Interested In The RV Lifestyle? Here's Your Ultimate Guide

Interested In The RV Lifestyle? Here’s Your Ultimate Guide

by

George Cummings
November 13, 2021
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Renting or owning an RV is really about buying freedom.

You can jump into your RV and go wherever you please, whenever you want, and it also makes outdoor activities such as camping much more comfortable.

How long will your RV last? Generally, the lifespan of an RV is 20 years or 200,000 miles. Taking good care of it can increase its lifespan. 

Your RV can go the distance, but should you join the RV lifestyle? If you’re interested in it, here’s everything you need to know. We’ll start with some important RV benefits to know about. 

Six Benefits Of RV Travelling, Camping, And Lifestyles

Six Benefits Of RV Travelling, Camping, And Lifestyles
  • It results in cheaper vacations: When you travel in your RV, you don’t need to worry about various travel expenses, such as hotel and airfare costs. That said, you will need to have money for RV insurance, gas, and park fees, but you can save a lot of money in the long run. For example, you’ll save money cooking food inside your RV that’s equipped with kitchen appliances instead of eating out.
  • It allows for flexibility: When you travel in an RV, you can change your plans whenever you feel like it! You’re not tied down to flights or hotel bookings.
  • It makes camping more comfortable: If you don’t like roughing it in a tent on hard ground, traveling in an RV is a great way to immerse yourself into nature while having some comforts. Similarly, you can generate your own power and make use of luxuries like hot water in remote camping spots.
  • It’s ideal for remote work: As long as you have your laptop and a reliable internet connection, the RV lifestyle enables you to work anywhere you please! You’re not tied down to an office space or location.
  • It enlarges your social circle: The RV lifestyle is a social one! You will meet people of all ages, lifestyles, and backgrounds when you’re on the road or spending time in campgrounds. You’ll run into people you would never have otherwise been able to meet.
  • It makes you focus on experiences instead of things: Living in an RV means that you have to pay attention to making use of every inch of space inside it, which means you won’t be able to accumulate a lot of material goods. But this is a positive thing! Instead of spending money on lots of clothing, shoes, furniture, and other items, you can spend it on traveling to beautiful locations and exploring hidden treasures. 

Part-Time Vs Full-Time RV Living 

Part-Time Vs Full-Time RV Living 

Despite the above reasons why RV lifestyles are great, they’re not suitable for everyone. You might therefore want to consider RVing part-time instead of full-time.

Part-Time RV Benefits

Splitting your time between living in a brick-and-mortar house or apartment and your RV has several benefits worth considering.

  • You have a larger living space. At home, you’ll enjoy privacy and greater comfort that you won’t always achieve in your RV.
  • You have the safety of a home. If something happens to your RV when you’re on the road, you have a home that you can return to instead of being stuck without a place to go.
  • You have a home base with storage space. Your brick-and-mortar house provides you with enough storage space for all your belongings that you just can’t take with you on the road.
  • You have greater protection against the weather. Although you can ensure your RV has protection against hot weather, such as by installing an air con, and you can insulate it against the cold, this won’t be as close to the comfort and protection you’ll achieve in a house.
  • You have better Wi-Fi at home. You can’t always be guaranteed of a strong Wi-Fi connection when you’re on the road, so having that stability at your home base is essential. 

How To Choose The Right RV

How To Choose The Right RV

Whether you want to rent or purchase an RV, it’s essential to choose one that will meet as many of your needs as possible.

The problem is that there are many kinds of RVs from which to choose, which can make it difficult to know which one is best. Here’s a rundown of the different RV types.

Class A Motorhomes

These motorhomes are ideal for large groups and families because they can usually accommodate up to 10 people. They’re large, spacious, and offer creature comforts.

Pros 

  • Since these RVs are large, they provide a lot of storage space.
  • They are equipped with many amenities.

Cons

  • They’re expensive to purchase and repair. 
  • They’re not easy to maneuver on the road.

