Change Your Address With These 9 Tips For How To Live In An RV

a man eating inside an RV trailer

Sick of overpaying for rent each month? Learn how to live in an RV full-time and keep more money in your pocket. Whether it's a temporary or permanent move, you'll be joining the millions of people who've ditched their apartments to live on the road.

As it has never been easier to work remotely, most people don't even have to give up their careers to take up this exciting lifestyle. If you're looking for adventure, then a change in address and mobile living might be what you need. Let's learn how to live in an RV and see if this is the right decision for you.

The RV Movement Is Growing in Popularity

a group of campers and their vans

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The American dream used to include a five-bedroom ranch sitting on an acre of land. But with impossibly high housing costs, people are looking for more practical solutions. It wasn't long after the tiny house movement grew in popularity that people started considering moving into their RVs.

Since the nomadic lifestyle has become more appealing, it has provided an alternative to the American dream for so many families.

It's not just millennials either who are taking advantage of this trend. Middle-aged couples and retirees are ditching their homes as well and taking to the road. Learning how to live in an RV has not only allowed them to live a life of leisure, but many have been able to retire early and spend their time how they like.

It's a movement that continues to grow as more resources become available, making the transition to the nomadic lifestyle easier.


Learn If Living In An RV Is Right For You

The RV movement may sound appealing, but it's not the right lifestyle for everyone. Before you start downsizing and browsing through automotive postings in your area, there are a few things to consider. More important than learning how to live in an RV is to learn if you can live in an RV.

Are you willing to downsize?

Can you earn your income from the road?

Does an uncertain lifestyle appeal to you?

Is your family onboard?

Can you handle living in small spaces?

Will you be OK using an RV bathroom full-time?

Can you give up cooking in a full kitchen?


Learn If Living In An RV Is Right For You

The American dream used to include a five-bedroom ranch sitting on an acre of land. But with impossibly high housing costs, people are looking for more practical solutions. It wasn't long after the tiny house movement grew in popularity that people started considering moving into their RVs.

Since the nomadic lifestyle has become more appealing, it has provided an alternative to the American dream for so many families.

It's not just millennials either who are taking advantage of this trend. Middle-aged couples and retirees are ditching their homes as well and taking to the road. Learning how to live in an RV has not only allowed them to live a life of leisure, but many have been able to retire early and spend their time how they like.

It's a movement that continues to grow as more resources become available, making the transition to the nomadic lifestyle easier.


How to Live in an RV

Once you've determined that you can handle the nomadic lifestyle, you're ready to learn how to live in an RV full-time. Rather than jumping right into it, it's better to give yourself time to adjust and take things one step at a time.

Consider these tips that will help make the transition into your new home more comfortable.

1

Choose the right RV


caravan on the road

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Once you start making plans to move into an RV full-time, the next most significant decision you'll be making is the type of recreational vehicle you want to live in. Everything from the vehicle's length to engine type needs to be selected.


Far from an easy choice, there are a number of things you should consider before making a purchase.

Motorized or towable?

While both motorized and towable RVs have their benefits, most people who choose to live in an RV full-time opt for a motorized vehicle. They offer several essential benefits that those who take on the nomadic lifestyle prefer, including easy access to your food and bathroom.


Motorized RVs don't need to be set up at each campsite, which can be a huge plus when pulling in to a new city during a storm.


Towable RVs offer benefits as well, though. They're more affordable and don't require as much maintenance or repairs as motorized vehicles tend to need.


Additionally, towing your RV will give you access to a car during your travels. It will make running errands and exploring new cities much easier when you don't have to find parking for a massive RV.

Gas or diesel engine?

fuel dispensers

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The type of gasoline your RV takes may not seem like an important factor to consider, but they each offer several pros and cons that can significantly impact your savings account.


As you learn how to live in an RV, you will quickly discover that while diesel engines increase the life span of your vehicle, it will also cost more to fill up your tank and make any repairs.

RV length

If you have trouble parking an oversized SUV or large van, then you should keep that in mind when picking the best recreational vehicle for you. Even though a longer RV will give you more space to live in, it may also be too difficult for you to manage.


Some campsites and RV parks can't even accommodate larger RVs. That means if you have a specific place in mind, you'll want to be sure to do your research.

2

​Start downsizing


Once you've decided on the size of your future home, you can start downsizing. There's just no way that you'll be able to fit all of your belongings in an RV if you're moving out of a house or apartment. Space is limited as it is, and you don't want to end up living in clutter.


