How to Start Fulltime RVing

There are a million ways to accomplish moving into a life of fulltime RVing. This is a task that will vary wildly by time, budget, and willingness for anyone who wishes to partake. This was a streamlined process of how it worked for us. We will keep updating it as we get more information,

  1. How do you want to travel/what is reasonable for your lifestyle? There are quite of few things you want to be sure of before you choose this lifestyle. Here is a list of ideas to think about, but there are much more.
    • Do you like living in small spaces?
    • Do you like the outdoors? Chances are you will be spending a lot of time outside your RV.
    • Can you reasonably afford it? Realistically look at what you are spending, and what you would be spending less on, or extra on, in an RV. You may not have rent or a home payment, but you will likely have an RV payment. If you get a fifth Wheel or Travel Trailer, you will most likely need a truck (unless you are stationary, or hire someone to move it for you which can also be pretty expensive). If you are going to be traveling frequently, make sure you estimate fuel cost so you aren’t too surprised by this later. Also, food can cost a lot more in the middle of nowhere, especially meat, produce, and alcohol.
    • If you have a significant other coming with you, are they on board with the idea? This is definitely not a lifestyle to be half-hearted about, if you are cohabitating in a small space, you will want to make sure everyone is really on board.
  2. Decide what type of RV: It is important to go to shows, walk through RVs, maybe even rent one just to see what it is like. Just like buying a home or a car, you don’t really know what it will be like until you have experienced it. YouTube Videos of walk-through tours can provide a lot of help when you have started to figure out what features you want or need. Here are some of the features to consider:
    • “Bunk Houses” a floorplan which usually includes bunk beds for friends or children (typically children). Also great if you want a pets area or storage area.
    • “Island Kitchen”- a floorplan that has an island in the kitchen which is usually very helpful, but sometimes it takes up a lot of space too.
    • “Rear Living or RL” – Living room floorplan that is in the back of the RV.
    • “Front Kitchen or FK” – Kitchen is in the front of the RV
    • “Front Living or FL” – Living room is in the front of the RV
    • Outdoor Kitchen- we didn’t think we would need this, and we don’t really, but it would have been nice. Often these are located in the “bunk room” behind or under a bed.
    • It is rare that anyone but us would use our bathroom, as campgrounds and RV parks generally have them or people use their own. If someone needed to use yours, do you want your own dedicated bathroom and a half bath for guests?
    • TV Placement- this seems trivial but it deserves consideration. Many Toy Haulers do not have couches or recliners that completely face the TV forcing you to sit with your head sideways or not sitting straight. My husband and I both had experienced considerable back pain and it was important to us to be able to sit comfortably. Changing where a TV is in an RV is not always easy.
    • Does it have Washer/Dryer Prep (water connection and dryer vent), and is that important to you? We do a lot of laundry having two large dogs and with hiking, exploring a lot, were not as gentle on our clothing. Our washer and dryer have likely paid themselves off in the first 8 months of owning them. Lots of places have coin wash that is much faster then an RV washer and dryer, so that is always an option too!
    • Length- We have not had any issues with our 40ft long fifth wheel. That being said, if we stayed in campgrounds more frequently or in national parks (which we will experience more of soon), this could become a big issue. Sometimes they don’t have sites that can accomodate a 40ft rig.
    • Gas or Diesel- If you are going the Class A, B, or C route, consider wether you will need to extra power of diesel or not. Diesel is the byproduct of producing gasoline and often costs more than gasoline. The reason people usually choose a diesel is because of power. If you will be going up and down in elevation frequently this is an important consideration, especially if you are towing a vehicle behind you. In the mountains, you will likely need the extra power as you go up and the air becomes thinner. Also, diesels will not loose power at higher elevation like gassers will.
  3. Financing: It was much easier for us to get an RV and Truck Loan then it ever was to get a home loan. We ended up going to Camping World, we had tried several dealerships and they had the model we wanted. Financing took about a week total. John was a fulltime student/part time worker and I was a fulltime worker when we found the truck. The truck was a normal vehicle loan, and we got the truck first. Realistically, everything hinged on being able to get the truck or not, and we found a dually in our price range. Once we had the truck we began looking for a range of fifth wheels that meet our criteria. Once we found a good deal on one from the list we picked it up.
  4. Downsizing: The second you think rving may be a good option you need to start assessing what you use and what you don’t, and then what you could give up. For us, we dedicated a less traveled room in the house and started to moving the supplies we would need for the RV, or things we had to have in the RV period in there. Once we had the RV in our possession we began moving things one box at a time. We still moved way more than we needed, and ended up down sizing more later. The remainder of things in the house were divided into four piles:
    1. Going in the RV – weight and size play a huge roll. Make sure you are not being overly redundant but have enough. One example is cooking items, try to find things that will work for any style of cooking, you use frequently, or are small and lightweight.
    2. Storage – heirlooms, family items, photos, furniture you aren’t ready to part with. There is no shame in needing to store something until you figure it all out, and you may not figure it out. For us, we stored things that we could use if we ever moved back into a house. It would be a sparse existance but they were items that would cost too much to rebuy or had meaning. We tried to limit ourselves to only storing things that were not replaceable.
    3. Sell or donate – this pile can be painful. For many people, including ourselves, to see the extra items that we didn’t need but wanted hurt. Once everything going to the RV or storage was removed we had an estate sale and sold everything else we could. Consumerism is easy when you have a bigger space that can contain it all. Once the extra stuff was gone we felt a lot better. It did not feel good to see how wasteful we had been, or the amount of stuff that we thought we needed. Sometimes there are things in this pile that you did need in a home, but you just won’t need while traveling.
    4. Trash – This pile also didn’t feel good to make. Anything we couldn’t sell we tried to donate or trashed it.
  5. Settle into the RV: This process could take a month or longer, for us it took about three months. We were taking all of our extra time to go through things and sell what we actually didn’t need. We also took a lot of time downsizing the storage room we had rented, in order to get cost down and secure items properly. Once you get enough stuff out and reorganized, you can figure out if you need a larger or smaller storage room. This will save a lot of money in some cases. We have noticed some “shaming” happening in RV communities, being critical of those with a storage unit. Everyone is at different points in their life and have different reasons for wanting or not wanting to keep items. There is no harm in keeping a storage unit in our opinion. We left things that would help us setup a house again should we “fail” at RVing. We will likely revisit this later and figure it out.
  6. Downsize, again: The last step is one we repeat pretty much every time we move, but we are still new to RVing in general. Living in an RV breaks the habits quickly of the consumer. Buying food, supplies, clothing, or trinkets all add up to weight and space. If you want to travel fulltime, it’s a good idea to do this step a few times. Eliminate as much weight as you are comfortable with. If you buy something, get back to your RV, and realize it is not going to work or you may not actually need it, return it. This will get more money then reselling it, so long as its suitable to return.

