Have you been daydreaming about the chance to live and travel full-time in an RV? Do you want to hit the road and explore beautiful places across the U.S., but think your dream of full-time RV life is off in the future?
Your dream of travel and adventure doesn’t have to seem light-years away. One of the best ways to stay motivated and make a long-term goal seem close at hand is to take action now and work towards that goal. Here are three things you can start today to prepare for full-time RV life.
1. Dejunk & Declutter
If you are serious about RVing sometime in the future, begin today to de-junk and de-clutter your home or current living space. One thing we wish we had done differently is to start to empty the house sooner. If you are like us, you have a lot more stuff than you realize. And whether your home is big or small, it is going to take longer than you think to go through it all.
Photo by James Capozzi
The task of downsizing an entire household is overwhelming. We had 32 years of stuff to get rid of, and we completely underestimated how long it would take to empty our house and garage. It takes time and energy to sort, sell, donate, and gift your stuff away. And your progress can be slowed by the emotional attachment you have with your stuff. It is hard to make decisions about disposing of things because of the emotional connection to those items, so give yourself time to work through it.
How to Begin? Start Soon, Start Small, Stick With it.
The best way I know to approach a big job is to break it down into smaller tasks. Pick a room or a space you want to tackle. If an entire room seems too daunting, pick a closet. Is that bulging closet too much for you to handle? If you feel overwhelmed, take a step back and choose a much smaller space, a drawer, or a cabinet. It doesn’t matter how big an area you start with; the important thing is to START.
I’ll share three things that worked for us when we began downsizing to prepare for RV life. Start soon, start small, and stick with it. These things will make the enormous task of downsizing more manageable. Yep, I felt overwhelmed, so I started with a little area. I began by working through a clothes closet. Then, I moved on to our gear storage closet and sorted through that. Once I gained some momentum, I kept going and tagged a few items for a future yard sale. The key is to do a little bit every day!
As you work through your chosen space, create categories for how you want to dispose of the items. We organized our items into five categories; sell, donate, gift, trash, and the “we can’t part with it, store it with family” category.
Work through your home, space-by-space, and room-by-room. You will make progress. Stay focused and remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place. Your goal is full-time RV life and adventure, so keep at it. No one said it would be easy, but it will be worth it. Here we are celebrating our downsizing progress!
2. Save More Money $$
It’s not easy to save, but if you plan to RV in the future and live on the road, cash is king. You will need money. So, start saving more money now. Just as you would for a traditional home, you need to budget for many types of full-time RV expenses. RV and vehicle costs, fuel costs, campground fees, groceries, insurance, healthcare, and much more. And for those unexpected “surprises on the road,” you should also have an emergency fund for unplanned expenses.
Tips to Help You Save
First, if you don’t have a good handle on your current finances, create a document of your existing budget, including expenses, and debt. Second, Pay off your debt. Then, evaluate your monthly budget by spending category. We created a spreadsheet and tracked every dollar we spent by category for over a year. We were surprised at what our spending habits revealed. This exercise shows where you spent your money and how much. Now you can identify areas where you can spend less, and save more. Once you know that, establish a savings goal. Contribute regularly to the savings account you create for RV life, and you’ll make progress towards your goal!
Envision Your Adventure to Stay Motivated and Save
Begin with the end in mind. Full-time RV life is an incredible adventure. If it helps you remain committed to saving, give your savings account an inspirational name. Maybe it’s the ” Explore the U.S.” fund. Whatever it takes, whether it’s naming your savings account, photos of amazing places, or a vision board, find a way to stay motivated and save money. Once you have what I call “saving momentum,” take it a step further. Find additional ways to pinch pennies. Become obsessed with saving! Clip coupons, give up that Starbucks latte for a while, avoid eating out, minimize alcohol and entertainment spending. There are many ways to spend less and save more. So get started today, so you can make your dream of full-time RV life and travel a reality!
3. Learn More About RVing and the RV Lifestyle
Before you leap into full-time RVing, learn all you can. It helps to have realistic expectations about RV life, so you don’t end up disappointed when reality falls short of your expectations. There are numerous ways to educate your self about RVing. One way is through an established RV membership organization such as Escapees and Xscapers. Escapees mission is to provide a total support network for all RVers. Check out their website here. As a member, you have access to a wide range of information such as setting up a domicile, mail forwarding services, tax considerations, and more. They also offer members the opportunity to participate in RV “Boot camp” and “RVers Online University.” Xscapers is a community within Escapees for working-age RVers. You can read more here.
YouTube videos are a fun and inspirational way to learn, and so are RV websites and blogs. One of our favorite bloggers and YouTubers is RV love. Check them out here. They are smart, funny, and share so much helpful information. You can follow YouTubers and bloggers that inspire you on social media, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. You’ll learn a lot from the experiences they share and get exposed to the many facets of RV life, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Hands-On Ways to Learn About RVing
Do you want an experiential way to learn about RVing? Rent an RV. Outdoorsy is a company that has a variety of RV’s available for rent Check them out here. Renting an RV can give you hands-on experience, and you can find out if this lifestyle is for you. We haven’t used them personally, but know friends that have and had a good experience. But, always do your research. If you aren’t quite ready to rent an RV on your own, go RVing with a friend. Learning from a buddy who is an experienced RVer is a fun way to “get your feet wet” with your friend there for support.
There is no shortage of ways to learn about RVing and RV life. Get started today with some or all of these suggestions to learn about RVing. If you need more inspiration for travel and RV life, check out our post and video here.
Thank you for sharing your adventures! We are preparing to RV part time. We have owned a travel trailer and a Leisure Travel Van, Unity in the past for vacationing. We had a tow vehicle with the Unity. Our question to you is how difficult is it to tow your Honda and are you happy with it? We plan to buy a new Tiffin Allegro Bus. We are looking at the 40 foot model. We would appreciate any input you might have. Thank you,
Steven and Christy
Hi Christy, thank you for sharing our adventures. We are glad to have you along! The Tiffin Allegro Bus is an awesome choice. We’ve been very happy with Tiffin’s quality and customer service. In terms of towing, it is very easy to hook up and flat-tow our Honda CRV. You should, however, check the Motorhome Magazine towing guide as the guide will tell you which cars can be flat-towed or not. Our Honda is a 2014 model and it can be flat-towed, but newer year Hondas may not be, so double-check to be sure. I hope that helps. Safe travels and great adventures! Angie