Thinking of full-timing? Some basic advice

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By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Thinking about becoming a full-time RVer? There are plenty of things to be considered. It can seem overwhelming. Where do you start? Here are some things seasoned full-timers recommend you chew on when making that important decision.

On “stuff” You can’t take it all with you. It comes down to a decision as to what’s essential for your new lifestyle, and that which isn’t. What do you do with the things you can’t take on the road?

Some RVers choose to rent a storage unit and pay to store their precious things. Beware: Storage often leads to deterioration because there’s no real good way to maintain a safe environment in a storage unit. Other full-timers have reported that after a year, two, or more, the stuff they squirreled away just didn’t have the same meaning to them, and they’d essentially wasted their money storing it.

Others have given heirlooms they just couldn’t see selling off to family and friends. Just be prepared that you may not see those heirlooms again. In our own experience, “precious” furniture just didn’t have the same value to some in our family and those things were soon gone.

Keep a “touch down” spot? Some who begin the full-time lifestyle either know they won’t full-time forever, or just aren’t sure. One couple sold off their home but obtained a piece of land for “just in case.” Keeping a house can be very tough — it puts you in the position of being an absent landlord. Being a landlord that’s close to the property is hard enough, but being a landlord who could be thousands of miles away is that much harder.

On the other hand, here are some “what-ifs” that could cause you to hang onto the old homestead, at least for a while, when first getting on the road full-time:

Suppose you find that living in the confined space of an RV just doesn’t “work” for you? Or that a medical problem crops up that severely limits — or eliminates — your ability to travel?

And since many of us “aren’t getting any younger,” what arrangements should you make for the time you may have to “hang up the keys”?

Good qualities for full-timers: A good sense of humor is essential — not only for getting along with your traveling partner, if you have one, but for dealing with those little situations that just seem to come up on the road. If you enjoy meeting new folks, it’ll keep you in good stead because your travels will take you into contact with plenty of them. Having a sense of adventure and a desire to learn new things will broaden your horizons and keep you feeling young. And even with modern GPS systems, it’s always a good thing to be able to read a map!

If you’re married, ask: “Do BOTH of you want to hit the road?” If one is half-hearted about the idea, you’re best to try some extended “vacation”-type traveling first. You’ll learn in a hurry if the full-time lifestyle is really right for both — and it has to be, because if half the party ain’t happy on the road, then nobody’s gonna be happy.

##RVT799 ##RVDT1338

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Beth
5 months ago

We don’t full-time, but travel as much as we can in the RV. One of the points to remember is, if you are full-timing, what will you do if your RV breaks down. Sometimes you can’t find any repair facilities, and then when you do find one, you have to wait weeks for it to be repaired. Where will you stay then, especially if you have pets? I remember reading about one full-timer who had to rent a hotel room for 6 weeks, while his RV was being repaired. Hopefully, you’ll have some maintenance skills of your own, so you can fix the minor problems.

Oliver
5 months ago

I’m soon to be 81 , healthy , wife 64 ..we have been working towards full time RVing for years.
We want to see the country, the mountains hills and deserts.

Some of you may think I’m to old to start my new life style.
I feel I’m just getting going.

By the way my wife is all for it..

Becca Ray
5 months ago
Reply to  Oliver

You’re only as old as you feel-set goals and get after them. Enjoy life to its fullest as long as you can.

TravelingMan
5 months ago

FULL-TIME:

Are your retired or still working?

For the retired, life on the road is a lot of fun. We never have schedules to keep. We go where we want, when we want. We spend within our budget (Make sure you have one!).

We sold EVERYTHING. It’s just stuff. I’ve never see a U-Haul or Brinks truck at a funeral. Nobody in the family will want your stuff. Nobody will give you 10% of what you paid for it. You will pay to throw a lot of it away. You will spend a fortune putting it in storage. If you buy another house some day, then buy back similar stuff for pennies on the dollar. Go to auctions and garage sales. Save a ton of money. Again, it is just stuff. You’re smarter now! No more full prices for you!

To keep base expenses down so that you can have even more fun, consider a generator and/or solar panels. Boondock where you can. Spend two weeks boondocking. 1 Night in town to flush your systems and restock perishables. If you want to remain in a camp, consider monthly rates. You can pay $45-55 (or more) for a nightly rate. You can spend $200-250 for a weekly rate. Or you can spend $300-500 (or more) per month depending on the resort you stay in. The point is that it is cheaper by the month. Even cheaper if you get a seasonal rate somewhere. We’ve seen plenty at $1500-$2500 a season. That can be 6-8-10-12 months at a time. We usually plan a year in advance of where we want to be next year. We travel about 4-5 hours a day when we drive.

Full-timing is what you make of it. If you want it to be boring, it certainly can be. If your adventuresome, this might be the right decision for you. We look forward to this lifestyle for years to come.

If you keep your house, add up the taxes, insurance, maintenance and upkeep.

If you rent it out, be prepared for damage, evictions, and management fees since you can’t from 1000 miles away.

If you think tax deductions will help, be sure to add it all up first. You may be un-pleasantly surprised. In about another 6 months to a year, the market will be a Buyers market. With all of the lost jobs, foreclosures will abound. Same with RV’s.They will be selling them by the thousands at deep discounts. Take your money now while you can (if you can).

