This post may contain affiliate links, please read our affiliate disclosure to learn more.
A small parked camper with red chairs in the front

RV Living for Beginners

Updated on February 4th, 2024

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast or prefer a flexible, cheap RV living lifestyle, then there are a few things this forum will cover to help you decide the two. Despite the attraction of a mobile home, it’s essential to understand that RV living is an entirely different way of life that requires careful planning and attention to detail.

For Ease of Understanding, Cheap RV Living Can Be Divided into Three Phases:

  • Planning for RV living
  • Preparing for Fulltime RV living
  • Living the RV Life

Cheap RV Living Forum For Beginners

Think Rationally

Before embracing the RV lifestyle, you must evaluate your decision based on a solid reason. Are you someone who often relocates to different places? If yes, then you have a good reason for RV living.

Similarly, if you’re nearing retirement and want to travel cross-country, living full-time in an RV is also a great decision.

The lifestyle may also suit someone under financial constraints or simply looking to lead a simple and peaceful life away from the city.

Whatever the decision, remember that you should never base your decision on impulse and emotions. Don’t make the impulse decision if you’re not fully prepared to embrace an alternate lifestyle.

Family & Homeschooling

Careful planning is at the heart of the new lifestyle. Accordingly, It would help if you talked to your partner extensively about how you will deal with different situations.

If you have kids, get them involved in the decision-making process. Communication will help everyone embrace the journey without feeling alienated.

Homeschooling is another issue if you have children less than 18 years old. While children often like the idea of independent study, they often miss their friends.

Let your kids know they can make many new friends whenever they move to a new place. Share with them the joys and responsibilities of independent study.

If you have a pet, it’s time to re-think ideas on how the pet will manage new surroundings. For some pets, such as dogs, RV living is a dream come true as dogs love the outdoors and big open spaces.

The goal is to make everyone in the family comfortable and ready to enjoy a new lifestyle. If someone is uncomfortable with the idea, it’s your responsibility to create a family bond that lasts a lifetime.

A woman reading while laying down in a camper van

Take a Test Drive

It’s always better to test-drive your new life. Take a month off from your daily life and go out on an extended vacation.

For beginners, you can rent an RV to get the hang of the new lifestyle/living on the move. The time spent on vacationing will give everyone a decent idea of the potential challenges and joy of moving into a mobile home.

You can go to places where everyone in the family wants to go. This will allow the family to enjoy their vacation and get used to the surroundings.

Confident, it is also the best time to experience driving while hauling large trailers. If you’re uncomfortable hauling large trailers, split test-drive into two parts.

Get out there for a week to get the feeling of driving an RV. At first, it may seem awkward, but spending one or two days behind the wheel will make things smoother.

Eventually, you will realize that hauling a trailer is very easy if you’re confident in maneuvering the vehicle on tight turns and corners.

Once you’re comfortable, it’s time to go on a long vacation to experience the RV life.

Acquire a License, if Required

The next step is to read the local and State laws regarding license requirements to take an RV on the road.

Primarily, there are no strict rules for getting a special license; however, you must carefully read the requirement if traveling to different States and regions.

Visit the state DMV to check laws and regulations for motor abodes. Some large motor homes may require a specific license depending on the vehicle class. Make sure you have proper permits and licenses before you hit the road for the long term.

Backup Plan

You should have a solid backup plan if something unexpected happens. There are mainly three issues with RV living.

First, you need to realize that the RV can break in the middle of nowhere, so you will need someone to come out and get the vehicle back in shape. If the RV breaks down completely, you may need to return to the basic lifestyle that you were used to.

A potential medical problem may also force you to revert to conventional living; therefore, it’s better to ask your insurance companies how they tackle insurance regarding a mobile life.

Your kids or the pet may not feel comfortable with the new surroundings. The growing tension in a confined living space may tempt anyone to move back to a house.

Under these conditions, the backup plan calls for at least one year of savings, so you have enough financial resources to tackle an emergency.

The plan also calls for good health and an RV insurance plan that can address significant issues.

If you have a home, it may be time to put it on rent to earn a steady income for your travel ventures.

Nothing is better than earning an extra income and paying a home loan while traveling. If you decide to come back, you will always have a place to sleep.

Beginners Preparing for Full-time RV living

Selecting the Best RV

a couple relaxing outside their camper and reading

The type of RV you require will depend on your requirements. Usually, there are three types of RV in the market: travel trailers, fifth wheels, and motor homes.

