There are tons of tips and advice for fulltime RVers out there. Where to stay, what you can or cannot tow, fuel costs, etc. What you don’t hear about are stationary RVers and it’s pretty crazy because there are a bunch of RVers that fulltime and never travel at all. Are you considering becoming stationary RVers? Wondering what you need to know before you take the leap? I reached out to three other full-time RVing families and couples for their experiences in stationary RVing that I think will help you get inspired and feel prepared as you start your own RV journey.
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My husband Josiah and I have been stationary RVers in our fifth wheel for almost three years now, since 2016, when we sold our house and bought our RV to live in as an alternative to renting or buying when we relocated to Kansas City, Missouri, to start a new business.
Starting out we couldn’t afford both a truck and an RV, so we had our RV hauled directly to a mobile home park in nearby Kansas City, KS. We were hoping our business would soon take off and allow us to buy a truck and hit the road, but our careers ended up going in a different direction: Josiah ended up taking a local job as a software developer, and I started my website, RVinspiration.com.
A year and a half later, my husband started a new business that took us to the Dallas area, so we paid someone we found on UShip.com around $800 to haul our RV to an RV park there. After nine months in Texas, the business was established enough that we were both finally able to work fully remotely, so we had our RV hauled to our hometown of Springfield, Missouri to be near family for a few months, which is where we are now….and we’re finally shopping for a truck!
Living stationery in an RV has brought its fair share of challenges. We spent two winters in Kansas City, where temperatures occasionally dip below zero, and even though we had a four-season RV, we had to figure out ways to prevent things like our sewage line from freezing and how to reduce heat loss so we wouldn’t be spending a fortune on propane. We have spent a few nights in hotels–once when there was a power outage during a heatwave, and once in the winter when our furnace stopped working. But occasional mechanical problems are just part of owning an RV, whether you’re stationary or mobile.
Finding a good place to park the RV was another challenge, as not all cities have RV parks within a reasonable driving distance. That’s why we’ve ended up living in a few mobile home parks. Even if you’re planning to buy land, some counties don’t allow people to live in RV’s on their own land. The problem of where to park was another reason we ended up back in Springfield: our RV park in Dallas was so far outside the city that it took over 30 minutes to go anywhere, but in Springfield we were able to park in a nice mobile home park inside the city, convenient to things like Walmart and just 15 minutes from downtown. It will be a great home base to come back to as we start adventuring.
Where we go from here…
At times during our stationary years, we have wished we could at least take short trips in our RV, but we’ve been so focused on growing our businesses that the time has passed quickly for us, and the freedom we have now has definitely been worth three years of stationary RV life. I’ve now met lots of people who lived as stationary RVers for one reason or another, and I would encourage anyone considering it to do it and not to worry about what others think if you’ve done your research and know it will help you reach your long term goals.
My name is Liz Wilcox and I run a website called The Virtual Campground. I live full-time stationery in my RV with my husband and our 4-year-old. We’ve been in our RV for over 2.5 years and are currently in Tampa, FL until March 2020.
Why we started stationary RVers.
Initially, we started out RVing as a way to save money. We were going to buy a house and when the deal fell through, my husband joked about buying a camper instead. Within a couple of weeks, we bought a 5th wheel and had it parked at an RV park in Alabama where my husband was stationed for the Army.
We stayed in that spot for 15 months until he ended his service so we could try this “full-time travel” thing. For 13 months, we traveled the East Coast of America before my husband wanted to settle down again to attend a school in Tampa, FL.
Since that time, we have been stationary (again) for about 3 months and there are pros and cons.
With travel, things were exciting and we got to see new things. With stationary RV life, I’m able to make friends and have a much more stable routine. We also still have our RV (obviously) so we’re able to make short trips when we feel like it.
Living in a Small Space
Sometimes it can be hard to live in a small space. You can accumulate a lot of stuff in a short period of time. But it’s worth it to remain close, live intentionally, and of course, save money. I also love living in an RV park where you are part of a community that understands you and you can find amenities for a great price!
If you’re considering becoming stationary RVers, I would highly recommend you practice living in a small space. You can do this by cutting off rooms in your house and not using them, etc. It will really help you learn more about what it’s really like to be in a small space. You can also rent an RV for a long weekend to see what it feels like.
We’re Sean and Julie Chickery of Chickery’s Travels, 20-year Air Force veterans and empty-nesters. We moved into our RV five years ago at our last military assignments when we couldn’t find housing that we both liked. Since we had already discussed getting an RV after retiring from the Air Force, we decided to purchase it early and live in the base campground for 18 months. We figured it would give us a chance to build our confidence as we had never owned an RV before.
What we have enjoyed.
There were a few things we enjoyed about stationary RV living. We really appreciated the time to get to know our fifth wheel. Although we didn’t get to travel often, we did take small trips when we could. This also allowed us to become more comfortable towing. We also really loved saving money with a great monthly rate on the campground.
Our only regret is that we didn’t save more money. This primarily because we weren’t savvy during the purchasing process. We bought a new, too large RV because it seemed like such a drastic change from our previous home. As a result, we paid far too much money. We also didn’t take advantage of low campground fees and pay extra on the RV.
Family & Friends
Our friends and family are used to us marching to the beat of our own drummer. We’ve always done what we wanted without consulting others for their advice or opinions. So no one was really surprised when we told them we’d bought an RV and were going to live in it. The only thing that surprised them was how large the RV was.
The biggest piece of advice we’d give to someone considering stationary RVing is to buy the least expensive RV you can and still be happy. We’re not saying to buy something falling apart, but consider used or less bells and whistles. The reason for this advice is that many folks change their minds about what RV is right for them and even about RVing altogether. Paying less at the outset will help you be more flexible later.
Exploring the local life
We are Robert, Jessica, Daniel, and Nadia. Together we are Exploring the Local Life in our 2016 26ft travel trailer and we have been RVing since October 2015. Although we aren’t 100% stationary RVers, we certainly spend quite a bit of time in one place at a time and we often spend several months in one city.
Stationary RV Life
Being stationary has given us the ability to explore an area without having to rush it. It’s an opportunity to really get to know a place and its people. After a while though, we start feeling that wanderlust and our RV starts feeling smaller and smaller. Some of that excitement of discovering new places also wears out after a bit.
For the most part, we have chosen whether we are stationary or traveling, however, Robert does have a location-dependent job. That means we need to be within 1 hour of Robert’s job. The times we have chosen to travel, it has been on his off days, after taking extended leave, or when he has flown back and forth between his job and where we are.
Family & Friends
Although we love our RV life, stationary and traveling, our family has never really understood any of it. Our friends at least attempt to be supportive. We just have continued to live our lives as we see fit. No one can live this life for us and we are making the best of it.
For anyone that is looking into this life, I would definitely recommend making the RV you have chosen be very homey and happy. Make it your own. Make your outdoor space inviting. Select an RV park that has amenities and fun activities. Get to know your neighbors and make friends. Take every opportunity to make this your best life in whatever way it works for you.
I hope this helps you as you navigate stationary RVing. There is no right or way to be stationary. Follow what works best for your family and know that you are not alone!
Still, need more advice for stationary RVers? Check out this post: RV Stationary Living – 5 Pro Tips