Six Reasons Why You Should Live in an RV During Your 20’s
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Six Reasons Why You Should Live in an RV During Your 20’s

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Some days living in an RV drives me crazy. It’s a small space, dishes pile up after a single meal, and you have to constantly dump your own… well, you know.

However, on the better days of living in an RV, I feel grateful.

I feel gratitude because I “own my home” at 24 years old. I don’t have a mortgage, and living in an RV provides one less payment we have to make at the end of the month. I also feel grateful because of how much of the country I’ve been able to see in such a short amount of time. It wouldn’t have been possible without living in an RV.

Most 20 something people would never think of buying an RV, none the less living in one. We, speaking of the millennial crowd, are on great terms with “living a simple life” and we love tiny houses for their cool, sleek style, but not RV’s. RV’s are for older folks and retirees who want to go to Yellowstone, they aren’t a feasible option for a young professional, certainly not a classy option.

Wrong.

An RV could be the greatest asset to your career and happiness in your life, especially if you’re in your twenties.

Here is why:

1. RV’s can be extremely affordable.

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RV's can be affordable
Alyssa driving our 1994 Coachmen RV

Heath Padgett

Our RV cost $11,500 and came in pretty good shape. The average rent where we used to live in Austin (for a one bedroom apartment) is $1,124/month according to rentjungle.com. This means one year’s rent in Austin will cost you $13,488, without factoring in the cost of utilities and such. By living in an RV for a few years after college, you could drastically save money on one of your largest expenses. And then when you are tired of living in an RV, if the rig is still in decent shape you can always sell it. RV’s hold their value well if you keep them out of bad weather and don’t have any leaks.

Plus, you can fix it up and make it look awesome.

(Just for kicks I made a list of 29 reasons why living in an RV is better than living in a traditional home, you can read that list here.)

2. Flexibility.

Apartment leases and home mortgages keep you stuck to the same spot, whether you like it or not. Having an RV offers flexibility. For example, when Alyssa and I finished our 48 state road trip in December, I had a mentor ask me to help him launch his upcoming book and build some online products. The only problem? He lived in San Jose, California, one of the most expensive places to live in the country.

Because we had the flexibility of our RV, we are easily able to pick up and move out here for a couple months without breaking the bank. Sure, RV rent out here is astronomically high compared to the rest of the country. But our two month stay was extremely cheap compared to if we would’ve had to find a sublet or short term apartment lease. We also don’t feel the pressure to stay longer than we needed to. This Friday we are headed back to Austin.

RVing allows you to go where you find new opportunities or jobs without having to be tied down to any particular location.

3. It opens up your world if you can work remote.

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Working remote in our RV
Alyssa working outside the RV

According to a recent article by the NY Times, remote working employees now account for over 3 million workers throughout America. Many traditional office-style jobs can now be transferred to virtual positions, meaning you can work from literally anywhere with Wifi. If you’re young and wanting to see the world, why not see more of the country instead of staying in one place?

You can log into your work during the week, and on the weekends pack up and go to your next destination down in the Florida Keys.

Other people are just straight up quitting their jobs and starting businesses on the road. I recently met and interviewed this couple who travel full-time and make $2,000/month by running their Etsy business out of their RV. How legit is that?

And the Etsy couple aren’t the only exception, I’ve met tons of people who are running businesses while traveling in their RV full-time. I recently wrote a book titled The RV Entrepreneur where I break down how full-time travelers build and maintain businesses on the road.

4. It’s a freaking awesome tool for paying off student debt.

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Paying off student debt while living in RV
We dubbed 2015 the year of RV vs. Student debt and paid off over $14k in student debt.

Alyssa’s and my 2015 was called “The Year of RV VS. Student Loan Debt”. I graduated from Concordia University with $27,000 in student loans. Two years ago while traveling to 48 states we did not accrue any additional debt, but we didn’t exactly pay it off either…or at all. Now that our travels aren’t as crazy, living in an RV is our tool for paying off student debt.

This year alone we’ve already been able to pay off $5,000 (update at end of 2015: paid off over $14k of debt). We own the RV, so payments are not an issue. Our rent next month in Austin will be $360/month, which is dirt cheap because most RV parks are significantly less than apartment rent.

The average student graduating from college right now is leaving with $29,000. The only thing worse than our country’s acceptance of letting students graduate with ridiculous amounts of debt is when young people embrace their debt and go sign up for a mortgage or a nice apartment lease after receiving their diploma. While there are plenty of awesome case studies out there of people who paid off crazy amounts of debt, I feel the norm tends to lean towards people who are much older, now have kids, and are still attempting to pay off student loans.

