Living in a RV full time has become very popular over the years as the quality of RVs has increased. The RVs today
are homes on wheels providing all of the comforts of home, and they are mobile which allows people to enjoy the
outdoors and travel around America seeing all of the great destinations that our parks have to offer.
Fifth Wheel Magazine has four members of the magazine team who live fulltime in their 5th wheel, so we have a good understanding
of what is needed to fulltime in an RV.
Living in a RV full time does have some challenges which become apparent when you do not have a fixed address.
Some of the challenges we will discuss below are how do you get your mail, how do you get packages delivered,
how do you establish a physical address to get a drivers license and what is the best RV to use for full time living.
The Best RV To Live in Full Time
The best RV to live in full time comes down to two choices. A motor home or a Fifth Wheel RV. We do not take into
account Travel Trailer RVs as most Travel Trailers are designed for holiday camping and lack the quality needed
to live in full time. When you live in a RV full time the RV is subjected to all sorts of weather and you
will need an RV that is well insulated and well constructed. The RV is going to be traveling extensively so you want to
be sure that the RV you choose is capable of extended traveling. All of the major appliances in the RV are going to be
used daily so they need to be able to handle that. You will also need an RV that preferably has the black and grey
holding tanks as well as the fresh water tank up in the belly of the RV where they are protected from cold temperatures
and freezing. Because you will be traveling extensively you need an RV that can be driven or towed without using a lot
of gas, as gas consumption will be one of your major expenses each month.
One of the benefits of living in an RV full time is that you can get out and explore the attractions in the area you are
camping in. A Fifth Wheel RV provides the ability to unhitch and then the tow vehicle can be used for exploring.
If you intend to explore a lot, then a 4x4 truck should be used for towing the 5th wheel as that will provide you
with the unique ability to get off-road and visit areas that only a 4x4 can go. There are also beach camping sites
where a 4x4 towing a 5th wheel would be able to access easily.
If you are researching buying a Fifth Wheel or a truck to pull a 5th wheel Subscribers
access to custom tools to help make researching and finding a truck easier. Our
Subscribers Fifth Wheel Owner Data Tool
shows 5th wheel makes/models, 5th wheel weights, Miles Per gallon, and which truck brands and sizes are
being used to pull these rigs by 5th wheel owners. There are also 6 pre-selected trucks shown that can handle most 29 to 38 foot 5th wheels. Our Free Truck Finder Tool
search trucks that can pull Fifth Wheels, and our
Free Tow Calculator
shows if a truck is over weight when hitched.
The key to selecting a 5th wheel for full time living is to not go to big on the size of the Fifth Wheel. You will
not be able to get a huge RV into boondocking areas where there are dips in the road to access the boondocking
areas. Lots of 5th wheel owners only find this out when they try accessing a boondocking area that requires
the RV to go down a wash and up the other side. Because of the length of the RV, the rear of the RV gets caught
on the top of the dip and will either get stuck or cause damage to the RV. Many State Parks cannot accomodate
huge 5th wheel RVs so you lose out on some prime camping spots that are much cheaper than private RV parks.
When you are boondocking you will want to get
away from the crowds so you need an RV that can access areas other boondockers cannot get to with their large RVs.
How To Get A Permanent Address When Fulltime RV Living
When you are living in your RV fulltime, you will need a permanent address that will allow you to get mail,
obtain vehicle and RV insurance, be able to vote and to get a drivers license. The way to do this is to signup with
a mail forwarding service like the Escapees Mail Forwarding Service.
The mail forwarding service will provide you a permanant address that you can use to become a resident of the state.
All of your mail will go to this address and they will forward the mail, or scan the mail and send it to you.
The two states that you can establish residence in are Florida and South Dakota.