If you are more into a camping lifestyle, a travel trailer can do the job for a single person or a couple looking for a straightforward and cheap outdoor solution.

Fifth wheels and motor homes are better options for those who want to enjoy the convenience. Fifth wheels are different trailers that are hitched to the bed of a truck.

They are larger than travel trailers, and these trailers are convenient for someone who already owns a truck.

The best choice for long-term RV living may be a complete motorhome.

The motorhome comes fully equipped to handle full-time living in an RV. In addition, you don’t need a separate truck to drive it; therefore, driving it is easier than driving a fifth wheel.

You’ll also need a small area to place a washer and dryer.

Understand the Terms and Conditions

It makes sense to understand a particular RV’s warranty and insurance policy. Due to the various models in the market, selecting a good RV for your requirement can often take time and effort.

Under such conditions, you should ask RV dealers questions regarding road coverage and mechanical problems in case of a breakdown.

Some RVs are not built for full-time use, so your insurance or road assistance company may not cover them. The safest solution is to buy a good RV that can offer you the value of an alternate lifestyle you seek.

A visit to a nearby RV retailer can often answer most of your questions regarding laws, licenses, insurance, roadside assistance, and emergency covers.

Downsize Your Belongings

You can only possibly put some things you own in a mobile trailer. To make things easier for yourself, you should only take the things that you need. For beginners, this makes RV living difficult!

Living an RV lifestyle will mean sacrificing things you love or want to be with you.

The best option is to sell most things and personal belongings to use the cash you may require for the new journey. If they aren’t sold, consider donating them to someone else.

You can also ask your family members to store your most beloved belongings in certain situations. It is also a good idea to rent a space to store your essential items.

You could use the extra cash from a yard sale to rent that storage space.

Establish a Permanent Address

An RV trailer doesn’t have a permanent address. To fulfill legal requirements, you need a permanent address where the authorities can send legal documents.

Nowadays, everything from getting a license to acquiring a student loan requires an address.

If you don’t own an apartment or a home, it’s time to ask one of your relatives to use their address for communication. If this seems awkward and complicated, mail-forwarding and virtual office companies can always help offer a permanent address.

Almost every such company has someone at their office to collect mail.

In the Internet age, it’s not uncommon for most mail forwarding outlets to send a scanned copy of your mail to your email address when required. They will also send mail or other documents to any temporary address.

You can get a permanent address for a meager monthly fee to meet legal requirements.

Select Your Mail Forwarding Company

It may seem strange, but an excellent mail-forwarding company can be a lifesaver if you decide to hit the road. Irrespective of the State, a reputable mail forwarding company can offer you many extra services.

For instance, many companies offer a fixed telephone number that you can use to get calls.

Whenever a call comes to the specified phone number, it will be automatically rerouted to your cell phone. Similarly, the mail forwarder will allow you to categorize your email by offering different options, such as forward, trash, hold, and scan.

Using internet access, you can log into your private office to deal with paperwork.

These companies can also assist you in shopping for items. The company will receive your items and send them to you at the address.

Switch to the Internet for Financial Transactions

When on the road, you want to ensure that your financial and banking transactions are in place. To work smoothly, start relying on the internet to do banking. Ensure you take internet privacy seriously, as the last thing you’ll want is a bank problem while RVing.

It means you should use an online bank to make transactions, transfer money, and do shopping whenever possible.

Similarly, keeping track of your bills using online banking is essential. Start paying your bills online to have a track record of everything.

Even though online banking may cost you a little extra, you can organize your financial transactions around your online bank.

It makes sense because you will have less paperwork to worry about. In addition, everything will be online, making it easier to keep a record of your capital, savings, loans, and other vital dealings.

Invest in WiFi

To stay connected with the outside world when living in an RV, beginners need a reliable Internet connection.

Although many RV parks offer Internet services, such services can be unreliable. To cope with the issue, invest in a reliable cell phone and mobile Wi-Fi system, also known as MiFi.

Just like your home Internet, WiFi also comes in a variety of different setups and plans. However, the most crucial factor to consider is the coverage area of the Internet provider.

a woman using a laptop

As you move around from one place to another, your provider should be able to cover an extended area.

The coverage area is critical to your success in adapting to RV life because your entire life depends on the digital world where you carry out your financial, shopping, billing, and legal transactions using the Internet.

In the United States, Canada, and Mexico, Novatel Wireless owns the MiFi trademark. The company has been successfully operating in the U.S. since 2009 and is considered a pioneer in its field.

