I’m no expert at living in an RV, but I did live in our RV for most of 2017 with a husband, two kids, a dog and a turtle, so I feel I am equipped to talk a bit on the subject.
We own a 2012 32 foot bunkhouse Coachman Freelander. It is a class C RV. It has a bunk above the cab, a kitchen table that converts to a double bed, a couch that converts into a double bed, twin bunk beds and a queen bed in the back room. You could fit a lot of people in to sleep if you really wanted to.
So lets start with the Pros of RV Living.
Well, there are a lot of people these days who are choosing to live in an RV instead of a stick built house. The reasoning with this is that if you keep your overhead low then you can use your resources- your money and time to pursue the things you love rather than working all of the time to meet the demands of a traditional mortgage. We met a couple in Arizona who chose to live in their RV to keep their housing costs low. They weren’t traveling, they lived at the RV resort. And I do mean RV resort- Leaf Verde in Arizona had a heated pool, nice lounge, large laundromat, places to walk, a doggie park and it was very clean and very well maintained.
As mentioned in one of my first posts, I met a family in NC who sold their stick built house to buy an RV to pursue their love of travel and basically living life of their terms. They live very frugally and work enough to have the money for expenses and pay. They home school their children and love to provide them with tons of hands on activities that you might not otherwise experience staying in one location.
As a travel nurse, RV living is convenient because instead of having to pack and unpack your belongings every thirteen weeks, you just move your whole home with the contents inside of it. You can imagine having to pack up the belongings of four people every three months, lugging it up and down three flights of stairs, loading it into a U-Haul trailer and then unloading it at home to then load it up again to head to your next assignment. Wow, that sounds exhausting (yes. it. is!)!
Another pro, your RV is your property. If you mess it up, it belongs to you. In a rented/leased home you lose a deposit, or worse, when your dog/child/husband stains the carpets, walls, etc.
I found the smaller space challenged me to bring the possessions most important to me. I feel like this has really helped me to downsize and readjust what I really need to live comfortably. I also enjoyed that we seems to go outside and enjoy nature more often. I loved that the outside was like a ‘living room’ for us (weather permitting, of coarse).
And so the other side of the coin, what are the cons of Living in an RV?
Well, an RV is like owning a home. Things break and they have to be fixed. I’m blessed to married to a handyman, but if I were not repairs on an RV could be costly. And I am the one responsible for the repairs. If the AC goes out I have to pay to get it fixed, if I am renting an apartment they fix it with no charge to me.There is also maintenance of an RV- re-caulking the roof, or even needing to replace the roof, replacing the awning, tires, the vent covers- things of that nature. Again, like a home, things have to be maintained and that can be expensive.
The age of your RV can be a factor when staying ‘monthly’ in RV parks. There are a lot of parks that do not allow RVs older than ten years. Depending on the age of your set up this can be a problem. I may have preferred to go with an older class C and fix it up, but I knew this could be a challenge so we went with a new model.
Finding a spot. In some areas we have had a difficult time finding a monthly spot. Every assignment we spent in the RV I was driving 30-45 minutes to work. That really isn’t a huge deal, but when you are working night shifts that commute back home in the morning can be difficult. Boondocking wasn’t really an option because those spots don’t have water/electric and state/federal sites usually have a fourteen day limit.
Gas. Gas can be costly depending on how far you are driving. We have a gasoline engine and got around ten miles to the gallon. That fluctuates a bit. You may get a few more miles on flat land, but when you start adding in uphill/downhill, your gas mileage can really stink. Our first trip was from SC to Arizona. I never even calculated how much money we spent in gas. You know what they say- ignorance is bliss.
How small of a space can you live in? Can you handle the tiny bathroom and kitchen. These are things that on the short term are no big deal, but for some people they would not be able to handle the smaller space on a full time basis.
We love to camp. We loved living in our RV. I believe making the decision to purchase an RV is very individual and you just have to weigh the options for yourself. We all have our preferences and limits to our living situations.