Living in an RV Camper in The Winter
As we discussed above a RV camper that is subjected to very cold weather has to have black and grey holding tanks
in the belly of the RV camper so that they are protected from freezing. The potable water tank also needs to be
protected from freezing. There are Fifth Wheel RVs that have all of their tanks up in the belly of the 5th wheel
where they gain warmth from the heat being generated inside the RV from the onboard heating system.
Insulation inside the 5th wheel is very important for cold weather living. You want the heat to stay inside the
RV as much as possible. Some Fifth Wheels do have dual pane windows installed which helps considerably with heat loss,
as windows are one of the main areas where heat loss occurs as well as being one of the main areas where heat comes
into the RV on very hot days. If you are living full time in an 5th wheel then it is very beneficial to choose a
Fifth Wheel that has the dual pane windows installed.
You are also going to want to make sure that the heat installed in the 5th wheel can be run off both propane and
electric. It is common for RV parks to have power failures in bad weather and you do not want to be inside an RV
with no heat when it is 12 degrees outside.
One of the benefits of a Fifth Wheel in cold weather is that you can hitch your 5th wheel to a truck that has 4X4
and that will help you tow the 5th wheel in bad weather where snow has accumulated around the RV and you need to
move the 5th wheel. Because you can unhitch your 5th wheel you will have a truck that has 4x4 to get to the store
and to travel to in bad weather. If you are using a motor home, there is a good chance you will not be able to
travel in snowy conditions and any heavy snow means you will not be getting out of a RV park.
Other considerations for living in a 5th in winter is to ensure that you clear snow off of your slides as much as possible
as a few feet of wet snow can get very heavy once it starts accumulating on a slide.
Living in an RV Full Time in a RV Park
There are RV retirement Communities that cater to people who own an RV and want to settle down in an RV park. You can stay
in the park monthly or yearly and the park offers activities and normally a pool, fitness area, club house, golf course and other
facilities. There has also been a surge in RV communities that provide small homes next to a large RV garage. This way you get to
park your RV but have a small home to live in. Normally these communities have a pool, golf course, club house and daily
get togethers for the residents. Depending where you choose a long term RV park the costs range from $300 a month to $800
a month, with the more high end parks costing more. These types of communities differ from your traditional RV park as they cater
more to the residents of the park as a community and they market themselves as being RV park retirement communities rather
than just an RV park where people come and go daily.
Living in an RV Full Time Cost
Depending on your lifestyle living in an RV can be much cheaper than living in a residence. You do not have many of the costs
that are associated with a home. No mortgage to pay, often no high electricity and utilities fees, no home owners association
fees, no yearly property taxes and none of the costs to maintain a home. The costs for living in an RV full time will vary based
on how much you travel and which RV parks you choose to stay in. Daily RV park costs can really add up especially if you are staying
in RV parks charging $45 to $60.00 a night. This is where your choice of size of RV can really make a difference. If you have an RV
that can fit into State Parks, they are much cheaper than private RV parks. Most State Parks limit the time you can stay in the
park to 14 days but there are a lot of State Parks to choose from. If you are going to full time in an RV it is better if you
are able to purchase an RV outright and not have the monthly overhead of an RV payment. This normally means that you do
a lot of research and find a good used 5th wheel or motorhome that you can afford to purchase.
Your main costs associated with living on the road are going to be gas, your RV and tow vehicle insurance, food, RV site payments, medical insurance
and any miscellaneous costs for the upkeep of the tow vehicle and the 5th wheel RV.
When living in an RV full time is is a very good idea to have some reserve funds available just in case there is an unexpected
mishap that you will money for. A breakdown on the road can mean hotel stays while the tow vehicle or Motorhome is repaired and there
is always something that can break on an RV that will cause you to suddenly need some cash to fix.
If you are traveling fairly extensively a conservative estimate of $2000 to $3,000 a month is what the average full time RVer will pay
to live on the road over a month. This can be reduced if you limit eating out, which is very costly, and choose your RV parks carefully.
There are full time RVers who pay less than this but they tend not to travel as much and will try and stay on public lands that are free.
