10 things we learned from 365 days of living and traveling in an RV

We started our full-time RV adventure back in 2014. We wrote a post about a year in on what we learned after the first 365 days of living and traveling in an RV full-time.

I also wrote a book on Full Time RV Traveling With Kids: An Insiders Guide To Life On The Road, if you want to check that out!

We’ve had quite a year traveling in an RV. We sold our house and most of our stuff and moved into an RV. We’ve traveled to some really great places and made some really great friends. Check out what we’ve learned about this lifestyle and ourselves in general.


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***This post was written back in 2015 after we had been on the road for 1 year. It is now 2024, and we have since gotten off the road – due to our kid’s request.

We traveled full-time for over 8 years before settling back into a house in our hometown. You can read more about that here: Getting Off The Road After 8 Years Of Full Time Travel.

This post still brings a lot of value since it was how we felt after that first year. At the end of the post, you will see additional content we have written over the years and what our thoughts were after being on the road for 2 years, 3 years, and longer.

10 Things We’ve Learned Over The Past Year From Traveling in an RV

1.  We like the RV lifestyle!

To be honest, there were times when we weren’t sure about traveling in an RV. There are still times now and then – they seem to be farther and farther apart. Where we question this crazy choice we made. But it only lasts for a short time, and we are right back to being content and happy with our decision.

2. You REALLY don’t need 75% of the stuff you think you need when you live in a house

When we sold our 3000 square foot house, we sold almost everything we had. I could not believe how many plates, cups, and wine glasses we had!

Who needs 40 cups, and where did these all come from?! Not to mention all the toys, games, clothes, and everything else you fill your house with. I am being honest when I say we have not missed any of it.

3. Living in a small space really is easier to manage

Yes, the RV turns into a disaster when the kids are playing, we are making dinner, etc. But it is amazing how, in a matter of 30 minutes, it is all picked up, and with another 30 minutes, we could have the whole thing wiped down and cleaned, and it would only take another 30 minutes to do a deep clean.

In our house that is the amount of time I would spend in our Kitchen cleaning. Oh wait, that is right. Our whole RV is about the size of my old kitchen . . .

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Check out our post to learn how we made our Class A work for a family of 4.

4. We need to be in better shape!!

You know how when you go on vacation, you always come home and then feel like you need another vacation from your vacation to just relax . . . guess what? We never stop! The “vacation” just continues.

It really isn’t all a vacation but the whole process of moving (we move about every 1 to 2 weeks), familiarizing yourself with a new place, and experiencing new things. Happens all the time! It is great, but man, we need to be in better shape to be able to keep up with this lifestyle, our dogs, and our kids!

5. It isn’t all fun and games

There is a lot of stress involved in full-time RVing and not knowing where we are going to be staying next month. You can’t just say oh, I will wait and figure that out later. If you do that, you may not have somewhere to stay, or a place may be booked. So you have to plan ahead!

It is an RV or Recreational Vehicle – you know the saying: It is nice to know someone who has a boat. Since they have so many issues and are hard to maintain. Well, it is almost the same thing with an RV.

When you drive an RV, something always needs to be fixed or looked at. Yes, I know a house is the same way. But this is just another reason why this isn’t always a vacation – we aren’t visiting a hotel where someone takes care of everything. We have to maintain where we live.

And guess what? If the RV doesn’t work, we have a problem! We have to be able to move to the next place, so we have to be sure it works. I really took our local grocery store for granted! Do you know how hard it is to have to shop in a new grocery almost every week? Let me tell you it is a challenge!

Check out: Benefits Of Good Sam RV Roadside Assistance – It Is Worth It!

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6. We aren’t on vacation

This is a hard one to adjust to since it sure does seem like you are on vacation. I mean, most of the other people at the RV parks ARE on vacation. So they are having a drink and grilling out at noon on a Monday, and here we are having to work, do laundry, go grocery shopping, etc. Not to mention when you visit all these cool places you want to do everything.

But guess what, that is really expensive. And I mean REALLY expensive when you have 4 kids. So we have had to change our mindset to not always stay at the exact RV park we want but instead find the best-priced one. And that we have to pick and choose the things we do at each place so we can afford it.

Gotta love Google and being able to Google FREE things to do in a city! Plus, we have gotten some great memberships – National Park membership and the Reciprocal Museum membership.

 

7. Camping is EXPENSIVE

You think traveling in an RV sounds cheap and that there are so many expenses we don’t have. Well, that is true. But have you looked up campground rates lately?! Most of them are over $40 a night for full hook-up (have sewer, water, and electricity).

And if you want to stay at a State Park, they are still, on average, around $20 a night, and that usually only includes electric hookups. We quickly learned that we didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars a month on campgrounds, so we joined Thousand Trails.

It is a membership program where we pay a one-time fee to purchase the membership and then a yearly due. After that, you can stay at their campgrounds around the country for free for 3 weeks at one campground – then you have to move to another campground for 3 weeks and stay there for free. We could find TT parks all over the country and camp for “free” all year. This has been a great way for us to camp for less and lower our monthly burn rate.

