Top 10 Things To Know Before Full Time RVing 2017Selling everything you own and living in an RV is a tremendous feat. It takes courage and resolve, but you can do it! When we went through this process, we had no idea what we were getting into. Along the way, we learned quite a bit about the subject and decided to share it with you. A smart person learns from their mistakes, a wise person learns from other people's mistakes. You can learn from ours...
- Choose the right RV the first time.
A small RV may be great right now but you might need something a little larger one day. And bigger isn't always better when it comes to RVs. Big rigs offer more storage and living space and the neighbors may "ooo and ahhh" as you drive by, but that monster won't fit in many campgrounds. Let's not forget the cost to maintain that machine. For us, 24' is perfect. The layout of your RV is paramount, don't sacrifice on this issue. Take into consideration how you will get in and out of bed, how small the bathroom is and where it is, how many steps to climb to get into the RV, etc. Buying the right rig the first time is much cheaper than trading down the road.
- You don't need all that stuff.
You need about 8 outfits so you can do laundry once a week. You won't need THAT many shoes. You won't use all those kitchen appliances you had in your house. Most gizmos marketed for RVers are either useless or simply not necessary. Wait until you are on the road a few months before buying anything, this way you'll know exactly what you need and you won't waste any money. If you haven't used it in a year, get rid of it.
- You can't postpone cleaning up.
Everything has a place and everything must be in it's place. Anything that is not in its place sticks out like a sore thumb and will get in your way. You don't have the counter space or sink capacity to let dishes stack up, plus it will attract ants. Clothes that come off must go directly to wherever you found a spot for a dirty clothes basket. Trash gets taken out almost daily, sometimes multiple times a day. Clean laundry must be put away immediately because you'll need that basket for your dirty clothes. If you wait 8 days to do laundry, you'll be doing them in your jammies.
- Be proactive about pest control.
If you see one ant, he is just the scout. He will go tell the other 244,000 ants in the mound that you haven't done the dishes yet. Kill him. Use long lasting spray in every nook and cranny you can reach. Use powder outside around any cords or hoses that come from the ground up to your RV, and around your wheels. Turn on all the lights in your RV after dark, then go outside and see all the places critters can get in. Don't forget underneath your RV. Fill all the holes and gaps with RV sealant, expanding foam, etc.
- Be very handy or have a large repair budget.
Check for leaks, often. Look under sinks, behind the toilet and under the tub. Also, check your roof. If you catch a leak early, it is an easy fix. Replacing a rotted out floor or wall is not. Swap out the cheap plastic fixtures for quality faucets. If you have an index finger and a thumb, you can do this. Keep a roll of Eternabond and a tube of Dicor with you at all times. Just about everything in the RV is relatively easy to fix if you are handy, have a small tool set and an RV repair manual. Otherwise, you'll have to pay someone to do it for you and that will not be cheap.
- You don't need most memberships.
Thousand Trails, Escapees, Coast to Coast, etc. None of these are necessary and belonging to any of them actually restricts you. After all, full-timing is freedom and having to stay at certain parks and/or during certain periods puts a damper on that. We use Passport America as we travel around and we also have the Federal Access Pass. Heck, we don't even need a Sam's Club or Costco membership because we don't have room to store anything in bulk.
- Roof Mounted Accessories
Anything you mount on the roof of your RV will have limited use depending on where you park. Satellite dishes require line of sight so be prepared to park out in the open. A portable satellite dish will allow you to park in the shade and still get signal. Solar panels requires sun and lots of it. To get your money's worth out of them, you have to park away from any trees or other obstructions. We do our best to not be anywhere it is too hot so camping in the sun is not a big deal for us. And our solar panels allow us to camp without shore power for extended periods.
- Finding campgrounds is not that hard.
You don't need a huge book as those tend to be fairly useless. We had one the first year on the road and we never opened it, not once. We use our laptop and our smart phone to find places to camp. National Parks, private parks, COE parks, destination parks, etc... all the info is online for you to freely use. When it is time for us to move, we look for parks in the area we want to go and when we find one we like, we call them to ask questions. We never make reservations except for places like Disney and Yellowstone, and we make sure to be settled in days before any major camping holiday.
- Cell and Internet Options
Did you know that Straight Talk from Walmart uses Verizon's network? Lots of resellers won't say whose network they use but if you ask the clerk, they will generally tell you. You can get great service without a contract if that's what you need. We needed reliable cell coverage and reliable data coverage so we went with Verizon. We use one device, our Android smart phone, for cell and internet access. We have a Wilson Sleek to boost signals in weak areas. If you have an Android smart phone, check into rooting it. A rooted phone gives you full access to the phone's capabilities. Google it if you want to learn more, it is not something we can explain on this page.
- You have all the time in the world.
Don't rush to be anywhere. Why force yourself into a schedule you just got free of? You don't have to see everything the first year, or the second year. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination. And the best advice I can give anyone is this... stay off the interstates. Take the secondary roads and really see America. Trust me on this one.
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