Considering making the switch to full-time RVing? It’s more than a home on wheels; it’s about joining an adventurous community of people with plenty in common, embracing minimalism by choosing experiences instead of things and adapting to a mobile lifestyle.

Whether you dream of freedom or are looking for practical advice on making the transition, we’re happy to share our experiences as a family of 5 who started RVing full-time in 2018.

We should also mention that as often as the question comes up, we tell people that we would never try and talk someone into RVing. But if you’re considering it, then here are some things we’ve learned from our family’s experience:

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Embracing the Full-Time RV Lifestyle: Is It for You?

We took our RV life to Baja, Mexico

Enjoying RV Life at a National Park in Baja, Mexico

Downsizing to begin a full-time RVing lifestyle requires an adventurous spirit, a passion for travel, and a touch of resourcefulness. Could you let go of your conventional, four-walled house to live in a tiny home on wheels? Could you swap your daily commute for a journey across diverse landscapes, your neighbors for fellow RVers, and your static abode for a home that goes with you everywhere you go?

But it’s not just about the thrill of the open road. Your travel style, family size, budget, and work situation all play a part in deciding if full-time RV living is right for you. Transitioning to living in a tiny home on wheels can feel like you are gearing up for an extended camping trip, with the added challenge of reducing belongings and adopting a minimalist lifestyle for full-time RV living.

Charting Your Course: Planning Your Full-Time RV Journey

Our RV life took us to the Canadian Rockies

RVing in the Canadian Rockies!

Once you have decided that full-time RVing is for you, you’ll be asking yourself, “Where to first?”. From selecting the best RV for your lifestyle to mapping out your destinations and plotting RV-friendly routes, and budgeting for the road, every decision shapes your new full-time RVing lifestyle.

There are a lot of things to consider, and we want to help you in the process.

Mapping Out Destinations

As you begin your RV journey planning, consider choosing your travel itinerary for the first couple of months based on your interests. Whether you’re chasing sunsets at the Grand Canyon or exploring the bustling streets of New Orleans, the options are endless. To plan your route, consider using tools like RV Trip Wizard, which can help you find RV-friendly routes and camping sites along the way. This tool enables you to factor in the needs and preferences of all family members, ensuring a memorable journey for everyone. has been a helpful tool that we have used to easily search for campgrounds along our route.

Wherever you choose to travel, make sure that you still allow time in your schedule for plans to change. The beauty of RV life lies in its flexibility. Want to stay longer at a particularly beautiful RV park? Or maybe you want to take a detour to visit a newly discovered attraction? With your home on wheels, you can adjust your plans as you go, making every day a new adventure. It’s good to also consider factors like weather, vehicle trouble, or sick family members – these kinds of factors can cause you to adjust your plans. So, make sure you allow for a Plan B.

Budgeting for the Road

Road budgeting encompasses more than simply tallying fuel expenses. From food and groceries to campsite fees, unexpected vehicle repair bills, and dining out or recreational activities, your monthly budget could have a wide range depending on what you choose to spend money on for fun and what required expenses you’ll have while travelling full-time.

We save a lot of money by eating in our RV (and YES! You can cook full meals in an RV!)

Fuel costs can vary, with average costs for full-time RVing ranging between $2.50 and $3.50 per gallon. Campground fees, on the other hand, could range from $22 to $55 per night. Maintenance costs are another substantial factor. You need to have money set aside in your budget to cover the cost of maintaining your RV as well as your vehicle. Incorporating these expenses into your budget planning will help you understand what your monthly expenses will be and help you map out how many miles you want to travel within one month.

Selecting the Right RV

Choosing the most comfortable RV for your family (or for yourself if you are RVing alone) is the most important decision you’ll need to make. Several factors come into play, including your lifestyle, budget, and the size of your family. Each RV class has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to weigh all the options before making a decision.