Class B Motorhomes (Camper Vans)

Although these RVs are smaller than those in the Class A category, they are easier to drive and park.

Pros 

  • These vehicles are affordable to own and repair. 
  • They’re convenient and practical for doing errands.

Cons

  • They have less storage space and fewer amenities on offer.

Class C Motorhomes

These have been said to be like driving a truck. They usually come with a furnished shower, kitchen, and bathroom when you purchase them, which makes them ideal for beginners.

Pros 

  • These motorhomes are easier to repair and drive than Class A vehicles.
  • They offer a decent amount of space for storage and sleeping.

Cons

  • They have a more restricted floor plan as compared to vehicles in other classes. 

Travel Trailers

These are a valuable option to consider if you’re traveling solo or with a partner. A travel trailer can be towed behind most types of vehicles, even SUVs.

They offer to live and sleeping space, and some can accommodate up to six people. 

Pros 

  • Travel trailers come in a variety of sizes to meet your needs. 
  • They’re much more affordable than motorhomes, while being easier to maintain. 

Cons

  • They don’t offer the same amount of amenities to make your travels more comfortable.
  • They require more effort to drive and park, such as how you have to check their hitch whenever you stop. 

How To Equip Your RV 

How To Equip Your RV 

While many RVs come fully furnished, there are many tools and pieces of equipment you will require to maintain them.

  • Buy longer sewer and water hoses: Often, the hoses that come with your RV are very short so you’ll do well to replace them. A sewer hose should be around 20 feet in length and needs to be composed of smaller pieces that twist-lock into place as well as a threaded coupling device so you’ll be able to attach the hose to your campground’s sewer connection. The water hose should be between 25 and 50 feet in length and needs to be approved for water consumption.
  • Get the right amps for your air conditioner: If you have a modern RV that comes with lots of air conditioning, you could hook it up with 50 amps, but the problem is that older campgrounds don’t have anything higher than 30amps. You’ll therefore need adapters that convert 50-amp into 30-amp service.
  • Buy an antenna cable if you want to be able to watch TV: Make sure it’s about 50 feet in length and it has male connectors on both ends. This will ensure that you can watch TV if your campground allows cable TV hookups.
  • Secure your cabinets: When you drive your RV, items that you’ve stored in cabinets can easily wobble and move around. To keep them in place, choose shelf liners that have rigid and heavily textured patterns. You should also buy tension rods that you can install across shelves and fridges to keep them secure.  

Keep These Items Handy At All Times

Keep These Items Handy At All Times

These items will keep you safe and ensure you can maintain your RV when traveling.

  • Sewer kit – this gives you everything you need for a sewer hookup, such as a sewer hose, sewer elbow, and hose adapter. An example of a quality kit is the Camco Black 39551 RV Sewer Kit (available from Amazon).
  • Drinking water hose – this works in the same way as a garden hose but needs to be certified as safe for drinking water. 
  • Surge protector 
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Electrical adapters 
  • Water pressure regulator – this prevents damage being caused to the RV from water pressure that’s too high. 
  • Emergency road kit 
  • RV antifreeze – this will protect your RV’s plumbing against very cold temperatures 
  • Flashlight 
  • Fire extinguisher 
  • Roof sealant – this will come in very handy if your RV roof experiences cracks or leaks 

Other Items You’ll Need When Setting Up Your RV

Outdoor items: make sure you feel comfortable at camp by storing camp chairs (one per person), a table and tablecloth, an outdoor rug, and lanterns in your RV. These will make your RV feel like home.

  • Kitchen items: stock cabinets in your RV with cups, mugs, utensils, bowls, and plates. For cooking, you’ll need a knife set, cutting board, cooking utensils, measuring cups and spoons, skillets, pots, and pans. 
  • Bathroom items: these will include the items you use at home, such as towels, a shower curtain and mat, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, sanitizer, hand soap, and any extras you need, such as a hairbrush, razor, and shaving cream. Keep a laundry hamper in the bathroom too.
  • Bedroom items: you’ll need pillows and pillow covers, bedsheets, and blankets. For winter RV traveling, make sure you have duvets.

