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Living and Traveling in an RV: 10 Things RVers Must Know

The large and well-equipped recreational vehicles now available to consumers can be quite luxurious. If you have been tempted by the idea of living like a nomad and taking to the road, you may find full-time RVing quite an adventure. Traveling in an RV can save you money that would otherwise be spent on mortgages, home repairs, home owner’s association fees, landscape maintenance and expensive furniture. However, there are 10 important things to consider before investing in a vehicle and making the switch to full time traveling in an RV.

1. Fuel Costs

The massive frame and building materials means that a recreational vehicle has to have a powerful engine. This translates to fairly high fuel usage. You can’t expect big RVs to be as fuel-efficient as the typical family vehicle. Many models that are large enough for comfortable fulltime living can get as few as four miles per gallon. Many full-time RVers only occasionally travel, spending most of their time in their favorite RV campgrounds.

2. Insurance

If your RV is both your home and your primary vehicle, it needs a fairly comprehensive insurance plan. Most companies only cover occasional usage in their plans for recreational vehicles, assuming that you will only use it for summer vacations. Look for a company that caters to full-time users to ensure you won’t be left dealing with the costs if a major accident occurs. You need to insure all of the contents of your RV as well. It’s the same as having homeowner’s or renter’s insurance that covers the cost of replacing the items you would lose if the “home” were destroyed or damaged.

3. Investment

Buying a recreational vehicle can cost as much as a house. Small and medium RV models usually start at $100,000 for a new vehicle, and the biggest and most luxurious options can come with price tags in excess of $500,000. Used vehicles cost less upfront, but can require more maintenance over the years. Deciding to become a full time RVer means deciding to invest in your new lifestyle. Decide what will suit your needs and your budget and carefully make the best decision regarding your RV purchase.

4. Secondary Transportation

Your RV may do a good job of shuttling you across the nation’s highways, but you can’t pull them into a drive-through or navigate congested city streets. You will need to bring along some other kind of secondary transportation for trips to local attractions or the grocery store. Many travelers bring along a small car, while others enjoy using a motorcycle for their daily transportation outside of the RV.

5. Medical Care

Traveling around the country is very fun when you’re in good health, but it quickly loses its charm when you’re sick and not sure where to find a good doctor. Check with your health insurance provider to determine if you will be able to find doctors that are in your network while traveling. Many plans are regionally focused, meaning that you must pay out of your own pocket for any doctor’s visits when you aren’t in your hometown.

6. Skills

Even the largest pickup truck handles and maneuvers completely differently than a massive recreational vehicle. Most RVers have to practice quite a bit to develop the skills necessary for parking and navigating such a large vehicle. Class A motorhomes, the largest models on the road, require special licensing. Taking a course at a nearby training facility will make it much safer and easier for you to adapt to these new challenges.

7. RV Camping

Your motorhome may seem like a fully contained living environment, but you need to be able to connect to power and water to enjoy the modern ammenities. Getting stuck between RV campgrounds will cause you to rely on a fuel guzzling generator or to go without television and a warm shower. You will need to plan your trips carefully to ensure you can spend each night at an appropriate location.

8. Communication

Signing up for a mail forwarding service is the easiest way to stay in touch with your bank or family and friends. Cell phones are the best option for RVers that enjoy chatting with friends. Many travelers also use them to connect to the Internet, utilize the ease of communicating via online social networks and as a tool for mapping, GPS, entertainment and travel planning, etc. RVers with smart phones quickly find them a priceless addition to the recreational vehicle.

9. Taxes

If you are taking seasonal jobs or telecommuting while you travel, you will still need to pay income taxes. This can be tricky when you don’t have a fixed address. Also, you will need to establish residency in one state, and the state you pick will determine if you need to pay state income taxes as well. Be aware of any tax issues that could disrupt the tranquility of your new lifestyle.

10. Loneliness

It’s easy to make new friends if you are outgoing, but introverted individuals may feel isolated and miss their friends and family. Consider how well you can deal with turning strangers into friends before you leave your established social life behind. Full time RVing is more accessible than ever before with the onset of the “virtual office” trend. The multitude of online networking tools are not only useful for social interaction, but for professional interaction as well. Individuals interested in the RV lifestyle should consult experts in their industry or research the matter through other RVers with more experience in the telecommuting world before deciding that they aren’t able to make the change

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2 Responses to “Living and Traveling in an RV: 10 Things RVers Must Know”

  1. Randy says:

    You have to know how much fuel is going to be before any trip. I am horrible at estimating pricing in combination with distance and mileage, etc. (Math never liked me much). I found an app on my phone that is brilliant, though. Fuelculator. You input your destination and what you’re driving and it estimates your costs for fuel. It’s perfect.

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