Thursday, September 21, 2023


Why many more Americans will choose RVs as their homes

By Chuck Woodbury


am starting to wonder if the next “big thing” for countless millions of Americans is to buy an RV to live in rather than live in a sticks-and-bricks home—the kind with a permanent foundation, that cannot be moved—which is what most people live in today. The same applies to residents in other areas prone to natural disasters—floods, tornadoes, hurricanes…

Here’s why I’m thinking this.

In the past few weeks:

News stories discussed a new program in California that helps homeowners in fire-prone areas afford homeowners insurance. Apparently, premiums in some areas have tripled or the insurance has been canceled altogether—the fire risk is too high. Some residents can no longer afford to stay.

So why not just buy an RV? That’s my question.

Face it, today’s larger rigs are as comfortable as most homes. When a fire or other disaster threatens, head outta town. Marcus Lemonis, Camping World’s celebrity CEO, will sell anyone with some level of creditworthiness a cheap RV with low 20-year payments. Buy it, drive it away—home sweet (affordable) mobile home. Hey, if your finances get really bad, default on your payment. Ya think the Repo Man will find you?

Soaring apartment rents

Another news story discussed soaring apartment rents around the country. Associated Press reported that in the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, median rent rose an astounding 19.3% from December 2020 to December 2021, according to a analysis of properties with two or fewer bedrooms. In Miami, the median rent exploded to $2,850, 49.8% higher than the previous year. How can people just getting by afford that?

High home prices

Yet another story discussed the incredible increase in home prices. A new housing development about two miles from me—about eight homes on postage-stamp-sized lots—is advertising price tags “starting at $2 million.” Just a month ago, the sign at the entrance said “starting at $1.6 million.” When the project was announced a year ago, prices started at $1.3 million. I’ll bet three years ago similar homes would have gone for half of that. If you don’t own a home now in the Seattle area, you’ll pay through the nose to get one (after a bidding war that will send the price soaring). And it’s the same all over the country, at least in the big cities.

Could you live in this? Most people, we believe, would answer “yes.”

RVs: Everything you need in a home

My daughter, Emily—the editor of this newsletter—attended the recent Seattle RV Show. “Everyone was gathered around the Class B motorhomes and vans,” she told me. That makes sense, we discussed, with the high interest among Millennials and younger folks in stealth camping, boondocking and “overlanding.” Emily said she was struck at how livable the big fifth wheels were. “They have everything you’d find in a nice home,” she said, mentioning recessed lighting, big-screen TVs, heated floors, washers and dryers, and wine coolers!

And then there’s street camping

And then there are the unfortunate people who are among the poorest of us, who can’t begin to buy an inexpensive home or even pay modest rent: They’ll scrape together $500 to buy a junker RV they can park on a street or in a city-sanctioned “Hooverville” where they can squat for months on end, sometimes, alas, in squalor. If I were one of them, I’d praise the Lord for a roof over my head—a whole lot better than sleeping in a tent on a city street.

In 1900, at the turn of the 20th century, 40 percent of the U.S. population lived in an urban area, while 60 percent lived in a rural area. By 1990, only 25 percent remained in a rural area with 75 percent living in the big city. If more and more of us start moving about in “mobile homes” instead of staying put in a city or the country, will the Census Bureau need a new category called “Both”? Don’t laugh: There are a lot of folks out there right now (we know them as full-timers), who can live in the boonies one day, and in a big city the next.

What do you think? Please leave a comment. Be civil, please.

Why exists and where you fit in: “RVs don’t break down. RV roofs do not leak.”



  1. I agree; however, I think works for street campers, but local governments will fight these trends with ordinances making life difficult. Stealth will be the strategy to survive. As for those renting spaces in RV parks they will be fighting the huge growth in RVs being made and sold. This is overwhelming the available RV parking spaces needed. This is good news for camp ground/RV park owners. This in turn will motivate investors to build more RV parks just outside the city limits of cities. There’s only one solution. Buy a piece of land (lot etc) to park it own, so you can freeze those parking costs. Also, RVs do not pay property taxes. Structures on those lots will be taxed… Add to this trend inflation and high fuel costs. This will make it painful to keep moving if you’re a Class A RVer.

  2. My wife and I purchased a RV in 2010 and while we have upgraded to a nicer one we have never ever looked back to buying another house. Once our kids left to either get married or go to college we no longer saw a need to keep our house. Our RV is a 40 footer with 3 sliders and is plenty of room for my wife and I. We love RV living because it offers freedom to move to another state or neighborhood if you need to. No more houses for us.

  3. I consider what I live in as a mobile apartment. I do not consider myself to be an “RVer” or a “camper”. Most of the folks in the park I live in think the same way. We live for months or years in a park/campground holding down a “regular” job. My last job was as a cashier. Prior to that I worked for Home Depot. My daughter is a supervisor at a local store and has been for 3 years. For me, like many others, “RV” does not mean “recreational vehicle”, it means “RESIDENTIAL vehicle”.

  4. I bought a RV 2 years ago, just for that very reason. It keeps me from being homeless, I own my home but with the rising utilities cost compounded with rising cost of property taxes. These at home cost are around a $1000 dollars a month. And I don’t even have a mortgage. I can see why people are switching to RV living as I will in two years when I retire. The cost to own a home or pay rent superceded the average American citizens ability to sustain. The American dream has changed to just surviving. So sad.

  5. To suggest anyone default on payments and commitment is shameful. People that default cause prices to rise for the next honest buyer so dealer can make up the loss. Cannot believe you wrote that.

    • I agree with Beth. Let’s keep our conversations “above board”. RVers already take a lot of negative criticism from their families and so-called “friends”. Imagine if we started reading that RVers default on RV payments. I know you meant well and you are forgiven.

  6. My wife and I have been full-timers for almost 9 years. We love it! It’s simple, cheap, low maintenance and very flexible. We have no desire to go back to a stick built home.
    We live in a Northpoint by Jayco. It’s about a 45 foot long 5th wheel with 4 slides. We started in a cheap 32 footer with 3 slides we purchased used for $16k. We loved that also!

  7. We see this happening more and more. I run an RV Dealership. Interesting change over the last couple years. We don’t see it changing back. There are certainly still plenty of weekend campers with expendable income buying and financing RV’s but the full-time living RV buyer is growing.