As sad as this is, by leaving your comfort zone of a cushy apartment for a few years and living in an RV, you can easily save more money and kills these loans before they kill you, financially that is. Sallie Mae isn’t a part of the mafia (that I know of).

5. More opportunities to connect with people you admire.

Last year while traveling across the country Alyssa and I met with so many authors and influencers we had admired over the years. It seemed like all of a sudden it became so easy to connect with people we looked up to the most. How? We made ourselves much more accessible. We were able to attend conferences like World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon which boasts thousands of attendees each year and stop at random workshops throughout the country. When we’d stop, we would even offer up our film services to be more involved during these events. At World Domination Summit in particular we were able to stay in Portland over a week and interview all of the speakers and presenters.

If we had bought a plane ticket or only were able to take a few days off work to join the conference, this wouldn’t have been an option. However, we did end up boon docking in a school parking lot for a few days while we were in Portland. It was a bit hot at night, but the relationships we made from the conference were well worth it.

The point I’m trying to make is this, it’s much easier to connect with someone when you can email them and say, “I’m going to be in town next week from Monday-Thursday. I love your work and it would be great to grab a cup of coffee together.” People are much more likely to say yes if you’re coming in from out of town and would like to meet with them, compared to if you already live in their town or send them an email asking for a phone call. Therefore, an RV is a great asset we’ve been able to use to meet people we admire.

Plus, people love that we travel in an RV. It makes for a great story. We enjoy giving tours as well.

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Visiting Snagajob HQ in Richmond, VA
Visiting Snagajob HQ in Richmond, VA

6. RVing teaches you to value experiences, reconnect with nature, and get rid of the crap you don’t need.

I know I just sounded like a hippie, oh well. RVing this past year has caused us to be extremely aware of all of our belongings. We don’t buy things we don’t need, mostly because there would be literally nowhere to put it. Our clothes are pretty minimal, which isn’t easy for a guy who used to own his own clothing line. I’m kind of a girl when it comes to my clothes, well, I was.

RVing has helped me replaced stuff with experiences. We would much rather spend a week in a national park than go out for a couple expensive dinners.

Side noteSpeaking of national parks, below is a screen grab of our time in Denali National Park. During our first year of full-time RVing we traveled to all 50 states filming a documentary called Hourly America where I worked a job in every state. My job in Alaska was with the National Park Service and it. was. epic. You can watch our film below or if you just want to see the scene of us at basecamp for Denali, skip to the 37:00 minute mark. 

It’s been a huge blessing to break out of the consumer-like habit at a young age. The most detrimental thing to someone who’s trying to pay off debt is to constantly be spending their money, RVing has helped me kick this habit (for the most part) and replace it with something better, a love for the outdoors and adventure.

Living in an RV during your twenties might seem unconventional, but it’s also extremely practical. If you’re trying to pay off debt and are barely making a starting salary, why in the heck would you spend all of your money on rent? It doesn’t make sense.

Choose a form of living that can benefit you in the long run, even if means sacrificing a bit of comfort.

What’s the biggest lesson travel has taught you? Leave a comment below, would love to hear from you.

Follow Heath:

Husband to Alyssa. I love RVing, that's why I talk about it so much.

  • Haha! Love this. Really wishing I could rewind and try this out. With 3 kids now we’d need an RV or 2. Maybe we’ll give the RV life a try once the kids are out.

    • Haha I love it, if you ever want to try it out for the weekend would be happy to try and make something work. At the very least, maybe we can have you over during WDS later this year. Fingers crossed!

  • Such great points! My husband and I just turned 30, close on selling our house in 3 weeks, and are buying a travel trailer to live and work remotely. Oh yeah, and we have 2 kids, 2 dogs, and a mountain of student loan debt. Better to do this fresh out of college, but certainly better late than never! This has been a year in the making, and we’re ready to join the ranks of other RV adventurers!

    • Kate! That is awesome! Congrats. Please keep in touch and let me know if I can be helpful at all :). I’m trying to convince Alyssa to let me get a dog… but no luck as of yet.

  • Ciera Brittain

    How do you find places to park and live full time? We are moving to San Clemente for 3 years and are looking into buying a camper or rv to live in while we are there. I been researching online and haven’t been able to find anywhere that allows you to stay longer than 30 days. Any special websites that make the search easier?

    • Ciera,

      The majority of RV parks offer full-time living options. I just searched in Google “RV parks near San Clemente” and found one called Ortega Oaks that has good reviews and looks like they offer monthly rates for you. Unless you’re looking at some kind of state park or national park, most RV parks will let you camp for more than 30 days- you just have to call them and ask. From my own experience, if they don’t allow you to stay longer than 30 days then they will make it pretty clear on their website.

