There’s some preparation to do when you decide to take the plunge to live and travel in an RV full time. Below are some tips to start prepping for the life style.
Down-sizing, donating and selling your stuff
This one seems pretty obvious. You’re not going to be able to fit everything you currently have in your house or apartment inside an RV. This is when you have to really think about what do you use daily that you will continue to use in an RV. If you plan to be self-employed (or perhaps you already are) or pick up work camping, you may not need so many dress clothes. Small appliances may have to be parted with. What pots and pans are used all the time vs. the ones that are rarely used. Same for cooking and eating utensils. All the furniture and decorative items must go.
If you are sentimental, you want to be careful how much of that you decided to keep. Some full-timers will have a relative willing to store those things for them. I gave some of mine away to a relative that I knew would appreciate it. I went through all of my photo albums and scanned the pictures onto a thumb drive. That takes up a lot of less room than photo albums and isn’t a weight factor.
For dishes, I’d recommend plastic or metal mixing/prep bowls and get melamine dinnerware. Melamine looks great, but won’t break. Get ready to use paper a lot also because if you’re boondocking, you’ll want the paper plates and bowls to save on your water consumption.
The whole thing is very daunting. I didn’t think I’d ever get all my stuff gone in time to move into my RV. I had started the process of eliminating my possessions a year before hitting the road. Have the yard sales, donate to the local charities, give it away to friends. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time. None of us realize how much we’ve accumulated until we have to empty a house.
Making a living
Some full-timers were already entrepreneurs before going on the road and they continue. Some become entrepreneurs when they hit the road. Some get lucky and their place of employment realizes they can still do their job while on the road and their employer has accommodated for it. There are also tons of work camper opportunities out there.
Here are some more popular ways people earn an income while on the road:
- Traveling nurse – many RNs take to the lifestyle and work where ever additional nurses are needed.
- Blogging – many bloggers get monetized from affiliate links on their blogs
- Work camper – A work camper is someone that works at a campground in exchange for a full hook-up site. Some campgrounds offer the site with pay, some are with pay and a discount on the campsite. This allows you to visit places you want to see and use your days off for sightseeing. Most work campers work around 4 months during the summer, but in warmer climates of the south, you could work the winter months also.
- Amazon – There’s opportunity to work for Amazon at any of their distribution centers. Amazon will pay for your full hook-up campsite as well as give you a paycheck. Most are hired from October – December when it’s their busiest time. Amazon also gives you a bonus if you work until the end of December. They are known to hire back a lot of the same work campers.
- Sugar beet harvest – In the northern states like N. Dakota, Minnesota and Montana, sugar beets are grown and the harvest season is in October. It usually lasts about 2 weeks, maybe longer, due to inclimate weather. Long shifts but quick money.
- Gate guard – many oil companies in Texas need people to gate guard. You can do it for 8 weeks or any amount of months. Basically you are checking the trucks that go in and out to the wells. They provide your campsite and pays decent.
- Artisans and craftsmen make and sell their items on the road or on-line. I had met a couple that made jewelry and went to events all over the US selling the jewelry.
Have a domicile
The government does require everyone to have an address. When you choose to be nomadic, you have to be domiciled somewhere with a permanent address. There are 3 states that are very friendly with this life style. They are S. Dakota, Texas and Florida. Some are more cost effective that others, so do your research. Do they require vehicle inspections or not? What would it cost to register and insure your vehicles and RV? Do you have to live there for any length of time to establish residency before hitting road?
How do we get our mail is one of the most common questions that is asked. In the 3 states I mentioned in the previous paragraph, there are mail forwarding services. You pay for a membership and put money into your account that they use to send your mail to you where ever you tell them to send it. You can establish the frequency they send it to you and what date you want it sent. They can scan and email you important items you may need more urgently. Say goodbye to junk mail, too, because they’ll remove that for you.
Are you ready?
When you decide to make this change to your way of life, there will be times it gets overwhelming and stressful. Hang in there. Once you have a handle on things and have a sense of what to do, you’ll find it’s worth it for the final result.