  8. We sold our house April 21 of 2021 for 40k over asking. Got into being full time rving and haven’t looked back at housing or seeing about getting a apartment. We enjoy the more freedom of an rv. We have an 42′ 5th wheel with 4 slides, 2 bedroom, kitchen island, washer and dryer.

  9. I’m disabled. I lived in Nashville TN renting house until the city decided to “add density”. So I bought a nice travel trailer and suv right before 2020 covid19 summer travelers turned to rvs. Right in time to find a good long term camp ground. The rent here has gone up 2 hundred dollars. I’m looking for a new Campground before the next rent rise prices me out. I love the community I have found on the campgrounds and I love the minimal lifestyle. I’m being forced by my caregivers to apply for low income housing which two is extremely sparse and the very last thing I ever wanted. I do have a good support system but for those who don’t well it’s got to be horrible.

    • Torrey, if you like Arizona weather, there is a place called Caballo Loco Ranch & RV Park, outside Tucson, Arizona. The rent is about $1,000 a year for dry docking, NO KIDDING, and for electricity, sewer, and water it’s about $500 a month, or less. This area would be perfect for a retired veteran since the big base Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is just 45 miles north of this place. I was stationed there many moons ago and I still like the weather there (instead of Florida) and the surrounding areas! It’s on Youtube.

  10. I think the price of renting an apartment and the price of buying a home, those prices have become outlandish, ridiculous, incredibly expensive. I think it is terrible. So, yes, I do see an increase in RV living as an alternative to those high prices. From squatters in cheap old RV’s to ultra high end RV’s, it seems like the popularity of RV’s will increase. I think it is incredibly sad, the high expense of housing.

  11. I spent several months in Quartzsite in my car, camping. I met a number of people in vans, RVs, and cars. Yes the nomad life is appealing to many more. I am back home to sell my house and buy a van. I don’t want to use over half of my income for house payment and bills. It is pricey to be on the road (gas, fast food, incidentals) but not as bad as house payments. And how much do I need? I have 1000 sq feet, a garage and a big yard. It’s just me and my Yorkie. We don’t use most of that. In my van I can carry my 12v fridge, my porta-potty, my butane stove. My recliner (where I sit and sleep even at home). A duffel vag of clothes. My computer. How much do I really need? Not much.

    • Ginger, you are 100% Correct. Too many people continue to chase “the American dream” which is just really a cover-up for, “how much money can owners of properties get away with!” No thanks! I will be joining the RVers group pretty soon. I hope it’s sooner rather than later. There are just so many beautiful places to see in this country. Most people that are tied to their “careers” will work until they die and miss out.

  12. We are newbies with two residents in SC & FL, still not ready to completely downsize. The plan was to downsize and immediately move to FL. Not quite ready to give up our hone of 24 years, even though we are empty nesters. Our RV experience helps to feel comfortable about where we want to end up.

  13. I have lived in my 2005 33.5 ft Keystone Montana g(with 2 pull outs) going on 3 years now. I LOVE IT! Last year I decided to upgrade and remodel it to be more bright, open and feminine. It took me four months but the results are amazing. I’m single and have a large dog. It is perfect for the 2 of us. I live in a nice mobile home park that accepts RV s. My two neighbors beside me also have campers. I originally wanted to build a tiny house but then thought, why? It was a lot less expensive to buy a camper that has plenty of storage space.

    • I’m so encouraged to hear about your experience. Property taxes, homeowners insurance, utilities and HOA’s are my reasons for looking into living in an RV with my small dog. I’m in my 60’s and the last thing I want to do is leave my kids with a house to have to clear out and sell when I’ve passed away. I haven’t been able to find the right model but am looking for something similar to yours. Thank you for your comment!

  14. I have questions. I am now doing the mobile home and gave up the brick house. Currently we are renting land from someone local. Are there any groups or websites of people who are renting land with hook ups to people like us? I would like to find out how to get in that network. Do you have any websites of groups who do this? Thanks in advance for your help.

  15. I have chose this route! No regrets at all. It’s been 5 years now. The down sizing was the biggest surprise as I live more efficiently.

  16. Almost every neighbor in my area owns a mobile home. I would love to have a mobile home. I’d leave my house in a second if I could live in a mobile home! No rent, go wherever you want, and have a roof,and a door, and a bathroom!?! Sounds like home.

    • Me Too – Please do a little research. A mobile home and a trailer are two different beasts. A mobile home is a housing structure that may or may not be permanently on wheels and usually it takes a large truck, like the big diesel trucks you see on the highways, to move it. A trailer is something that can be moved by a SUV or pickup.

  17. We have a fifth wheel. It’s nice to know we could pick up and leave when and if we want or HAVE TO. All the comforts of home. The problem right now is the cost of fuel. Yikes!

  18. It’s a huge housing nightmare for the average family. I completely understand why a home on wheels is appealing to more people. Another financial storm ahead is how busy the roads are going to get as more people can’t pay the insane rent and mortgage fees.

  19. If homeowners could make available places for you to park on their property and maybe offer electric and water for a lot cheaper than an RV park would people be interested in this?

    • Yes! I’m moving to San Diego next month and the house I’m trying to buy is $830k and the appraiser didn’t find it valued that high. My 2015 Landmark 42ft RV is $1300/mo rent in a decent park, but due to size, there’s no available space for longer than a 3 month stay. The housing market is a mess!!! I’ve looked for homeowners offering what you’re suggesting, but haven’t found one yet.

      • Now that’s something we could have done when we owned our home as we had a setup for our RV but to rent and have someone living in an RV on your property was illegal. That’s in the city of Santee, outskirts of San Diego

  20. This idea, I have been considering 🤔 for a few years now; but there has to be a way that Recreational occupied living facilities are available everywhere, as well. Especially the new RV’s that for circumstances beyond their control put them in the nomadic lifestyle.

  21. I would love to do the RV if I had the money! But I would rather do a little pull camper and be happy it cost less, easy to fix and it’s only for those that can live without. I love that kind of out door life.

    • I have two friends who both bought older small pull trailers, and trucks to pull them. They spend winters at an LTVA in Quartzsite ($180 for 7 months!). They are really happy with their choice. They set up their trailers at the camp, and can drive away in their truck! Or you can find RV parks in Quartzsite for as low as $200 a month.

  22. “How Inequity and Capitalism are Forcing Generations into Depreciating Disposable Housing”. There, fixed your title.
    Also, calling a trailer a tiny home doesn’t make it climate friendly or a good investment.