How To Keep Your RV Clean And Hygienic 

How To Keep Your RV Clean And Hygienic 

Wiping down surfaces in your RV on a daily basis, especially the surfaces you touch frequently, is important. You can do this with a mild disinfectant. You should also dust your surfaces at least once a week.

Here are some easy RV cleaning tips and tools to make part of your regular routine. 

  • Invest in a handheld vacuum cleaner: This is a user-friendly gadget to eliminate spills, dirt, and dust. Since it doesn’t rely on cords and is compact, it enables you to reach every nook and cranny.
  • Prevent mold from forming: If moisture becomes trapped in areas of the RV, this can result in mold. To prevent it from forming and becoming a health hazard, wipe down the bathroom walls and other surfaces that come into contact with water with multi-purpose cleaning sprays. Leave windows open for enough ventilation.
  • Wash the floors regularly: Make sure you use a damp mop that’s been dipped in water and a mild floor cleaner. Avoid wetting the edges of any carpets in your RV, and don’t use floor cleaners that contain oil-based solvents. These can discolor linoleum.
  • Clean the RV exterior: Wipe down your RV’s windows from the outside. Use window cleaner spray to remove dust, debris, and stains. Check the rubber seals for any dirt and dust. Clean them by wiping them with a cloth that’s been dipped in dishwashing liquid. Rinse off the tires. A tire cleaner and tire shine spray should be used to keep your tires clean. 

How To Sanitize Your RV’s Water System

How To Sanitize Your RV’s Water System

A big part of RV hygiene is preventing unpleasant odors from forming in your motorhome’s toilet and black-water holding tank.

To keep the system sanitary, use a holding tank treatment which consists of a digester and deodorizer. This breaks down solids and prevents bad odors. 

When dumping your black-water tank, ensure you use a leak-free hose and wear protective gloves. These water hoses should only be used for flushing black-water tanks to prevent contamination.

When dumping your tank, park your motorhome so that the tank’s outlets are angled downhill in the direction of your dump valves.

Make sure you always remove the water residue in your RV’s water tanks regularly. These can cause unpleasant smells in your RV if left to stand. 

You should also treat your gray tank with care. This is important because the gray tank contains solids that have been flushed from the kitchen sink.

So, ensure better gray water tank hygiene by fitting a sink-drain strainer to all your drains to collect large food particles and soap residue, therefore reducing bad odors and blockages.

How To RV With Kids

How To RV With Kids

Kids will probably be as excited as you are about exploring the world from inside an RV, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get bored or take some time to adjust to the lifestyle. Here are some tips that can help them enjoy it.

  • Give them their own space. Kids need their own space in the RV where they can relax, play games, or just rest. Having all their toys in this designated area will also ensure a clutter-free living area.
  • Provide indoor and outdoor toys. Your kids should have toys they enjoy playing with on campsites, such as balls and rackets. But, during long trips or when it’s raining outside, they will require other toys and items to keep them busy, such as puzzles, crosswords, and books.
  • Choose kid-friendly campgrounds. When camping, make sure you choose a campground where kids will have amenities they enjoy, such as mini-golf courses, pools, and playgrounds. Private campgrounds with such amenities are a good idea to look for when planning a camping trip.
  • Interact with other families. When you stop in a new place, ready to explore it, it can help for your kids to be able to meet and befriend other kids. Interact with other families to increase your, and your kids’, social circle. 
  • Stick to routines. While kids will enjoy the mental stimulation of seeing new things and having adventures on the road, this can be taxing on them. They require a stable, consistent routine in order to feel safe. Stick to mealtimes, bedtimes, and family quality time that you would if you were in a house. Having one-on-one quality time with your child is also important. 

