Saturday, December 2, 2023


How do you feel about your RV life compared to your expectations before you began RVing?

Now that you’ve been RVing awhile, how do you feel about the lifestyle? Is it everything you dreamed of, or maybe even more rewarding than you ever imagined?

Or are you disappointed? Did you picture yourself camping in the wide open spaces — along the seashore, by a beautiful lake, or in the desert far from another human?

But did it turn out that you’ve spent a whole lot more time holed up in RV parks, squeezed in with dozens, even hundreds of other RVers, with the scenery pretty much reserved to admiring your neighbor’s lawn furniture?

Let’s see what readers think. Please answer the poll and then leave a comment. Thanks.


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Bonita (@guest_241501)
5 months ago

I am indeed slightly disappointed. I just bought my 2015 Aliner Scout on April 17 2023, took a two-week cross-country trip (2842 miles round-trip) and now it’s stowed in my garage until next trip in August. It’s a wonderful camper, tows like a dream, inside is like a cute little cottage, just perfect. BUT two aspects have really been a surprise — the accessories and maintenance costs add up quickly, and the physical work involved (it’s just me doing it all) has been quite eye-opening. I’m afraid I may have gotten in over my head.

Dan M (@guest_240640)
5 months ago

Overall it’s pretty much what I expected jumping into full timing. It’s a small space but I get to take my bed, bathroom, kitchen, etc with me as I travel around for work. I did expect to get slightly better fuel economy, I didn’t expect the camper to be quite as shoddily built as they actually are, and there have definitely been some unexpected learning experience. But overall I think I’m about even on the better than I expected and worse than I expected parts.

I was really worried about finding Campground space in the winter but things worked out in a way that that ended up not being an issue in the slightest. I got to stay in one spot for a few months over the winter and conveniently had a campground with a good monthly rates and full hook ups right there. On the other hand, I wasn’t expecting things like the bedroom door falling off (it was just hung from the thin plywood ceiling not a rafter) or the fridge not being screwed in.

Dan M (@guest_240641)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dan M

That said, I was coming from moving from hotel room to hotel room for work, and having spent hundreds of nights tent camping in every conceivable type of weather with scouts and family, so I already had a lot of camping and living in a small space with minimal things experience. While I have less floor space than a hotel room I actually have more stuff than I could bring when it all had to fit into my truck. I was already used to having to find lodging last minute and drive long distances from work. I’d never stayed in a camper before I bought mine, but considering all that I had a pretty good idea of what to expect and how to make it work.

And honestly, I love it. Always having my own space, being able to fix things to my standards, getting to sleep in my own bed every night, wherever I go. I may still be paying it off, but it’s more “mine” than an apartment or hotel room and it certainly feels more like home than I’ve had in a long time. If I changed jobs and stopped moving around I think I’d try to find an RV Park and keep living in it, I enjoy being so efficient with my space (though I do wish I had just a bit more storage that could fit larger items, haha).

Andrea (@guest_240506)
5 months ago

We began tent camping 30+ years ago, moved through 2 popups and have traveled in a 17′ travel trailer since the fall of ’14. We take multiple trips a year, 1-2 weeks (mostly), for a total of 6-7 weeks. The TT has pretty much proved to be what we expected, but we had plenty of other camping experience, which is really what we mostly do.
We began making reservations for most campsites in the mid-90s, when the American SW became a popular destination, after getting shut out once too often for FCFS.So really, that part has not changed in 25+ years.
In some places, the campgrounds, yes, are more populated, and with what we often call the “casual camper” – those who want to get away, but have no notion of being respectful that they are not the only ones there, or that the place doesn’t maintain itself. We have always encountered casual campers, just a few more these days.

Bob Walter (@guest_240360)
5 months ago

Before Covid, it was enjoyable except for high gas prices ($4.00 + per gallon).

Now it’s hardly worth the hassle with campground crowding, long reservation times, lack of prompt service centers, and ridiculous prices overall.

If I were not already in the game, I’d take up golf!

John the road again (@guest_240351)
5 months ago

It’s everything I anticipated, but what I didn’t expect was how much my wife would enjoy it. That makes it even better.

Mike (@guest_240340)
5 months ago

Like anything else… it’s what you make of it at the moment and place!!!

Sven Yohnson (@guest_240328)
5 months ago

Having been active in the hobby for 50+ years the disappointments are few, and the pleasant surprises are many. Yes; many of my old favorite boondocking locations have been developed over the years, but that just forces me to find new ones. I am fortunate to live in an area of the country with low population density, and an abundance of wild land. It’s not that I’m anti-social, I just prefer wild/dry camping, which usually includes fishing. I think those most disappointed, and disenchanted with RVing haven’t learned, or have forgotten how to “rough it”. I am amazed at how many fear the solitude of wild places.
My most memorable adventures have also been the most calamitous. Embrace adversity! What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger (and makes for a heck of a story, that others will envy). 🙂

Neal Davis (@guest_240326)
5 months ago

When spent a lot of time RVing with DW’s parents and rented RVs before buying and traveling alone. I guess we had pretty accurate expectations of RVing before we started.