    • The mass movement and ideal to full time RV living as a means to permanent housing has zero to do with capitalism and has everything to do with socialism, the unfortunate society we find ourselves as Americans living In currently.

    • Forcing? No it’s a choice. I can afford to own my home; I’m doing it. I just don’t want to. I don’t need it. My family is long gone. I use one room basically. And I’m kit having any fun sitting alone in my house, waiting to die. Much better to be on the road, seeing things and meeting people. Abd I met many people who had the same reason as me.

    • True. But for some, like my wife (66) and I (87) it is a VERY pleasant place/way to live. We haven’t lived this way long, just going on 5 years, but it’s nice to change scenery periodically, move the home as the seasons change – away from snow in that season and away from heat in that season. Presently we are in Arizona staying at an RV park with 2 swimming pools, two hot tubs, bands daily, activities with like minded new friends, and much more. To find a regular “sticks and bricks” or “sticks and stucco” home with the same amenities in most large cities just the taxes would be more than what we pay for rent – and we don’t have to pay additional for property taxes, etc. I should shut up – might attract too many others.

    • What is forcing them into depreciating, disposable housing is that they don’t want to work at a real job, they would rather live off of taxpayer dollars handed out by the government! Without capitalism who would pay for their college educations? They think they should get to work half the hours for twice the money, when in reality the only real skill most of them have is protesting capitalism! So the only ones creating their inequities are them! Work hard, live good!

  23. In my case 30 yrs lady entrepreneur no kids I bought a park model rv August 2018 42″ I lived on a rv park near to a Lemoore base Because the city were I had my business not allowed full-time rvs but eventually I find a country family with a big property that was open to rent me a piece of land and provide me with water,sewer and electricity and trash, for $530 montly, I love to live Iike this all my surrendersaround with almond trees my rv is like a home it had washer a dryer combo in the bathroom , fireplace, kitchen with a island 2 TV screens the bed is California king-size the cellings are pretty high 10,12″ if you compare rvs I never ever had a issue on winter or summer or water leaks or anything: so for me is the best decision I took I had everything ,nternet, security cameras, my payment is$ 620 for 10 years my park model rv crossroads lazy days Hampton 2016 ,

  24. RVs and travel trailers are a great solution to homeless housing. Line them up on vacant public lands, hook up power and water, install community bathrooms with showers, and provide trash pickup. Residents pay rent they can afford, and earn money cleaning bathrooms, mowing weeds, and keeping grounds swept and tidy. Build a gazebo for community meetings and services.

  25. there is more need fir rv friendly property ownership without restrictions. more rv friendly permanant mobile home parks..

  26. We full-timed for 5 years in a cheaper class A, then a new luxurious Newell. Overall disappointing. They ALWAYS have “issues” to address, maintenance is expensive & inconvenient, and no one wants to talk about the 5-6mpg or how God-Awful these things are to drive. And….no matter how “big, beautiful and home-like” they are purported & advertised as being, they are very small indeed. You do notice this a few months after leaving your house.

    Save your money and save your time. If you want to “get out there” then get a small and driveable camper or class B for occasional getaways…but STAY in your home!

    • I think that driveability and maintenance issues aside, as I think the article was about affordability, the monthly “mortgage ” and insurance is far less money than a traditional house. Even if a storage unit is needed to keep all the excess stuff is still less money than a traditional house when all is added up. We full timed for 10 yrs work camping and such to help with monthly utilities and space to stay.
      The cost of new houses and apartment rents in Phoenix now between 3 to 4k a month without utilities and insurance is astronomical for some especially those on a fixed income.
      BTW a Prevost cost as much, if not a lot more, than a 5th wheel, trailer pull, or Class C RV ad it can be a 250k to 1mil investment, thus costs as much or more than a house.

      • Agreed! My husband and I have lived in Mesa the last 2 years in our RV and with the money saved on not living in a house, and been paying off debt and preparing to buy a home again without all the previous headaches. I don’t regret living in our RV, the trade-offs have been well worth it the last 2 years, and I would honestly prefer to stay in it when we move next month if we could find a place to rent on a nice property with utilities!

  27. peopleGreat years and myself live in a 30 ft. Trailer….we previously lived in a r.v. for 10 years. I love it…don’t have to stress about the high rent…our trailer is very nice
    We paid an affordable $5,000 in cash for it..we have 2 small dogs as well….a few months ago I was thinking that r.v.s , fifth wheels and trailers could possibly a answer for some of the homeless people…the city can buy up used ones..
    Buy a couple of big lots..and there you go…they are. Currently helping people living in them with picking up their garbage and emptying their toilet tanks as well…crazy? Not when you consider they don’t have a plan to do anything else…just like a home if you ask me…

  28. I believe this to be true. I am seeing this more often. Camp grounds going up all over. So I will be selling Class B vans. Removable Interior…

  29. Doing the full time rv’ing right now. 5th year and ready for a home again. It’s fun and exciting, you meet great people, see gorgeous areas, the list goes on. Doing the rv’ing we have been able to find a place to settle with decent weather🤞.

    • Lynne, us too. We sold our home and most of our belongings six years ago and went full-time RVing. Our new 2018 Keystone Outback RV is nearly paid in full. We work camped for several years to save money. Can’t say our choice saved us a ton of money as we’ve learned that living in an RV full-time creates more wear and tear on tires, brakes, batteries and miscellaneous mechanical items. Of course, we’ve been crisscrossing the country so we understand that creates wear and tear. We’re ready for a stick and brick home again — our “retirement” place, so we’re building new this year with handicap and senior friendly options. But we will still head cross country in the winters to spend time with our daughter and grandchildren. We’re hopeful that this will be the best of both worlds for us.

  30. It will probably be me in retirement, but at least it’s not rent and making some landlord wealthier. Pay a fixed monthly on the shelter and the thing that tows it and travel as you care. Doesn’t sound too bad

    • Be sure you are extremely fit and in good health, rv life is a lot of work. The sewer and roof climbing in it self is tough. It was my dream to be able to move around and see the country so I bought a 5th wheel. 6 months into it and I am regretting it. Living in and out of parks is a gamble. They are run like most slum lords run ghettos. The nice parks are expensive and hard to get into due to long waiting lists. I am paying more in expenses to live in one than I would an average mortgage. Everything breaks down. They are not built to live in full time. I read a good article about this and it is so true. They are built cheap and not meant to last. They are cold..propane is expensive and even in the warmer climates you need to use heat in the winter. The cabinets are high, the toilet ares are small, the living space is narrow. You can’t get around beds to make them. It’s definitely not for everyone.