Do You Need To Get RV Insurance? 

Do You Need To Get RV Insurance? 

Whether you have a Class A, B, or C RV, you will need to buy insurance for it. This is mandatory in most U.S. states, and doesn’t depend on whether you stay in the RV full-time or not.

Although two states don’t require regular RV insurance – Virginia and New Hampshire – they do require that you have some vehicle coverage.

Instead of regular RV insurance, you need to pay an uninsured motor vehicle fee or file a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate, which will result in upfront costs.

If you’re renting an RV, you will also have to insure it, either by buying an insurance plan via a rental company or making use of a third-party insurance company. 

Where Can You Park Your RV Overnight?

Where Can You Park Your RV Overnight?

If you need to find a safe place where you can park your RV for the night, you’ll be pleased to know that you can find parking spots pretty easily. Here are some to consider. 

  • Truck stops: You can park your RV overnight at various truck stops. Ensure that you’ll drive out of the truck stop by mid-morning, though. 
  • Casinos: Many casinos around the country allow you to park your RV overnight, as long as there are available spots. You might have to pay a small fee at certain times, such as during holidays.
  • Walmart: Walmart is known for accommodating RVs in their parking lot, and some stores have painted signs to show you where you can park. When parking at a Walmart, make sure you steer clear from entrances and customers.
  • Outdoor Stores: You can find some outdoor stores that allow you to park your RV for the night. These include Cabela’s, Camping World, and Bass Pro Shop. Phone ahead and check with the store before planning your trip.

What About Parking Your RV For Longer Periods?

What About Parking Your RV For Longer Periods?

If you need long-term parking for your RV, there are a few good options you have at your disposal.

While U.S. campgrounds and National Parks offer long-term RV parking, you should consider luxury and private options if you want to ensure you have many activities and amenities available to you. Here are some locations to consider.

KOA Camps

These camps are great for parking your RV for longer periods of time. They are usually found in desirable locations, with a range of different RV parks to offer various amenities.

You can use the KOA website to reserve a place to stay, but if you want to stay long-term, you have to call the location where you want to go. This ensures you’ll get the most updated information on availability. 

Private and Luxury Parks

Many private RV parks offer extended stay options, but again it’s worth calling them ahead of time to check if you’re allowed to stay there and for how long.

The same goes for luxury RV parks. Many of them tend to only offer long-term parking options. It’s good to note that they usually come with long waiting lists, so always make sure you book your stay with them long in advance.

Note that if you want to stay in an RV park for the long-term future, there are certain rules to follow. Some parks will state that you have to move your mobile home or leave the park for a few days every now and then.

RV resources to check out for parking:

  • RVparking.com. Here you’ll be able to search for RV parks in your region. 
  • Campendium. This provides you with RV parking options, but it also gives you advice on where you can go to enjoy free camping. 

Related Questions 

Do you need RV-friendly toilet paper?

Do you need RV-friendly toilet paper?

Regular toilet paper can cause clogs, so choose RV toilet paper instead. It’s designed to dissolve quickly. Some of the best RV toilet paper brands include Camco, Valterra, and Thetford.

How to increase storage space in your RV?

You can do this in a variety of ways, such as by using storage space behind doors, packing shelves with storage bins, and using hanging baskets for items. 

Conclusion

Ready to hit the road in your RV? Make sure it’s equipped with everything you need to make your experience much more comfortable.

In this article, we’ve provided you with all the advice you will require to turn your RV into a second home.

Resources

George Cummings

George Cummings enjoys connecting with nature, meeting new people, and making friends from all over the world. RVing and camping create the perfect opportunity for [him/her] to take part in these activities. After spending several years on the road and exploring the great outdoors, George Cummings shares some of his best pieces of advice on how to make the most of your time while camping. TourTheOutdoors is his way of helping outdoorsy individuals like [him/her] start on a right footing with amazing recommendations and buying guides.