With over 1 million people in the US living the RV life full-time — it’s obvious that this lifestyle isn’t exclusive.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait until you’re retired to hit the open road. If you’ve been trying to figure out how to start full-time RV living before you retire then you’re in the right spot.
Here’s the short answer:
When you want to learn how to start full-time RV living before you retire, all you need is an on the road budget, a source of income that allows you to work remotely or workcamp and your shiny new (or used) rig.
Don’t have enough time to read this whole post right now? Drop a bookmark and come back later.
The Down & Dirty on How to Start Full-Time RV Living Before You Retire
Did you know that most Americans aren’t saving close to enough for retirement? So, will they ever fully retire? Many won’t!
I’ve met more than a few people that are saddled with a big house that won’t sell but they wish they could hit the open road in their RV. If you don’t want to be one of those people then continue reading.
Why Start Full-Time RV Life Before You Retire
Myself, my husband and our four kids have been living in an RV and traveling full-time since Nov 2017. Before then, I thought I wanted the big house in the prestigious neighborhood — but the truth is — it was all about my ego. I wanted to look successful and have people I admired pat me on the back.
I was a prisoner to an expensive house and working every day. The house was big and it looks nice from the outside but inside, I was sad sitting there knowing that most of the people I cared about were too busy with their own lives to even come by. And I was too busy to leave too — because I was paying for this house!
The thought of RV life and being away from everyone really scared me but then I realized that I hadn’t seen some of these people I lived near for almost a year! Why was I staying in one place, never taking vacations and not seeing the people I cared about anyway?
Time to hit the road.
The biggest reason I would personally give to hit the road before you retire is that we’re not promised tomorrow. You never know when you or someone you care about isn’t going to be around anymore. If you want to hit the road and travel with your partner or your kids — do it ASAP. Don’t wait until retirement.
Another reason is that you’ll be able to save money when you RV smart. If you’re staying at expensive RV parks constantly, you’ll burn a hole in your wallet.
Here are what a few other people I know say about hitting the road for full-time RV life before they retire.
We decided to sell pretty much everything we owned and hit the road in 2016 because we were at a crossroads in life.
Our house lease was on a month to month basis and we weren’t sure where we wanted to settle down. We did know that we were tired of not taking vacations because our children were so small and RVing full time made sense to us.
It allowed us to still travel with our kids and have everything we needed on hand. If you’re a parent you know that traveling with toddlers requires a ton of extra items. We also wanted to teach our kids by example the importance of collecting experiences and not junk.
Fast forward to today – It’s been the best decision for our family. We didn’t know it at the time but living our own lives and sharing with others has inspired multiple people to also live out their own definition of freedom. Helping others along the way has been an incredible experience as well.
– Sandra from 1st Class RV Adventures
It’s very simple really, I wanted to live before I died.
I may only be 37, but I’ve had my share of close calls. There’s been more than a few times I wondered how the hell I walked away alive. I spent three years in combat, deployed for the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, been run over by a semi at 65MPH, been shot at, been shot at by snipers, narrowly escaped ambushes, had RPG’s fired at me and even had grenades thrown at me. But perhaps the most terrifying, surgery at the VA.
So, when Laura presented the idea of fulltime RVing to me, I jumped at the opportunity. I know exactly how fleeting life can be, and I wanted to live life while I still could. Tomorrow is never promised. I feel that expecting to live until 65, and waiting until then to enjoy life, is pretty reckless. No one knows if they’ll live another 40 years, or only another 40 minutes.
I’ve gambled with my life enough already. I wanted to do something worthwhile, memorable and fun with my it while I still could. I wouldn’t go back to living in a stationary house if you paid me.
— John from Hebard’s Travels
Camping is a great way to see some amazing places and spectacular views. Sometimes those views come at a high cost, but thankfully some of our favorite views are the ones we found for FREE!
There are lots of beautiful free places to park made accessible through Boondocking. That means getting off the beaten path, with no hookups, and just enjoying the view.
Some of our favorite resources to score these great places are Campendium and the Allstays App. We love being out in nature, enjoying our family time, all while being budget-friendly.
– Marissa from Less Junk More Journey
For a country like the United States, we felt full time RVing was the best way to fully explore it. I love the flexibility of RV travel and having my creature comforts with me as we move from place to place.
We love the extra space it offers us, especially when traveling with kids. It can also be quite cost effective as you can boondock (if self sufficient) and cook your own meals. Mostly I love spending so much time in the outdoors and having nature surround me!
– Caroline & Craig from yTravel
It was 2017 and my husband had just gotten deployment orders with roughly 4 weeks notice. The same day he got orders I quit my job. We came home to tell each other the news and were both in a bit of shock at how quickly our life had changed.
Little did we know the deployment would be the tipping point that thrust our life in an entirely new direction. During his deployment we talked about him going into the National Guard and being home more.
We talked about him getting out and us moving somewhere new. We talked about our dreams of travel, but never once did the mention of RV life come up. It wasn’t until he got back from his deployment and we were both just worn out with military life that we truly gave RV living full-time a serious consideration.
I had begun building an online business and was 2 years into that when we made the decision. At that point we had 1 year to prepare for this lifestyle. Military life has given us a new perspective on life and how quickly things can change. So here we are just barely 30 living a life of true freedom.
– Heather from Wheeling to Dream
Are you ready to hit the road with us yet? lol
Now that we’ve got you all riled up, let’s talk about the how-to part of RV life.
How to Prepare for Full-Time RV Living
A big part of preparing for full-time RV living is mental. You have to learn how to let go of things so you don’t overcrowd your rig and you’ve got to understand you won’t get to see everyone you’re used to seeing regularly.
Once you get through those two things, the rest of it is easy. lol
Finding the Perfect Rig for You
You need to find a rig that is going to work for you and your family. You may be able to get away with a small RV but I highly recommend doing a test run if you possibly can. If you’re used to a big house, it might be a major challenge downsizing.
If you have a family, you want to look for a bunkhouse so you can fit everyone. Even if it is just two of you, you might consider an RV that sleeps more people because then you can have people come over for sleepovers!
Look at the different floorplans that are available and really think about how you’ll use the rig before you jump into a purchase.
Create an On the Road Budget
Just like you have to budget for sticks and bricks, you have to budget for on the road life.
Besides the normal things you have in your budget, you need to think about how much money you’ll need for campgrounds or if you’re going to boondock and save some money. Even if you’re boondocking, you need to think about propane you might use for your generator when you need electricity.
When you’re creating your on-the-road budget, over-budget because things are going to come up that you didn’t think about before you hit the road.
Since you’re going to be in new places, you’re going to want to explore and some of the things you’ll want to see will cost money. Price some of the types of attractions you like and get an idea of how much the average cost is going to be for each outing and then figure out how often each month you’re going to go out and do something that costs money.
For us, we do a date day and then we have big family activities 2 or 3 times a month.
Making Money on the Road
One of the biggest things that hold people back from hitting the road is the fear of not being able to make money on the road.
The good news?
There are plenty of jobs you can work remotely so you can live wherever you want to live.
I wrote a couple of blog posts that covered making money on the road or just being a digital nomad in general. Here is a blog post I did with other 100 digital nomad job ideas: 103 Top Digital Nomad Jobs
Getting Started with Your New RV Lifestyle
How to start full-time RV living before you retire? One step at a time.
Once you take the first step and start planning, it will start to come together. You’ll meet other people just like you and you won’t think it is so far-fetched.
Know someone that wants to hit the road full-time? Share this article on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and beyond and help someone make their dreams come true. 🙂 Sharing is caring.