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Authored by Bill Widmer

Living in an RV sounds like a dream, right?

You get to live right in nature, with beautiful scenery (lush mountainscapes, beaches, deserts—you name it!) right outside your window. Not to mention there’s always something fun and new to do!

My fiance Kayla and I lived in an RV for 6 months and we had a blast! But it wasn’t all roses and butterflies. There are pros and cons to living in an RV.

That’s what this post is all about! Let’s dive in.

 The Pros & Cons of Living In An RV

RV Campervan RF car drive road

Pros to Living In An RV

Living in an RV can be a total dream come true. It certainly was for us! So here’s the good stuff:

1. It can be much cheaper than sticks and bricks.

A physical house (or “sticks and bricks” as they’re called in the RV world) can be expensive. You have to pay rent or mortgage, utilities, and more depending on where you live.

If you decide to RV, your “rent” is as little as a few hundred dollars per month. You could even just buy the camper outright with a personal loan and be done with it!

Of course, you have to factor in campground rent, gas, insurance, and other bills. But it still ends up being cheaper if you don’t stay anywhere super luxurious.

In fact, we did the math on all our bills and found that the average RV lifestyle costs around  $1,400 to $3,000 per month depending on your personal choices.

2. You get more time in nature.

RV life in nature RF

There’s nothing like the great outdoors! Being in nature improves your mood and makes you more relaxed. It’s the reason people love RVing!

You can even go boondocking or dry camping, which is basically staying “off the grid” (no water, sewer or electric hookups in exchange for staying in some truly remarkable places).

Of course, your RV has holding tanks for fresh water and sewage, plus a battery and even a solar hookup if you want it, so you’ll still have access to most of the comforts of home even in the middle of nowhere!

3. Travel! You get to see so many places.

Don’t like your surroundings? No problem! Pack up and hit the road.

In the six months Kayla and I lived in an RV, we saw six states and stayed in some truly remarkable places. (Our favorite was definitely Acadia National Park in Maine!)

4. You experience a lot of personal growth.

Traveler safari sunglasses

When you live on the road, you have a lot of responsibility.

As you’ll soon learn, things break and life doesn’t always go according to plan. You’ll need to be adaptive and figure things out as you go.

All that novelty and challenge forces you to grow by leaps and bounds as a person, which is a wonderful side effect!

5. There are loads of ways to meet new people.

From other campers (who are usually very friendly) to campground hosts, fellow hikers, other kayakers, and more, there are SO many opportunities to meet new people when you live in an RV.

Compared to where we live now (we don’t get out as much as we’d like), it was so much easier to make new friends on the road.

Cons to Living In An RV

Of course, the nomad life isn’t all fairies and butterflies. As I mentioned, things break and you’re definitely challenged. Here are the cons:

1. Not a lot of space (particularly the kitchen).

For those who have ever wanted to spend a couple of nights in an iconic Airstream travel trailer, a new glamping experience awaits you on Australia’s NSW South Coast.

Kayla has a food blog and loves to make extravagant meals. That’s virtually impossible in the tiny RV kitchen.

The small space means you really have to decide what’s worth taking and what isn’t. There’s no room for extra clutter. It also means things get cluttered fast, so you’ll need to clean often.

Oh, and the tiny showers and no bathtubs isn’t the most fun thing, either. (Unless you get a massive rig, but they’re stressful to drive, at least they are for me!)

2. Mold and mildew are real problems.

Because of the tiny space and lack of strong ventilation, it’s easy for mold and mildew to grow. Particularly in areas you can’t easily see or get to (such as under or behind the shower).

Whenever you buy a used rig (and I do recommend used, as campers lose their value as soon as you take them off the lot), always, always, ALWAYS get it inspected before you buy. If they won’t let you get it inspected, move on.

3. Your home suffers an earthquake every time you drive (things break).

RV Campervan car drive road RF

Driving your home across the freeway at 60+ mph is a sure way to have things break, crack and leak. I recommend having a budget for repairs because they are guaranteed after some time on the road.

It’s also a best practice to inspect your rig before and after every drive. Check the seams and corners to ensure no water is leaking and nothing looks off.

