A Beginner’s Guide to the RV Way of Life

A Beginner’s Guide to the RV Way of Life

Many of us dream of one day owning our own home, but along with that dream comes years of saving for a deposit and possibly decades of paying off an often hefty mortgage with high monthly repayments. Another drawback of owning a traditional home is the fact you’re stuck living in exactly the same place unless you up and move and start the process all over again. Many people today want to get out and travel, encouraged by the images they see on Facebook and Instagram of happy people experiencing all their country and the world has to offer.

Today’s hi-tech RVs allow you to live in comfort and style while providing you the mobility to move around the country. Often a much more economical option than buying a home, an RV may allow you the freedom to travel more and work less, breaking free of a rigid 9 to 5 schedule. An RV’s more condensed space also forces you to simplify your life which can prove to make your life much less stressful.

Whether you’re thinking of making an RV your permanent residence or simply a vessel that you can use to escape for exciting weekends and holidays, read on as we introduce you to a beginner’s guide to an RV way of life.

Choosing Your RV

The first step on your journey to an RV way of life is to choose the type of RV that is best suited to you and to decide what you want to use it for. Are you looking for a weekend vehicle that you can take fishing or down to the coast for some sand and surf, or are you looking for something that will be your primary residence that you can take wherever you please whenever you want?

You need to consider how many people your RV needs to accommodate as some of the larger models can accommodate rather large families while still providing a decent amount of privacy. Other RVs designed more for weekend trips might simply have a pull out bed and space that can accommodate two people comfortably.

Once you have figured out the type of RV that fits your spacing needs, you then need to decide how fancy you want to get. Some RVs are fitted with all the latest technology and five-star interiors. Things that can really take your RV to the next level include state-of-the-art touchscreen integration and smart voice control technology, full internet connectivity, cinema seats, automatic recliner beds, a solar rooftop, gas-free internal cooking, airbag suspension, electric awnings, chilled water taps, and leather upholstery.

The next step will then be deciding how you plan on financing your RV, unless of course you are fortunate enough to be in a position to purchase your RV outright.

Financing Your RV

This part of RV living needs to be well thought out since it will potentially affect you and your family for the rest of your lives. Very few people will be in the position to buy their RV outright, so some form of loan will be needed. Thankfully, most loans can be secured for RV purchases and can have repayment terms of up to 20 years which will greatly reduce your monthly repayments, so there is an RV out there for nearly every budget.

Find a reputable loan firm and use their guide to RV financing to work out the best deal for your personal situation. Before you know it, you will have secured the necessary funds and can go out and purchase the RV and lifestyle of your dreams. Remember not to overstretch yourself though, as there can be some unexpected costs associated with an RV life that we will discuss in a bit.

One of the biggest benefits of owning an RV is being able to travel around the country taking in sights and attractions. You don’t want to blow your entire budget and be left with little savings to afford the travel and experiences you want to enjoy.

Know Your RV

Once you take possession of your new RV, you will want to first take it on some short trips so that you can get to know how it operates. You need to become knowledgeable with the mechanics of the vehicle and should brush up on skills like changing a tire, checking fluid levels, replacing air filters, and changing oil.

Make sure your RV electrics are sound and that everything is ready for full-time living if you do indeed plan to make your RV your permanent residence. Failing to adequately stock and prep your RV for permanent life can make your first few months onboard a difficult adjustment to make from living in a traditional home. An RV will not be able to carry and store the amount of stuff you can pack into a home, so you need to choose items carefully and decide what is essential for everyday life.

Remember that an RV way of life is all about getting back to basics, feeling a sense of freedom, and possibly becoming more at one with nature. You want to avoid clutter, as this will free up space which will be a premium in an RV and will equate to far more comfort. Minimizing your RV load will also help save you money on fuel bills when on the road.

Understand the Costs of an RV

Notwithstanding the initial purchase cost of your RV, an RV way of life is expensive. The first thing you need to think about is insurance as it will need to be much more complex than your usual car insurance. You will need a comprehensive policy that covers your own RV as well as 3rd party vehicles and provides things like roadside recovery and coverage for potential loss of your RV contents or belongings.

Think about how far you are planning to travel, as fuel bills can quickly escalate. You will also need to consider campsite or caravan park fees for when you park your RV at night. There are then utility costs such as water, electricity hook-up charges, and waste disposal fees that you may need to factor in unless they are included at RV sites. All of these costs add up, so before you set out on the road make sure that you budget accordingly. 

Planning Where Your RV Will Take You

Once you have purchased your RV and gotten it ready for the road, it is then time to start planning your new mobile way of life. Is the idea to be on the road full time, only stopping for a few days between locations, or do you plan to find somewhere that you really like and then hole up for a couple of months at a time? You also need to consider seasonal weather because big vehicles such as an RV are much more difficult to drive in certain conditions like snow and you likewise wouldn’t want to break down in the middle of the desert in the height of summer.

Some planning will be necessary when it comes to where you want to travel and when. You then may have family and friends to consider as well. Life on the road can be lonely, so think about where you want to be at memorable times of the year such as holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas or loved ones’ birthdays. While you’ll no doubt meet some amazing people on the road, it’s always nice to stay in touch with the ones you love the most.

The key to RV life is being well prepared. Choose your RV according to your own needs and desires, making sure your financing options allow you to budget for the daily running costs of life on the road. Learn the ins and outs of your RV at an early stage so there are no surprises, and then plan where you want your RV to take you. When done effectively, transitioning from a traditional home to an RV lifestyle can be a liberating experience that allows you to truly feel alive.

Storing Your RV When You  Are Not Using It

An RV is a significant investment, so you want to make sure you choose the right one for your needs. We’ve covered that the first thing to consider is what type of RV you want. Motorhomes, or self-contained RVs, are the largest and most expensive option. They come with their own kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area, and can be driven on any road.

If you plan on doing a lot of off-road camping, or want the ability to tow a boat or trailer, then a motorhome is probably not the right choice for you. Campervans are smaller and more maneuverable than motorhomes, but may not have all the same features. For example, many campervans do not have their own bathroom, and some have very limited kitchen facilities. They are, however, a more budget-friendly option and a great choice for those wanting to enjoy a lot of city camping.

Whichever type of RV you choose, you will also need to also think about storage. The size of your RV will factor into where it can be stored and should be another consideration when choosing an RV.  If you have space at your home or garage, that’s usually the most convenient option.

However, if you don’t have space at your residence, or live in an apartment building where storing an RV would not be permitted, then you will need to look into renting storage space elsewhere. Many storage facilities offer outdoor parking spaces that are large enough to accommodate an RV.

When storing your RV outdoors, it is important to invest in an RV cover to protect it from weather damage. Covering your RV will help prolong the life of your RV by protecting it from the elements. Many people don’t know this, but leaving an RV outside for a long period of time can greatly damage the vehicle. That’s why it’s important to cover your RV if you’re going to be storing it outside when you aren’t using it. 

With a little research and planning , owning an RV can be a fun and rewarding experience . So whether you’re planning on hitting the open road for a cross-country adventure , or just want a comfortable place to camp on weekends , be sure to keep these tips in mind.

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Author: Michael Jerrard

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