If you get to where travel is getting hard due to medical reasons or other, then consider keeping your RV in a permanent park. It’s still cheaper than any apartment or house.

If you are still working, you are living a different Full-Time experience.

Denny Wagaman
5 months ago

Full timing sounds great when ones health Is OK. But when You start having health problems think about living in your RV when that happens.

If you sell your home to finance your full timing that is voodoo economics. I don’t care what anyone thinks. There will come a time that you realize you made a mistake!

Most full timers will tell you it’s great. But once in a while you will find someone that will say we sold our home and bought this RV, a few yrs later I developed Parkinson’s or whatever, we don’t have our home anymore, we don’t have our possessions, we will have to buy furniture plus all the other things, we will end up in a small apartment rental because I just can’t do this anymore either financially or for health reasons.

I suggest Keeping your home or downsize to a smaller place, buy a travel trailer that you can afford (less maintenance as it ages) A good used tow rig, RV during the winter OR travel for 3-6 months a yr And enjoy both worlds.

Don’t be froggy and jump into something before you try it for at least two yrs.

Do you plan to travel around or sit in one place. If you plan to sit in one place then you don’t need an Rv or a least as big as one for full timing.

If you have to sell Your home and get rid of our possessions To finance your full timing is it worth it?

Think ahead to 3- 5-10-15 yrs and If you have to quit RVing for health, financial or just plain old age Then what? Where will you live and how?

Another friend told me that we bought this RV and then came to this Resort and realized that we don’t need our RV because we like staying here In the resort during the winter then going home.

Oh well we didn’t sell our home have had 7 RV’s 3 different RV lots
that we didn’t really use because we preferred to travel and not sit too long in one place. Last yr my health kept us from traveling And we enjoyed being home 11 yrs after retirement. Will we leave next winter maybe maybe not.

So have I made mistakes when it comes to RVing yes! and big expensive ones yes! Am I glad we didn’t go full timing! Yes! Am I glad we didn’t sell our home and possessions OMG YES!! And YES again.

Five/Six months of RV travel all over the US was just right for us.

Good Luck to you IF you are feeling froggy!

😀

Mike Sherman
5 months ago

We stop for a week at a time, better rate on the campsite, more opportunities to experience the community, more days of rest after the traveling and setting up camp, and more fun to move like a turtle. You get to see more, experience more. We are never in a hurry.

Tommy Molnar
3 years ago

Once both my wife and I were retired (I beat her by about a year), we immediately started spending more time in our travel trailer. Weeks and weeks. No longer on vacation (as grumpyoldtimer mentions), we were on a ‘trip’. I keep my speed down around 57 mph. This gives anyone who wants to go faster a much easier time to get around us, and it brought my mpg up to 10-12. Both our moms are still alive (87 and 97) so getting too far away is pretty much out of the question. Someday when they are gone I see us spending MUCH more time away from the home-20. I’d love to get away from northern Nevada for the whole winter. Someday . . .

Common Sense GMA (Twitter)
3 years ago

Please don’t confuse Full time traveling with living Full time in an RV Park. They are two different set of experiences. Stationery RV is just like living in a mobile home park – no fuel to buy, no RV park to reserve, no highways to drive. The reason RV’s were originally built was to travel far and wide so when you say you are going Full Timing, do you realize what exactly what that means. Stationery or Traveling.

Sam Lunt
3 years ago

I’m not sure why people feel they need to get rid of everything in order to full time RV. But if you have a hard time getting rid of things such as heirlooms, but still need to get rid of them, I would suggest taking pictures of everything. It makes it a little easier. You will still have the memories every time you see the pictures and they don’t take up any room.

Robbie
3 years ago

Deciding what to keep and what to dispose of was our hardest task after deciding to go full time.

We’ve been full timing almost 12 years. We disposed of almost everything from the sale of the house except family pictures, grandma’s silverware, and a few things we thought we couldn’t or didn’t want to replace. We paid for storage….big mistake.

Tools were a problem because I had no idea what would be needed in our new lifestyle. I ended up selling them all except for a few “must haves”, but gave myself permission to buy any tool I actually needed. Nice having the new high-powered battery operated tools.. 🙂

After a year on the road, we tried to remember what was in that expensive storage area, and found we couldn’t remember what was there. When we returned to the storage area, getting rid of the rest was pretty easy. What we still couldn’t get rid of, we purchased a utility trailer, (with overhead vent) that we store in different places. (No storage fees easily paid for the trailer). Best of luck figuring it out for your needs.

Grumpyoldtimer
3 years ago

Once on the road, slow down both in your mph and days at one place. When one is on “vacation” there is the urge to pack in as much as possible. When fulltiming, one is “@home”. So, relax and stay at each stop for a while. Sit and read, take walks, do what you would when at the old sticks and bricks (at least the fun parts).
Relax, it’s not a race. You are home wherever you are. Enjoy it. Slow down!!!
That was our major discovery after going fulltime.

Chuck Woodbury
3 years ago
Reply to  Grumpyoldtimer

Grumpy Old Timer,

Great advice! Thanks!

Mike & Louise Bacque
3 years ago
Reply to  Grumpyoldtimer

Agree 150%! Our first summer of full-time RV life we went up to Yukon and Alaska and were back in 6 weeks, way too fast. We had read lots of comments from full-time travellers about slowing down but it takes awhile to “get in the groove” of our new chosen lifestyle.