As home trends shift toward smaller spaces and simpler living, many are exploring non-traditional housing, such as campers and RVs. While lots of fulltime RV fans are retirees, people of all ages who crave freedom and financial savings are embracing the lifestyle. See if you think RV living might be right for you.
Cost versus size. Since you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your camper, research your options and choose wisely. One popular choice is a travel trailer. They cost less than many other options and are relatively lightweight, but do require a truck for towing. A fifth-wheel is similar to a travel trailer, but sits on the bed of a truck. Because of the space over the truck, fifth-wheels tend to have more storage, but also have stairs. They also are more expensive than a travel trailer. Motorhomes are a third option. While they are the most expensive, they come with lots of amenities. Keep in mind, motorhomes may be too large to fit in some campgrounds.
A place to park. Many localities prohibit long-term RV parking, but there are numerous options, including private RV parks, public campgrounds, and public land holdings. Private parks are very common, running the gamut in cost and amenities. Many have electric, water, and sewer connections. Some offer internet, cable TV, pools, and laundry facilities. Public campgrounds include those at National Parks. They are more economical, but may offer fewer perks. Generally, these parks don’t have sewer hookups. Instead, RVers share an on-site sewer dump station. The main downside: RVers are typically limited to two-week stays. A final option is parking on unrestricted, public land with no amenities. The cost is virtually zero, but RVers should verify they are permitted to stay. It’s clearly not the choice for everyone, living without water, sewer, and electrical hookups.
Deal with your stuff. Living in an RV means paring down to the essentials in life. You’ve got three main options. The first is to sell, donate, and give away, all your non-essentials. If you have lots of pictures, movies, or books, take the opportunity to digitize what you can. If you’re not ready for a major purge, a second option is to rent a storage unit. Estimate the value of your belongings and the rental cost before making a commitment. A third option is to ask friends or family members to store your belongings. While cheaper, or maybe even free, you run the risk of imposing on your loved ones’ generosity.