Reader Letter: What does “full-time RVer” mean?

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Dear Chuck,
Is there a definition of a “full time” RVer? The reason I ask is that I have noticed the term being used many ways. Examples of statements made by different people:

They say, “We full time” and then we find out they live in a New England state, store their RV in Florida and “full time” for two weeks nearly every year.

Some are more definitive when they state clearly that they “full time” every summer.

And then there are those, like my wife and I, that didn’t claim to be “full timers” until we moved out of our “sticks-and-bricks” house to make our RV (30-foot trailer) our home – wherever it is parked.

This discrepancy really isn’t a serious problem, but it is a minor one. When we’re talking with an RVer who says he or she are “full timers” and we ask where they plan to spend the next winter and they say “home in Michigan.” We ask “Why would you choose to RV in a Michigan winter?” Their answer “Oh, we are leaving our RV in Florida and will be in our home in Michigan.”

This confuses me. I wonder how they can live in one state and have their RV in another state more than a thousand miles away, yet still be RVing.

I had thought the “full time” meant that one lived in their RV full time, that the RV WAS THEIR HOME.

My wife and I go home every night – wherever it is parked.

We still own the house we used to live in in Northern California, but it hasn’t been our “home” since we moved out almost three years ago. And we never plan to return. Why sell a house in California when the rental income is more than a thousand dollars a month more than the mortgage payment – taxes and insurance included? — Sam Crabtree

Dear Sam,
I hear the term used differently, just as you do. To me, if someone says they are a full-time RVer, then it means they live in an RV full-time, as in ALL THE TIME. Nobody knows how many people are living that way, but estimates are as high as a million.

I do wonder, though, if someone who lives in an RV full-time in one place year-round, is a “full-time RVer” or simply someone whose permanent home is a recreational vehicle. Many people who buy RVs these days do so to live in, not to travel with, the vehicle. To me, someone who lives in an RV park year after year without moving is not an RVer at all, at least not as a person who uses it for recreation.

Anyone who lives in their RV half the year, well, I don’t think he or she can claim to be “full-timers.”

But like you said, it’s not really a big deal. It’s just words. —Chuck

##RVT965

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Coralie Myers
8 days ago

It is my understanding that some insurance companies look at full-timing differently. Some consider RVing 3 months or more out of the year as full-timing. It is important to know this so you don’t get a surprise if you need to make a claim and the insurance company decides you didn’t have enough coverage.

Vanessa Simmons
9 days ago

I was full time for almost two years and now I am seasonal. I will spend three or four months on the road, three or four at home, etc. Full time is not having a S&B but you could have a piece of property that you park on and serves as your home base.

Jeff Craig
9 days ago

Is someone who buys an RV but leaves it parked somewhere (like a roadworthy version of a Park Model) a full timer, or a ‘roadsteader’?

For my money, if you sell/move out of your ‘sticks and bricks’ home, and ‘hit the road’ in an RV then you are a ‘full timer’. However, if you buy an RV and leave it at a resort during the ‘off season’ while you return home, and it only moves for maintenance or to take a weekend trip, then you should consider yourself a ‘roadsteader’ (like homesteader, but roadworthy). As my wife points out, you can, however, be a ‘Part-Time, Full Timer’, when you split your time between travelling in your RV and your permanent address.

The rest of us, who live full time in our ‘fixed base’ (house, condo, etc…) and use our RVs on weekends and family trips are still just ‘Weekend Warriors’.

Last edited 9 days ago by Jeff Craig
KellyR
10 days ago

Hmmm. I never gave much thought to the term “full timer”. We go to occasional events. We do a 5,000 mile trip every year. BUT our class B is my every-day-driver. I guess that is about as full time as one can get. Maybe I am a full-timer too? 🙂

Bob
10 days ago

In the 1970’s to 80’s my father would sell a new motorhome to a retired couple that would pack it and leave to full time. He would say “I give them two years most”.
Now RV’s did not have the size or amenities you see today, nor were there parks that were true resorts as today. I don’t remember any of those folks making it the whole two years, finding that travel is tiring and the RV was not so comfortable. Now today this has definitely changed and I feel as though I could full time successfully, but with all the life changes aging brings, I just never stepped out there. Still a romantic thought.

Fred
10 days ago

In my opinion, the term “full time rver” should apply only to someone who travels for a major portion of each year & the rv is the only home they own. People who own a sticks & bricks home, that they spend any time in, are not fulltimers. Also, people who only travel back & forth between one place in the south & one place in the north each year, or live year round in one place with their rv, are not true fulltimers in the sense that they are not living the “rv lifestyle” of travelling, exploring, & experiencing all the wonderful things this country has to offer. Their just living in a mobile home that can be moved a little easier than a traditional mobile home. People who work full time & travel from job site to job site in an rv, like oil field workers, are not really full time rvers either. They are workampers. Those who work remotely on the internet from their rv, but are still travelling & seeing the sights are fulltimers. Just my opinion.

chris p hemstead
10 days ago

To me, fulltime does not mean living in an RV park and going to work.

Traveler
10 days ago

“Boondocking” is another word defined by the person using it.

Shannon
10 days ago

Our plan is to become Part time RVers. We own a home in AZ, bought and paid for so we’ll winter here in AZ. During the summers we’ll hit the road. We’ve talked about Full time and have said we might do it one year but AZ is so nice in the winter and family and friends are here so we will become Sun birds when we are able to hit the road.

Jeff Craig
9 days ago
Reply to  Shannon

‘Sun birds’ made me laugh! I have so many friends up here in Seattle that look forward to being ‘Snow birds’ down there, but never really thought about the reverse when Arizona and Texas residents come up here.

Last edited 9 days ago by Jeff Craig
Hook-n-Haul
10 days ago

My wife and I are “Full-Timers” because we have lived in our 40′ fivers “All The Time” 24/7/365 for the past 19 years. Don’t have a house – don’t want a house. We do however spend the winter season parked on property we own in SC instead of traveling. Is full-time RV Living different than “Full-Time RVers”? In the end I think its semantics. We’re happy with our lifestyle whatever it’s called.

Bob
10 days ago
Reply to  Hook-n-Haul

I think if you travel, then stay extended times in certain parts of the country in your RV, that qualifies as full timing.