4. Climate control can be difficult.

You’re basically in a tin (or wood) can with very little, if any, insulation. If it’s hot and muggy outside, it’s going to be fairly hot and muggy inside, even with the AC running. Is it’s cold and dry outside, it’s going to be pretty cold and dry inside.

Kayla and I were staying in the RV up north in late October when it was 40 degrees outside and we had trouble keeping it above 60 inside. Not fun!

5. Driving a big rig can be stressful.

The bigger your RV, the more space you have—but the fewer places you can stay and the more stressful it is to navigate one-way streets and make quick lane swaps on the highway.

Our rig was 32’ and it was not fun driving anywhere besides highways during dead times. It’s actually one of the biggest drawbacks of RVing, at least for me. I hated long rides driving that thing!

Is The RV Life Right For You?

Airstream RV Campervan RF car drive road

Living in an RV can be a dream come true, but … for the right person. If you love the idea of seeing new sights all the time, being in nature, and meeting new people—but don’t mind small spaces and a few challenges here and there—RVing might be for you!

If you’re curious but not sure if you’d like it, I recommend renting an RV for a few months to test it out. You can even try renting different styles of RVs, like motorhomes vs campervans vs trailers, to see what you like best!

Are you considering the RV life? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!

TRAVEL WITH THESE PRODUCTS TO STAY SAFE ON A ROAD TRIP ↓

5″ LCD Color Rear View Backup Camera

Compact First Aid Medical Kit

LE Rechargeable LED Flashlight

Bill and his fiance Kayla run The Wandering RV, a site dedicated to helping people learn how to live the RV lifestyle and spend more time in the great outdoors!

When they’re not traveling or writing, they also co-host a podcast called Better Life Better Business.

    21 Comments

  1. Great article Bill! We have been living in an RV with our kids for over four years now. We have stayed in some amazing places – Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, Smoky Mountains, Arizona and loved it all. We are lucky enough to travel in a 38′ 5th wheel so cooking big meals is not an issue however we do try and cook outdoors as much as we can.

    Tally agree on the stress of traveling with your home on your bag, thankfully hubs gets to drive while I watch!

    • So glad you enjoyed the article Grainne – congrats on living your dream lifestyle as well! It sounds like you’ve created some incredible memories – the US id definitely an amazing place to hit the road in an RV!

      Thanks for reading, and leaving a comment – happy travels!

  2. My husband and are thinking of retiring early and buying an RV to live in full-time. We know there are pros and cons to every situation. Your article was very helpful. It gives us a bit more to think about before our final decision. Thank you!

    • Glad we could give you some insight into the pros and cons before you make your decision Monique – as you’ve said, there are pros and cons with every lifestyle, it’s just deciding whether the pros outweigh the rest :)

      All the best in your decision making, feel free to reach out if you have any other questions :)

  3. great article, in few days we are going for 6 months trip in RV – with kids, i hope we not only survive but thrive ;)

    • Sounds epic Ania! I’ve always believed that travel is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your kids as a parent. What an incredible family adventure you’re in for!

      Happy travels! Glad the post was helpful :)

  4. Hi!

    I have a house I am thinking about renting out and buying a bigger RV for the next year or two, I am 28 and have a cat and dog……any insights or recommendations? I enjoy the outdoors but also am a city girl at heart, is it easy to park an RV near a city and travel in?

    • Hi Mikki, sounds like a great adventure! I would recommend renting a RV to get a feel for how you like it on an initial trip, and then jumping into the long term year or two rental :)

      Parking in each different place will always be different, but for the most part, most cities have outskirts where you can park and then catch public transport in – it depends on the country you’ll be traveling through too though, as some which have a big RV culture will have RV parks very well positioned close to the city.

      Hope that helps! Have an amazing time :)

  5. Get article, I have been kicking around the idea of full time RVing so I can travel when I want and have access to nature at all times. Not sure if I would be stressed out driving a Class C- I like your suggestion of renting for a while, that would be very helpful in making a decision.

    • Renting is definitely a great way to get a feel for the lifestyle without jumping straight into a commitment / investment :) Have a great first trip!

  6. Another con is noisy neighbors. I’m currently beside a couple with grand kids. When the kids run and play inside the rv it sounds like a base drum. It sounds like they are in an apartment above you. I tried telling them about the noise and she rudely responded “Honey I pay rent just like you. That’s my grand babies.” They don’t care.