      Unfortunately, there isn’t a great RV parks search engine just yet. There are some companies out there who are trying to make this process easier but, as you’ll soon learn, the RV park industry is a bit more behind than the rest of the world in technology :).

      Hope this helps and enjoy your plunge into the full-time RV lifestyle! It’s an awesome way to live Ciera 🙂

      happy RV’ing,

      Heath

  • Nun Ya

    I’d like to see this post really balance the conversation and costs out. This is all blue skies. You have utility costs and high fuel costs as well as fees for dumping and lot rental. The comparison is not really done fairly. Tires, brakes engine work etc. Break out the real cost vs renting and using an economical car.

    • 1. It’s difficult for me to take a person seriously who can’t even leave their real name on a comment box. 2. If you did any research on my website to find such costs, you would easily find that I have an extended article written with actual screenshots of our budget and money spent on the road. –> http://www.heathpadgett.com/the-cost-of-rving-across-america/

  • Bill Jones

    How do you cover mail, broadband Internet, medical insurance coverage areas? Doesn’t a 20+ year old RV vehicle run up huge repair bills every time you move it?

    • Hey Bill!

      Last year when we were traveling full-time our RV repair bills averaged around $300/month. We use a Verizon jetpack for our internet and that works great. Mail we have forwarded to our families and since we are under 26 we can legally still be covered on our parents insurance plans through their companies (that last part is very nice).

  • Thanks for that John, I appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time to read my other post. I would agree with you, I’m totally biased towards RVing. 🙂

    • Roman

      I really don’t find your post biased. I think people fail to consider that according to AAA the average cost to own a sedan runs over $9K dollars a year.
      This is simply from driving back and forth the same route daily. People forget that many expenses RV’s incur such as GAS, food apply regardless of where you call home.
      Lastly I think people forget to include what they spend on vacations when figuring if RV living is for them.
      A simple camping trip, hotel stay at the beach, trip to a national park, etc are all cost that are not duplicated when living in an RV. Forbes lists the average vacation in the US costs approx. $1500 to $4500.
      The average cost of owning a sedan and a family vacation is close to the amount you paid for your home.
      I am not a full time RVer so I am not biased. I just try to look at the whole picture.

      • I definitely agree Roman. Another factor is simply how much less “stuff” you are literally able to buy when you live in an RV. It is less tempting to buy things because you have nowhere to put them. Thanks for taking the time to read!

  • Karyn Michelle Blanchard

    This was really encouraging to me. Thank you. I’m 23, and throughout the long process of looking into living in an RV or camper, everything I have been seeing is lots of people saying it’s not worth it. I am bringing my camper home at the end of this month and will be living in a wonderful RV Park that I have ALWAYS wanted to stay at by this summer! Hopefully while also freeing up my life a bit. It seems that if you’re willing to change up your priorities (which we all need), buckle down and do the work, that it’s well worth it. Thanks for being positive! 🙂

    • Karyn!

      That is awesome. I don’t know why people would generically say “it’s not worth it”. I think everyone has a different lifestyle and things they aspire to do, but I can say the RV lifestyle has been awesome to both of us. Sure, it’s not the conventional route at 23 but it has a ton of pro’s to it as well.

      I have a FB group of a bunch of other young travelers who are making the transition, would love to have you join our group :). You can ask questions and if you need any help during the transition, someone will likely jump in to the rescue!

      Great to meet you!

      Heath

      • Karyn Michelle Blanchard

        Yeah, I wasn’t to sure about that either! I would love to be a part of that Facebook group. I need all the help I can find. What is the group called so I can look it up? 🙂

        Karyn

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  • Jencalifornia

    I’m doin it… drops the mike and walks out. Thanks for a great article. I’m not in my 20’s but I’m not an old person either. I’m 45 but my son is 14 and we’re taking him with…

    • haha I love it Jen! Have seen so many parents hit the road with their kids and it seems like such a rewarding experience. Will be stoked to do it when we have kids.

  • Victoria Backle

    This is the dream! I am 24 and about to do this (wrapping up college first). I have a kickstarter (Addressless: Living Small in an RV) to help me write my book about it while I’m on the road! Thanks for the awesome read!

