There are many thoughts that come to mind when first considering becoming a full-time RVer. It may sound adventurist, exciting, fun or romantic. It can be all or none of these. In large it depends on the decisions that you make before setting out on your first adventure. My first piece of advice, keep Murphy’s Law in mind, whatever can go wrong will.
Most first time RVers will make mistakes regardless of how much thought they put into their decision making. The reason being there are some things you can only learn from experience. This lead to my fiancé and I trading in our new 5th wheel, just 6 months after living in it full-time. We wish we knew then what we know now before becoming full-time RVers.
Here is my prioritized list of topics to consider before becoming a full-time RVer. I’m sure there are other topics to consider that other full-time RVers could add to my list.
1) Do I keep my house when becoming a full-time RVer? My advice, make sure you know if you like it before selling your house. As great as it sounds, you may decide that it just isn’t for you. Campgrounds can have their good points and bad points, but that’s a future topic.
2) What type and size of RV do I buy? There are so many variables, I will just touch on what I consider the main topics to consider.
– What type of vehicle do you feel most comfortable driving down the road and to the types of places that you would like to visit? The options today are many. I would suggest going to a big city annual RV show that represents all of the different types and sizes of RVs before making a decision. Another important decision to consider is the difficulty of gassing up different types of gas and diesel trucks that pull behind today’s larger RVs.
– The size and options are very important decisions. Whether you are coming from an apartment or house, it will be a bigger adjustment than you think when you are forced to down-size. You will need to determine what you can live without before deciding on the RV size and options. I would strongly consider an RV with a residential refrigerator, generator and enough storage space. The non-residential refrigerators have their problems and are very expensive to fix and/or replace.
3) Signing up with a mail forwarding service was one of the best things we did after becoming full-time RVers. We just wish that we had done it sooner versus changing out address every time we moved. Mail forwarding services is a simple concept. You are assigned an address that you can use to have your mail sent to. You can then choose the type of mail you want forwarded to the campground/park where you are staying and how often you want your mail sent. The price is reasonable and is typically determined by the amount of mail and how often you want it sent.
4) When traveling down the road and you break down. Beware of Scrupulous RV service providers. One of the most common breakdowns is a blowout. I will just give you one experience that I had that has happened to other RVers in one way or another.
We were traveling down the highway in Texas about 60 miles south of San Antonio. My RV tires were only 2-1/2 years old and had excellent tread. We had a blowout. We called a company that specialized in changing tires on RVs come out to change the tire. Taking into account that we already had one blowout, the fact that we would probably have another within a short time and whenever you have a blowout it typically causes damage to the camper, we thought it would be good idea to replace all 4 tires.
The company said that they could bring out 4 new tires, mount the tires on the rims and install them on the RV on the highway. we said okay. When the truck arrived it had 4 tires, but not the machine to mount the tires on the rims. The driver said the machine was being used on one of their other trucks. The driver attempted to remove and mount the tires manually. In the process he damaged the first mag wheel where he mounted the tire that was blown. When he attempted to mount the second tire he began damaging the mag wheel again. I insisted that he stop and bring the 3 remaining tires back to the shop for mounting.
When I spoke to the company that we contracted to do the work, not only did they refuse to give us a discount for the damage that the driver did to the 2 mag wheels, they charged us an additional $85 because they driver had to go back to the shop to mount the tires. To add insult to injury, we found out after the fact that the company overcharged us a $100 per tire. It is my opinion that they did this because it was late afternoon on a Saturday and the other tire shops would be closed until Monday morning, leaving us stranded on the highway. Lesson learned, be wary of companies that provide RV services when you are broke down along the road and you are in a vulnerable position. Don’t get me wrong, there are many good RV service providers and we appreciate the services they provide.
In conclusion, do your research before becoming a full-time RVer. It can be a memorable experience when you make the decisions that are right for you. Happy trails.