    • Ah sorry to hear that Beverlee. Good thing to keep in mind though as people will probably assume that they get rid of neighbor issues with this style of lifestyle. Only nice thing being that there’s the hope they’ll be moving on before too long :D

      I hope it quietens down for you soon.

  7. im glad I found this I am tired of the city and living in an apartment and I would love to see some new scenery. Im use to small spaces. Just trying to get my husband to think its a neat idea to live in a rv.

    • So glad the post was helpful for you Julie, RV lifestyle will definitely satisfy the need for new scenery! Re bringing your husband around, maybe you could look up some YouTube videos and clips from others who are living the lifestyle which you think might appeal to him and watch them together to continue the discussion :)

      All the best!

  8. A $600 apartment is either too small for two people, or not something you would want to live in (just about anywhere). Building a house again, even a small one, at going-on-76? Not crazy about that, either. So I am considering living in an RV. Is this nuts? Feasible?

    One site I just read noted that it costs $1,000-$1,200 a month. REALLY? The living space might present a cost savings, but the add-ons may not.

    • Hi Barbara, living in an RV is definitely feasible :) Costs wise, this depends on your personal choices, Bill has put together a great overview of costs in this additional reading: https://www.thewaywardhome.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-live-in-an-rv/

      But he also includes the cost of the RV in this figure, ie if you have to take out a loan you’ll be paying it off each month. Or if you’re renting, there’s an ongoing rent cost. If you were to buy outright this cost wouldn’t be included anymore.

      Gas is your other massive variable, if you set up your RV in one spot for months on end and move very slowly, very seldomly, your gas costs will be minimal vs someone who moves to a new city or State every few days :)

      Definitely worthwhile drawing up an estimated budget based on how you see your RV lifestyle playing out as it’ll be different for each person :)

      Thanks for reading!

  9. I’m ready to purchase a Fifth Wheel and live permanently in one location for several years. It’s only me, my two Yorkies and one kitty cat. My biggest concern is maintenance. With me staying in one place, what maintenance should I expect and are there plenty of RV reputable repairman? I feel I will save more monthly instead of renting the current house I have leased for 3 years. I don’t see the cons as that concerning, unless there is a huge repair that could happen that I’m not aware of. Thank you, great information this article has provided.

    • Hi J, sounds like a great plan! Each RV will likely have different maintenance requirements, so that’s something I’d recommend chatting with your dealer about in advance, but if you’re planning to stay in the one place in a more permanent situation than for instance, driving to a new location every few weeks, there’ll be much less maintenance to tend with on a long term basis.

      General checks include things like checking your roof and seams for leaks, checking your tire pressure frequently, keeping your waste water system in good condition, keeping your brakes and oil in check (though these typical car checks will be less frequent if you’re stationed permanently) etc.

      Repairmen will be more common in larger populated areas, so before picking a location I would recommend making some calls around / checks to see what your options for help are when you’ll need it, and picking a location based on the services around :)

      I hope that helps!

      Wishing you an amazing adventure!

  10. Wanting to save for a house but rent is so expensive plus working from home now not sure how that would work because I do need WiFi. I want to try something new but have never even started in an RV or know how they work for water, shower, flushing the toilet. Any suggestions besides renting one first, that is a good idea.

    • Portable WiFi routers like TEP will definitely be a must if you’re working while you’re moving from place to place, Bill has a lot of fantastic tips on his website https://www.thewanderingrv.com/ specifically for RV living / life too if you’re after a really comprehensive guide, there’s this post which talks to 20 full time RVers about what it’s like to live in an RV: https://www.thewanderingrv.com/rv-living/

      Hope these help! :)

  11. I’m 82 and recently widowed. After 60 years of marriage to my dear wife I want to get away from all baloney of an uppity suburban home 5 acres of grass and get some peace of mind. I am toying with the idea of getting out of freezing temps and going rv for 3 4 or 5 months out of a year and a condo not a giant house. I am debt free and have enough invested to afford being debt free even after buying an new rv with all the fixings. How do I mentally condition myself into an rv life for even 5 months of continuous rv living.

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