Additionally, the nomadic lifestyle tends to focus on minimalism, so taking steps to downsize will help you to better adjust to the community.


Since it can be overwhelming to get rid of so many of your belongings in a short period, it's best to start this process early. Downsizing takes time, especially if you are moving out of a large house.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Focus on one room at a time
  • Separate your belongings into categories: those you want to sell, those you will donate, those that will go in storage, and those you use every day
  • Only keep items in your RV that you use regularly
  • Consider giving sentimental items to friends and family members
  • Digitize your music, movies, books, and more

3

​Know how to maintain your RV


Part of discovering how to live in an RV is learning how to take care of your vehicle. In addition to performing the kinds of maintenance you would do on a car, an RV requires attention in other areas as well.


If you're unfamiliar with how the plumbing works in an RV, know that three tanks need to be maintained.

Fresh water tank

The fresh water tank holds the clean water that will come out of your RV sinks and shower. It's refilled as needed, usually every few weeks, depending on the size of your family and how large your tank is.


The system needs to be cleaned with bleach every month to ensure the water isn't contaminated. This is done by simply pouring bleach into the fresh water tank and running the water. You should then wait a solid 24 hours before using the sinks or shower again.

Grey water tank

The grey water tank is where all of the dirty runoff goes after washing your dishes or taking a shower. Larger RVs might have two grey tanks and may even have an alert system that notifies you when they are full.


If your RV doesn't send an alert, however, then you'll need to keep an eye on the tanks and empty them when they fill up two-thirds of the tank.

Black water tank

The black water tank holds all of the waste from the toilet. If your RV doesn't have a grey water tank, it's because all of the runoff water ends up in the black water tank. In addition to being emptied regularly, black water tanks require chemical treatments to keep them functioning properly.


This is just the tip of the iceberg. You will discover while learning how to live in an RV you that other areas require maintenance as well. These might include lubricating any slide-out mechanisms or windows, inspecting the roof and seams for leaks, cleaning off the awning, and so much more.

4

​Consider solar power


A standard RV uses two classes of electricity to power devices: AC and DC. Your lights, vent fans, water pump, and typically anything you plug into a 12-volt socket run on DC power. Batteries usually deliver this power, as they don't require much electricity.


High-powered devices like microwaves and air conditioners run on AC power delivered from a generator as they require more electricity. They can also use the power supplied at campsites, giving the noisy, gas-guzzling generator a break for a while.


A generator can give you some freedom and allow you to live off the grid for a little while, but they also require a ton of maintenance and add weight to your vehicle. It's great for short-term use, but those who are learning how to live in an RV full-time tend to prefer solar power.


Solar power offers a number of benefits, including being more eco-friendly, noiseless, and often requiring less maintenance. It's an affordable upgrade as a 100-watt solar power kit should be more than suitable for all of your electrical needs.

5

​Write a list of necessities


When you're ready to pack up your belongings and move into your RV, it helps to make a list of essentials. Once you have found a space for everything you know you'll need, then you can see how much room you have left for any extras.


If you've downsized properly, then you will be able to fit in everything, but there's always a chance you forgot to account for particular items.


This general list should help you prepare for your big move. Keep in mind that your home will be moving pretty often, so it's essential to avoid anything made of glass.


You can also increase storage space by adding hooks or magnets. Some collapsible kitchenware and appliances designed for RVs can also replace some of your necessities.

Here's a sample list to keep in mind while you learn how to live in an RV:

  • Minimal wardrobe
  • Shoes
  • Cooking tools
  • Dishes
  • Silverware
  • Mugs and cups
  • Laundry bag
  • Garbage pail
  • Hammock or outdoor seating
  • Bedding
  • Towels
  • Toiletries

6

​Have all of the necessary gear


In addition to your list of necessities for your new home, you'll also need a list of gear required to keep your RV functional.


If you have your RV manual on hand, you can learn a lot about what kind of equipment your recreational vehicle needs. Doing this can be especially overwhelming for those who have never used an RV before. It's something you will get used to, though.


While every RV is different, they all require the basics. Here's a breakdown of all of the necessary gear you will likely need:

Electrical

  • Surge protector
  • Electrical adapters
  • Extension cords
  • Shore power cord
  • Coaxial TV cable
  • Replacement fuses

Plumbing

  • Toilet chemicals
  • RV-friendly toilet paper
  • Water pressure regulator
  • Drinking water hose
  • Sewer hose and container to keep it in
  • Water filter

​General

  • Leveling blocks
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Wheel chocks
  • Foldable shovel
  • Extra motor oil and transmission fluid
  • Battery jumper cables
  • Emergency road kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First aid kit
  • Hitch lock
  • Refrigerator bars
  • Toolbox
  • Flashlights

7

​Research RV parking laws


One of the essential aspects of learning how to live in an RV is understanding the parking rules and regulations in each area you spend time in. While most campsites and RV parks will have a place for recreational vehicles to park, an open spot isn't always guaranteed.