    • Super awesome Victoria! Best of luck with the book and the new adventure 🙂

  • Onja N Pulze

    Hi Heath, thanks for sharing. My wife and I were looking at our options. I worked as a Helecopter paramedic made a good living for my family. I was in an accident lost I’m not able to go back and do the only thing I know and loved. I hoping I get state disability some time this year since I have no money coming in. And am not sure where to start on the going back to work but anyway. We had to sell our house we close escrow Next month we just can not afford rent. So I asked my wife how she would like living in an RV. She’s not super fond of the idea her parents were gypsy’s and she grew up in a traveling old converted school bus going to trade shows every week in a different state. When I showed her you article and brought up. We can travel and your I charge the mountains, the beach where ever you wanna go and it began to sound good to her to buy a RV with the little bit of money we hope to get for our house after all the judgments Leins we have due to unpaid medical bills and go back to school online. My questions are how do you get internet? Any tips on free aced to stay on the road or in city’s or towns? How hard would you say it would be to do with a 3 year old? Are the older RV’s difficult to maintain or repair if they break down if you have mechanical knowledge of 80’s and older motors without computer systems? Hope I can find some encouraging advice from anyone after livi g in a house my whole life and having a good job you loved that met all your need it’s a scary step to make. But I have never been able to travel much with as much as I use to work so I get super excited when thing about the possiblilly of traveling : ) At least until I can finish school thanks –
    Grey

    P.S. if anyone has any sound advice on finding and RV what to look for and what to avoid as well as tip for saving on the road and things to not do on the road would be wonderful my email is greyaz I use yahoo and my email provider.

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  • Spencer and Angela Hohn

    I just googled, “living in an RV” and there you were! …because at 34(DH is 35, 2 boys 11 and 13 and one small dog) we are doing it. We are about 2-3 weeks away from buying our new home and about 3 months from moving in permanently. A small downsize from 2700sf to 300sf. I keep thinking I am crazy but, the evidence says differently. I purged our HUGE closet yesterday, I have a 3 ft pile of clothing totally covering our queen bed to sell/donate. It felt GLORIOUS!!!! Best part is, my husband and kids are on board! Thanks for the blog…it really helped.

    • Ah that is awesome Angela! Such an exciting time and props to you for purging so many of your things. I’m sure it’s scary at first but the memories that replace the stuff will be so worth it! Good luck on the new adventure. 🙂

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  • Hey I’m really inspired by your courage to get out there, and live adventurous. I’m around your age, and dream about doing what you’re doing, but with music. You seem to have a really good work ethic. What jobs did you have before going the RV lifestyle? And where did you get your work ethic from?

    • Before the RV lifestyle I was working in software sales in Austin, it just wasn’t me to be sitting in an office all day. My work ethic? Hm, I think that was just something my dad instilled in me. I’ve always enjoyed work and that’s just carried over into anything I do.

  • I love this so much!
    My husband and I are fixing to sell our home, and we’re planning on moving into an rv while we build our next house. 🙂

    • Super cool! Congrats on the new house and the lifestyle change! Best of luck 🙂

  • Krystal Hodges

    My wife and I are talking about doing this when she gets out of the army this summer. I can’t wait!

  • Chelsea

    Hi Heath! love the blog! I am a nurse who is going to do travel nursing this fall and I would just LOVE to travel and live in an RV. Do you guys drive around in your RV daily or do you use other modes of transportation to get around the cities you are in?

    • Hey Chelsea!

      Most of the time we have our Honda CR-V with us as a tow car 🙂

  • Just found your blog via Steve at ThinkSaveRetire. Love your philosophy and your RV life! We’re taking off next week in our own “RV” of sorts, our lightly modified Dodge Caravan. Can’t wait!

    • Hey Matt!

      Just read some of your blog, super exciting man! At a glance, I didn’t see what you had been doing for the past several years that helped you gain financial independence? Also, hope you have an awesome time on the road this year! Congrats!

      Heath

      • Working full-time in business strategy/operations, hustling on the side, and doing my best to live frugally. Thanks for the well wishes!

  • tjcape

    My husband and I just purchased a pull-type RV and will be setting it up this Friday. We’ve sold our home, changed careers, and have no children. We’ll be starting our full-time RV living journey, with our 3 dogs, in 2 days and we couldn’t be more excited. While having had valued experiences over material goods for years now, we’re thrilled to be getting into a more minimalistic lifestyle, where we’ll be able to enjoy life and each other everyday, not only during our annual vacation! Oh, and we’re 25 and 27 years old, so this was quite inspiring. We’d love any tips or suggestions! -Trudy & Jesse

  • smartguy5105

    I’m a little past my 20’s, spent those years in the Marines and then trying to live a traditional lifestyle. Trying to find a reasonably priced apartment in Chicago for my growing family drove me nuts, so I finally followed my heart. Gave my bosses notice, started packing up the place and will become a full time nomad at the end of next month. I can already feel the stress melting away now that I’m not going to be busting my back to pay someone else’s mortgage. Maybe we’ll see you out there somewhere!

  • Breckin Ellyse

    My boyfriend and I are moving to the Austin area.. But before we leave WI we want to purchase an RV and fix it up to live in down south. ? I was wondering if you had any suggestions on how to finance something like this.. We will definitely need a loan of some sorts – just not sure where to start! Thanks ahead of time!

