Full-time RVing can be a great lifestyle, especially if you crave new experiences and a sense of adventure. While most full-timers are retired and have the luxury of pensions and Social Security, the lifestyle is still within reach for many “non-traditional” younger wannabe RVers.
The first step is realizing this lifestyle exists and is an option. For us, it seemed like we stumbled upon a secret, and in some ways, it is. It bucks convention in that it promotes living simply, and works a lot better with less debt and “stuff”. This lifestyle will not work for people who desire prestige and a gain in material wealth. Less is more seems to aptly apply.
Most people can quickly determine if they are in the position to set off on the road in short time. Debt is probably the largest obstacle. A modest amount may be acceptable for the frugal, but for those up to their eyes in student loans, credit card debt, and excessive car payments will have to eliminate these before pursuing the idea much further. Medical insurance can also be an issue, for the time being there are some affordable options for folks willing to ride with a high deductible. Houses can be sold or rented, and things can be stored or sold. We have modest car and student loan payments, and “catastrophic” type health insurance. We rented our properties and have a property manager, and sold just about everything that would not fit in our RV.
There are many ways to make money on the road, but few that pay well. Some private campgrounds do pay something like a stipend along with a free site, but there are many more part-time volunteer positions that exchange the site, electric, water and possibly WiFi and cable TV with a few other perks. Much of the work on the road is “gig” work. Concessionaires at National Parks will pay minimum wage, and provide discounted meals and site rent. Companies like Amazon will hire workampers during the holiday season and pay $10-11.50 per hour along with a free site. There are also other seasonal jobs like selling Christmas trees, pumpkins, or picking sugar beats, which pay surprisingly well albeit hard work. For the more tech savvy, there is a wider range of options; developing apps, web sites, graphic design all can be done on the road provided your internet connection is strong. Still others work and sell things at festivals, or gate guard at oil fields in Texas. There are websites that specialize in helping RVers find work. Overall, it does take some creativity and occasionally humbling oneself. We have been volunteering and living modestly off of some investments, but supplement when we can.
New RVs are expensive, but used rigs are not. A perfectly serviceable motorhome can be acquired for about $15k +/-. If you already have a truck, used Travel Trailers and 5th Wheels can be even less. In addition, there are loan programs for RVs that will allow financing for up to 15 years and the interest can be tax deductible much like a home loan. We purchased a 12 year old RV in very good condition for about $15k after taxes and a tune up. A maintenance budget of $1000 per year is probably sufficient.
Travelling is fun, and always being at home no matter where you are, and staying long enough to take it in, is a big advantage to this lifestyle. The work is often easy, and there is plenty of time for enjoyment or relaxation. Stress is at minimum and new experiences are the norm. There is always something to look forward to, and the excitement of the unknown. The most difficult question usually seems to be, “Where would you like to go next?”