RV living is often glamorized. It’s the Instagram-perfect life that everyone wants to have. We’ve been living on the road in our RV since 2017, and we feel like we have a good sense of what it means to live on the road. We’d like to share the pros, but most importantly, the cons of RV living.
Adjusting to living on the road is a big decision, and while we enjoy it, it’s not for everyone.
We’ll start with the pro’s. After all, it’s called “Pros and Cons” and not “Cons and Pros”.
This is obvious, but RV living has allowed us to see places we always wanted to. The country is your playground, from small towns to large cities and everything between. You can learn history, see sights, and get exposed to new people and cultures.
2. Personal Development
RV living can be the ultimate social distancing, since you won’t have permanent neighbors or community. It gives you time to work on yourself. For us, it’s also meant learning new skills to make RV living work.
From a cash flow perspective, you can save a lot of money living on the road. Rents are skyrocketing in many places, and a new RV and vehicle to either tow or be towed can be acquired for less than the typical mortgage. Even with added expenses from fuel and RV parks, you can come out ahead living on the road.
Granted, there are many disclaimers to make here. You can certainly go wild and spend crazy on the road too, but it feels like the lower threshold of expenses is lower in the RV.
4. Being in Nature
There is something healing about the outdoors. It’s part of who we are as people, to connect to the earth and surroundings.
Campgrounds are usually in pretty scenic areas, with trees, beaches, mountains surrounding you. If you boondock (camp on public lands) you can stay right in the wilderness areas of the country.
You will be inspired by nature if you plan your stays right.
You can meet a lot of different people on the road. It’s fun to hear different accents, eat different foods, but most importantly, have your perspectives broadened by speaking with people who grew up in different circumstances and surroundings.
It’s liberating to have less stuff. Once you get over the fear of not “having what you need”, you’ll find that minimizing and simplifying is incredibly freeing. You don’t have to stress about where to put junk.
Okay, let’s get into the cons.
1. Storage space
We’re cheating, this was on the pro’s too, but less space can be a constraint at times. You may not be able to take kayaks, bikes, motorcycles, AND a boat with you. You will be forced to remove things that you may enjoy. It can also be difficult for kids, who haven’t learned to appreciate minimalism. Getting rid of toys they love to make room for others can be a challenge.
2. Fuel economy
No matter if you get a motorhome or a trailer, don’t expect good gas mileage when you cruise around. Some months we pay more for gas than we do for our RV. It adds up fast.
Just like living in a home or owning a car, you have to maintain your RV. And, there is a lot to do. Things are always broken in an RV, whether its new or old. Some of those things will put you in the shop at inconvenient times, or require you to learn new skills to fix it yourself. These can be more stressful than maintenance on a home or a vehicle when you’re stationary, as being stuck often costs you money (paying for a hotel or extra nights at an RV park).
RV’s cost a lot of money. That’s why we said RV living is good from a cash flow perspective, but you may not come out ahead on your net worth (compared to owning a home). Be smart and avoid losing too much.
Most people have incredibly fast internet connections these days. On the road, you are basically using your cell phone for internet. It’s okay, on a good day. It’s rarely great. Things take a long time and can be frustrating, especially if you rely on the internet for work.
It’s harder to have a gym membership, go to a favorite exercise class, develop a group who plays pickup basketball or volleyball. Working out is just more effort, logistically. You can certainly do some exercise in your RV, but it’s often not as good as a gym, as fun as a class, or as social as a group playing sports.
We often wish we could take our extended families with us everywhere, but…we can’t. Sometimes, this could be considered a Pro, actually! Especially for certain family members, right lol?! We often go for long stretches without seeing some of our family. This consideration is one that, we know, has caused many families to abandon the life on the road. Make sure that you are comfortable with going long stretches without family, potentially.
Hopefully this list will help you as you think about the allure of RV living. It’s great, but it may not be right for you. If you’ve tried RV living, let us know if you think we got this list right, or if we’re missing anything!