What drives your desire for RV living? It’s an interesting question and there are no simple answers. For me the quest began in a search for alternatives to traditional housing. That’s why I spend time comparing RV living to other types of traditional housing in My House Has Wheels. Really, that’s all it was in the beginning. I was a real estate agent and frustrated with the housing market.
In our experience we discovered were people’s prime motivations for going out on the road tended to fall into certain broad categories.
Many people take an interest in the RV lifestyle because they crave mobility. If that’s you, then you’ll make quite different choices…radically different in many aspects. The mobility people are the ones living in vans and a few even go so far as living in cars, like the Toyota Prius. The mobility people are most likely to be self-employed in a mobile occupation that lets them live on the road. Most are living mobile because it’s an affordable and carefree lifestyle. You just have to make enough to cover gas, food, insurance and maintenance. Living in a van costs a fraction of even what low-cost RV living can run.
For us mobility was a value added bonus, not the prime focus of our RV adventure. That changed our choices about how we structured our RV life. For maximum mobility you’ll want to go smaller and lighter. But, if you can settle for being a little less mobile, you can opt for roomier accommodations.
The simplicity crowd are the largest fraction of RV full-timers. These are people who have done their time taking care of a house, raised a family and their kids are mostly grown up and gone. Now they want to travel, explore and engage in hobbies. The simplicity crowd tends to go with bigger and more comfortable RV options, including big Class A coaches. They do not travel continuously and, surprisingly, quite a few don’t travel at all. They’re just tired of taking care of a big house which they don’t need anymore.
RV living means you don’t have all the maintenance of taking care of a big house or the lawn. You don’t really realize how much time you spend taking care of a home until you don’t have to do it anymore. It is really quite amazing how much work a house and lawn require.
The convenience crowd are people who travel extensively for their job. They might have a house or apartment somewhere, it depends on how often they’re at home base. We met construction workers, airline pilots, entertainers, medical professionals and clergy who made their living going from place to place. This group is either adopting RV living as a temporary arrangement or working their way up the job ladder to higher pay and a more permanent assignment when they gain enough seniority. If you work for a large company a presence in many different states and regions, mobility will give you a tactical edge with your employer. Problem solver types, with the ability to relocate temporarily on short notice, are golden in the business world.
Some people adopt RV or van living as an economic necessity. I’ve met people forced into vehicles, RVs and tents by medical bills, job loss and other financial calamity. For them RV living is just a bridge until they can get back on their feet. A few discover, quite by accident, that low-cost is also low-stress. People like me take up RV living because they’re tired of playing the over-priced housing game. Cost wasn’t the primary driver for my wife and it but that did turn out to be a nice side benefit. For less than the cost of our old mortgage payment, which was only $1,000/month, we lived like kings. I detail our budget in the book and prices are still pretty close to what they are today.
It’s important to understand what drives you because your motivation also dictates many of your lifestyle choices.