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Working remotely. Part three: The best RV for remote work

If you’ve followed my past article’s advice, you may have practiced working remotely from your home. By working and living out of one or two rooms you’ve gotten a taste of “living small.” Hopefully, that experiment gave you some insight into how a restricted environment may work for you as you work remotely.

You may also have tried Step 2: Rented an RV or van and worked remotely while actually away from your brix-n-stix home or apartment. If both experiences whet your appetite for more, you’re ready for the next step: Purchasing your own RV for working remotely.

What RV is best for working remotely?

Type of vehicle. There are many options to choose from: diesel pushers, fifth-wheels, travel trailers, or vans. Choosing the one that’s right for you is an individual decision. Much depends on what you can afford, feel comfortable driving, and best meets your work and living needs. Think back to Steps 1 and 2. Would more or less space have suited you better? If traveling with your family, what kind of setup works best for them? Did you enjoy the type of RV you rented? Carefully think through these questions well before you begin your buying search. It may be a good idea to gather the family together and come up with a “must-have” RV wish list. By giving everyone the opportunity to be part of the planning process, the greater success you should realize.

New, used, or build your own? The pandemic caused an unprecedented number of people to enter the RVing world over the past two years. With that said, previously owned RVs have held their value because of such high demand. This may, of course, change in the coming months, especially if fuel prices continue to climb. There are companies that specialize in van conversions as well as those that make mainstream RVs. No matter what kind of RV you choose, research carefully. Read reviews from actual owners. Follow RV blogs, forums, and websites. Gather as much information as you can before making a final decision. Make sure to check out all of Tony Barthel’s RV Reviews to find one you like.

Note: Remember that an RV is not an investment like a stix-n-brix home. Even though values have held for pre-owned RVs during the recent pandemic, I believe that’s an anomaly. An RV’s value typically decreases with age, even if you take really good care of your rig. If you eventually decide that working remotely isn’t for you, you may well experience a loss when you sell your RV.

Budgeting for working remotely

I mentioned this before. How much can you afford to spend? If you currently operate off a budget, you’ll want to begin there. If you work remotely you may be able to eliminate rental/mortgage bills, some property tax assessments, and HOA fees. But before you begin spending these savings in your mind, remember that you will have new and different bills to pay each month. Here are some items you’ll need to budget for:

  • Repairs and maintenance. That van will require oil changes and face it—things break! Budget what you think is overkill. Better to have an emergency fund than not.
  • Fuel. Gas prices are on the rise. Keep this in mind as you form your fuel budget. Where do you plan to travel? What gas mileage do you expect your vehicle to get? If you plan to operate off a generator, add its fuel cost to your budget, too.
  • Lodging. Campgrounds vary in price. Boondocking may be an option for you, and it will save you $$. But consider the pros/cons of that lifestyle.
  • Utilities. Many campgrounds will charge an extra fee for the electricity you use during your stay. This is over and above the campground daily rate. Some even charge for water usage. Plan for this in your budget.
  • Connectivity. Do not count on having internet access if you plan to stay in remote areas of the country, or even in many campgrounds. If your work requires consistent Wi-Fi, you’ll need to plan your travels accordingly. Perhaps arrange to stay nearer large cities, with a greater chance of reliable Wi-Fi. Check into your cell phone company to see if they offer special deals, Hot Spot features, or other add-ons for greater connectivity coverage. Check out Campendium if you haven’t already. It shows reviews that include the level of available cell service in a given area.

Additional considerations

Work considerations: Does your work require you to participate in frequent Zoom meetings? If so, would a bunk room configuration work best? How else might you cancel noise from the family while on important calls? If a quiet space is absolutely necessary, be sure it’s on your “must-have” list for working remotely.

Will the RV’s space allow you to easily separate work from non-work time? If you work from the dining banquette, what happens to your workspace when it’s time for lunch? Will a comfortable office chair or standing worktable fit in the RV while still leaving ample room for non-work activities? Does the RV offer enough electrical outlets for your working needs? Hopefully, your experimental time with Steps 1 and 2 have already given you answers to many of these questions.

Non-work considerations: How will you shower/shave, launder clothing, vote, homeschool, store off-season clothing, receive mail, and get medical/dental checkups? There are many, many questions like these that will need to be answered before you set out to work remotely from your RV on the road.

Stigma: Regardless of where you go, you may face negative reactions from other campers. The stigma of nomad or remote working still exists in some locations. Be ready to put your best self out there while working remotely.

We welcome other hints, tips, or hacks that may help others who want to begin working remotely from an RV. Please enter them in the comments below.

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Waleed
6 months ago

I want to work remotely

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