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  • Angela Seebold

    How do you run everything when your park somewhere for a long time like the fridge, lights, tv?

    • Hey Angela,

      We have a couple heavy duty batteries that will run everything when we aren’t plugged into electricity. When those batteries get low, we can turn on our generator (which runs everything and recharges our batteries). Other people will hook up their RV to solar and then the sun recharges their batteries throughout the day and they can go without power for a much longer period of time.

      Hope that helps!

      Heath

  • Saving for your future is the best thing you will do for now. It will be very smart to do so this kind of things for security reasons.

  • Charles Hawkins

    Great article. I’m not in my 20’s, I’m in my 40’s but we are selling our home to move into a camper to pay for my daughters college. This way she can graduate debt free and we will build a new house once she graduates. It just made since for our family.

    • I know how grateful she will be for that. That’s a big sacrifice, but will set her up really well. Props to you guys.

  • Nathan Crowsey

    This is awesome! I actually searched for “living in a camper” online and came across your awesome blog. I am 27 years old, married with two children and my wife and I are seriously considering living in an RV to save for a house over the next 1-2 years. I make a pretty descent salary, but with $25,000 in student loans, a car payment, insurance, and rent at a whopping $1,600/month I have found that saving a sufficient amount of money for a down payment on a house is difficult. This blog has really inspired me and I think it’s taken me from consideration to making a decision this week! Any tips on what to look for and which factors to consider when purchasing an RV or a camper?

    Thanks,

    Nate

    • Hey Nate! Glad to hear your family is considering the RV life! We’re big fans. There’s definitely a lot to consider when picking your rig. Going used is your best bet for costs. We got our first one off of Craigslist and it was old but in great shape. If you buy an older rig, be sure to check thoroughly for water damage. That’s the biggest thing to look for when you make your purchase. My personal preference is a Class A motorhome because you don’t have to worry about buying a truck and a trailer. Plus, with kids, there’s room for them to not drive you crazy on long road trip days 😉

      Hope this helps! See you on the road!

  • Christina

    My husband and I just went and looked at some RVs this past week and are currently making the decision of RV or Tiny Home. Our next step will be finding out what kind of Zoning and other legalities we will need to work around. We feel so called to this kind of life and want to embrace it!

    • That’s awesome Christina! Congrats to you guys and best of luck during the transition!

  • Mark Alkline

    This would be so cool and I have always wanted to do this especially rite now while I’m 21 years old. I wanted to buy an RV but the thing is that I can’t park the RV in my driveway while living in it. It’s actually my parents house and what I would like to do is live half the times in my RV or in the house and work here at my seasonal job and have a shipping address at my parents house. And then other times go cross country and travel for weeks or months to other states. But I can’t park and live on this property and I think it will be hard to find a place to park and live in your RV anywhere in the US. These are some of the stupidest laws that the US has… If it’s on your own property or you have written permission of the person who owns the land to use it and live there, you should be able to. You own the land, you pay taxes, you should be able to live in it in any form of vehicle or building. But I feel for me, it’s just a pipe dream and is too much of a hassle with the laws to actually do it.

    • Hey Mark,

      We recently got a ticket for parking it outside my in-laws house. That being said, we also have a favorite campground in Austin that is only $360/month. So in reality, you can find very affordable camping. I wouldn’t give up on it before you do a bit more research. Many people only stay at campgrounds a couple nights per month and mostly find boondocking on sites like Campendium or Freecampsites.

  • Mike Akshay

    I just bought an A-frame that attaches to my pick up! I got a pretty good deal on the A-frame so I should be able to pay it off in the next year. The only thing that I didn’t go with was getting a bathroom in it. I figure that the mobility will allow me to stay at RV parks and in friends yards around the states, thus giving me access to bathrooms 🙂 I did the Peace Corps in Africa and have been looking for a way to get back to the life that I had before. Plus, the A-frame has all the other little comforts one would need. I’d like to save my pay checks for the next year then move to something else. Any recommendations for good jobs where I can support myself and the dog while living out of my A-frame? What about bringing the A-frame into big cities like Chicago? I’m going to try this out for a while and maybe upgrade into something bigger later on. On an other note I want to for a thesis for my graduate studies in sustainability about living out of a camper can save time, resources and money.

    Great article!

    Mike

    • Very cool idea on your thesis paper! So, there are a ton of jobs you can get while living out of your RV — but it’s hard to know where to start if I don’t know much about you or your skill set :). That being said, I would recommend joining our facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/makemoneyrving/) so you can kick around potential job ideas with other nomads.

      Cheers!

  • Craig Inzana

    Where would you suggest looking when trying to buy an affordable RV?

