Full-Time RV Living Handbook: Preparing for Life in an RV


Have you ever wondered what it's like to be able to live life on the open road? Well, many people just like yourself do exactly that! Every year, more and more people are embracing all that full-time RV living has to offer. While RV living full-time is certainly unique, is it for you? 

To help you decide whether you will be one of the lucky ones who jump into this lifestyle, read on to learn all about it.

Pros and Cons of Full-Time RV Living

There are definitely advantages to full-time RV living, but there are also caveats.


One of the biggest advantages of full-time RV living is the chance to travel and see the country. Most people have to plan out vacations, but those living in RVs can go wherever they want, whenever they want!

You can enjoy nature more often, too. And, in the right circumstances, full-time RV living can also be much cheaper than "sticks and bricks" (a physical house), since you can usually avoid a major monthly mortgage or rent payment and the utilities you need for a house or apartment.


There are disadvantages to a nomadic lifestyle, though. You can't always be sure that you'll be at campgrounds or locales with good cell phone service or Wi-Fi connectivity. It can be hard to spend so much time so far away from friends and family. And driving an RV isn't like driving a car, truck, or SUV; it's heavier, bulkier, and can cost more to fix!

What Does RV Living Full-Time Cost?

While it can be cheaper, RV living full-time can actually be more expensive sometimes, with monthly costs anywhere from $1,400 to $3,000. That doesn't include any repairs your RV may need, or tire replacements!

How To Prepare for Full-Time RV Living

If you've weighed the pros and the cons, and find that RV living full-time is still the thing for you, then you need to prepare for it. There's a lot you have to do to get ready and arrange, so get to it!

Packing for Full-Time RV Living

Since you're going to be on the road, you can't bring all of your clothes with you; it's just not practical! Plus, the storage you have needs to be used for many different things. The good news is that your wardrobe probably already has most of what you'll wear, so you can take what you need from that.

Prioritize packing comfortable, outdoor-friendly attire, since you're going to be spending a lot of time outdoors. Don't skimp on the footwear; pack sandals, along with hiking boots, and sneakers.

Also, if you can, pack clothes you can layer to make the most of what you have. Be sure to pack a few coats for the winter, windbreakers for spring, and swimsuits for the summer.

Planning Your Routes and Finding Campgrounds

So, you know what to pack… but do you know where you will go? Once you get there, where will you be able park your RV for the night and for how long? One of the dreams of those embarking on full-time RV living is fully embracing the freedom it offers.

And while there's no doubt that RV living full-time means you're no longer chained to one location anymore, that doesn't mean you can or should set out without planning things out. You can maximize your enjoyment of your new lifestyle by doing your homework and knowing what awaits you out on the road.

You don't have to have everything plotted out for you, but it helps to know which roads and highways are safe for RVs to travel on, and which locales have RV campgrounds that close for a significant portion of the year (say, when winter rolls around). 

After all, if you're planning on being an RV snowbird in winter, shouldn't you know which campgrounds and where are available year-round? Isn't it smart to know when campgrounds in northern climates close down for the winter?

If you haven't done so already, get yourself an RV-friendly GPS device. The fact is that not every roadway is capable of handling RVs; some highways with overpasses have been repaved so many times that clearance is significantly lower than is healthy for your peace of mind! 

With road and traffic conditions constantly updated on RV-specific GPS units, you'll be better able to plot out routes to your next destination. Of course, there are also GPS smartphone apps you can use, too.

How To Get Your Mail When Full-Time RV Living

How will you get your mail delivered, if you're living in an RV full-time? You need to make arrangements before you head out.

PO Box

If you know ahead of time that you'll be in or near a certain locale for a certain length of time, you can reserve a post office (PO) Box at the nearest post office to receive mail or packages. Keep in mind that certain types of packages cannot be sent to PO Boxes, so double check before you order anything from any website or vendor.

Receive Mail at Your Campground

Another easy way to receive mail is by using the address of a campground you're staying at for a while. If you know you're going to be at one campground for several months, and then a different campground for several months after that, arrange with the office to receive your mail there.

General Delivery

Finally, General Delivery is available for those without a permanent address. To have mail delivered to you by General Delivery when RV living full-time, simply have mail addressed to you with your name, "General Delivery" written underneath, followed by City, State, and Zip Code listed under that. Even if there are many post offices near where you'll be with your RV, only one may have General Delivery, so check beforehand.

How To Earn Money While RV Living Full-Time

If at any age you're keen on full-time RV living and worried about how you'll support yourself, don't worry: In the 21st century, you have plenty of options.

For instance, you can be a copywriter, an online ESL tutor, or a photographer. None of those fields require you to have a fixed address to perform them, and if you need an internet connection, you can reserve spaces at campgrounds ahead of time that offer free Wi-Fi. If you just want to make a few extra dollars on the side in addition to your other gigs, and you know how to play an instrument, you could even take up busking!

These are just a few of the jobs and careers open to those living in an RV full-time, though in truth, you're only really limited by your imagination. If you're wondering whether you can work in your current field while living in an RV, think about your current circumstances. Are you working from home? Well, if you are, there's good news: Any job you can do from home, you can also do on the road while RV living full-time.

Embark on Full-Time RV Living in a Cruise America RV

Full-time RV living is the dream of many, and you can definitely make it your reality. If you're ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, you're going to need an RV, and Cruise America has the one for you. Cruise's selection of pre-loved RVs in a variety of lengths and floor plans can help you live your best life full-time in an RV with all of the comforts and amenities of home. 

Check out Cruise America's used RVs for sale to get the ball rolling on your new life of RV living full-time!