If you park your new home on the street or in any old parking lot, chances of getting towed or ticketed are pretty high. Even parking in a friend's driveway can lead to issues depending on what city regulations dictate.


With so many resources available online and in your app store, there's no excuse not to find a safe, legal place to park your RV. RVParky is just one of the many apps available that use your location to help you find parks, campsites, truck stops, and other designated parking areas nearby.

If you're in a rut and need a place to stay for a night or two, some retail stores allow RVs to park in their lots overnight. These include:

  • Walmart
  • Camping World
  • Cabella's
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Flying J Truck Stops
  • Costco
  • Sam's Club
  • Some casinos

It may not always be possible to plan ahead, but you don't want to end up having your home towed due to a simple misunderstanding.

8

​Join RV clubs


There is only so much preparation you can do before moving into a recreational vehicle. A lot of learning how to live in an RV comes from hands-on experience and advice from others living the nomadic lifestyle.


Joining a few RV clubs can put you in touch with like-minded individuals and give you access to valuable information. Additionally, some RV clubs also offer discounts to members who stay at certain campsites.


Here are some of the most popular RV clubs to consider:

Good Sam Club

A Good Sam Club membership gives you benefits at Camping World, Gander Outdoors, Pilot Flying J, and Overton's. Members receive 10 percent off over 2,000 campgrounds that accept the club card and get between 0.05 and 0.08 cents off the price of gas at Pilot Flying J.


Another major perk is that members can utilize the RV dump stations at Camp World SuperCenters at no additional cost.

​Escapees RV Club

If you're looking for a club that offers more educational benefits, consider Escapees RV Club. With regional chapters, they make it easy to connect with others who prefer the RV lifestyle.


They host annual rallies, casual gatherings, and encourage members to join groups that focus on dozens of common interests. Members have access to educational programs and forums that cover everything from safety concerns to RV maintenance.


They also offer services that help members find parking, jobs, and significant discounts.

​Passport America

As a simple RV club, Passport America focuses on offering discounts at participating campgrounds. With membership, you can receive up to 50 percent off of campgrounds across the United States, Canada, and Mexico.


They also offer a trip routing program that will help you plan your journey and save you money by pointing out all of the spots that accept a Passport America club membership.

9

​Download these useful apps


Learning how to live in an RV full-time doesn't have to be a goal you go after without assistance. There are a ton of useful apps available that will make your experience less stressful. From locating waste dump stations to making sure you stop at some of the world's most impressive national parks, there's an app for that.


Here are just a few:

​Roadtrippers

As a road trip planning app, Roadtrippers will help you map out your journey with a basic itinerary. In addition to helping you discover all of the must-see attractions along your route, the app will tell you how much you can expect to pay in gas based on the vehicle you're driving.

​Allstays Camp and RV

The Allstays Camp and RV app has everything someone learning how to live in an RV would want. It offers trip route planning features, and can quickly point out nearby truck stops, rest areas, RV dump stations, and overnight camping options.


The best part is that some aspects of the app function even when you don't have service. That means you don't have to worry about driving through dead spots.

​GasBuddy

If you're on a tight budget, GasBuddy can be a real lifesaver. It helps you find the cheapest gas nearby based on user experience. Even if you're only saving a few cents on the gallon, over time, this can add up!

​Free Wi-Fi Scanner

Being on the road doesn't have to mean you're cut off from the rest of the world. If you're addicted to social media or require internet access to do your job, then an app like Free Wi-Fi Scanner is a necessity. It helps you find free public wifi access, so you're never without the internet.


It’s Time to Change Your Address

a woman sleeping on a trailer

Image Source: Unsplash.com

Now that you've learned a bit about how to live in an RV full-time, you're ready to move. Free yourself from the burden of having to pay a mortgage or monthly rent and instead explore the country. Life has so much more to offer than working for the weekends and looking forward to the one vacation you're able to take a year.

If you've always dreamed of traveling the world, then it's time to change your address by moving into a recreational vehicle permanently.

Do you have experience living in an RV? Leave your advice in the comments below!

Featured Image Source: Pixabay.com


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