We started our full-time RV adventure back in 2014. Here is a post we wrote 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, 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 lifestyles and ourselves in general.
Featured Membership: Harvest Hosts
We love our Harvest Hosts membership! You get unlimited access to farms, breweries, wineries, and attractions across North America. With a membership you can stay overnight at these businesses and in return you are just asked to support the business by doing a tour, buying a bottle of wine, etc. Click here to learn more.
Featured Membership: RV Life Trip Wizard
We love using RV Life Trip Wizard to plan our RV routes. It has campgrounds, points of interest and gas stops. Plus as you plan your route you can figure out what it will cost you with campsite costs and gas cost calculations. Click here to learn more.
This post was written back in 2015 after we had been on the road for 1 year. We have now been on the road for over 8 years! 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 totally honest when I say we really 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 . . .
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 a 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 there is always something that 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!
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 electric) .
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 hook ups. We learned quickly that we didn’t want to be spending 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 just find TT parks all over the country and just camp for “free” all year. This has been a great way for us to camp for less and to 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!
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 do 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 others life’s. Because there is no where to hide :).
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 and it is great for everyone! Not to mention all the great tips that you learn from each other, the support when things go wrong, and having other people to help plan where you are going next and what you will be doing when you get there!
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 we still haven’t been within the US and the World!! 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 give you more clarity of what you REALLY want to do with your future.
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 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:
More RV specific posts (for things like leveling blocks, wheel chocks, etc):
- 29 Unexpected Things About Full Time RV Living With Kids - August 30, 2023
- 9 Best Campfire Starter Kits For Your Next Adventure - August 28, 2023
- Tips On Visiting All 5 Cinque Terre Towns [Map Included] - August 28, 2023