When most people talk about RV living, they are talking about living in their RV and traveling throughout the country. The majority of full-time RV posts and videos center around leaving suburbia behind to live life to the fullest and explore, whether or not the life costs more or less is irrelevant.
This post, however, is for folks that are living in their RV full time, but not traveling. Maybe it is to save money, maybe it is because housing is too expensive, maybe it’s due to a pandemic, or maybe it’s due to your own illness. In any event, RV stationary living is very different than RV traveling and today we are going to give you 5 pro tips to help you make the most of this season of your life.
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Are we stationary RVers?
For those of you that do not know, we RV full time, but don’t always get to travel extensively.
We often find ourselves spending 3 months stationary for work. In 2020, we spent the entire year in Florida and only staying in 3 different cities.
When we travel, we spend as little as 2 days at one location and up to 2 weeks.
Living this way, it didn’t take us too long to realize that stationary RV living and traveling in an RV full time are very different.
Of course, you still have to deal with greywater, propane, black water (unless you have a composting toilet), and the fact that RVs were NOT intended for full-time living, but that’s where the similarities end.
Get a BIG RV
If you are going to be living in your RV, I suggest getting the biggest one you can afford.
You are going from your current accommodations and moving into a much smaller space. This lack of space is going to be really noticeable, even if you are coming from a studio apartment or tiny home (anything less than 1000 ft2).
You are still going to be working and living your everyday life, just in a smaller space, so why not make that small space as big as possible?
The biggest and most “home-like” RVs are Fifth Wheels.
With these, you have a chance to have multiple bedrooms (if you have kids), a large bathroom, maybe even a second half-bath, a residential fridge, and maybe even a washer/dryer.
If you have been forced into this situation, don’t be discouraged by my suggestion of a large RV.
There are plenty of older RVs (including roomy and well equipped fifth wheels), that are reasonably priced. I advise that you purchase the largest one that you can afford.
Do you need help with RV buying? Check out our How to Find the Right RV for Your Lifestyle post.
Ready for the next Pro Tip? Don’t Buy a Tow Vehicle!!
Yes, you read that right.
If you are buying a travel trailer or Fifth Wheel, you will need a way to get it from wherever you purchased it to the campground/RV park, etc. where you will be living.
The awesome news is that there are many ways to get it there without having your own tow vehicle.
If you are purchasing your RV from a dealership, they can tow it for you.
If you bought from a private owner, they may be able to drive it for you or you can find an individual/company that can move it for you.
Of course, these services will cost you, but not as much as buying (and maintaining) a tow vehicle yourself.
So, what happens if you unexpectedly need to move your RV?
You can go get a tow vehicle when you actually need it or you can rent one or go back and rehire the folks that moved it in the first place.
This can be the case during inclement weather and other things, depending on how much notice you have.
What about an emergency?
I say you take as much as you can in your vehicle and leave.
Yes, you may lose your home, but these types of emergencies are few and in between and hopefully, your insurance will help you replace whatever material goods you may have lost.
In short, do not put yourself into more debt or create a financial burden when you don’t absolutely have to do it.
Remember you are RV stationary living to save money or because you cannot afford another living option.
Don’t Sell Your Second Car
Ok, if you have a second vehicle, I recommend you keep it unless you absolutely need the money.
We had 2 vehicles before we started RVing and we sold both and bought our truck.
While we don’t regret selling our vehicles, we needed the money at the time, we quickly noticed that when you aren’t traveling, having only one vehicle is rough.
Having 2 vehicles is a luxury, I know that most American families see it as a need, but it is, in fact, a luxury.
For your own sanity, I say go for the luxury and keep that second vehicle.
It will help you be able to be out and about and not feel stuck inside your RV (especially on those rainy days).
Also, if you are still working and maybe you even have the kids in school still, that second vehicle will make everyday living a lot easier and convenient.
It is possible to still have one vehicle and keep working and taking the kids to school and after school activities, but it will be much harder.
Stay Somewhere with Amenities
Yes, RV stationary living is to save money and/or because other living arrangements are not affordable, but there are ways to be a frugal RVer and still have some amenities.
If you are going to be living somewhere, might as well stay somewhere that you will enjoy.
So how do you do it?
One way is to get a seasonal or annual site at an RV park, such as one in the Thousand Trails RV park system.
These memberships are inexpensive and all their parks have playgrounds, pools, clubhouses, etc.
Thousand Trails memberships are also renewable.
The tricky part is finding a park near your work or your kid’s school.
If you decide to go this route, you will need to call the Thousand Trails park you are interested in and find out their rates and policies.
They differ from park to park.
Not interested in Thousand Trails, well there are other RV parks out there that allow RV stationary living.
These parks vary in price, but they offer cheaper rates for long term residents.
You will need to do research to find the best places that will still allow you to work and carry out your everyday life.
Don’t Let People Make You Feel BAD, GUILTY, ETC. About Your Living Conditions
This may actually be the most important tip of them all.
When people start talking negatively about your decision to start RV stationary living, remember why you are doing this!!
Living within your means
An adult living the best life that you can
People don’t get it.
Everyone is just following the same script – go to school, go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, get a better job, get a bigger house, etc…retire and enjoy what’s left of your life and then die.
Maybe it sounds harsh, but maybe you understand this too.
We are conditioned to live a life that isn’t necessarily right for us or things just went wrong somewhere along the way and that house or job or marriage became a nightmare and now you are fixing things.
Whatever the reason for why you are now living in your RV, I suggest you ignore what others are saying and focus on fixing whatever went wrong.
Get to a point where you can travel full time or move back into a house. If you enjoy stationary RVing, maybe just move on up to a new(er) RV or one that meets your RV living needs better.
Just know that what you are doing is going to get you to where you want to be. Those people talking negatively about your life aren’t helping you. If they wanted to help, they would embrace your choices and continue to encourage you.
Get even more tips from other stationary RVers. Click here to read!!
I hope what I shared helps you move forward on your RV stationary living journey with a bit more confidence. This decision is a tough one, but do what works for you and your family.
If you have any questions or would like to talk more about this, feel free to comment below or send an email to jessica (at) exploringthelocallife.com
Best wishes as you start your full-time RV stationary living journey. Keep the faith.