 100,000 we have worked our lives away in the past. we have always been manager or owners of something. We’re packing up 2 dogs 1 cat and 2 boys 13 and 10. We’re all excited to become the close family we use to be before we got wrapped in the high life of “I can buy what ever I want.” My last thought of the morning today is ” you cant buy love, time, smiles,or memories” so if you life is missing any of this its time to move on to the next step in life.
By the way we’re looking for an inexpensive year round camp ground in NC if anyone has any ideas
Sincerely,
Nicole
aka gypsy mama

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36 Angela November 16, 2016 at 9:15 pm

Nicole,

Our boys are 9.5 & 13 are you home schooling? Totally agree money can’t buy love and the cycle of collecting material things created a toxic environment for us. What type of jobs will you have?

PS Asheville is beautiful but Colorado offered more for us. Good luck there.

Angela

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37 Cathie Grubb January 7, 2017 at 8:32 am

Your are so right about priorities of what is important. No amount of money can buy you the love we desire and time is critical. I am in my 60’s and time just keeps going faster. We are selling our home and getting a 5th wheel to live in. We have a12yr old grandson we are raising and as hard as it is sometimes we want him to know what is important in life. May God bless you and your family.

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38 Cindy October 14, 2013 at 11:34 am

Hi just wanted to share my story. We also lived in our RV fulltime for 9 months. We sold our home and my husband was to be transferred to Texas. Instead of renting an apartment (we have 3 Yorkies) we traded our 29 ft bumper pull for a 41 ft. Tiffin Phaeton. While friends and family thought we where crazy at first….
We saved money and reduced our debt! We had the flexibility to travel in Texas. Louisiana and Mississippi with ease and take the dogs with us! No pet boarding or sleeping in Nasty hotel beds! I would do it again. We stayed at a covered RV site near Baton Rouge, LA on the Amite River $555.00 month you had to stay a minimum of 6 months. It was awesome! Washer and dryer were available. With a covered common area available!

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39 Chad November 11, 2013 at 9:31 am

Love it! Living in a camper offers so many great opportunities. We love full time RVing and being able to see the places most people only dream of.

Can’t wait to catch up on all things you guys have seen and compare notes 🙂
-Chad
http://longlongwaytotipperary.com

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40 melisa February 16, 2014 at 8:09 am

Nicole

Curious if you still live in RV in Asheville. NC. I have been looking for RV Park FT. I haven’t. Found anything less then our current rent. Hope your move went well!
Melisa

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41 Shannon September 4, 2015 at 7:26 pm

I am looking into full time living as well. There is an amazing lake in Bunn, NC called Lake Royal. I know this post is from 2013 but thought I’d share. It has and rv area and real house area. Dues are about $800 a year but they have great amenities, gated community and their own police force. I am trying to convince my husband to do full time to pay off debt and save for a house. We rent and spend $1,100 a month not including light and water. It would be a life saver if we do.

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42 Ginger February 20, 2014 at 5:25 pm

I am just beginning to read your blog. We are thinking of doing this. I want to go to Florida and be near the beach. I am wondering what you do if there is bad weather. Do the campsites have storm shelters for everyone? Thanks!!

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43 Amy Lawson February 28, 2014 at 5:29 pm

I just found this blog/site and I’m so excited…my husband and I and our 4 kids(yeah I know I’m a little crazy) are planning on doing this starting in May but here in WI I can’t seem to find any place that offers year round parking for an RV…am I just looking in the wrong places? Does anyone know if any?

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44 Merissa February 28, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Have you actually called some campgrounds? It seems that we’ve found that sometimes campgrounds offer year round options but don’t really advertise them. Also, you might want to check places like Craigslist for people that are renting spots for rvs.

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45 Cheryl March 29, 2014 at 9:46 pm

We are getting ready to buy a camper and do the same thing. Everyone keeps telling us to rent while we build our house, but we cant find a place to rent that is cheaper than our mortgage. We have also looked at buying a shack and fixing it up…at least a shack has a little more room to run around in and modern conveniences…But they are hard to come accross. We found a few rv parks in the $300-$400 range; all bills paid! We pay that in utilities alone right now. We are very nervous. Our house is under contract and we’ll be moving out soon. We are leaving a 3000 sq ft home in a nice neighborhood with a community pool, pond, jogging trails, etc. We realized yes that is all nice, but we don’t need it! Also, we have 4 kids (one is 1 month old) and a cat! Currently we are trying to find a reasonably priced rv to fit our needs for the next year or so while we pay off debts. The one I like I thinkmid the same one you guys have. It’s been nice to read your website! Thank you for the encouragement. People think we are crazy.