  31. With the rising cost of everything today, it was a no brainer to sell my traditional home, do away with the stresses of making ends meet, what’s going to get shorted to pay this instead of that, the sham of HOA’s and their ridiculous rules, etc. I live full time in my just shy of 24′ 2021 travel trailer, the Hilton compared to the coffin lockers slept in during my time in the Navy and a serious upgrade from the sleeping bag while in the Army. Only thing really missing are the washer and dryer, sometimes the oven. I do my own maintenance on the rv cause I know it will be done right and faster than a dealership, also not waiting on manufacturer approval for warranty stuff. I’m an aircraft mechanic, so it’s not that big of a challenge to do maintenance or repairs on my trailer. After all said and done, I can actually enjoy life, have little stress and save way more money than having the traditional stick framed, cookie cutter home.

  32. Both my wife and I retired 8 years ago, for most of our adult life we owned camping trailers and often fantasized about living in one and traveling following the sun. Then when the time got Here we bought a 42′ – 5th wheel and for 8 glorious years we traveled from Canada to Mexico. We absolutely loved the idea, I must add here it’s not for everyone, We added solar panels and a bank of batteries. We stayed on BLM or forest ground for abt a week then would buy a night in an RV Park dump the holding tanks and top off the batteries and water. Almost everybody we met were great people, however if you get a cranky neighbor just move. We had a washer and dryer added in the unit, however if you had to do more than a pair of socks, a “t”shirt, and jeans it was overloaded they are really small and expensive, not sure if it was worth the cost and they really take up a lot of room. We both wondered why we didn’t do this sooner, but we did have a great time. Seen and met a lot of great people.

  33. Hello really enjoyed all the comments, good and bad. We are retired now but have rv’ed for work, fun. We now have a small rv perfect for us. We are what you call the”snow birds” we have a small house in the mountains in the woods. 25 years now. We decided were getting to old to shovel snow for months, pay the grandkids to do it. We have really enjoyed meeting people, and going to new places. As for house or rv you are going to have some cost. Life is just not free. But it can be cheap! Stay positive enjoy the sunrise, the sunset and be thankful you’re still here! 👍💗

  34. Great idea especially w work from home, consulting, travel for work options, or temp work assignments. Add an e bike for navigation through the city plus ride share options and public transportation and I could see how for many such an idea would be viable. Hmmm.

  35. After a divorce and losing my now half a million dollar home… I traded a boat for a paid off 4 season Teton home. It is made for winter ND I installed a pellet stove. I went from 120k a yea in the wyoming oil fields, to 30 k a year at a Napa store. I am thankful for my fifth wheel. After a stay in prison she was still sitting at my parents home. Had I been making house payments, I would have defaulted and then lost everything that was in the home. My father, after helping wyoming law enforcement put me in prison robbed me of thousands of dollars of belongings. What the law enforcement in Thermopolis and Cody did not help themselves too, left some nice scraps for my ” pillar of the community” father to take into his hoard. Now that I have no credit from the divorce, no credibility to replace a good job, can’t rent because I let myself get arrested for help the state said it would give me. Try renting as a felon. Thanks to my fifth wheel I’m not homeless.

    • I’m sorry the system and family let you down. I read the article expecting to see comments about how good or bad it is to RV full time. But then I read others comments about the homeless and about the life changes you have endured. I’ll never see a Teton the same again. Here is what I have to say for you:

      Jesus, your creator, is interested to help you through your difficult emotions. You do not need to always need to struggle with the harm done to you. See about the man who overcame brutality by doing good. He is aware of our weaknesses. “Love your enemies” he said.
      2 Timothy 3:1-5 can explain the injustice.
      Matthew 27:27-31 and Luke 23:33-34 explains what we can gracefully endure.

      I’m glad that you have a place to sleep and a job for food and friends. I’ll pray for your heart that you don’t become hopelessly bitter, but that you will have some joy.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

  36. Winter is extremely challenging to a full-time RV’er (or homeless car camper and sporadic couch surfer).. R values are a serious thing. A reliable heat source with a reliable backup. A low I have slept in was -8 F with a wind chill of -20. Very brisk. Not cozy or comfortable at all that night. If I had to do it again, I’m gonna go migratory, like a bird.. a snowbird I believe they’re called.. I’m gonna do that, follow the Sun 🌞

  37. I feel sorry for folks who don’t have a clue when it come to diagnosing and repairing mechanical or electrical stuff on their RV. We spent the winter in a park in Florida and witnessed other RVers spending unbelievable amounts of money for repairs. One “gentleman” charged $100 an hour labor for what I consider to be easy-to-do stuff. Like install a vinyl plank floor, do a tuneup on a class A, install a fan belt on a roof top AC unit …. The list goes on and on. If you lack knowledge, skill, ability (and/or money) you will not have fun while full timing.

    • 38yo Female, 🚫 baggage… Where can I get the knowledge? I would love to try to fix things on my own but I’m scared I’m going to break it or make it worse. I mean, I have common sense… Profession; Phlebotomist.

    • Fan belt on a AC unit?? There’s a reason he charged $100.00 an hour. That’s actually cheap, the average hourly rate is around $140.00 an hour. If you don’t want to pay someone to repair your RV check out

      • Exactly! everything he mentioned is more than $100 per hour
        around here, Especially if it’s in a house, so why would doing the same job in an RV be cheaper.

  38. I agree with many of the comments/observations folks are leaving. I do find it sad that you have to ask people to be civil. 🙁

  39. Let’s not mention the obvious… property taxes are soaring & the average American can’t afford those increases along with the increasing home mortgages.

  40. Gas is the big problem for full-time or semi full-time RV living these days. We have a class A Forest River 32′ bunkhouse model, powered by a Ford V10. We traveled from Florida to California and back again this winter, and the return trip east on I-10 cost approx. $1000. Boondocking can work in some places with mild weather, but generally if you’re going to live full time you’re going to want full hookup most of that time, so there’s that cost. We paid for a Thousand Trails membership so we stay free for up to 3 weeks at most TT and Encore properties, but still have to pay the monthly finance charges for the membership package. That’s still cheaper than any annual costs for rent in a sticks and bricks, or at most RV parks/campgrounds.