Apart from size and layout, you should also consider the amenities the RV offers. From storage space for outdoor gear to storing essentials for your kitchen, bathroom, and everyday essentials, the RV should have the space you need for living full-time on the road once you have downsized your belongings. Does the RV you are considering purchasing have:

  • Large, outdoor storage space for water hoses, outdoor chairs, outdoor carpets, etc
  • Kitchen pantry space to store food and dishes
  • Enough space for your family to sleep comfortably without needing to set up beds every night
  • A comfortable living space when you might all be stuck inside due to bad weather.

Your RV is your home, but remember that you will also be spending most of your time enjoying the outdoors.

Establishing a Mobile Home Base

Enjoying RV life by parking at a beach and using our paddleboard on the water

Using our paddleboard while RVing at a beach

Despite the allure of the open road and the thrilling thought of being a nomad, don’t forget that you’ll need to set up a legal domicile. This involves considering the following:

  • Picking a domicile state/province
  • Registering vehicles
  • Voting
  • Filing taxes
  • Registering with a particular schoolboard if you have children

Choosing a domicile state is a personal decision that depends on various factors, such as the state’s requirements for vehicle registration, taxes, homeschooling, and the need for a legal address for voting and taxes. In the USA, Florida, South Dakota, and Texas are popular choices among full-timers due to their RV-friendly laws and policies. Additionally, where you choose to establish your domicile state/province will impact your insurance premiums and other legal matters.

The Cost of Full-Time RV Living

How much does it cost to live in an RV?

This is our RV’s office space where work while RVing (but not while driving)

Although the RV lifestyle looks like it could be an opportunity for you to save money or spend less, there are a few things to consider financially while making the switch to a full-time RVing lifestyle. From generating income on the move to managing insurance and exploring campground memberships, let’s take a look at how to navigate the financial aspects of RV living.

Below is a general overview, but if you’d like to dig into all of the details, we’ve created a budget for RV Life here.

Consider campground memberships like Thousand Trails and Passport America

Opting for campground memberships can significantly cut down accommodation expenses. Membership services like Thousand Trails and Passport America offer access to a network of campgrounds at discounted rates. For an annual fee, Thousand Trails members get free access to their parks and can make campground reservations without any additional fees. It’s a cost-effective camping option for full-time RVers.

On the other hand, Passport America offers a 50% discount on the regular nightly rate at thousands of participating campgrounds, all for an annual fee of just $44 (or you can buy their lifetime membership which is what we did). By joining these membership services, you can save substantially on campground fees, making them a wise investment for full-time RVers.

Connectivity on the Go: Internet Solutions for RVers

Maintaining connectivity is vital, particularly for remote-working full-time RVers or homeschooling families. Thankfully, there are various options to ensure reliable internet access while on the move.

Mobile hotspots are a popular choice among RVers. Devices like the AT&T Netgear Nighthawk M1, Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L, and T-Mobile Alcatel LINKZONE 2 offer reliable connectivity and can be used across various locations.

On the other hand, satellite internet services, such as those provided by Starlink (which is what we use), offer reliable coverage even in remote areas, making them a great option for full-timers who prefer boondocking or camping in remote locations. Starlink has been a game-changer for us.

Using public Wi-Fi can also be a handy solution, especially when you’re staying at campgrounds or RV parks that offer this service. Something to consider is that public networks pose security risks, making it imperative to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for data protection.

Finding Your Tribe: Building Community on the Road

The sense of community stands as one of the most gratifying aspects of RV life. Even on the open road, you’re never alone. The RV community is a supportive network of individuals and families who share your passion for travel and adventure.

Social networking platforms like RVBug and RVwithMe connect RVers, providing a platform for sharing experiences, advice, and friendship. We have joined Facebook groups created for full-time RVers to meet RVing families and get help with our questions about full-time RV life. Attending RV-related events, like the Fulltime Families meetups or the Xscapers Bash can also be a great way to meet fellow RVers and make lasting friendships.