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46 Merissa March 30, 2014 at 9:25 am

If it’s meant to be, you can do it! Being in a campground with some nice play areas will help 🙂 One that we stayed at for about 5 months has large playgrounds, tennis courts, and everything…it was very nice!

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47 Andrew April 8, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Let me tell you RV living isn’t what it is cracked up to be. I got the RV bug and begged my wife to agree to this adventure. There Are many things to consider before jumping right in. Its kind of funny because all the stories you read seems to be kids play compared to what we went through. First go rent an RV for a week. This lets you play with the idea. You really need more like a couple of months playing RV(house).
Most people wanting to try this are selling there 250,000 house. Buying brand new and moving to AZ. My wife and I bought a used 23 foot Class C motorhome. Great on gas, easy to drive. No room. 1 dog and cat. After 2 months my wife had enough and miss our apt. Summer time was great in Minnesota then winter came. When its -15 below 0 you tell me how to winterize. I had a 30 ft tarp. Skirted plywood insulation, heat taped pipes. My furnace couldn’t keep up with the cold. In the summer time I went through 10 gallons of LP in 1 month. In the winter time I went through 100 gallons in a month. So with 450 rent. $60 for electric running 2 electric heaters. 200 for LP.
My pipes froze no sink water, shower water, nothing Average temp in RV 59F. So if you want to live in a RV have lots of money live in a warm climate. Have your own land or rent land. So either way its costing you money all around. We stay in the RV 18 months before the motor blew and the RV park got sold to a casino. Now I live in a rent house again.

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48 Jamie April 24, 2014 at 12:01 am

Cold, snowing last week of April, staying in an rv at a full service park no lake, mountains, view, or anything nice. Highway runs right past and $900/ month. Not bad considering the area.(Edmonton AB) if I was going to do it for fun or really long term it would be somewhere else.

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49 Amy May 17, 2014 at 12:53 am

Any tips on dealing with the cold in Alberta? We will be living in out travel trailer during next winter near Calgary with our 1yr old.

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50 marie May 5, 2014 at 7:30 pm

I just bought a motorhome retired due to illness and am looking for a plc to park and hookup our motorhome in calif somewhere around huntington beach for cheap or general area any suggestions ???

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51 Amy May 17, 2014 at 12:50 am

I would love some winter using tips. We are in a very similar situation, building a home, attempting to be debt free by the time we fully moove in. We will be living in a travel trailer with a 1yr old and two large dogs for the next year in Canada.
Please tell me we are not crazy and that this is doable. It really is our best option to secure a better financial future for our family. We will be living on our land that the house is being built on .
The only part that worries me is the winter time and the cost to heat. So any winter tips would be fantastic.

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52 Willice Kearan January 4, 2015 at 12:30 am

We are looking, too. I’ve been told that Holiday trsilers have an enclosed and insulated area underneath the trailer, which will help alot.I’d talk to the RV dealers for addtionsl info. Good luck!

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53 Michelle August 10, 2015 at 10:52 pm

We lived in our 5th wheel for 5 months in sk Canada during winter. What we did to prepare was hay/straw bales under the trailer with plywood / foam skirting around the whole trailer. Heat taped the water hose wrapped in foam ran it through the straw bale heat taped the water supply and encased it with a straw bale. 2 trouble lights in the belly of our trailer for heat for the holding tanks. We did not use our furnanc at all bought really good electric heaters and had a electric fireplace and at night kept the cupboards open for air movement. And put bubble wrap on all the windows and foam cutouts for the vents. Temp went down to -35 and we had no problem. Electric was a 100 extra charge but didn’t worry about propane other than cooking which was minimal. As we used electric toaster convection oven and every electric gadget out there. Also heated matress pads were the best investment. Sometimes we had to open a window to cool the place down. Always had one vent cracked a bit for air flow during the day and for moisture we also had a small dehumidifier. I would do it again in a heart beat and we are in the planning stage to sell house and move the same trailer onto bare land and get debt free. But now in south eastern Ontario home of snowmagedden

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54 Mac June 6, 2014 at 1:58 pm

I just found your website today. Thanks so much for sharing. My father passed away last year and after his passing I realized that it’s more to left than working 10yrs at a job that you despise, although making 100K was nice it just wasn’t worth. I walked away from that job and I’m currently in nursing school. My husband and I are seriously thinking of purchasing a RV so that we can travel and I can work as a nurse.
Thanks for the info,
Mac

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55 Juliana June 9, 2014 at 10:38 am

I wish my husband and I had, had the sense and courage you and your husband have 30 years ago when we first married. We, too hated the fact rent money was just being thrown away, and to rent now is so expensive you would be better off paying a house note since they are about the same anount! Congrats on being debt-free! My husband and I are living in our travel trailer now after selling our home after 26 years. I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I love the simplicity and the debt free living you spoke of! Also, it is cozy and winterizing was too simple and cheap!! So glad I found your blog! I have spent hours reading it and can’t wait for more!!