    The trick with rising fuel costs is to stay in a region that has 1) lots of options for reservations (Florida, Texas, and Arizona/California have the most available), and 2) have a package that you can stay longer at a time (3-4 weeks).

  41. For those who must travel in their job, the increased mobility of an RV with living quarters is smart; in most cases the owners are making enough $$ to afford the depreciation and additional maintenance expenses of an RV. They also can afford to choose that lifestyle, not be condemned to it.

    When we managed an RV resort, the focus was on selling park models with leased lots. Park models are, essentially, manufactured homes. They are built to stricter standards than the traditional RV and have a lifespan of 30-50 years. Entire villages of park models may be found in beach areas along the southern coast occupied mostly by senior adults who like the RV lifestyle combined with stability.

    But some folks simply can’t afford anything else. Many traditional RVers shun mobile home parks (some have RV sites as well), using the slightly demeaning title of “trailer park.” Well, it appears to me that is where we are headed; but the new “trailer parks” won’t have defined boundaries.

  42. Currently in the market for an RV. Next year I plan to live in one full time. Perhaps buy a small piece of land in a retirement friendly state to call “home”.

  43. Doubtful that they would live in a RV Full time, if they stay anywhere in the Northern half of the US, where winter is a reality.

      • There isn’t a camper made that you’d want to live in New England winters with. You can get by but it won’t be a fun life. I’m in NH and have had hundreds of calls this year from people trying to full time through the winter for all kinds of issues. Full timing through the winter should never be something an inexperienced RV’er does but unfortunately many dove right in this year with awful outcomes.

      • 28ft is optimal. 26ft will do. Using all criteria. Owned tent to 40ft diesel pusher 4 slide , & back to 26TT , as Recreational Vehicles! 75yy.

  44. As a traveling nurse, I have become a full timer. And I wouldn’t ever want to go back to a large, sticks and bricks home! I’ve already decided when it’s time to retire, I’ll buy a piece of land in the country and put a tiny house on a basement foundation to live out my years. (I live in Kansas so a basement is kind of a necessity!). But for now, my little dog and I live in my 37ft Bighorn and take home with us, wherever work dictates that to be!

  45. I agree with your housing analysis, however I would have left the “skip a payment- who’s gonna find you” comment out as too many people would take this out of context. Finally, I think your relationship with Lemonis is akin to the Hatfield McCoy fued. It’s obvious that you dislike the man immensely and you are entitled to that, but must you dig at him constantly?


    • Have you had interactions with CW? It is a HATE/ HATE relationship. Once you drive away, that love you saw in the dealership dissipates immediately. If you come in looking for service, you are treated like garbage that blew in from the street.

    • Agree, along with Sherry C. above. This, your website is supposed to teach, advice and discuss the ins and outs of RV’ing. Your suggestion, regardless of content or humor is not a very sound one.

  46. I bought it with the intent of using it as a backup dwelling and retirement living, it’s an extra bedroom for our too small too expensive home, it’s where I sleep (not legal, so I have to be quiet about it).

    So, yeah. Definitely a thing.

  47. Why not buy an rv?
    Well depending on which city you live in, you may not be able to get into a park after your rig is 4 or 5 years old.
    In Las Vegas almost every park has this rule.
    So while a 20 year repayment sounds great financially, the possibility of staying in a park is only quarter the life of the loan. After that your only option is rv friendly Walmart parking lots (24 hours only which keeps you constantly on the move) or boondocking.
    I sold my last rv a few years back when the parks started implementing this rule and although I am currently shopping for a new rv, it is only because I have an online job (can work from anywhere) and I own a couple of vacant lots where I can park without being harassed.
    I would just like to caution anyone who wants to remain in one location to double check their local parks and county laws on rvs.

    • Rad, could you name a few parks that have this 4-5 year rule for my research? I’ve encountered parks with a 10 year rule, but never your 4-5 year number. Thanks!

      • Try most places around the Puget Sound. Even 7 years old is common. Or send photos ahead of you, or they’ll inspect it when you pull in to make sure all the systems work.

        • That’s not the answer you were asked.If you have experienced the problem give us the park names. If you can’t back up your answer please refrain from commenting. I have traveled all over America and the only ones I experienced were “Resorts” with a “suggested” 10 year rule. Appearance means a lot. I traveled in a 2006 Tiffin 40ft

  48. Hi there. We started 6 years ago living full time in our 23 foot travel trailer. Today we are still full time in the same trailer. It’s all paid for and so is our truck. We can not afford rent or to buy a house. We are Thousand Trails members. 380.00 a month and we get full hook ups. No water, sewer,electric or garbage bills. The downfall is we have to move every 21 days. Not a big deal for us. We pack up and on to the next park. We live the lifestyle and have met a lot of great friends out here. We will be doing this for many more years to come. Way cheaper the any rent or house payment. Happy trails!!!

  49. Currently it can be difficult to find campsites when rving. More rv’s and no increase in campsites. What is wrong with this picture?

  50. The costs of maintaining a sticks and bricks property starting with real estate taxes and routine maintenance add up to tens of thousands of dollars every year. I see the potential in full-time RV life. Sell the $350,000 “sticks-and-bricks home”. Buy a “B+” or “C class” RV, along with an acre or two plot outside of a small town for an off-grid lifestyle with a permanent address.

    • Even in the western part of Pa., we are in rural township, they would never give you any type of permit to alow you to live on your own property, and we are zoned as agriculture. They want to get rid of anybody that is farming so if they can get people to build $350,000+ homes they can get a lot more TAX monies!

  51. For me, the mobile RV lifestyle is preferable to the alternatives and it’s only going to get better. Managed Retreat is already moving residential areas away from flood, tsunami, landslide and fire zones. These eco-sensitive lands – located in the most beautiful places – will be zoned for recreational use only. Government has always worked this way but we will see an increase in land designated for temporary buildings and RV and tent camping only.

  52. Need to keep in mind that a house purchase will most likely appreciate in value and is generally a good investment. An RV’s value depreciates rapidly.

    • I agree with you…..owning a home has been a way to achieve at a minimum a small return on your investment after accounting for taxes, insurance and maintenance expenses. It will enhance your balance sheet for sure.

