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Taking an RV vacation has been very popular during 2020 as more people wanted to take a socially distanced holiday. RV sales saw a big jump during the summer. However, living full-time in an RV is pretty different from taking an occasional vacation in an RV. Here’s a look at why you might regret living in an RV full-time.

Parking your RV

If you bring your home with you as you travel, you’ll need a place to park while the driver sleeps. Luckily there are some options for where to park, and some of them are even free and legal. One commenter on Reddit mentioned that Walmart will let RVs park in the store lots for free. Other free parking locations include truck stops, casinos, sometimes at schools, and state and national parks, according to Classic Vans.

Some people park their RVs in a more permanent location rather than driving around. Recreational vehicle campgrounds are a good location for this, although these spaces are not free. However, not driving the RV can lead to issues with the battery, tires, and other mechanical systems, since the RV was designed as a vehicle. Because the interior space is small, it helps to park in a location where the outside can be used too. Spaces to avoid parking include city streets, private property, and rest stops.

RV creature comforts

An RV is parked near a lake
RV’s, campers, and caravans parked along the lake | (Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

RVs are small inside, so it helps to really like all the people around you. It’s impossible to get much privacy living in one. It’s also hard to entertain other people in a recreational vehicle given the space constraints. Because of the limited space, it helps to keep the inside well organized.

RVs also have limited water pressure and hot water, which isn’t great for showers or for laundry. The shower space is very small, and there is much less hot water than in a home water heater. RVshare recommends turning off the water when not showering and just using it as needed for rinsing. It’s also helpful to have accessories to secure bottles in the shower when on the move.

Some RVs have a washer and dryer, but many owners need to visit a laundromat instead. It’s best to be connected to a sewer to run laundry in an RV, and the units can be quite small and cause vibrations. Modern models do include some of the comforts of home, offering flat-screen TVs, microwave ovens, and smart controls, according to Forbes.

Types of expenses for RVs

Firstly, buying an RV is very expensive, with the purchase price running from $10,000 and $300,000 or higher. They’re also expensive to finance, and loan terms often last a decade or more. Unlike house values, which generally increase over time, RVs could lose 20 percent to 30 percent of their value in the first year.

The cost of gas also has an effect on the cost of the RV life. Recreational vehicles have very poor fuel efficiency. Modern models get 14 MPG to 20 MPG, while older ones may get even less. Repairs can also be expensive. For example, a damaged RV roof can cost around $3,000. Repairs are likely to happen frequently with a used or older model.

It can take a long time to get an appointment for repairs and then longer to have the repairs done. The full-time RV life doesn’t necessarily save money over living in a regular home.

Other issues with the RV life

There are other concerns with living full-time in an RV that people may not immediately think of. One is how to get mail. Owners on the move can set up mail forwarding to have it sent to the nearest park or post office. When ordering packages, the owner may need to wait in one location until the package arrives.

Another issue of being on the move is giving up a home social life. RV owners don’t get to bring their whole community of friends along on the road with them. It is possible to meet other travelers, though. It can also be tricky to have consistent TV, internet, and cell phone service in certain locations of the country.

There’s plenty to like about RVing, but living full-time in one isn’t for everyone. The experience is affected by the parking location and discomfort of the space. It also is an expensive lifestyle choice. For those interested in testing out the experience, consider renting an RV instead of buying one.


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