With an open mind and a friendly disposition, finding your tribe on the road can be one of the most fulfilling experiences of your RV journey. Over the years, we have been able to make life-long friendships while full-time RVing and have found community.

Downsizing for Life on the Open Road

Shifting to RV life can be a daunting task. You’ll need to consider reducing your possessions and adopting a minimalist approach to life. The limited storage space in an RV demands a careful selection of what to bring along as well as organization.

Start by evaluating what you truly need. Focus on multi-functional items and essential personal items – what do you need and what will you use every day? To optimize space, consider using wall-mounted accessories, collapsible items, and multi-use appliances. Regularly getting rid of things you don’t need can help keep your living space feeling more spacious and functional.

While downsizing may seem challenging, it also offers an opportunity to declutter and simplify your life, bringing focus to experiences over possessions.

Weathering the Seasons in Your RV

Full-time RV living entails adapting to varying weather conditions and seasons. Whether you’re planning to RV in the Rocky Mountains to spend the winter skiing or preparing for a warm winter on the Gulf Coast of Florida, your RV (and your wardrobe) should be equipped to handle different climates.

To prepare your RV for winter, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure it’s well-insulated and equipped with a reliable heating system.
  2. Use a heated hose for filling water tanks and secure your pipes with heat tape to prevent freezing.
  3. Regularly inspect your RV’s heating and cooling systems.
  4. Ensure your RV is equipped with efficient insulation and weather stripping.
  5. Regular maintenance will ensure your RV remains a comfortable home, no matter the weather outside.

Here are our best tips for Staying cool in an RV in summer and Staying warm in an RV in winter

You might also find that in more extreme temperatures, you need to get a break and get out of the RV with the kids. Hopefully you’ll find this article helpful:

9 Free Things To Do: For Kids Who Travel In An RV full time

Daily Living in a Compact Space

RV with bunk beds

These are our RV’s bunkbeds – our boys’ bedroom

Living in an RV necessitates adjustment to a more confined living space. But with thoughtful organization and strategic use of space, you can create a comfortable and efficient tiny home on wheels. Here are some tips to help you maximize your storage space and keep your living space tidy:

  • Consider using wall-mounted accessories to hang items and save counter space.
  • Hang jars or containers on hooks or racks to store small items.
  • Use collapsable containers to save space when not in use.
  • Regularly clean your RV and purge unnecessary things to keep it tidy and maintain its functionality.

Dig in deep with our Best Tips for RV Storage Space

To make your RV feel more like home:

  • Invest in comfortable mattresses and bedding (We should have done this sooner, but happy we made the choice to get this memory foam mattress for our RV)
  • Create cozy seating areas
  • Personalize your space with decorations and accessories – hang some family photos on the wall
  • Consider expanding your living space outdoors by setting out an outdoor carpet under your awning or portable hammock to enjoy the scenery and fresh air.

Navigating Campgrounds and Parking Spots

Mastering the art of locating and maneuvering through campgrounds with your RV is a vital skill for full-time RVers. From selecting the right campground to mastering RV driving and parking, familiarity with these aspects can make your RV journey go smoother.

When selecting a campground, consider the following factors:

  • Amenities – will you need water, sewer, and electrical hookups
  • Cost – can you stay at a discount with your memberships you currently have
  • Size of RV spots – do you prefer pull-through sites or are you ok with back-in sites
  • Location – is it close to the city or National Park you were planning to explore

Reviews and recommendations from other RVers can help you choose a campground that suits your needs and preferences.

As an RVer, it’s also essential to improve your driving skills. Learning professional driving techniques and understanding the dynamics of RV driving can help you navigate tight spots and windy roads with ease as well as backing into tight campsites.

Finally, consider purchasing walkie-talkies to assist you and your spouse with RV parking so that the process runs smoothly.