Starting this process can seem like an uphill battle. We started by joking about RVing and not believing that it was possible. We got a lot of encouragement from other RVers and it was a great decision for our lives. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions, concerns, or things to add. We respond as quickly as we can. Thank you for checking this out!

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4 thoughts on “How to Start Fulltime RVing

  1. Sue Siegle says:

    We are planning on RVing full time after my husbands daughter graduates. Which is two years. I wish it was sooner. Do you have an advice on what we should be doing to get ready for the change?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hebard's Travels says:

      Do you already have an RV? There are a few things you could start now either way. If you don’t have one, I would start going to shows and figure out what you will be comfortable traveling with and narrow down the budget for what price range you are looking for. Also keep in mind that in February/March dealerships will want to move the previous year models off he lot which means significant savings for your family. We saved about 1/3 of the cost this way. I would wait to buy until it is closer so you can save the storage fee, and it will still be under warranty when you start out.

      Starting to sell things you are not wanting to keep now will also save you money. We had a couple of months and had to take what we could get. You have time on your side with that one. Anything you are wanting to let go of, I would start listing on eBay, Craigslist or Facebook.

      Lastly, I would start looking at your states taxes/registration fees. Washington, Texas, Florida, South Dakota, and a few more have really good tax benefits for having a domicile in those states. We lived in Kansas and they raked us over the coals for this. They were not RV friendly. If you are wanting to go that route you will need to probably buy the RV in one of the tax friendly states, register it in that state and make sure you have a setup a domicile in that state. There are lots of great resources to read about this. I know Technomadia really puts out a lot of great info about it.

      Hoping this helps the planning phase! It’ll be here before you know it. Happy Travels 🙂

      Like

  2. Craig says:

    I like your ideas and commentary. Well thought out and used a common sense appreach. Now that you guys habe been doing this for a short while, when advice would you tell yourselves 1 year ago? Would that advice havebchanged a decision? I love what you guys are doing! Keep it up and we’ll see you soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hebard's Travels says:

      Hi Craig! I don’t think I would have done anything differently. I wish I had known more about battery maintenance, that was the biggest fix we have had so far. The manufacturer ended up paying for that one so it’s all fixed now.

      We have been really fortunate with the RV we chose and things we researched before. We endlessly researched before jumping in, and I think that really helped.

      Thanks for the encouragement! Let us know if you recommend any changes, we’re still so new to this, we just hope this is what people want to know.

      Like

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