    • Hey Craig! We bought our first RV off of Craigslist and it worked great. It was ’94 and he only broke down once. I highly recommend it! Just make you look for RVs without any water damage. Good luck!

      • Craig Inzana

        Thanks for the quick response! Also, do you tow a vehicle?

        We were focused on getting a 5th wheel so we’d have the truck for inner-city mobility, but I saw the one photo is towing a JEEP. We hadn’t even thought of that.

        • We do! We tow a Honda CR-V. We prefer doing a motorhome + tow car instead of a truck + fifth wheel. Mostly because we get the same gas mileage towing, but way better gas mileage when we’re just in the car. Plus we like having everything inclusive in the motorome. Motorhomes with tow cars are best for faster travel, but fifth wheels are good for more slow paced travel, i.e. if you’re staying in the same place for more than a week at a time

  • De’

    Thanks so much,Heath (and your wife), for this article! I’ve been thinking of ways to venture out more,yet still incorporate my passion into daily life,especially after graduation. Renting just didn’t “feel right”, plus I’ve been down that road before. The RV thrill seems to fit. Love traveling & Nature, so that is always a plus! About to go RV shopping for sure! ??

  • My wife and I have been traveling for work for the past 6 years, living in a fifth wheel trailer that we remodeled ourselves a few years ago. It has been an awesome adventure, allowing to see and do so much more than any of our friends ever imagined. The absolute two best things we have learned are:

    1) no matter where you are in the entire USA (and probably the planet – well, the land anyway), there is something worth doing/seeing that is no more than an hour away.
    2) stuff is… just stuff. you don’t need it. Live in a small space for a while and you will get it.

    With that said, RVing full time is not always awesome. While I really have loved our lifestyle, it’s also a constant pain in the butt. Here are just a few things to think about:

    – You still have to pay rent & utilities. What, you thought you could just use solar power, poop and shower at the YMCA, and park for free at Walmart forever? Nope, it’s not that easy. We’ve payed as little as $400/mo including utilities in Washington State, and as much as $2000/mo plus utilities in California. Still, less than rent in an apartment, but…

    – You have to license and insure your RV. This is a vehicle. it costs quite a bit of money to legally have it on the road. Also, while on the road, other drivers are absolute jerks to you. Most people have never driven anything very large or towed a trailer, so they don’t understand that you can’t speed up or slow down very quickly. Pulling our trailer also drops our fuel mileage by 35%. Ever driven the I-70 pass through the CO rocky mountains? Try doing it while hauling a 14,000 lb trailer (or a 40 foot motor home hauling a car). You will have a new appreciation for semi-truck drivers.

    – Speaking of vehicle stuff, you need a big truck to tow a big trailer. Even if you have a motor home, that’s a big, complicated engine. Repairs are frequent and expensive! A regular service of our truck is about $250, and the average repair bill is a few thousand $$$.

    – You also have to maintain it. Tires and brakes are just the tip of the ice burg. You also have to regularly check caulk seams, clean and treat the roof, and quickly stop water leaks. Every time your RV is on the road, there is essentially an earthquake happening inside it. Stuff breaks. Also, RV appliances are specialty (run on gas/electric or 12V) and are not at all cheap to fix.

    – Speaking of appliances, smaller RVs come with a 6 gallon hot water tank. That’s it. Learn to shower fast or military style. We replaced ours with a tankless water heater ($500 for the heater. I installed it myself) which takes some getting used to, but is definitely worth it.

    – On the subject of water, the plumbing in RVs is a joke. You need a pressure regulator or a random pipe will blow under your cabinets and flood the whole place. The only worse thing is overflowing your toilet while back flushing it and flooding the entire place with …. sewage. Other times, there is barely any pressure at all.

    – You have to constantly find a place with room for you. Ever had to look for a new place to live? Trying doing that every few weeks or even months. To top it off, many places have outright told us that they didn’t trust us because we were “too young” to live in an RV. If you want to do this, definitely, DEFINITELY, do NOT buy a super huge RV with more than 3 slides. The vast majority of RV parks cannot handle your size.

    – You have to deal with noisy environments and temperature fluctuations. RVs suck at maintaining a comfortable temperature. Be prepared to run that furnace or A/C pretty much 24/7 because the walls and windows are stupidly thin. On that note, you can hear everything that goes on outside and other people can hear everything going on inside.

    – Speaking of which, there is little to no privacy. Having a fight with your spouse? Better take a walk, because you live in a 200 ft^2 studio, possibly with a bathroom door.

    – You will have crappy neighbors. This is always a problem, but with RVing, it becomes a worse problem. We constantly move in next to people who haven’t moved their rig in 25 years. The scenery is less than inviting, and the people are usually … interesting.

