In the vast expanse of America, a remarkable trend is on the rise. More than 3 million individuals have chosen to break free from the confines of traditional living and embark on a journey like no other – living in their beloved vans and recreational vehicles (RVs) full-time.
Full-time RVing is a lifestyle that offers incomparable opportunities, allowing you to live a life full of adventure, explore picturesque landscapes, and connect intimately with the great outdoors. Whether you seek to retire with a sense of wanderlust, explore new horizons, or just simplify your day-to-day life, living in an RV full-time is an enticing option that opens up new and exciting possibilities.
Of course, this nontraditional lifestyle comes with its unique challenges too. Read on to discover the benefits, costs, and opportunities of full-time RV living, and determine if the RV life is the life for you.
The Growing Popularity of Full Time RV Living
Once considered a niche lifestyle, full-time RV living has evolved into a full-blown movement, capturing the hearts and minds of countless adventure-seekers across the United States.
The statistics speak for themselves. In 2020, an estimated 1.9 million Americans were living in recreational vehicles full-time. Just two years later, that number skyrocketed to a staggering 3.1 million in mid-2022.
So, what is driving the growing popularity of RV living? Several key factors are at play. For one, the digital age and the global pandemic ushered in a new era of work flexibility and a rise in remote work. This has made it easier than ever for individuals to continue their careers from the comfort of their RVs while embracing a more nomadic lifestyle.
Meanwhile, significant inflation in recent years has contributed to a cost of living crisis in many places across the United States. The lure of financial freedom offered by a more simple and affordable lifestyle has become increasingly appealing to those seeking relief from the mounting financial pressures. As traditional housing costs soar and the burden of mortgages and rent becomes more daunting, the prospect of downsizing to an RV offers a practical and enticing alternative.
The Allure of Full Time RVing
There’s a profound allure to the open road, and RV life magnifies this allure tenfold. But what is it about the RV experience that makes it so enchanting? It’s the interplay of freedom, adventure, and simplicity, all rolled into one.
The Call of the Open Road
Living in an RV full time brings with it a sense of liberty that’s unparalleled. Every morning, you wake up to new possibilities, new destinations, and new adventures. If there’s a quaint town or scenic spot you’ve always wanted to explore, RV life lets you take the reins and steer in that direction.
The Community Vibe
Despite the feeling of solitude that comes with the open road, the camper life has an expansive community of like-minded people ready to welcome you with open arms. Camper folks understand the importance of solidarity. It’s not unusual to find yourself sharing stories around a campfire with fellow RVers or receiving recommendations for the next best spot to visit.
Full time RVing is a conscious choice to cut out the unnecessary clutter, both material and metaphorical. With limited space, you prioritize what truly matters and leave behind the unnecessary baggage, both in terms of possessions and mindset. This can lead to a more intentional, fulfilling way of living.
Financial Benefits of Living in an RV Full Time
There are countless benefits to RV living, including financial, environmental, and lifestyle benefits. First, let’s explore why making an RV your full-time residence can help you cut down on costs and enjoy more financial freedom:
Reduced Housing Costs
Housing prices in the United States are soaring due to increased demand and limited stock. The cost of rent is on the rise as well. You can save big by downsizing and cutting out your monthly mortgage or rental payments, especially if you already own an RV. Of course, you’ll need to find a place to park your RV, but many RV parks and resorts offer discounted rates for long-term stays.
Lower Utility Bills
Living in an RV typically means a smaller living space compared to a traditional home. This downsizing translates to lower utility bills. RVs are designed to be energy-efficient, and many RVers adopt eco-friendly practices like using LED lighting, conserving water, and utilizing solar power.
Reduced Home Maintenance
Owning a conventional house comes with a laundry list of maintenance tasks, from yard work to plumbing repairs. In contrast, maintaining an RV is relatively simpler and less time-consuming. With fewer household responsibilities, you can spend your time enjoying the journey instead of worrying about home maintenance costs.