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56 Rich June 21, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Hello,
My name is Rich, and I have recently moved into a RV to work on getting money saved, and paint off bills. I live in New york, Rv is parked on my friends land, where i work on his farm o pay for “rent” My biggest concern right now is, winter. Can anyone please help me with ideas, and action plan on how to winterize, while continuing living in my RV for the winter months here?
if you can please respond on here, but also forward me a email, i do not know what the rules of this blog are. I do not have a laptop, or internet, i use my friends from time to time, as i am trying to keep my expenses as low as possible. So i can’t save this blog to my friends computer, but i am able to access the net when i am able to from my friends home, this is why email would be best. [email protected], if this is not allowed i do apologize ahead of time.
thank you all

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57 Melony July 4, 2014 at 11:26 pm

I am a single mom of 2 who is dying to buy a rv and travel with my homeschooled kids and hopefully find work. I want to live in an RV full time. Please consider reading gofundme.com/themelony I jusy need a chance.

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58 Candace July 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Hello everyone 🙂 My husband, two boys (11 and 8) and I are trying to research becoming fulltimers in Canada. I am having a very hard time finding much on families that do this….are there any other full time families with kids that stay in Canada? Most I’ve found head to the US for the winter which is making me worried that we’d be alone up here in the snow lol.

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59 Arie July 22, 2014 at 12:48 pm

HI Candace,

I worked a couple of winters up around Grand Prairie and I met quite a few guys who lived in RV’s year round. There are cold weather models with tank heaters and better insulation packages available. I was also told by one co-worker, with a 5th wheel, that his was basement model and with a couple of electric heaters in there his stayed toasty warm and usesd very little propane since the park he was in provided power for free. So if you do not have one already look into those features of the RV you are trying to buy. It may cost more in the begining and be heavier, but if you can pull it you would probably save in the long run.

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60 Rachel July 12, 2014 at 11:28 am

Love your site! I’m a single mom and looking in to buying a RV to travel with and live in with my son. I’ll be doing travel nursing again. Does anyone have any advice on this? Are RV parks safe? That’s really my only concern because it will just be me and my little munchkin!

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61 Merissa July 12, 2014 at 8:39 pm

It’s good to do research on rv parks first before you stay, especially those in larger cities. http://www.rvparkreviews.com/ is a good site to check. Hope that helps!

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62 Heather H October 30, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Hello,
My husband is a travel nurse, and we have been living in our 5th wheel toy hauler for the last 2 and a half years; We have two children whom I homeschool, and we love our life. My question for you (Rachel) would be where are you going to start and how old is your son? We live in Newport Beach, CA in a fantastic RV park that is gated with security. It may be one of the most expensive RV parks out there but it’s Newport Beach, and not surprising for the area. If your son is older it would be safe to leave him alone in a park like this (if that’s your plan?), but we have lived in a park in Sacramento that it would not be advisable to do so.
There are great things about being a travel nurse that lives in an RV- including but not limited to the housing stipend usually being considerably more for the area than the RV rent will be. The continuity for your son, having his house move with him, instead of him moving from house to house. Being mobile is perhaps not comfortable for all, but for those who are comfortable with it, it is a luxury that you will grow to appreciate and not want to give up.
We consider our RV lifestyle a reward for the brave-of-heart and dare anyone and everyone to try it.

Good luck to all.

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63 Diana Moon June 14, 2015 at 9:48 am

After a huge realty check and 25 years of a trying to hold a marriage together i decided it wuld be better to leave my husband than stay so unhapy. I am taking my 7 yr. old son and letting my 15 yr. old daughter make her own choice. I am also leaving a $350.000 home on 14 acres. I am on disabilty from MS and although i have a BS degree I am unable to be employed from losing my ability to write. I have been looking into apartments but i can’t help thinking about the RV life. We currently have a huge RV just sitting our barn unused. Its not worth selling because it was but new and has depreciated greatly. I dont even know how to drive it, however. I could probably find a driver to deliver it to a long-term spot. It would have ti be warm year round Help me with this decision, please !!!