8. There are so many AMAZING things to see and do!!

I was never that good at geography. So it is awesome now that when we talk about a state I know exactly where it is and everything about what it has to offer. And every state and city truly has something to offer. We still have so many places we want to see, and we haven’t even been out West yet.

This is by far one of the biggest highlights of doing this. We actually get to SEE all those places that everyone wants to see and has on a list, but not many actually get to see and experience all of them. We are lucky that we have been able to!

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9. You better LIKE your Husband and Kids

When traveling in an RV, you spend a LOT of time together – by that, I mean 24/7 52 weeks out of the year! Lucky for us, we all like each other. This is not to say it is perfect because it is far from it. But I feel so lucky to be able to spend all this time with them.

The bond we are building with each other is amazing, and that in itself is such a positive of doing what we are doing. We all know what the other one is into, how they are feeling, how they handle things, what they like and don’t like; we are truly immersed in each other life’s. Because there is nowhere to hide :).

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10. Making friends

We did not expect to make such awesome and great friends so quickly into this lifestyle. Yes, there are more crazy people like us out there traveling in an RV. It has been great finding them and connecting with them.

You know how fun it is to spend a weekend camping with your friends. Well, guess what? We have been able to do this for weeks on end.

The kids are seriously getting the Endless Summer, which is great for everyone! Not to mention all the great tips you learn from each other, the support when things go wrong, and having other people help plan where you are going next and what you will be doing when you get there!

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We can’t believe we’ve already been traveling in an RV for a year! We have no end date in site and plan on continuing with this lifestyle. There are so many places within the US and the World we want to see!! If you have ever thought about doing something like this or if you have another dream you want to do – GO FOR IT!!!

Stop thinking you will do it next year and do it THIS year!! I can’t promise it will be easy (or the right decision). But I can promise it will help you grow as a person and a family. And will help you know what you guys are capable of. Plus, it will clarify what you REALLY want to do with your future.

** Update:

As mentioned above, we are now off the road. You can read about it here: Getting Off The Road After 8 Years Of Full-Time Travel

Check out what we’ve learned in Year 2 of Traveling In An RV With Kids!! Plus, our post on how we made our new RV home on wheels.

We also have a full post that highlights what we thought after 3 years on the road and gives our tips after being on the road for 7 years: 99 Tips After 7+ Years of Full-Time RV Living

Throughout the years, we have lived in 5 different RV’s. From a Class A motorhome to a Class C Motorhome to a couple of travel trailers and now a 5th wheel. We wrote a post about our experience with all of these: Everything You Need To Know To Pick The Best Family RV

You may be wondering if full-time RVing is a way to save money . . . our take is it can be. But it also isn’t. If you want to get on the road and travel a lot, see a lot, and do some touristy things, you aren’t going to save that much money.

We have a post about what it costs us in the beginning here: Living In An RV Full Time: How Much Does It Cost?

We also have a lot of great content on renting an RV. If you think you want to do an RV rental and plan just a short RV trip before going all in on buying something. 18 Tips On How To Rent An RV [Discount Included] You can look at companies like Cruise America, but we recommend Outdoorsy or RVShare!

Things like RV insurance, TravelAssist, and other programs like that are always a good idea when traveling or living full-time in an RV. We have some info about that here: Benefits of Having Good Sam TravelAssist

If you are interested in boondocking so you can stay on Bureau of Land Management land for free, check out our boondocking post.

There are a lot of benefits to hitting the road for a year-long (or more) road trip in an RV. Not to mention that if you are traveling in an RV, you don’t have to use the public restrooms, plus you get to see all the awesome roadside attractions!

More RV Content

Here are some RV road trips we recommend:

6 Epic National Park Road Trip Ideas [Maps Included]

12 Epic Things To Do In Northern California [Map Included]

More RV-specific posts (for things like leveling blocks, wheel chocks, etc):

5 Best RV Sewer Hoses For Clean Camping

8 Best RV Wheel Chocks And How To Pick Yours

RV Stabilizers We Recommend

10 things We've Learned From Traveling in an RV for a Year
Bryanna


DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more info.

9 thoughts on “10 things we learned from 365 days of living and traveling in an RV”

  1. Hey! Great information! My hubby and I are working towards this goal for our family as well. In the process of downsizing and looking for our RV.

    I grew up with my parents having invested in Thousand Trails and we camped in different places every year. Well, all the kids are quite grown, but my parents have maintained their membership and we children are able to pay a small fee to have the exact same benefits as they have. Someday they will actually pass it on to us children through their will. It’s been a real investment for them.

    Well, they recently had the opportunity to upgrade their benefits. We now can stay at any location for as long as we like, without checking out after 3 weeks!! It’s a seriously amazing benefit. Might be worth looking in to since you’re already members. 🙂

  2. I just started our adventure in hollywood fl. Me and my 11 year old and three small dogs. Where to next? Is the class A safe and toad worthy 2003 monarc se workhorse. And where we are headed. Great tips thanks for the post . Also hear of boondockers happy trails everyone 💋

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