Thousands of Americans have downsized their lives and taken to the
road, living in a recreation vehicle (either a trailer, a
self-contained motor coach or a fifth wheel). Folks who live the RV
lifestyle call it “full timing”.
Which Category of Rver fits your expectations?
There are three general categories of Rvers on the road: vacationers, part timers and full timers. Vacationers may take to the road for a weekend or for a weeklong trip but part timers or full timers spend extended amounts of time living in their rigs. The only difference between full and part time users is the length of time they spend in their vehicles. The part timer takes to the road several times of year, perhaps to visit family members or to winter in the south, but have a home base to return to. Full timers are the committed Rvers. Many have given up home based living altogether and spend most of their time in their home on wheels. Dedicated to life on the road, many full timers are retired and just enjoy traveling, but others work on the road and are just more comfortable having their own home than in staying in hotels for extended periods of time.
RV living is not the way of life for everyone. Some people feel cooped up, even in the largest of motor homes, but others love this carefree downsized lifestyle. This is a rather drastic lifestyle change so everyone that you talk to will recommend taking an extended vacation (as much as three months) together to determine if this is really for you. Retired couples especially because it is inevitable that two people in such close proximity are going to get on each other’s nerves. The number one rule is that you have to get along so both halves of a couple must be equally enthusiastic about it. Rent or borrow a RV similar to the type that you are interested in and use the rig for two weeks or more. Drive it, camp it in various parks, learn the in and out of packing, cooking and maintaining it. Until you have actually tried an RV, there is no way to tell if you will fall in love with the sense of freedom or be pulling your hair out because of a previously unknown sense of claustrophobia. After three or four solid weeks you should be able to tell if full time Rving is a lifestyle that you want to pursue. The next step is buying a rig to fit your lifestyle. Before you move into your RV, you will need to make many decisions in regard to selling your home, deciding what possessions that you want to keep (while most RVs have cleverly designed storage spaces there isn’t much of it).
Costs and Considerations:
Gasoline prices have not had much effect on the RV full timers lifestyle or on the sale of recreational vehicles. Most folks move their rigs only two or three times a year and once they get to where they are going will stay there for five or six months. Spread out over a year, the cost of fuel averages out.
Most people buy fifth-wheels because they are cheaper than other motor homes, but roomier and more comfortable. Insurance costs are lower for RVs than for automobiles because the accident rate is lower. Most people own their rigs outright because they bought them using the proceeds from the sale of their homes. Rvs can be financed for up to 20 years at interest rates similar to a house loan. Like a house, an RV is a major investment and the down side is that they do no appreciate in value. However, property owners have expenses that RV owners don’t such as upkeep and repairs on the house, fences, lawn care and property taxes.
Rvs are designed for efficiency using every inch of available space. Rvs come fully furnished with all of amenities of homes from television, to computers, to microwaves to air conditioning.
The Rver’s Bible by Kim Baker and Sunny Baker
Retirement on Wheels by Linda Redeffer of the Southeast Missourian