Minimal Property Taxes
One of the hidden financial benefits of full-time RV living is the absence of property taxes. Traditional homeowners must contend with annual property tax payments that can add up significantly over time. As an RVer, you escape this financial burden, freeing up additional funds for your travels and experiences.
Remote Work Opportunities
The rise of remote work has created a unique opportunity for full-time RVers to earn a living while on the move. Many employers now embrace telecommuting, allowing you to work from the comfort of your RV. This setup not only provides financial stability but also grants you the freedom to work in breathtaking locations, making your work-life balance all the more enjoyable.
Full-time RVing has enabled many individuals to retire earlier than they ever imagined. By downsizing, eliminating mortgage payments, and embracing a frugal yet fulfilling lifestyle, you can accelerate your path to retirement. Early retirement allows you to embark on new adventures, explore diverse cultures, and focus on the things that truly bring you joy.
Life on the road offers unmatched flexibility. If you find yourself drawn to a particular destination or wish to extend your stay, you can do so without the constraints of a fixed living arrangement. This flexibility allows you to take advantage of off-peak travel rates and explore less-expensive parts of the country, all while eliminating the cost of accommodations.
Lifestyle Benefits of the RV Life
Living in an RV provides a chance to break away from tradition and live a more alternative lifestyle, without sacrificing the comforts of home.
The World is Your Backyard
One of the most obvious benefits of living in an RV full-time is the flexibility and opportunities for travel and adventure it offers. Imagine spending your summers hiking through waterfalls in Oregon and your winters, steps from the beach in Florida… with full-time RV living, the world is your oyster! Your backyard can change whenever you want it to (every day, week, month, season, or year), giving you access to a wide range of cities, scenery, activities, culture, and events to explore.
Unparalleled Travel Convenience
Forget the tedious task of packing bags, booking hotels, or coordinating with house sitters. With the RV life, adventure is at your fingertips. Simply decide on a destination, start the engine, and go. And no matter where you land, the comfort of your home is right there with you, making this mode of travel infinitely more sustainable and comforting than the transient nature of hotels or the tight confines of “van life”.
Mental and Spiritual Wellness
A simpler, decluttered lifestyle has been linked to reduced stress and a more centered mental state. Being in proximity to nature, experiencing the tranquility of varied landscapes, and having regular access to outdoor activities can be rejuvenating for the mind and soul. Moreover, this nomadic life encourages mindfulness, allowing you to be more present and find inner peace in your ever-changing surroundings.
Living in compact spaces inherently fosters closer ties. Whether you’re with family or a partner, the RV life encourages more meaningful conversations, shared experiences, and memorable moments. Plus, visiting friends and family across the country becomes a seamless, affordable endeavor.
Thriving Community Connections
Loneliness isn’t a byproduct of RV living, contrary to what some might believe. RV parks and resorts like Silver Spur foster a sense of community. From social gatherings to themed events, there’s always an opportunity to mingle, make friends, and connect with a diverse group of fellow RV enthusiasts.
Connection to the Great Outdoors
One undeniable allure of the RV lifestyle is the effortless communion with nature. With no sprawling indoors to retreat to, you’re encouraged to embrace the world outside. Whether it’s dining under the stars or taking a morning walk through a new city, the outdoors becomes an extension of your living space.
Resort-Style Amenities on the Go
Who said downsizing meant compromising? RV parks like Silver Spur are brimming with amenities that might be luxuries in a traditional setting: think swimming pools, hot tubs, game rooms, stocked fishing ponds, and more. Every day presents an opportunity for relaxation or recreation, right on your doorstep.
Living in an RV isn’t just about mobility or budget; it’s a holistic approach to life that promises financial, mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, and social rewards.
Environmental Reasons for Year-Round RV Living
Beyond the financial and lifestyle benefits, full-time RV living presents a compelling case for those who wish to adopt a more environmentally conscious way of life. Living in an RV encourages a smaller ecological footprint compared to traditional housing.
RVs are designed to be energy-efficient, and many RVers opt for renewable energy solutions like solar panels to power their homes on wheels. By consuming less electricity and water, and embracing eco-friendly practices, full-time RVers significantly reduce their carbon emissions and overall environmental impact.
