RV Living VS Living In A Sticks And Bricks – Our Experience

Now that it has been almost two years since we lived, worked, and traveled full-time in our RV, we wanted to talk about the biggest differences we see between RV living and living in a sticks and bricks (a house).

Family in front of a Keystone Arcadia 5th Wheel

We full-time RV’d for eight years, the last 2 of which were in our Keystone Montana High Country 335BH fifth wheel! Since getting off the road, we have sold that rig and downsized to a smaller fifth wheel: a 29-foot Keystone Arcadia 248SLRE, which we took to Alaska on a two-month road trip last year!

Related: Getting Off The Road After 8 Years Of Full Time Travel

Ok onto our perspective on the differences between living in an RV full time and being in a sticks and bricks (house).

Free Time

2 couples sitting in front of their Keystone Arcadia 5th wheel

Living in a stick and bricks, our free time has gone from 100% to what feels like nothing. OK, not quite 100%, but sometimes it feels like that! This is also based on how we have chosen to live our lives in our sticks and bricks.

But needless to say, it is a major change. Our days went from a wide open schedule to sports schedules, school schedules (even though we still homeschool – a lot of the kids’ friends go to school, so it makes us much more aware of the school schedule), and just the daily schedule of 9-5 people.

When we were on the road, most of the other families we traveled with didn’t work a traditional 9-5 job. This meant that for most of us, our day started around 10 a.m. or later and went until 10 p.m. or later. Living in a society where everyone is on the 9-5 work or school schedule changes that.

People aren’t out and about until 10/11 pm on a school night. And not even much on the weekend since they are so tired from their week of living the 9 to 5 life.

In any case, this is on us, and we could change what we choose to do in our time and who we hang out with. But the big reason we got off the road was so our kids could play sports and get a taste of what this “normal” life is like. So here we are.


Keystone Arcadia RV in front of mountains with Dad and 2 kids.

It is so much harder to travel when you live in a house. Here is why:

Packing – we used to have everything we owned with us whenever we traveled so there was no packing or worrying we would forget something. We just had to ensure things were put away, get unhooked, and off we went.

Related: The Ultimate RV Packing List To Make Your Trip A Success

Commitments – Now that we are in a sticks and bricks, we have a lot more commitments between sports, work, and other things we are doing (playing in a women’s soccer league, trivia night, etc.). This means if we are going to leave for vacation, we have to check what feels like 50 other schedules to see when we can go.

Note: For some reason, sports schedules are not released until a week before the season starts, making it even harder to plan!

Hotels – With a family of 6, there aren’t many hotel rooms that can accommodate us. This means we must either get two rooms or only look for hotels with suites. This gets expensive and limits our options.

Luckily, we have our Keystone Arcadia 248SLRE, so we can still go on RV trips!

Planning – Now that it is a trip and not our lifestyle, it feels like there is so much more planning, and it is harder to fly by the seat of our pants.

Related: 40+ Helpful Tips For Planning An RV Trip

Random Places – when you are traveling full time you find yourself visiting and spending time in places that you wouldn’t go if you only had a week trip planned. From smaller cities around the US to random stops – those don’t fit as well into our travel plans anymore. This is unfortunate as we enjoyed visiting these places while traveling full-time.

All this to say, we miss the ease of travel that living full-time in our RV gave us and are still figuring out how to fit spontaneous, off-the-beaten-path travel locations into our new lifestyle.


picture of a 5th wheel with wallpaper and pictures.

We always loved making our RVs feel more like home, from simple upgrades like wallpaper or paint to more extreme ones like removing couches and tables and replacing them with what we wanted.

Given the size of the RV, it was “easy” to update the whole thing and be done with it. In a house, there are so many more rooms, and even though the house isn’t moving – which makes some design and remodeling a lot harder – I am finding it harder to remodel the house since everything feels like such a big project!

I really thought this would be fun in a house, but the projects seem so much more daunting!

Related: Fun And Simple RV Remodel Ideas For Your 5th Wheel

Campground Life

2 couples hitting their drinks together in a cheers in front of their Keystone Arcadia.

I would describe our life on the road and living in campgrounds as an endless summer in the 80s. Everyone was outside, not just the kids but the adults, too.

You could walk down the campground street and stop to have multiple random conversations with whoever was outside. The kids would run barefoot from RV to RV and enjoy being outside from sun up to sundown.

This is very different from living in a subdivision. Yes, there are times when people are out and about, but for the most part, they stay in their houses with all their doors closed.

I am glad our kids had this childhood but now really miss having all of our friends right next door for a quick coffee break or happy hour!


2 kids in front of a lake with a forest and mountains

There is something magical about living your life, always changing where you call it “home.” There is magic in exploring new places you have never been as a normal part of your life. If you have never had this experience, you don’t know how to miss it. But if you have, you miss it – a lot!

I am a firm believer that there is magic in everyday things, too. And it is up to us to find that magic. The thing is, when you are living full-time on the road, magic finds you a lot easier and more often.

This has been hard to find and replace. On the road, we didn’t quite understand or appreciate all this magic and the ease with which it entered our lives.

We are still working on this and figuring out how to include it in our normal life. I do believe it is possible we just need to make it more of a priority and put more effort into it.

Living Unconventional In A Conventional World

Family in front of an RV at the picnic table.

We are in a sticks-and-bricks subdivision in a normal city, but we aren’t on a conventional schedule. The kids are still homeschooling, so we aren’t totally on the school schedule. Craig and I are still running our businesses, so we set our work schedules.

But it feels like our whole world now operates on the 9-5 schedule. People go to bed early and get up early. Kids can’t do much on a weeknight due to activities and having to get up early for school. It is different.

We prefer to go to bed late and sleep in. But by the time we are ready to get going, half the day is over for most people around us. Plus our kids are playing sports at the schools so their practices start at 3 or 4pm.

It is different. It is an adjustment. For 8 years, we were a late-night family, so it is hard to change that.


Family jumping in front of the Alaska Highway sign with their RV in the background

Living on the road full-time meant we couldn’t do things like have the kids play on sports teams or build relationships with friends who weren’t always moving. Plus, there are a lot of benefits to having a house, and there is a sense of peace in it.

But we miss it. We miss life on the road, the ease of travel, and the magic of exploring new places that living in an RV gave us.

More Posts You May Be Interested In:

Keystone Montana – 7 Owners Share What They Love About It

RVs For Families: How To Pick The Right One

RV Checklists To Make Your Trip A Success

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Difference between RV living and living in a house from a family that traveled full time for 8 years and now live in a house.

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