Full Time RV Living
We have officially been living in our RV full time for 4 months now and we are still madly in love with our decision. Here are some updates to our original plan and things we’ve learned along the way.
CHANGE OF PACE: Our neighbors are RV people and they told us we would want to make longer stops than the 2/3 day stops we had originally planned – they were right. We still have those short stays, but we have now added in longer stays. Our longest stay so far was 9 days and by day 7 we were ready to get moving again. We want to see a lot of America and for us moving the van is easy, but what we don’t want to do is pay for a spot in one town and spend the whole time driving to towns around us, so we have just opted to stop more frequently.
HOME IMPROVEMENTS: Holy Hotness! We live in a metal vehicle, you know that feeling when you open your door after it sits in the parking lot for a few hours it nearly knocks you over? Well we get that in the van too ☹ especially when we are places with zero tree cover. So we went to Walmart and bought simple window covers to cover the rear windows and we ordered this snazzy windshield cover from Amazon to help cut down the heat on our 2 least tinted windows. We also went to Lowe's and bought an Air Deflector for side wall registers which has drastically increase the airflow in the front of the van.
SAFETY: We probably haven’t mentioned it before but before we hit the road we bought a dash cam and we cannot tell you how often we say “oh thank goodness we have a camera, because that was almost really bad.” People drive like idiots, they text, eat, apply makeup, turn around to yell at the kids, they use both lanes interchangeably and most importantly fail to realize how much harder it is to come to a stop when driving an 11,000 pound van. Without our camera it would be up to us to remember every detail and to report it to police. We hope to never have to run into the situation where the footage is needed, but with our trusty camera we have the peace of mind of knowing an impartial video is being taken.
GOAL SETTING: “How long do you plan to do this?” We often hear this question and our early on answer was no less than1.5 years because we sold everything we own to make this dream a reality. Along the way we realized we needed more concrete goals so we each made a bucket list of items we REALLY wanted to do/see while on this wild adventure. We recently crossed off one of C’s list items - Nashville, TN! J’s are mostly in the Western part of the US, but we are both looking forward to seeing Niagara Falls this summer.
ASK QUESTIONS: We lived in Wilmington, NC for over a decade and we never once visited the welcome/visitor center – talk about missing out! We would be lost without Visitor/Welcome centers in the towns we visit. They tell us all the must see/do items, tell us where the locals hang and offer suggestions about their favorite parts of town. They are also typically experts on where we can and cannot park our van through the city(most of the time for free).
REIGNING IT IN: We heard it from every blog we followed – once you go full time RV you will have to bring yourself back to reality this is a lifestyle NOT a vacation. It never fails, we get to anew exciting city and we want to do all the fun stuff, see all the attractions and live like locals all at the same time. We have to actively limit ourselves to a few activities/outings in each town to stay on course with our monthly budget. Sometimes it’s a bummer to miss out, but then we remember we are traveling this amazing country getting to see so many wonderful things so saying “no” to ourselves isn’t all bad. Additionally,we have started a “return city” list of the places along the way we need to see more of.
GROCERY SHOPPING: We go to the grocery store about 2 times a week now for staple items. Unlike our sticks and bricks house, we simply have no additional storage for “extra” items such as back up cereal, a second half gallon of milk or a carton of 24 eggs. It comes with the tiny living territory and we have adjusted accordingly. We just get to check out more local grocery stores and of course Walmart/Target are often easy to find too.
Shout out to everyone who has helped guide us along the way. We have been so fortunate to have friends and family offer suggestions and insights which have truly made our travels improved beyond measure. We are also grateful for all the RVers we have met at various campgrounds who have told us about their experiences, lessons learned and how to get the most bang for our buck in our RV life. Last, but certainly not least, thank YOU for reading our ramblings, sending us suggestions of where we should go. We love getting to take you all along with us on this wild adventure.