  53. My wife and I bought a camper after out house burnt down in Aug of 2000 and still living In it, it’s paid for , no monthly rent or mortgage, we have enough solar to get us buy all night, only down side is while towing I get about 5 miles a gallon if that , but we love it and do not plan on going back, since our kids are grown and out on their own, it’s perfect for us . Love the freedom of being about to pick up and be in another state in less then a day of we decide too , have seen alot of the country in the past 2 years, and much more to see, we’re currently camping in moab right now . Been here for 5 weeks , not sure when or where our next adventure will be

  54. I live in a 40’ Heartland Mallard M335, full time. I love it, super slides, island kitchen and 2 refrigerators. Plus a fireplace.

  55. Just a comment from recent experience about the “rootless” millennials that some my age (ie., Boomers) seem to criticize. Last year, we sold our 2016 fifth wheel to a young millennial couple who are now full-timing in it and have no “sticks and bricks” anywhere. But they developed a plan during the Covid remote work months to considerably INCREASE their income that had nothing to do with becoming “RV lifestyle influencers” or the “gig economy.” So they spent a year researching RVing using websites, Youtube videos, and forums.

    The husband is an attorney who can work remotely from anywhere and his wife was a surgical nurse at a large hospital. By becoming a traveling nurse on three-month contracts, she could triple her salary and avoid the politics of being permanently employed at a single hospital. Having relatives in Florida and Denver, they plan to be in Florida from November 1 to April 30, Denver from May 1 to October 31, and then repeat that sequence. Pretty good planning IMHO!

  56. There’s a relatively unknown roadblock encountered when living full-time in an RV with no permanent address at a stick & bricks home or apartment – The Patriots Act. Unfortunately, banks, insurance companies, investment companies, and other institutions are prohibited by the Patriots Act to honor personal addresses that are not stick & bricks home addresses, including mail forwarding services (providing personal mail boxes, PMBs), private mailbox providers (UPS stores, etc.), and post office boxes rented from the USPS. My guess is that a “permanent” address at a long-term RV campground might be honored, but I have no experience with this.

    When my wife and I were full-timing after selling our home in Arizona, we were prohibited from opening a new bank account and investment account using our PMB address at Americas Mailbox in South Dakota. Now that we have purchased a single-family home in Tennessee, we no longer have this challenge.

    • This is a real issue, thank you for raising it. I started to bank online with CapitalOne. I’m testing it out, we still have a sticks & bricks. We’re in the planning stage. So far, my experience with online banking is terrific.

    • Hi. We landed in Florida and went down to the post office. They gave us a po box and a physical address. All banks,DMV,voters forms and all are ok with that. It works just like if we had a house. Been doing this 6 years and have domiciled 4 different States. It works out great. Have a great day

    • There is definitely an issue with being able to qualify for any loan on a new vehicle or RV without a permanent physical address for many lenders. They want to know where to find the property they are releasing money for on your behalf.

    • We recently moved to FL, state law prevents you from opening a bank(S&L) account without a permanent address. We were in the process of buying but we’re told we had to have the closing papers proving we were permanent. Upon closing on our house we went back and we’re allowed to join the credit union, now we have to have our finances wired down here from TN.

    • The best way to get around this is to pay annual rent at a rv park or buy a lot where you have an address. We pay just over $3,000 a year at a park in Arizona, it gives us a fixed address so we domicile here, and if need be we have a place we can always go to if something happened where we couldn’t travel.

  57. Chuck
    I have been meaning to write to you anyway – this is opportunity. I think there’s a certain mindset that has occurred in some quarters that is explained by when I bought my fifth wheel. I was asked do you tent camp – I said no, do use a pull behind – I said no. Eventually the salesman said (it was 20 years ago) well I don’t know that I’ve ever sold an RV to someone that’s never “camped.

    As has been discussed lots of places the term “camping” maybe should be restricted to people who want to be outside a lot but whatever we call it – camping, RVing or whatever – there’s a wide range of people and their interests. We should not be snobbish as to the approach that people take and if there are higher and higher volumes of RVs well, like you say, maybe that’s the trend. Hey maybe it’ll help with the quality. We all agree the quality is terrible.

    I see nothing wrong with being inclusive of all types. Speaking personally we enjoy being in an area as if we live there.

    • I like everything you said Bill. There’s a wide range of folks who use RVs in some capacity. Inclusivitiy, and the genuine friendliness of most RVers, will always do our society good.

  58. I am going to get rid of my RV, Way to many R Vers . Camping today is like living in Down Town New York. The explosion of RVers has completely destroyed it. Luckily I have a very nice home on 5 acres in the southern Ca. Desert. The next thing that is going to happen is crime will explode for RVers. I am Done

  59. It seems that the question is being simplified to focus on affordability and the ability to pick up and avoid natural disaster or that the younger generation is somehow more dependent on “government help”. Why don’t people, people who have kids and lives and jobs, working people who make up the backbone of the economy, people who are working and living in a complicated myriad of relationships based on a sense of community, why wouldn’t they want to give up the stability they feel in a community they love where their kids go to school and where they try to make life meaningful? Are you people serious? Sure full-timing is great for people who want to do something different, are at a point in their lives where community can be defined completely by your own terms, or perhaps for younger families who want their children to experience life in a nomadic and perhaps more spirituality (however that is defined) way. But the vast majority of people look for rooted and stable community.

    • Hi Paul. I agree and believe that MSM and other influencer based media, even this publication at times, have forgotten what the “R” in RV stands for. We have owned multiple RV’s over the last 15 years and have always treated the lifestyle in a recreational format. Either with the kids or just ourselves, it is great to have a “recreational” getaway from a busy life but just as important to return to the balance and purpose of a community. Even now in retirement, for days/weeks/months, it is always great to get away and see and experience new things but it is also nice to have a home base and friends to come back to.

  60. Hey, if your finances get really bad, default on your payment. Ya think the Repo Man will find you? I cannot believe you would advocate this attitude. The rest of the article makes sense and is well written. Obviously your dislike of Marcus Lemon is is overcoming your normally good sense.

  61. The fundamental problem is overpopulation.
    They’re making more people; they’re not making any more land.
    Overpopulation causes other little problems like climate change, water shortages, and traffic gridlock.

    • Michael, I couldn’t agree more with your statement. For some reason, people are sticking their heads in the sand and refusing to recognize that we simply have too many people on the planet for any kind of a quality lifestyle to be sustainable. Also, too many people who do not contribute anything of value to society, but that’s a different issue.