There are clubs and memberships whereby you can get reduced RV Park rates but these need to be chosen carefully as not all memberships
are honored by RV parks. There are also State Park passes where you buy a pass for a year and then you get free or reduced fees
on camping in State Parks and you do not have to pay to enter the State Park. These State Park passes are gold and can really save you
a lot of money in camping fees. If you are over a certain age like 65, you also get reduced rates in State Parks.
Many State Parks will not have full hookups so it very beneficial to have solar installed in your 5th wheel RV or to always carry a
good dependable generator with you.
Living in an RV Year Round
One of the benefits of living in an RV year round is that you can take advantage of the different States weather. When it is cold
you can move to a warmer climate and when it is hot you can move to a cooler climate. Unlike a house if there is bad weather moving
in it is easy to hitch up and move out of the way. Hurricanes and other bad weather are easier to deal with when you have a house on
wheels. There are 5th wheel RVs that are made to be all season RVs, meaning they have been manufactured to be able to accomodate
both hot and cold climates.
Full Time Living Tips
Some of the tips provided by full time RVers are the following. When you do go full time, try and get on the road with the least
amount of debt possible. To fully enjoy the lifestyle you do not want to be worried with debts that you might not be able to pay
once you are on the road full time.
Choose the correct RV for you and the family. Make sure it is not to big but that it is comfortable to live in. One of the biggest
mistakes people make is choosing the wrong RV to live full time on the road. If you do make the wrong choice you can correct
it but it does cause you some problems to get rid of one RV and then buy another one. It is better to buy an RV when you
have plenty of time to make the decision and a place to stay, like your home before you move into the RV.
Make sure that you have actually RVed before hitting the road full time. Moving into an RV and living full time one the road is a
life changing event and it is not for everyone. Some people do well on the road all the time and some people prefer a community, a home
and not moving around. Many new full timers say it takes a while to get used to waking up in different places all the time.
One of the biggest challenges that can arise with full time living is that you and your spouse are in a confined space for long periods
of time. It is essential that you enjoy each others company otherwise problems will arise. If you are traveling with kids make sure you
understand what will be involved with living in an RV. Home schooling, rainy days where the kids cannot get outside and a small living
area can get stressful.
Make sure to build an exit strategy into your full time living plans. If you find out that you don't enjoy full timimg you need
a way to exit the lifestyle. Once you have sold your house and all of your belongings and moved into an RV it can be hard to
find an exit if you never thought to plan ahead.
Living in an RV on Your Own Land
Having your own piece of land can be very benificial for full timing in an RV. Because you already have a
home that is mobile you are able to purchase a piece of cheap land that allows RVs to be parked on the land
and does not require a residence to be built on the land. Finding land that is zoned for an RV can be a challenge
but there are states that do allow RVs to be used as the main residence. Most states like New Mexico and Arizona
offer zoning like this. It is much more difficult to find land in the Eastern United States that allows an RV to be
the main residence on the land.
Having your own land means that when you are not traveling you have a place where you can park and live in your RV and not have any
monthly fees that you have to pay. This can reduce your monthly costs considerably. RVers have been able to purchase land
very cheaply and there is land for sale from $4000 upwards. The land is cheaper because it is normally remote and there
are no utilities on the land. Since an RV can be self contained with solar installed, there might not be any need to
have electricity on the land, which is another large cost saving. One thing you will probably need on a piece of land you
purchase is a water supply. There are RV owners who use water harvesting to get a supply of water and that can be beneficial
if drilling for water is not an option. Water harvesting means that rain water is accumulated and stored for later use.
If you do a search on water harvesting you will find information on how people
go about storing water on remote land. You will also need to check if the county where the land is located actually
allows water harvesting, which sounds ridiculous but there are in fact counties that prohibit water harvesting.