Overcoming Challenges and Embracing the Positives

Despite the allure of freedom and novelty that RV life offers, it does come with its fair share of obstacles. From dealing with bad weather and limited storage space to managing costs, full-time RV living requires some adaptability and flexibility.

However, every challenge presents an opportunity for growth. The unique experiences, the freedom to explore, and the chance to live simply and mindfully are some of the most rewarding aspects of full-time RV living. By focusing on the positives, you can turn these challenges into stepping stones that lead to a richer, more fulfilling lifestyle.

Essential RV Gear and Supplies

Furnishing your RV with appropriate gear and provisions is essential for a life in your tiny home that is safe and comfortable. From safety equipment to kitchen appliances and solar panels, each item serves a specific purpose. Here are the accessories we discovered we needed in our first 90 days of RVing.

Safety equipment, such as carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits, are essential for your safety and peace of mind.

Kitchen appliances, such as a propane refrigerator, microwave, and stovetop & oven, and pressure cooker make it possible to prepare wholesome meals on the go. We even travel with a KitchenAid mixer to bake our bread and treats in our RV.

Solar panels, like portable solar power systems, flexible solar panels, or solar panels mounted to the roof of your RV, can provide an efficient and eco-friendly power solution for your RV.

Staying Healthy and Safe on the Move

Ensuring good health on the move is vital for an enjoyable RV journey. This includes not just physical health, but also mental well-being. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy on the road:

  • Stay active by incorporating regular exercise into your routine. This can include activities like hiking, biking, or yoga.
  • Eat healthy meals by cooking wholesome meals in your RV kitchen. Stock up on fresh, local fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  • Get enough sleep. Invest in a quality mattress and bedding, and create a relaxing bedtime routine.


By following these tips, you can maintain good health and enjoy your RV journey to the fullest.

For mental health, practicing mindfulness, establishing a routine for stability, and connecting with others within the RV community can be beneficial. Additionally, practicing safety measures, such as having a good security system for your vehicle and being aware of your surroundings, can add to your peace of mind.

Full-Time RVing as a Family

Venturing on the road with your family can provide a thrilling and rewarding experience. However, RVing with children comes with its own set of unique challenges and considerations.

Keeping your kids’ routines intact can provide a sense of stability and normalcy amid the changing landscapes. Ensure they have their own space in your RV and have some of their favourite games, toys, and activities in accessible cupboards, involve them in the planning process, and maintain a consistent bedtime routine.

Full-time RVing as a family isn’t just about the destinations you explore with your family members, but also about the precious memories you create and the bonds you strengthen along the way.


In conclusion, full-time RV living is a lifestyle that offers a unique blend of freedom, adventure, and personal growth. It’s about embracing minimalism, learning to adapt, and finding joy in the journey. While it comes with its own set of challenges, the rewards are well worth it. So, are you ready to leap into this lifestyle and hit the open road?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you permanently live in an RV in one location?

Yes, you can permanently live in an RV in some places, but it depends on local regulations, zoning laws, and the terms of RV parks or campgrounds. It’s important to check the specific rules in the area where you want to live.

Is it realistic to live in an RV?

Yes, it is realistic to live in an RV, whether you prefer a luxurious lifestyle or want to live on a budget. Just be mindful of the different expenses involved, such as campsite fees, fuel, maintenance, and daily living costs.

Is it financially smart to live in an RV?

Living in an RV can be financially smart due to lower utility and maintenance costs, along with promoting a simpler and minimalist lifestyle. This lifestyle can lead to fewer expenses related to possessions.

Is it cheaper to live in an RV than a house?

Yes, living in an RV can be cheaper than a traditional house due to lower utility and maintenance costs, and a simpler lifestyle with fewer expenses. It all depends on how much you choose to do each month as you travel new places.

What personal qualities are needed for full-time RV living?

You need to be organized, resourceful, self-reliant, flexible, adaptable, and independent for full-time RV living. A love for travel and the outdoors is also essential.

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