  62. Over the past year I’ve noticed an increase in the number of rv’s that are not only old but also in need of repair. We full time and I see rigs not only in campgrounds but also in people’s yards that obviously haven’t moved in ages and are occupied. It tells me that people are scraping by economically in droves, and many are elderly. I can’t harbor any resentment for these people for taking up too many spaces in “our” campgrounds. They are surviving the best they can. They need a place to live just as we glampers do. It will never happen but I wish communities could provide low cost “parks” for these people just as they provide low cost subsidized housing complexes. It could be less costly for the taxpayers as well.

    My 2 cents.

  63. For me, the most significant issues are social: 1.) loss of real property ownership is a major indicator of decline of personal wealth in a society, and 2.) it is artificial, relying on permanently based businesses to provide essential goods and services. It doesn’t cause a major societal change if a small portion of a population support themselves by finding temporary work while living as nomads, usually service related, or work from home. However, there are many essential activities, such as raising food in quantity or manufacturing, that require investment in real property. Also, the RV lifestyle is, by nature, minimalistic, and doesn’t lend itself to the building of wealth. Our standard of living has risen considerably since mankind ceased to be hunter-gatherers, and chose to remain in one place building enterprise. Reclaiming property ownership from landlords is difficult once it is lost. They have the wealth.

    • I think that there is an ebb and flow to our culture that we will always see changing… Buying houses will always be a good idea for some. Other, living out of an RV with less roots works well. It’s really not a new idea, it’s just new how many people are seeing RV’s a the perfect fit for their lifestyle… Homesteads with roots will not disappear, but how people choose their style might change. With today’s technology and mobility, there is no reason why it should not… Some are early adopters other prefer to wait and see how it goes for those folks. Give it a try before you knock it, but keep a parachute in the closet until you know your answer

    • Your response should be highlighted. No one else sees that the full-time RV “lifestyle” affects our overall economy.

      Nomads by nature don’t contribute to the wealth of a community. Communities get smaller and less valued. History repeats itself.

  64. I use to live rural in my sticks & bricks house but now many of the farms have been sold off for housing developments and those along the major highways are being sold for trucking terminals or warehouse’s. There is an explosion of housing in my area and many of the trailer parks are also being torn down to make way for more permanent packed in housing. Will this also be the fate of RV parks, especially those that are not considered high end? From the townships financial standpoint they will more than likely garner more tax revenue from new houses than from trailer and the RV parks

  65. 16 years full time – We’ve stayed in a suburb of Houston the last two winters. $725+elect. in a gated, full amenities, adult only park. Although rates have increased, this seems to be reasonable.
    Our rig is a 2005, but has never been turned away from an age restricted park.
    Lots of younger people have been conditioned during their education to rely upon, and demand more government support. Thus instilling a less responsible approach to life. This leads to apartment/rental living. Corporations are buying up lots of houses to further this trend. Investing and saving isn’t a priority when you expect the gov. to provide for you.
    Given the increase of governmental control in the last two years, and future intentions, where/how we WANT to live may be irrelevant.

    • The idea that younger people don’t want to own a home is ignorant at best. Home prices have increased drastically in the last few decades. Depending on your age, you most likely were able to purchase a home for a much more acceptable price than present day. Even 12 years ago when I bought my home in my mid-20’s, the price has risen by around 50% since. So to expect them to come out with hundreds of thousands of dollars of student debt(that also wasn’t a thing before) but then to jump into being able to buy a home, is absurd. We just can not hold the younger generations to the same standard as older generations. Inflation has changed everything!

        • I am 69 years old, own my own home thanks to inherited wealth I did not earn. It is unfair to make assumptions about ‘why’ people want a government handout when I receive Medicare benefits that Younger people subsidize; I receive social security benefits that if I live to be in my Late nineties I will not have earned.

          Why is it my generation finds it so easy to take with one hand and keep a straight face when judging young folks as ‘under- motivated’ when they chose to not take on debt?

      • So true! My daughter will be a senior in college in Seattle. Her & her boyfriend are not expecting to be able to afford a house at any time in the future. None of their classmates have owning a home on their radar. At all. I read a NYT article that claimed this generation who are entering the workforce will need 20 years to be able to afford a down payment on a home. Unless helped by parents/family. Owning real estate may eventually be the privilege of only high income earners. Sad. So my daughter thinks they will try to find a parcel of land, certainly not in King County, and put a tiny house on it. With room for her Moms’ RV. 😁

      • “The idea that younger people don’t want to own a home is ignorant at best.”
        Classy. You don’t agree with Richard, so he’s ignorant…at best?!? Perhaps you don’t read any of the big city newspapers, but what I read is that many do not aspire to own single-family homes with property that they’ll…shudder…have to care for and/or repair! Many want high-density housing in a metropolitan area with public transportation to take them wherever they want to go, nearby restaurants within walking distance so they don’t have to prepare food, and their idea of green space is a public park. That’s not my desire, but they’re welcome to enjoy it. Disappointing, though, that anyone who doesn’t share your opinion is “ignorant at best.”

  66. I can think of no better way to live than in our 5th wheel. We sold our bricks and mortar home in 2016 and have loved this lifestyle ever since. With the world as crazy as it is, we want to always be mobile.

  67. One thing for sure- the people who chose RV living will kiss goodbye any hope of accumulating wealth from long-term real estate ownership. We lived on a large diesel motoryacht in swanky downtown Sausalito, Ca for 15 years. Real estate there is nosebleed expensive. We lived on our yacht, right there in the middle of it. What a life! But 15 years later, the local real estate had soared far, far higher. Not owning, we missed that escalator and were left at the bottom. Nearing retirement, we sold the yacht for about what we had originally paid for it…but that was nothing when compared to the rocket ride price increases for houses and condos in that area. So, we were forced to move 90 minutes north to where real estate was more “affordable” (only 2x-4x the national median,,,instead of 4x-8x). We also have a small travel trailer now…and we roam all over the USA with it in retirement. Owning real estate is how most people attain their wealth…but ah, the memories we made on that yacht.

  68. In News reports about disasters, I always notice cars, trailers and RVs left parked in the flood or wildfire. They may have the ability to be driven away , but people don’t seem to do it. On the plus side, here in North Central Washington,
    in orderly evacuations with notice, people often take their RVs and trailers to Fair grounds or big box stores as their evacuation housing.

