Are You the Full-Time RV Type?
Before spending hours researching the RV lifestyle, find out if it is for YOU!
If currently thinking about retiring to an RV, find out if the lifestyle works for you before you spend the money on a recreational vehicle that depreciates by the day. Don't give up that home that you love (and paid for) for a dream that might not work for you.
Take Steven Fletcher's Full-Timers Aptitude Test.
After many years on the road, Steven is knowledgeable about maintenance and human nature. His website, FRTV.com, is a resource for full-time RVers about full- time RVing and a guide to those who plan to be.
If the result is a passing score on Steven's test, then move forward with confidence. If the result cautions you to start small or perhaps travel only seasonal, pay attention to it. The test is designed to keep people from falling in love with an illusion. As you might suspect, not everyone is happy living on the road.
For the full-time lifestyle to bring joy and years of pleasure, your personality must be in harmony. This can be an expensive misadventure if it does not work for you.
After 20 years living on the road, my conclusions:
Find out if the lifestyle is for you by taking Fletcher's Aptitude test above.
If you have health issues, long-term travel may not be the right choice.
With insurance companies limiting out-of-state coverage, it may not be practical. Even with Medicare, changing physicians often can increase the stress level.
Buying a quality recreational vehicle is the first step to success. Paying for constant repairs destroys the pleasure and limits your confidence.
Always have an RV inspector perform a quality check before purchasing. See NRVIA.org for a list of certified inspectors, nationwide. If necessary, employ a local mobile repairperson, not your next-door neighbor. If a checklist is needed, download this sample from RVInspection.com.
Always start your full-timing adventure with a cash safety net.
Even though living on the road is more economical than other residential options, there are emergency expenses that can leave you stranded without a roof over your head. If a Social Security check is the only source of income, consider another option, unless you have a skill (or can develop a skill) that works on the road.
Make that first trip in the RV directly to a driving school.
Individual feedback tells us that confidence on the road is directly related to driving skills. YES, this includes you guys that have driven a car most of your life, and perhaps towed a boat or small trailer behind it. Besides, your partner needs to learn; do it for her. Most insurance companies give a discount for completion of driving school courses. It is only two days out of your life.
Let go of the old lifestyle and accept the new one.
If you have the income to purchase and support a RV with all the luxuries of home, drop the expectations and explore the world in front of you. The RV social scene is an equalizer. We all help and support each other, regardless of the size of the rig.
Working on the road for some skill sets is not as easy these days. However, workcamping is becoming more popular as resorts are learning about the quality of workers found among the full-time RV crowd.
As RV park rates skyrocket, more rules are in place. If you are thinking of towing a trailer with your tools of the trade, it may be harder to find a parking place than in the past. The large corporations that now own many parks are placing restrictions on who can work inside the park as an independent contractor. Just a few short years ago, most RV parks were like little villages, several vendors living and working their trade inside the park.
Traveling solo can lead to a feeling of isolation if you boondock most of the time to save money. Take the Aptitude test mentioned above first, and then decide.
Workcamping can help put you back in the social pool. Develop skills that work on the road before you start this adventure. If maintenance or landscaping is not your thing, use your computer skills. Learn RV park reservation software, like Campground Master, Campground Manager, or DigiRez (download tutorials). Put your education to work as a docent in a museum or inside a national park. Work for one of the national companies on a seasonal basis, for example, Camping World or Amazon.
See the section Working/Volunteering for more information.
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