    – Variable water pressure. Crappy WiFi (when available). Insane rules about the most random things. RV parks can be infuriating.

    – Most people are NOT interested that you travel, or really hate you for doing something so weird. Sure, we have met lots of great people who love our lifestyle, but this is not the norm. Most people couldn’t care less about it, and in fact, when they hear we are contract workers, couldn’t care less about us because we won’t be there very long anyway.

    – Your family and old friends will resent you, forget you exist, or be embarrassed by you. Again, there are some who love it and live vicariously through us (so they say), but most suddenly have suddenly forgotten our phone numbers.

  • Steve

    I’ve RV’d before in my younger days and now older i find myself able to work somewhat remote in and around a city where i now live in a rip off low budget apartment that is in a really bad neighborhood. I don’t want to buy a home or go through the years of investment for retirement income at my age so being single i am thinking of going this route. I think it will be a major savings plus offer more security and quality of life. I’m tired of settling for what people are supposed to do at my age and ready to get back on the road. I need to investigate locations with hookups in my area.

    • Yes Steve! I can’t believe how much we used to pay in apartment rent. Glad to know we’re spending that money now on cheaper apartment rent and travels.

  • Larasnutrition

    Hi Heath! I love your blog! I’m so happy I stumbled upon it! It’s totally inspiring! My boyfriend and I actually just went window shopping for the second time today looking at RV’s. We are in love with the Winnebagos! We are hopefully going to take the plunge and buy an RV soon. I’m a dietitian and I currently have a little food blog so I’m hoping to utilize both of those arena’s in the future to pay for our expenses as full-time RVers 🙂 Now I’m off to listen to all of your podcasts. Cheers!

    • So cool Lara! Please keep me in the loop as you guys head down this new adventure.

  • Dylan Ingersoll

    I live in a 28 foot RV The Weekender and I’ll be a senior at UC Berkeley aka Cal this year. I just moved into a trailer a couple months ago, but I really love it so far. I hope it will be beneficial in keeping me humble, out of debt and teaching me to be at least moderately minimalistic haha

    • Haha I love that Dylan! It’s definitely helped us with all of those things (especially the debt and humble part) #semicoldshowers

  • SuperTroll

    People talk about student debt as if that’s the only way to go to college. I worked 8 hours during the day, went to college at night, and graduated with $0 debt. Yes, it was hard. No, It wasn’t as much fun as having the traditional 4-year vacation with beer, parties, and friends, but having no student debt is a different kind of fun that I like a lot.

    • Angele Louise Fernandez

      Sometimes, by the time the student realizes their mistake, it’s already too late!

      Good for you though!

  • Isai Diego

    There’s a Winnebago my grandmother told me I could live out of and I’m thinking about taking up her offer. I am technically anchored with work and school, but it’ll be better than living on a couch like I currently am in my opinion. I know I wouldn’t be the only one on campus doing it as well (there’s at least three others that I’ve seen). My only issue is that I’m living on the brink, financially, and that’s WITH free rent and I know the Winnebago needs some repairs, specifically with the shower and A/C. Not to mention, power. I fall apart without delicious electricity juice. Any recommendations or should I forgo the RV life?

  • Thanks for sharing this Heath. 2017 will be the year of the RV for me 🙂

    • Of course Luiz! So glad you liked it and pumped for 2017 myself!

  • Pingback: The Beginner's Guide to a Frugal RV Living()

  • Southern Swaddle

    My wife and I have set a goal for 2017 to buy an RV to live out of. So excited for it!

  • Scott Lefler

    PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS. IT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU COULD EVER DO AND IT ONLY TAKES A FEW MINUTES.

    ARE YOU 100% SURE THAT IF YOU DIED TODAY THAT YOU WOULD GO TO HEAVEN? (Click “Read More” Below To Continue)

    There are some things that you should know:

    1. Realize that you are a sinner and in need of a Savior:

    Ro 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

    Ro 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:”

    This all began with the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. God created them perfect, there was no death or sorrow. God told them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They disobeyed God and as a result, sin entered into the world. The pain which this world sees is the result of sin.

    2. Because of our sins, we die both spiritually and physically, but God sent His Son to die so that you can have a chance not to have to go to hell by accepting what He did on the cross for you:

    Ro 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

    Ro 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. for us.”

    Every person who has ever lived is a sinner and is not righteous because we do bad things. A sin is a crime against God, just as if you steal something at the store, it is punishable by going to jail. It’s the same thing with sin. Even if we lie one time, the punishment is hell, which is a prison for those who commit crimes against God. That’s because you must be perfect in order to get to heaven. No matter how well you live your life from then on, you have already committed a sin which will be punished if you are not pardoned. If you commit a crime, and then live as a good citizen you still will go to jail for the crime you committed. Right? Just as the president can pardon a crime so you won’t go to jail, Jesus can pardon your sins so that you do not go to hell, and can go to heaven when you die.