Living the RV Life

Cheap RV Living Forum for Managing Your Income Sources

Unless you have hordes of cash in stock, you will need some income source to finance your new lifestyle.

Luckily, the Internet has offered a solution to the problem by offering various freelance jobs so you may earn a steady income from your home.

You can always use Amazon and eBay to sell goods to earn a high income. Your lifestyle will give you an advantage over others as you can seek different markets to find goods sold in lots.

Many of these wholesale markets offer an excellent opportunity for traders to find high-quality goods at a meager price.

Similarly, you can also find jobs to work at home, which includes alternate forms of income such as joining a direct-sales craft company or a home-based embroidery business.

If you love crafts, you can become an Etsy seller, which allows accessing global customers looking for great handy work.

Budgeting the Expense

Once you start RV living, you’ll likely eliminate significant costs, like home ownership. So you’ll no longer have to worry about paying monthly rent, mortgage, property tax, and certain utilities.

These expenses cost homeowners more than 50% of their monthly budget.

While you will be happy to eliminate the expense, your new monthly cost will revolve around your RV. As a mobile resident, paying RV insurance, the maintenance cost of the RV, fuel cost, and parking cost are the most critical components of the new budget.

Overall, the monthly cost of the new lifestyle varies from $1,500 to $3,500 per month, including utilities, expenses, rent, food, entertainment, and health insurance.

Depending on your lifestyle, you can save a lot if everything goes according to plan.

Cheap RV Living Forum On Selecting Parking Lots

Many public spots allow free parking for RVs if the land is zoned for the purpose. If you’re looking for a free public parking space, contact the Rangers office in the district to find a free parking place.

You may also use the internet to find such places but don’t rely on the Internet as the only source of information.

There are a variety of campgrounds and RV parks that offer to park for a fee. While the parking is not accessible, these places come equipped with the most basic facilities required to use an RV.

If you decide to use an RV Park, it is vital to conduct a detailed search because the quality of RV parks and accompanying services can vary significantly.

It’s easy to forget this one, but if you have a pet, you must ensure that the place offers a pet-friendly environment. It’s straightforward to get caught up with everything else and be optimistic that there’s nothing to worry about here, but it can come back to bite you.

Remember, this forum mentioned that RV living for beginners is full of cheap adventures and challenges. It is not for everyone; however, if you know what you’re going to do, it’s much more fun, simple, and cheaper than living in a permanent home. Hopefully, these tips gave you a glimpse of life in the trailer.

5 Pro Tips for Full-Time Stationary RV Living (Video)

Related Questions

  1. What are some key considerations to make when planning for RV living?

When planning for RV living, it’s crucial to consider the size and layout of the RV that will best suit your lifestyle needs, including storage, comfort, and functionality.

Additionally, planning for the financial aspects such as maintenance costs, insurance, campground fees, and fuel, as well as understanding the logistics of life on the road like finding reliable internet, managing power and water resources, and dealing with waste disposal are key considerations.

  1. How can you prepare your family, including children and pets, for the transition to RV living?

To prepare your family, including children and pets, for the transition to RV living, it’s crucial to involve everyone in the planning process, discussing the changes, setting expectations, and assigning responsibilities.

For pets, gradually acclimate them to the RV environment, ensure their medical needs are met, and plan for their comfort and safety during travel.

  1. What are some potential challenges of RV living and how can they be mitigated?

RV living can present challenges such as limited space, maintenance issues, and difficulties in finding suitable parking or camping spots.

These can be mitigated by adopting a minimalist lifestyle, learning basic RV repair skills, and using resources like RV-friendly apps and websites to locate appropriate places to stay.

  1. How do you select the best RV for your needs and lifestyle?

Selecting the best RV for your needs and lifestyle involves understanding your travel preferences, budget, and the level of comfort you desire.

Consider factors such as the size of the RV, its layout, amenities, fuel efficiency, and maintenance costs, and match these with your intended use, such as the number of people traveling, the duration and frequency of your trips, and the types of locations you plan to visit.

  1. What are the legal and logistical considerations, such as licensing and establishing a permanent address, when transitioning to full-time RV living?

When transitioning to full-time RV living, important legal considerations include obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, such as driver’s licenses and registration for your RV.

Additionally, establishing a permanent address can be addressed by using a mail forwarding service or a legal domicile like a family member’s address or a domicile state with favorable regulations for RVers.

"Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt."
-- John Muir
Scroll to Top