This post was written by Kay Akpan of The Mom Trotter.
Full time RV living has become quite popular in recent years because of everything it has to offer families. For my family, our RV is a home on wheels that gives us the opportunity for everyday adventures. The RV lifestyle gives us complete freedom over where we go and what we do. I also love that we have been able to save money and spend lots of family time together. We have found that RV living suits our family perfectly, but it is not for everyone. Living in an RV full time comes with tradeoffs and for some, those trade offs will not be worth the effort.
For instance, when RVing full time with kids, you won’t have a home base, so it may be hard for your children to build long lasting neighborhood friends. However, the RV community offers such an amazing network of families that you can meet up with on the road (or travel alongside full time) so your children will also be able to make long lasting friends with similar lifestyles. We recently spent over a month with a group of families and bonded very closely with them.
If you have ever wondered if your family is a good candidate for full time RV living, I’ll take you through the pros and cons to consider.
Pros of Full Time RV Living
Living in an RV offers your family complete freedom. When your home is on wheels, you’re free to go wherever you want, whenever you want. Just pack everything up and hit the road.
Living exclusively in an RV offers opportunities for adventure almost every day. No matter where you go, it’s always a new experience. From campgrounds to the cities and towns nearby, every stop is a chance to find something new.
3) Family Time
You’ll get all the family time you could ever want when you live in an RV. Almost all of your time is spent together. From homeschooling to driving on the open road to nights spent together, there’s so much family time.
4) Family Memories
Full time RV living offers all kinds of unique experiences, and those add up to tons of exciting family memories. How many kids can say they remember finishing their school work and then heading out for a hike in a National Forest or watching the sun set over the water before going to bed?
5) Fewer Bills
One of the biggest financial pros to living in an RV is having fewer bills. You won’t have a mortgage or home insurance. You won’t have utility bills. You’ll have your monthly RV payment, of course, but it’s far smaller than a mortgage, even if you have a huge RV.
6) Education Everywhere
There are opportunities for education everywhere when you live in an RV full time. Everywhere you look, there’s something to learn from geography and history to math, science, and reading. Every stop is a chance to have fun learning something.
7) Creating Well-Rounded Children
Full time RV living constantly introduces your children to new environments, people, cultures, and experiences. While most people live their entire lives in a bubble of familiarity, children who live in RVs always see a new way of doing things or meet people who have different ways of thinking about things.
8) Building Work Ethic
When your family lives exclusively in an RV, you build a strong work ethic in your kids. As their teacher, you know exactly how hard to push them academically. There are also things that need to be done regularly with an RV that the kids can help with like emptying gray water tanks, maintaining clean water tanks, and checking the tires, oil, and other fluids just to name a few.
9) Living Simply
Full time RV living teaches you how to live simply and enjoy the little things in life. Living in an RV, you learn to enjoy life more and objects less. After all, there’s only so much space in an RV to cram devices, toys, and the general excess that families tend to accumulate in their homes.
Cons of Full Time RV Living
As with anything in life, there are cons as well as pros to full time RV living. To some, these will feel like minor inconveniences, while to others, they may be deal-breakers. Our family has learned to make allowances for some of the drawbacks because we see the reward we get in return.
1) No Permanent Address
When you live in an RV full time, you have no permanent address. That means that if you need to have something shipped to you, you’ll need to set up a P.O. Box in the nearest town in order to receive your package. It’s easy to set up a P.O. Box, but it’s still a con.
2) You’re the Teacher
If you live in an RV full time, you’ll be homeschooling. That means you’re responsible for every aspect of your child’s learning, from lesson planning to a well-rounded curriculum. This can be daunting to first-timers, but luckily there are online resources to help you navigate through the process and find great learning materials.
3) Limited Personal Space
RVs don’t exactly offer tons of personal space. Even the largest RV is still a close-quartered affair. You’ll have to be creative at times to allow your children and you and your partner to have much-needed alone time.
4) Limited Storage
You’ll have to learn how to live simply if you live in an RV. RVs have limited storage space, so you’ll have to be choosy when it comes to everything in your home on wheels. From cleaning supplies to clothing, toys, and pretty much everything else, you have to prioritize what’s most important to everyday living and your family’s wants and make sure you have the space for it all.
5) Navigation Issues
Depending on the size of your RV, you may face issues with bridge clearances, road access, and parking. We live in an RV built on a truck chassis, so we’re able to navigate almost everything except the most crowded areas. However, if you own one of the monster, 30-foot RVs, you’ll find that you have to pick and choose when it comes to routes and parking for the night.
6) Family Time
Family time makes the list of pros and cons for full time RV living. Yes, it’s great to have all that family time, but you’ll also get on each others’ nerves. That’s part of life no matter where you live, but in an RV, you are together all day, every day. You know if that’s right for you or not!
7) Living Simply
Living simply also makes the list of pros and cons for full time RV living. While I and my family embrace this lifestyle, it isn’t for everyone. Wardrobes are limited. Items are limited. You won’t be cooking in a gourmet kitchen, but you’ll have what you need. While we love it, it’s not for everyone.
Is Full Time RV Living for You?
That’s a question only you and your family can answer together. However, I hope these pros and cons to full time RV living have given you a better understanding of what you gain and what you give up when you decide to live in your home on wheels full time.
For us, full time RV living has been a blessing and we wouldn’t have it any way. The only thing I wish is that we had done it sooner!
Kay, aka The Mom Trotter, lives with her husband and son full time in an RV. She writes about traveling on a budget, homeschooling and the specific issues that parents face while traveling with children of color. You can learn more about her beautiful family by following @themomtrotter on Instagram.