  69. We have been full timers for almost 4 years. We are in our 70’s. The first 3 years we rented out our SW Florida home unfurnished. We sold it this January for 3x’s what it cost to build it 27 years ago. We don’t have to worry about pool service, lawn maintenance, home insurance (which went up again this year!), upkeep & hurricanes. I feel relieved living and traveling in our beautiful fifth wheel. We average 25,000 miles per year and still love our freedom. To each their own.😊

  70. I live full time in my Travel Trailer, which I bought in 2016 and it is paid for. I have found several old time RV parks that have affordable lot rents. My lot rent is $475 a month with $70 for electric. My water and sewer is part of the lot rent. I have internet by using my neighbors Wi-Fi and pay him $15 a month. Sure it is rural living and there are some very, very old RVs abandoned here, but it beats renting a house or apartment and if I want to leave for another area, I just pack up, hookup and go. Very convenient and I feel the freedom of not sweating high prices.

  71. I have often thought the best of both worlds (fixed base and mobile) would be a roomy fifth wheel or destination trailer that I could tow to a 55+ RV park in Arizona on November 1, then move to a 5-acre property in the Colorado mountains on May 1. From those two “bases,” we could use the Sprinter motor home and toad to travel around the country, visit our sons and their families during holiday periods, and still keep medical appointments and visit friends in Denver.

    • We did something similar. We fulltimed for the past 12 years in a 34ft 5th wheel to every state at least once & Alaska twice (over 200K miles). Now we’ve parked the 5er on an Escapees lease lot in southern Alabama as a home base, & are picking up a Host, triple slide truck camper, with an extreme package of solar & lithium batteries, to continue our travels in a more compact, maneuverable rig, but still with all the comforts of home. Even though we are in our late 70’s, there is still so much more we want to see & do. We love being mobile. Whether it’s weather, security, or health issues, or just the itch to move on, we want to be able to leave quickly & take our home with us.

  72. Maybe this could become a trend if prices keep soaring. There are certainly tradeoffs to be made: 1) cooks like to have more stuff in their kitchens than most motorhomes provide cabinet space for; and 2) men like their garages for storing lots of tools and workbenches, not mention bikes and all sorts of toys.

  73. As usual, interesting and insightful commentary from Chuck. Setting the homeless issue aside, it may be a difficult choice to implement for persons able to rent/own. Where exactly are they going to put down roots? It’s rare to find localities that allow you to live in an RV on land that you own … usually some sort of fixed dwelling is required though even that is insufficient in many areas. And all I need to do is read this newsletter to know the difficulties of building a new RV park.

    A similar story could have been (and probably was) written 50 years about those newfangled manufactured/mobile homes. What’s different other than even more extreme zoning and NIMBYism?

    • The same discussion was held “50 years ago,” when mobile homes gained popularity as affordable housing. Today’s RVs are defined as for “temporary living” by the RV Industry Association. The RVIA looks the other way when the discussion of them turns to them being used to live in full time. If they admit they are for full-time living then the RVs would have to be built to higher standards to conform to “mobile home” building standards.

  74. It’s been said that on average the biggest asset (think in terms of NET assets) one ends up with in life is their S and B home. Like stocks, the LONG term trend is appreciation of the asset. The owner is accumulating wealth over time.

    RV’s are quite different. They are a LONG term depreciating asset, many times rapidly dropping in value. You pay and pay and pay in terms of total assets.

    This is something I have thought about for a younger generation that is more willing to go into a mobile lifestyle early. Just something for them to contemplate and build into their “life” planning.

    Not saying there’s a right or wrong, but there are long term financial considerations. It may be better to move to an area of the country less prone to those housing issues and still own real estate and build wealth while also enjoying some RV time.

    • For many people just having a roof over their head with basic creature comforts is fine. It’s far better than owning a burned down, flooded, or wind-flattened traditional home.

  75. A lot of campgrounds are seasonal campers and they are not cheap and the rvs have to be pretty new. So much for the traveler that want to just stay a couple nights and move on. Not cheap if you can find a spot

  76. We have been traveling full-time since July 2016 in our 2001 30’ Airstream trailer. 53,000+ miles, 370+ campgrounds and 48 States/4 Canadian Provinces so far. We sold our real estate, gave away all our possessions and hit the road. Nothing in storage. Everything we own is in the truck and trailer. We are a part of this movement to live full-time in an RV and we love it. We have no plans to ever stop living like this until our health demands it, but right now, life is good. We started blogging about our travels so our family and friends could keep in touch with us, but it seems others found us and are interested in learning about this lifestyle. The pros and cons. If interested, our website is

  77. Chuck is right on regarding apartments. My wife was a property manager for over 20 years and she couldn’t believe the rapid increase in rents and construction of new units. Of course, it was her job to inform the residents of next year’s rent increase. With that, we could not believe the number of new apartment complexes being built in our area of WNY. Where are these tenets coming from?

    I think you will see urban populations drop significantly over the next several years caused by people’s frustration over the Covid spread. Perhaps there will be another suburban or rural sprawl like back in the ’50s & ’60s.

  78. Actually I wish you had more to say on this subject and I’m very interested in what other subscribers have to say. We’re getting ready to sell the house and move to Costa Rica. In the transition period we’d like to live in the MH. Living in a 32′ motor home is not as simple as it seems. It’s hard to find a place to park for more than two weeks and campgrounds are much to expensive for a month or more of parking and living aboard.

    • Consider renting out your RV while traveling abroad. Hipcamp, I believe, as well as a few others let you list your MH like an Airbnb.

  79. All certainly plausible, but I cannot come up with a probability of it happening. Certainly an RV can be a great alternative to a sticks and bricks, plus they are furnished! The mobility aspect would bias me toward one if I lived in an area prone to mudslides and/or forest fires. Seems a lot easier to dig out the utilities after a mudslide than to rebuild a house. Perhaps a bit harder to restore utilitues after a forest fire, but also no need to rebuild a house. The downside is evacuating all those RVs (and toweds) ahead of the approaching forest fire. Seems the departure ahead of mudslides might be more orderly, affected by actual rainfall and forecast additional rain.

  80. I wonder how many more adult kids are living with their parents now. The rv explosion has definitely changed the housing landscape however.

    • They can find them. It’s surprising how predictable folks are. It might thake some time and patience but they can find them.


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