One of the other benefits of having a piece of land is that you will then have a physical address to use for things like
getting a drivers licence in that state. If you are a full time RVer you still need to get a physical address as without
one you cannot get a drivers license and you cannot be a resident of any State. If you don't have a physical address
it is also very difficult to get any type of insurance for your RV and tow vehicle.
Full Time RV Jobs
There are full time RV jobs to be had while on the road but these jobs do not always pay very well and some do not pay anything.
Below are some of the jobs that you can find while living in an RV. Most Full Time Rvers use jobs like the ones below to get an
an infusion of cash to keep on traveling and do not work these jobs constantly.
Workcamping Full Time RV Jobs
Workcamping is one type of job specifically for full time Rvers. Campgrounds both State and private need people to help with
cleaning in the campground, checking people in and arranging activities for guests. Many of these types of workcamping jobs
will give you a site in the campground for free and some will pay a small hourly wage. The benefit is that you do not have to
spend money on a site for the duration you work in the campground.
Amazon Full Time RV Jobs
There are other full time RVing jobs like working for Amazon
during their busy seasons. Amazon will give you a free site and will pay you an hourly amount to work in their warehouse picking
items for shipping. Some people will work for a month or so at Amazon to accumulate some cash to keep traveling.
Here is a link to the Amazon Hiring Information page:
Amazon Hiring Information
Beet Harvest Full Time RV Job
There is also the Beet Harvest that lasts for about a month and pays fairly well if there are two of you who can work.
The work involves working in the winter and is mainly outside all day harvesting beets. Your work would include helping offload
the hundreds of trucks that will be transporting beets to a central point where the beets are offloaded onto conveyor belts.
It is long hours in cold weather and can be physically challenging. Two people working for a month would be able to earn around
$9,000 and more if you are willing to work overtime. Here is a link to the Sugar Beet Harvest Information page:
Beet Harvest Information
Gate Guarding Full Time RV Jobs
Another full time rv job is working as a gate guard for oil fields and fracking sites. Most of these jobs are in Texas and
require you to live in your RV at the gate which can be very remote. The company will provide water and a huge generator for your
RV. Depending on how busy the gate is you either get to work a lot or not so much. Your job is to check in all of the trucks
that come to the site. Make sure they are supposed to be there, log their plate numbers as they go in and as they go out of the site.
This normally requires two people to work shifts as the gate can be busy all day and all night. A couple working a job like this
can earn approx. $4,000 a month. You can do a search on RV oil Field gate guards to find out more information about this job.
Here is a link to an informative blog post about Gate Gaurding and how it works by a couple who worked as a Gate Guard.
The best job for full time RVers would be to work remotely for a company while they travel. This means that you would need access
to the internet constantly and that the access you have is fast enough to do your job.
How To Get Mail When Living Full Time In an RV
The Escapees Mail Forwarding Service enables you to receive your mail, no matter
where in North America you travel. When you subscribe, you’ll get a unique mailing
address in Texas. You then give that address to anyone who sends you mail or packages
by US Postal Service, UPS or FedEx. (They also offer addresses in South Dakota and
Florida for legal domicile purposes.)
Escapees receives and holds your mail (including packages, certified, and registered mail) for you.
When you’re ready to have your mail forwarded, just call, email, or send them instructions
online with where you want them to send it. They will mail it out to you the next business
day. If you’ll be in one place for a while, you can even ask them to forward your
mail on a regular schedule.
With optional Mail Scanning service, Escapees will scan each envelope as it arrives, and notify you by
email when you receive new mail. You can then view the scanned envelopes online
and specify whether you want each item forwarded or destroyed. We can even scan
the contents for you if you request.
Anytime you want your mail forwarded, just give Escapees the address online, by email, or by phone.They will
send your mail the next business day by the most economical method, email you the
tracking number if there is one, and deduct the cost from your postage deposit account.
You can also instruct them to ship your mail on a specific day, or to use Priority
Mail, UPS, or FedEx if you prefer. The choice is yours.
Escapees Mail Forwarding Service