What’s more, many RVers also adopt a minimalist mindset, curbing resource consumption and promoting recycling. Staying close to nature also fosters a deep connection with the outdoors, encouraging improved conservation efforts and sustainable tourism.
RV Life vs Camper Life: Choosing Your New Home
If you’re serious about full-timing, one of the most important considerations is what kind of RV or camper is best suited for your lifestyle. Your options include Class A RVs, fifth-wheelers, and conventional travel trailers, just to name a few.
Taking time to create the perfect RV setup will make your life on the road more enjoyable and sustainable in the long run. While a large motorhome may offer more comforts of home, it will be more difficult and costly to drive and park. A tow vehicle also means you’ll have an extra car handy for adventures and emergencies.
Consider how you plan to use your RV to help you prioritize amenities and add-ons. For example, if you plan to work remotely from your RV, you probably want to invest in high-speed internet and choose your destinations carefully to ensure you have cell service. Alternatively, if you plan to go off-grid, you’ll need to prepare yourself and your rig for “dry camping.”
Pros and Cons of Camper Living
Choosing between RV life and camper life boils down to your preferences and travel needs. RVs offer spacious living and abundant amenities, making them ideal for long-term living and larger families. However, they come with higher costs and limited maneuverability in some areas. On the other hand, campers are more budget-friendly, easy to tow and promote a minimalist lifestyle, but they offer limited space and amenities.
Consider your budget, desired level of comfort, and travel goals to make the best decision for your nomadic journey. Whether you opt for the luxurious journey of an RV or the simplicity and mobility of a camper, both choices provide the freedom to embark on unforgettable adventures and explore the world on your own terms.
RV Living With Kids
Full-time RV living with kids comes with unique challenges and rewards, but it’s not uncommon. It’s an alternative way of life that prioritizes the family and the great outdoors and provides endless opportunities for adventure and bonding. You’ll definitely want to get creative and make the most of limited space– and it might be a good idea to invest in a larger RV with more storage space and (precious) doors. One creative way to expand your living space is to buy an RV screen room add-on.
With kids in tow, it’s a good idea to slow down your pace a bit. Less frequent travel will help keep the chaos to a minimum– allowing the kids to develop a more consistent schedule and sense of community. Staying at RV parks with fun community spaces for the kids to enjoy will help them stay socialized. For example, here at Silver Spur, we have a game room, playground, pool, and stocked fishing ponds where children can make friends with other guests and residents.
Education is (obviously) another important consideration, but there are lots of remote learning opportunities and resources these days that make homeschooling your kids easier than ever before.
How to Find Full Time RV Living Locations
When choosing where to live in your RV, you’ll want to consider your budget, state taxes, health insurance options, and more fun factors, like the climate, natural scenery, and outdoor activities available.
You can find free camping on BLM land, rent a plot of land, join a tiny living community, or stay at RV parks and resorts. Paying nightly or weekly camping fees at RV parks and resorts can quickly start to add up. Fortunately though, some RV parks (like Silver Spur!) offer discounted rates for extended stays. When you’re looking for a place to park, be sure to check RV park rates to see if they offer monthly discounts! And look closely at the list of utilities/amenities included.
Experience Full Time RV Living at Silver Spur RV Park & Resort!
Living full-time in an RV park is no easy decision, and it’s certainly not right for everyone. But if you’re ready to make some small sacrifices and big moves, there is SO much to gain financially, mentally, and otherwise. Perhaps most importantly, living in an RV will teach you to value experiences, relationships, and nature over material objects or possessions. You’ll make memories to last a lifetime and live your life to the very fullest!
If you’re curious to try out RV living, we invite you to book an extended stay with us at Silver Spur RV Park & Resort in Oregon. Here, you’ll experience the breathtaking natural beauty of Silver Falls, the small-town charm of Silverton, and the abundance of the Willamette Valley – all while living in a convenient, comfortable, and community-centric environment, complete with top-notch facilities and amenities. Does this sound like a great place to call “home” for a while? Contact us today to reserve your long-term stay!