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64 Wendy forbes July 21, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Hi there. I also just found your site and have not been able to find the answer to the original question that “googled” me to you 🙂 That question is whether you can live in your rv in Asheville NC in the winter. I have been in my rig (37 foot Damon Challenger) for 6 months trying to figure out where I want to settle. I have lived in NJ for the last two years and hate the winters. I fell in love with Asheville on my trip and would love to settle there but am wondering how long I could actually live in my rv before I had to rent an apartment. I plan to eventually but hope to put it off as long as I can. I travel alone except for my two cats who don’t like the cold weather as much as me. Thanks for any input.

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65 Merissa July 22, 2014 at 7:49 am

We lived in our rv in South Dakota in the winter so yes, I’m sure you can! You will just need to find an rv park (or a place to park) that is open year round and take some extra precautions like making sure the undercarriage stays warm so your pipes don’t freeze and things like that. I hope that helps!

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66 Lisa August 26, 2014 at 12:27 pm

I was told for year round living you need a FOUR SEASONS RV this is not a brand but refers to better insulation etc for colder weather use. The others must be winterized or will freeze up. They are more expensive, but you can find older ones that are still in good shape. It makes me wonder if and how one could convert a regular RV into a four seasons- but have not bee able to find info on that anywhere. Thanks

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67 Merissa August 26, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Four Seasons campers are built with better insulation in the floors and in the slides plus many of them have other features such as a heated underbelly and tanks. I’m not sure how you would build one but there are definitely some out there. The Open Range rv we had was four seasons.

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68 Cristian September 4, 2014 at 12:44 am

I am thinking this way for save money, and own my property without mortgage, free debts, …rediculous is a value for single home family

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69 Angie September 4, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Hi Everyone,
I love reading all the positive comments about Full-time RV Living. My husband and I are getting ready to upgrade our 31 ft Class B Camper to a Class A Camper. I love my Camper, but it’s too small to live in it full-time. We also have a home that we have to sell, but don’t have the money to fix it up. Do any of you have any suggestions on how to sell my house? We love to go camping at the KOA Sites and would really love to do it full-time. I also would like to scale back some and get rid of things we really don’t need. Too much clutter just taking up space. The reason we want to live in our RV Full-time is our granddaughter. We want to be free and flexible and get up and go to be with her. Living in an RV will provide this for us. Is there anything else I need to know about Full-time RV Living? I would just love to be stress free and enjoy life more. Thanks.

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70 Michael D October 20, 2014 at 11:10 pm

My name is Michael and I am a 39-year-old man who is trying to get out of high-cost housing and into an rv/camper. I live in the Austin area, and looking for a place locally that is very inexpensive, but will provide the basics. If anyone has any suggestions please feel free to contact me.

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71 Josh October 22, 2014 at 4:11 am

I lived full-time in a 28ft RV while I was going to college in Colorado. It was an experience. Frozen pipes, 5 minute showers, clogged toilets, broken furnace, transient folks in the rv park. Don’t let me discourage you though. It has it’s up sides. If I were to do it now almost 20yrs later I would purchase a piece of land and set it up with a minimum of an RV pad all hookups and either a cover or a totally enclosed workshop/storage space. If you are on solar/generator and a well your utilities will be next to nothing and your main expense would be property taxes each year. That way you will still have the freedom to travel but have a home base to return to with very low expenses. If you live or travel to colder climates be prepared to run heat tape with insulation and under skirting as most of the cold comes right up through the floor and windows and it doesn’t take long to freeze RV pipes.

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72 jen November 4, 2014 at 10:27 am

Hello everyone I am seriously considering this life style I have been wanting this since I was a little girl. This tax season I am 90% sure that it is time no more waiting. I have lots of questions, and about four mths to find the right rv and tie up loose ends. I woyld love your expertise, hope to hear from you.

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73 Libby November 25, 2014 at 1:09 am

I’m 26 and my husband is 32. We have a daughter in 2nd grade and we live in hot dry (gross) southern-Ish California. Our problem is we both have minimum wage jobs that take up all our time but we barely see any funds, our rent is $550 but we pay my husbands ex wife $600 (for one kid!) a month so add bills and saving isn’t much of an option. We thought about moving somewhere tiny but there’s nowhere cheaper than where we are at, we live in a very small town with not many options. What we’re considering is using our tax return (hopefully around $2000) to buy a used trailer from Craigslist and parking at our in-laws and live there for a few years to save up enough to put a down payment on a house. We need to save cash because we don’t have credit. (No debt, just no credit.)