KellyR (@guest_240325)
5 months ago

I guess that our only expectations, then and now, are to have a safe place to pull into for the night.

Roy Davis (@guest_240314)
5 months ago

Having grown up RVing, I’m not sure how it could be anything unexpected. I already knew that this life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. However, RVing has dramatically changed over the past 60+ years. FHU sites were unheard of back in the 50s and you were lucky to have a 20 amp electrical option.

Mary (@guest_240309)
5 months ago

We are still living in our travel trailer in an RV spot on our daughter’s property. After 10 years on the road and camp hosting, health issues forced us to retire from working and traveling. We miss the lifestyle and our host friends and ranger staff. We loved the comradery, challenges and change of scenery that full-timing provided us.

Gil Coale (@guest_240296)
5 months ago

I voted that it is pretty much what I expected, however after fulltiming for over 20 years, It certainly has changed drastically. The costs, the campground’s population and respect for property has changed.

Kurt Shoemaker Sr (@guest_240294)
5 months ago

The boss and I enjoy traveling to locations to see things we have heard about. We like staying in our RV rather than a motel room.

Robert Nelson (@guest_240290)
5 months ago

We started out with a tent many years ago and gradually worked our way up to a travel trailer. We would what I would call travel camping , staying a few days at each place. It was a lot easier years ago because we never needed reservations, even in National Parks. Now it’s just a lot tougher to do that. Still today we meet so many great people . Still living the dream !!!

Jim Johnson (@guest_240288)
5 months ago

I don’t view us as ‘campers’ in the traditional sense. We have a FAR better social life at our winter location than we do in the summer at our home. Same friends winter after winter; and like us, the only fixed things in our schedule are medical appointments – retired and no kids to get to school. We use a much smaller TT for the migration and exploring. It’s like having a ‘rolling hotel room’ which especially with pets makes for MUCH easier travel. The pets see the same ‘hotel room’ every stop and their stuff is always in the same spot, ready for use.

Kaeleen Buckingham (@guest_240286)
5 months ago

It was VERY rewarding before Covid. Now it is too hard to find a camping spot. I really cannot say about expectations since I have been traveling in some sort of RV since a very young child.

Will B. (@guest_240274)
5 months ago

To a degree…. there should be another choice: “I didn’t have expectations that would result in being disappointed or overly pleased.” Things *can* be exactly what you make them.

Spike (@guest_240273)
5 months ago

Since I started as a youngster nearly 60 years ago taking trips in the family pickup camper, I guess I didn’t have any expectations! None that I remember, anyway. All I can do is compare “then” to “now.” I will say that the type or luxury level of the RV doesn’t seem to have made much difference in meeting expectations over all those years. It’s the time with family & friends around the camp or exploring new, beautiful, and interesting places that makes the experience what it is.

Last edited 5 months ago by Spike
Vince Sheridan (@guest_240247)
5 months ago

RV’ing was a bit disappointing versus whatever fantasy I originally envisioned. I had not considered how much logistics would consume my day. Where will we fit not just to camp but to get gas. Literally having to plan dry camp length and locations primarily on RV dump distances. Using RV Life, Campendium, AllStays,, Passport America, Reserve America, The Dyrt and dozens more apps to find parks and then using Google Earth so we wouldn’t reserve a site that couldn’t fit a tent. Arriving to a park to discover the site you reserved has a 6 degree slope and needs ridiculously cribbing if you’re hoping for level. Trees along the country road look great in pictures but will scratch the hell out of your coach. Lastly, sharing 5 acres in a park with 50 other RV’s is far more crowded (and common) than I expected.

Bob P (@guest_240265)
5 months ago
Reply to  Vince Sheridan

Didn’t do your research?

Will B. (@guest_240275)
5 months ago
Reply to  Vince Sheridan

My first thought is “how often are you relocating?” For us, we tend to try to stay somewhere a month. This might be because we’re still working full time and a relo day (or 2 or 3) can be a real beat-down.

James (@guest_240277)
5 months ago
Reply to  Vince Sheridan

Vince, Agree with you.

SteveAustin (@guest_240239)
5 months ago

We enjoy meeting up with friends to enjoy some time together in the outdoors. What I don’t enjoy is constantly having to fix things, the poorly-performing refrigerator and HVAC, and other issues with the quality of my relatively new (2023 model) fifth wheel trailer. It seems like it spends more time in the shop for warranty work than it does camping.

Bob P (@guest_240266)
5 months ago
Reply to  SteveAustin

Should’ve bought used!

Wayne C (@guest_240302)
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

And use YouTube university to learn how to fix it yourself, after the warranty has expired of course.

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