    3. If you will Admit to Jesus Christ that you are a sinner and in need of a Savior, Believe in your heart that He died on the cross and rose from the dead and Accept Him as your Lord and Savior and you will be forgiven and taken to heaven to be with Him when you die.

    Joh 1:12 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name”

    Ro 10:9,10 “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved..”

    You cannot get to heaven by being a good person, going to church, baptism or any other way other than by turning to Jesus, believing in your heart that He died on the cross and rose from the dead for your sins and placing your trust in Him. While these are good things to do, some people believe that they will get to heaven if they do these things, but the bible says that there is only one way to heaven and that is through receiving what Jesus Christ did on the cross for you.

    Will you do that today? If you will, you can be 100% sure that you will go to heaven when you die.

    DO YOU BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST DIED ON THE CROSS AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD FOR YOUR SINS?

    ARE YOU WILLING TO TURN TO JESUS CHRIST FOR SALVATION?

    4. If you are willing to accept Jesus Christ free gift of salvation pray this to God from your heart:

    “Dear Lord Jesus, I believe that You died on the Cross and Rose from the dead for my sins. I ask you to come into my heart and forgive me for my sins, save me, take me to be with You when I die. I now receive You as my Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. In Jesus holy name, Amen.”

    If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ and meant it with all of your heart, you are now a child of God and will go to heaven.

    Now that you are on your way to heaven, you should attend a bible believing church and follow in baptism.

  • Marie Miller

    Curious about what you think of tiny house living because I saw you mention it but never touch on it. I’ve been considering tiny house living, or an RV maybe, and either driving the RV or having my house attached to a truck. Hoping to go as green as possible though so wondering what is best gas wise and such. I love the idea of traveling though in my 20s
    .

    • Hey Marie! T

      he big difference here is that tiny homes are not designed to be moved or to travel, whereas travel trailers or motorhomes are. Very few people actually move their tiny homes to travel full-time, and I’ve never actually met anyone who does this, just seen them on TV.

      If your focus is travel versus minimal living, motorhomes or trailers are the way to go! if you get a Class B motorhome or van, you’ll get great gas mileage and still have a durable tiny home. I have a blog post that shows pictures and different types of RVs here, which might give you a better idea of what you like! 🙂 heathandalyssa.com/what-rv-should-i-buy/

      • Marie Miller

        One thing I’m concerned about is the materials used in RVs. I know Tiny Homes are more insulated and generally have more health and environmentally friendly materials than an RV with all the plastics and other chemical based things. How likely do you think it would be to find one cheaply, and if it weren’t how I picture living just getting materials I’d prefer to make it more like a tiny home?

  • Brian Warden

    Where do you find places to park your RV? I just looked at a KOA site and it said it was $60 a NIGHT. That is not cheap at all! How do you find places with hookups and electricity to safely park your RV for maybe two weeks or two months at a time that won’t cost me the same as renting a nice apartment long term?

    • KOAs are so expensive! We’ve only stayed at one ever because they are so overpriced and not worth it. About 90% of RV parks are privately owned and those ones are so much more affordable. Average cost is $35/night based on our experience. Monthly rates can be as low as $360 to $600 on average depending on how nice the RV park is. What part of the country you’re in is a big factor as well. Florida Keys this time of year are usually closer to $2K/month which is crazy! The park we are at now is riverfront with a pool, hot tub, and free wifi for less than $500/month.

      The best thing is to join a few RV memberships and save money on lodging that way. You can see the five most common RV memberships on this post: heathandalyssa.com/rv-memberships/

  • Brennan Tutor

    This is awesome, I am a young professional fresh out of college with a masters degree and it was NOT cheap… I have been living with a friend in the town I work in for the past year. Most recently I have learned the house is going on the market and I needed to be out by July which is basically two weeks away from now. Needless to say I have been extremely stressed about what I am going to do. After talking over rental options and places to live I realized how much money I would be throwing away on top of the student loan I am paying off and then it hit me. Why not invest in something rather than give my money to someone else? I knew I did not want to live in the town I am in now for very long but a year or two was doable so rent-to-own housing was not an option for me. However a traveling trailer is. I love the outdoors; hunting, fishing, camping, kayaking you name it I am doing it. With a cheaper payment each month and a house on wheels I will be spending my weekends in the mountains or alongside a lake with some reluctant friends and my dog. I will be hitching my new home to my truck this time next week.

    • That’s awesome Brennan! It really is a great lifestyle for saving money on lodging and you’re right, it allows you to spend your weekends in the mountains! Is there anything better?