The Semi-Ultimate Guide To Becoming A Full-time RVer

I hope the prefix ‘semi’ caught your attention.  In a global realm of words, some believe they can capture an entire knowledge base in an Ultimate or Complete guide.  The problem with that is all adult humans have holes in their knowledge.  We do not all experience the same things, with the same people or even desire to do it the same as everyone else.  It IS smart to take others experience and learn from that and attempt to avoid making the same mistakes.  So, this is a semi-guide to becoming a full-time RVer.  An outline per se.  You fill in the content based on who you are, who you travel with, what you want to experience, where you want to go and when you plan to start.

Part One – Preparation

How will you use your RV?

Here is where a soon to be full-time RVer can get ahead of themselves.  The first thing most searchers will do is start looking at RVs.  This is your second step.  The first step is to determine ‘how’ you plan to use your RV. Why would this be important?  Suppose you want to travel to national parks all over the United States and you purchase a 40-foot RV.  Oops – you can’t get into most of the national parks because they have limits on lengths, sometimes 35 feet or less.  What if your goal is to stay at luxury resort RV parks.  Did you opt to purchase an eclectic RV and fix it up yourself only to find that most of the resorts will not accept an RV that is older than 10 years?  Or maybe you jumped in and bought what you considered the perfect RV to start a full-time RV lifestyle boondocking.  But your RV has the smallest water tanks, or you can’t afford solar panels.  There is more to consider when selecting your RV than if you have enough sleeping space for every person or pet in your entourage.  Other things to consider:

  • How will you do laundry
  • Will you be working or retired while traveling
  • Do you need Internet connectivity up all the time
  • Do you need back-ups for critical services (tanks, gas, propane, Internet, batteries, and more)
  • What is the learning curve on the new RV
  • What insurance do I need
  • How will I get mail

Knowing how you will use your RV is a good place to start when considering becoming a full-timer. 

Do Your RV Research

I can’t say this enough – do your research.  I’m so surprised when I run into people who bought and RV and take off on the road.  We once had a guy asking us how to hook up at the RV park!  There are some unexpected things you can ask your RV neighbors for, and they will be very helpful.  But it is selfish to ask for help on information you should have already taken the time to learn about ahead of time.  How do you get this information before you start?

  • Blogs
  • RV Books
  • RV Articles
  • YouTube RV Videos

There is no lack of information easily available online.  You should take advantage of the resources.  I would highly recommend spending no less than three months doing your research and planning.  In the end though, you will need to get on the road.  Don’t let over planning keep you from being a full-time RVer.

Possibly the hardest part of becoming a full-timer is deciding what to do with all the things you have always had…

Part Two – Moving In

Pairing down to an RV

This may seem like a simple process but keep in mind it will be just like moving from a brick-and-mortar home to another brick and mortar (except with less space and different service connections).  You will both be pairing down what you must move into the smaller space, but you will also be adding some items you have never purchased or needed before.  For some, moving into a smaller space can be emotional.  You may have heirlooms that are sentimental or even pieces that are of great value but there is no place for them in an RV.  You will need to painstakingly go through every item in our home and decide what to sell, give away and pass along to a relative.

New RV Items

When you get started being a full-time RVer, you should have a checklist of the new things you will need to have on-hand before you get on the road.  Here is a quick, short-list of some of the new potential items you may need.  If you don’t know what some of these items are, it is a good sign you are not ready to start full-timing just yet.  Do your research.

  • Black water hose separate from your fresh water hose
  • An anode rod (for most RVs)
  • Set up and tear down RV Checklist
  • Battery type and how it should be cared for
  • Propane and what appliances utilize the gas
  • Maintenance checklist of things to do bi-annually, annually, and quarterly

Part Three – On the Road

This is a two-part ongoing responsibility.  You need to always be maintaining your rig while seeking out your next homebase.  To be as successful as possible, you need to keep up to date with the tool and resources to do this.  You should also find a travel pace you are comfortable with.  We know some couples who move every 1-2 weeks.  This would never work for us because we work full-time, and we also ride our motorcycles in new areas.  We know a pace of staying in one area for a month not only lets us work and ride, we also get better rates staying a full month.  We also do not wear ourselves out by moving at such a fast pace that we are doing nothing but planning for the next stop.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Are you a do it yourselfer or will you need access to roadside service or mobile techs
  • Where is your spare tire?
  • Even if you are fully retired – you are not on constant vacation
  • Stick to your budget
  • Do you know how to review a campground for your RV needs

There has never existed an Ultimate Guide to anything, no matter what the title claims.  There are so many variables to learning, implementing, and adopting any new lifestyle.  Those items may include incorporating budgets, seeking connections, knowing where to get your mail, taking care of pets or children, and how to set up insurance when you don’t have a brick-and-mortar anymore.  I tried to cover some of the less talked about things you learn when you full-time RV.  The information is out there on the full-time RV lifestyle, and you can find someone offering resources like the lifestyle you want.  Hopefully some of these ideas will get you started in becoming a full-time RVer.  I know once I started, I didn’t want to do anything else.

About Lucinda Belden

Lucinda Belden is a travel writer who has been full-time RVing for several years in a 44-foot fifth wheel toy hauler with her husband Will and their dog Cozy. Lucinda writes on all kinds of travel from cruises to motorcycling to RVing as well as travel books available on Amazon. She is also the Program Director for MyRVRadio, the first online radio station for RVers. You can follow her adventures at