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74 Chelsie December 23, 2014 at 10:35 am

My fiance and I have been thinking about moving into his parents motorhome for a couple of months to pay off some debt and to save up for a down payment. We have two children ages 1&2 so I have been skeptical about the move but we would be saving rent money, cable, water/sewer, pud. We would be living on his parents land and we are already using their washer and dryer as our washer just went out on us and don’t really want to buy a new one until we buy a house of our own. Any ideas or opinions on this decision? Also we have been searching for a house for almost a year now and we have some money saved up in our savings but not enough for a down payment and we want to put a good amount to make payments lower. Thank you!

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75 Merissa December 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Sounds like a great way to save money to me, especially since you won’t have the expenses of buying an rv or anything like that! Good luck with everything!

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76 Shelly January 1, 2015 at 12:35 am

Hi!!
We aee soooo doing this!! EVERYONE wants to tell us we are wasting our money and it’s never going to work
We are purchasing a 2015 Keystone Raptor 412 and a truck for my husband, son and myself to live full time in. Our son is 13 and will homeschool for High School and our daughter is 18 and away at University college. We pay $3200 each month, $1600 of which is rent!!! For the past 10 years we have paid our landlords mortgage so he can own a home and we have nothing to show for it.
What’s the REAL scoop!?! Seriously? We just want to “be” ya know. We want to give our son the experiences we never had, the ability to visit what kids only read about in school.
I am disabled and not able to work, physically AND mentally it’s a strain to do even our own checkbook. So we are looking to be stress free, or at least lower sress, while allowing myself to refind the beauty in life. At this point, 5 years disabled at just 40 yrs old, I’m not enjoying anything….we haven’t any quality of life with what we have been struggling to do the past 20 years.
My grandparents are both passed on now, they were the core of our family…therefor I need to build a new, happy core for my kids now because my “family” can not seem to pull it together with my grandparents gone….why stay here for a family that won’t ever come together??
We know that there are ups & downs to every decision. Here’s how I weigh things out: buying a house vs an RV
Buying a House RV
mortgage payment paid off
insurance insurance
property tax rental space (campground or free place)
TV & INTERNET TV & INTERNET
Propane propane
cell phone cell phone
car registration & ins truck & rv registration
maintenance on home & yard maintenance on RV and NO YARD!!!!
neighbors you may hate neighbors you can move away from
stable or no control of 100% control of your environment
your environment
no vacations due to debt 100% of daily life is where ever you
want to be
Stuck in a daily grind/routine life is different daily
Surrounded by material things surrounded by only necessities

I am on SSI and my husbands work is seasonal.
In the Winter our MOTTO: If you cant wear flip flops keep driving
We will live monthly on my SSI and his unemployment
In the Summer our MOTTO: Save, Save, Save
We will live on my SSI and my husband will work in our hometown and we will save that money for winter.
We will also sell my crafts where we can so my son can keep a savings as well.

It may not be rainbows and unicorns everyday but its all ours, we will own what we have put money into not pay for someone to own something.

I honestly can not wait!! Have any of you researched any of the 100’s of FREE campsites across the U.S.? They are all over Pinterest and I’m curious if anyone has been to any of them, as well, do any of you know secret off the grid type beautiful/warm places to be?? My body can’t handle the cold at all. It’s painful.

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77 Joanne January 11, 2015 at 7:24 am

Read some very interesting stiries here. Much luck to all of you. We have paid down our debt and moved from NJ to the foothills of Western NC. Currently renting a home with horse pastures for $650 a month, we recently purchased a 1986 PaceArrow motorhome. We moved into the motorhome parked in the yard just to see if this is the lifestyle we want to live. So far so good. Our intentions were and still are to make a life out West where the climate is warmer and drier. We are both in our 50’s and aging way too fast than we should. I am retired living on a very small pension and my boyfriend is permanently disabled and living on SSI. Our next move is going to be to the NC coast where we have found a cheap year-round RV park. Here, we will be able to save some money to purchase new tires and make some upgrades before hitting the road. With having family on the East Coast, I’m sure we will be making trips back, but there is so much to see out West. We have our sites on the Sierras in the summer and wintering over near Tucson, AZ where my boyfriend grew up. There are so many dispersed camping areas in the Sierras if you like being on the move. Happy RVing Everyone!!!

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78 Hélène January 16, 2015 at 3:33 pm

Where’s ur cheap yr round campground on the NC coast? My dad’s 2 miles from the beach just above myrtle beach but in NC. Be nice to be near him. There is NOTHING out there tho. It’s all old-farts who play golf, that’s IT. No where to work, no where to shop for anything besides wonder bread and pepsi. No cultural anything like a museum or state park. It’s a wasteland for couch potatoes, which admittedly my dad is at this stage. He golfs and watches tv lol
I think Wilmington would be ok, possibly; as far as finding something as crazy as brown rice and kale lol

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79 Vickie January 11, 2015 at 10:18 am

We are living in a 27 ft fifth wheel. We have leaks in th corners in heavy rain periods. Any suggestions on how to protect from this. New are only livin in our fifth wheel temporarily while we work on our home

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80 jim January 13, 2015 at 7:24 pm

61 years old, and divorcing after 30 plus years. Live in Austin, and thinking of putting house on back and moving west, maybe to Prescott, first. Any ideas?

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81 Carolyn March 28, 2015 at 11:35 am

Thanks for this blog and everyone’s comments! My husband, daughter and I had to move for financial and other reasons and are living in a 29′ RV. Right now we are parked on a family member’s property with hookups so we are lucky. We went this route because we have 1 dog and 4 cats so we could keep our animals when we moved. The pets also hang out in the inlaws house on the property especially the dog. Looking forward to when we can take the RV on the road more and travel. My hubby has customized some of the RV living room space for more storage.

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82 RV roof replacement April 27, 2015 at 10:06 am

Perfect sacrifice, I wish that I could have my own RV.

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83 Mickella May 16, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Hi there! My husband and I recently married and decided to do the same thing. We were tired of renting from home owners that had strict HOA, money thrown away for someone else to gain, and apartments wouldn’t take us because of our “bully breed” dogs. Our pitbull girls are 1 year old now and instead of renting again in July our tax return allowed us to put down on a fifth wheel. Now we want to do the same thing you did, save money with this new cheap living lifestyle, but we’re having issues finding places that will let me keep my dogs. Places that will let me keep them are 55+ communities. I’m struggling trying to figure this out. If anyone has any advice it would really help! Thanks 🙂

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84 Brian June 29, 2015 at 1:46 pm

Another good site to look at is http://www.mobilerving.com/
You can see pictures of the RV Resorts and Parks before you spend gas driving to a, less desirable place.

They also have businesses near these resorts offer special deals too. Saved me money on my tire after a blowout.

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85 Michelle October 11, 2015 at 2:59 pm

My BF and I tried the full-time thing, and it nearly ate us alive financially. 7 years later and we are just now out of debt from the year and a half we did it! Not to say we won’t do it again, and are starting to look into it, but if you do it wrong, well, it can be disasterous.

One mistake we made was purchasing an older used vehicle on payments – so in addition to park fees and normal insurance we had a “mortgage” so to speak. Once things started breaking – which was immediately, there was no extra money. We ended up putting our rent on credit cards – a black hole we couldn’t climb out of. We were paying more to live in the RV than an apartment.

Also my work depended on the internet and it simply wasn’t reliable in any park we stayed it. Then to make ends meet my BF took a job which meant we couldn’t move out of the expensive Denver area. You could only stay in public parks two weeks and had to pay in advance when you reserved your spot and private parks were easily $600 and up (at that time) plus utilities. As others have said, in the winter the propane and electric will just suck up your budget.

We also discovered you couldn’t work on your own RV in the parks so we were forced to always use mechanics (or try to rig up tarps and hide lights under them at night).

Everyone remembers how gas soared then – getting 7 miles to the gallon not only made it a consideration to move, but also to live further out to commute into work.

Stealth camping was out (much less parking in anyone’s driveway) as we were incredibly ignorant buying a 37 foot (but it was great to live in!). And of course you have to check your zoning laws. In Asheville for example you are not allowed to live in an RV on your own property – at least within city limits.

So, would we do it again – absolutely. But with caveats. We would have to be more mobile with our professions, understand that we have to budget for good internet, buy smaller, and have a “fall-back” place to live – whether an RV Lot down south or a family member’s place if problems came up. I would also not contemplate full-time until I was out from under RV payments, and already have an emergency cushion before I headed out. Also maybe consider having some off-grid resources built in by then. Some may or may not apply to everyone’s situation.

Also, just remember this is a moving house – it requires constant maintenance and we found rather than simplifying our lives – it complicated it enormously. Things like slipping and falling on ice trying to make it to a laundry room lead to unexpected medical expenses – grin.

I think the biggest thing I felt is that unless you are a retiree with a big motorcoach and funds to spend, most places out there treat full-timers on the east coast and major metros like trailer trash. And if you need reliable internet it’s hard to find in the cheaper places out west.

Just wanted to add my voice to those planning to do this. We will do it again – there were some amazing experiences, met amazing people that became good friends, and boy do we have some stories. Just be realistic about the costs and the issues you might run into.

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86 Tobi June 5, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Thank you this was very helpful! I am researching and hoping to RV full-time, currently in Northern CA until Fall 2018 than OR. If your able/have time, Questions:
1) If you had to choose between purchasing a:
1a) $20k 20% down less-old less refurbish/repair RV with payments, $3k in savings
1b) $8,000 cash, no payments, older more repairs needed, no savings would rebuild monthly
= Which would you choose? I will have monthly land lease/park fess, and pay for good/extra internet due too college/work.

Thanks for your post/time!
Tobi

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87 scott October 19, 2015 at 11:16 am

I am finding your blog very useful and informative. My wife and I are currently going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and have been discussing for several weeks about downsizing and moving our family into an Rv for awhile to save and get the property we want for homesteading. We are thinking of being stationary for the majority of the year (I am a teacher) and then travel with it during the summers. We spent this past weekend tent camping at the location we are looking into. Thanks for the useful information and ideas, I am trying to be as informed as I can before going into this adventure.

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88 RL January 19, 2016 at 10:28 pm

We are also doing the Dave Ramsey FPU and are planning to RV starting July 1st. It’s our plan and we’re sticking too it 🙂 good luck!

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89 Polly October 30, 2015 at 2:04 pm

We are attempting to start over and living in an old toy hauler in Nc….we sold everything and embarked to start our new life…after 2 months of planning we finally thought we had found a place to call home for awhile but…2 months after being here we were told that the county our rv park was located in did not allow for us to live here full time…we would like to stay in the Nc. Sc. coastal area but have no idea where to look for a year around affordable/campground park close to where my spouse can find a good job any ideas would be greatly appreciated…so ready to embark on a new life adventure…we are not elderly but not young either lol…plz share ideas

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90 Danielle December 30, 2015 at 12:34 am

Hello, SO i have a few questions about rv/camper living. I was thinking about buying an rv or camper and putting it on my land that me and my sisters own so that me and my fiance can live together while im in college. I was recently laid off and lost my apartment and car. But anyway getting a little off topic sorry . my parents home is already on the land. SO I need to know is there a way I can get my own address? And is there a way I can get my own electric bill or add something so that it will have enough electric to run the electric in the rv(including ac) and how would I go about setting up the sewage and are there any rules regulations or special permits I need ? I live In North Carolina.
Thank you for your help!!!!!!!! ( sorry I just dont know who else to ask. I have tried searching the internet but im still confused about it all.)

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91 Merissa December 30, 2015 at 8:43 am

Hi Danielle, I’m not sure on your questions since I’m not sure about the regulations in different states but hopefully someone else will answer and be able to help! I would definitely start by calling around…maybe to your local electric companies or to the courthouse and see what kind of permits you might need how if they can point you in the right direction.

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92 Oliver Jones March 30, 2016 at 8:42 pm

I have had many customers who have taken the trek to Alaska and back. Most say plan on replacing tires when you get back. And I have talked to a few that say they will not go again without a second spare tire. One word of wisdom.

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93 Melvis May 12, 2016 at 5:32 pm

We have purchased our RV recently paid half down …our payments r under $200 a month. We r considering a strategic default on our property because of lagging economy & major repairs needed 2 sell.
Now I am curious because so many people on here saying you can’t find full time RV parks. Has anyone considered buying a lot with utilities & sewer already in?
Park your RV there as long as you like!!
Just an idea…prob would b cheaper than RV parks too.

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94 ark May 17, 2016 at 1:53 pm

I got on this blog because I am looking into full-time RV living and was wondering on other folks experience. What I got from many of those posts/articles, that people mostly enjoy it, as it is nice, stress free and very affordable life. Most of the authors especially emphasize, that cost of living in RV is (or was) the major factor in their decision. My situation is a little different. I love travel, outdoors, skies, bikes, etc, and fortunately at this point of my life, budget is not my issue. So my question is, that provided that one may easily and stress free afford living in your permanent house with all the other expenses, would you still find full-time RV living attractive, or it is just a necessity mostly choice.

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95 Stephen Henderson June 8, 2016 at 9:41 am

I love in the foothills of nc amd was wondering of you have any uear you’d parks here and what were your rates for water, power, sewer, etc thank you for your time

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96 Mary Jane Clarke August 27, 2016 at 5:28 am

I really enjoyed reading the comments as I am thinking about RV living. I am trying to get all the information I will need to make my decision. Thank you.

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97 Sharon August 29, 2016 at 1:09 am

Hello, I will be going full time in the spring/2017. Does anyone know what insurance companies in Alberta offer coverage for full time RV living? I will have permanent address in Alberta. I have made some calls to Insurance Companies but so far they do not cover RV’s for full time living. Will of course do Mobile Homes, but not anything classed as holiday RV. I would appreciate any information anyone may have this.
Thank you, Sharon

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98 Eva October 1, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Hello, greetings from Southern California. We were looking to park our RV on a rent property or at a kid friendly RV park. Any suggestions? We had to go the RV route for health reasons (son).
Thanks.
Eva

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99 CD January 19, 2017 at 10:27 am

Great thread and so refreshing to see so many ladies who are interested in year round RV living!
I am an early 50’s retired Canadian male from Brantford Ontario which is located in the southern most part of the country. So our winters while cold and snowy are not much different than the vast majority of the northern US States and perhaps more mild than many.
Which brings me to why I arrived here. I came upon your blog after searching ‘Winter RV Living’ and was delighted to see how many people had shared their stories here and interested in 4 season RV living for such a wide variety of reasons. I understand many are here out of necessity and appreciate and can relate to many of the financial concerns expressed here in. Myself I am on a LTD pension income due to sciatic and disc issues however own a beautiful old century and a half duplex that I have restored in recent years and enjoy income from the half I rent out which is enough to live for free basically and utilize my pensions for costs such as food and gas and entertainment etc. So finances are not the big issue but more a smart investment of your moneys value to life ratio for my situation. By that I mean trying to really enjoy your income to its max benefit and that in my view would be traveling the many roads of our great continent and exploring as many beautiful places and locations as possible. And I might consider doing that by keeping my home and renting out the half I live in for further income or just selling it all and just GO!! No matter the logistics and details, for me it’s time!
I have been single for several years and my children are grown and moved on in their lives. I have been considering selling it all and going on the road to explore our vast continent on both sides of the border however have been more or less treading water on doing so given I feel at this stage of life it would be so much more enjoyable to experience this lifestyle and all that it offers with a lady who shares the same desires. That is really the only thing that has held me up from being more aggressive with this dream. Its a great deal to take upon oneself to do alone.
So my hope has been to meet a lady who lives south of the border but has a sincere desire to explore north of the border here with me during the summer months when it is so hot in the south and more temperate up here in Canada and then have our travels take us south again to enjoy various locations over the winter months. I have not yet purchased an RV but am very interested in doing so and reading the many stories here as helped my thought process and possibly opened the options up to a 5th wheel set up other than a decked out new(er) coach. Whatever the decision I will consider the advice here and ensure that a winterized unit is a priority so as to not squeeze any possibilities of locations out of our itinerary due to not being equipped to absorb the weather in that specific region we might like to explore. I think that advice is paramount to follow given what everyone has said here.
I guess my biggest dilemma is finding that person who is the perfect fit for you to go on such a journey with and it can be very time consuming searching around the various dating/relationship sites or just hoping to meet them during my daily travels. I can tell you it just does not happen. Most people are so caught up in their ‘stuff’ and can[t see the sunset for the trees, or in many of their cases the buildings cluttering the horizon. I never thought that maybe it might be worthwhile to look into informative blogs such as these for others who may have the same aspirations as I and perhaps it’s not but one has to try…right? Perhaps this is exactly the place to investigate? After all everyone here is here because of their interest in RV living for one reason or another.
I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions of other venues or suggestions or sites/blogs/online communities that may be able to direct me to in order to meet others whom are in my position….single and seeking a travel/life partner in exploration? Or if their are any ladies period….exploring this blog and interested in chatting I would welcome that as well. We have to start some where and I am not getting any younger and itching to get on the road…very much so! In fact I have realtors and the bank going through the house this week to pin down current market values in case I do sell or decide to just rent the entire home out and use it for funds to assist in supporting the journey ahead!!
I look forward to everyone and anyones input if able to assist or interested in similar journeys!
Our next sunset is where we make it!
CDH

PS-Not sure how to subscribe to this thread short of saving link? So will leave email [email protected] for anyone who might have info.

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