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We Are New To RV living And We Have A Lot Of Questions

by James & Crystal
(Washington DC)

Retire to an RV-The Roadmap to Affordable RV Retirement by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak and Alice Zyetz

Retire to an RV-The Roadmap to Affordable RV Retirement by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak and Alice Zyetz

My wife and I live in DC and will be retiring and buying an RV, she wants a Fifth Wheel but I feel that the cost of buying a truck to haul it isn’t worth it. So I’m pushing for the Class A Motor Home so we can tow our car. My concerns are how long can we last without any hook ups? I understand there are too many variables but over all how long can someone live without hooking up there RV to a parks system.

Also and I know this is a long shot but what’s the minimum cost of living for 2 people in a RV. I’ve heard it say 3,000 dollars a month but I was adding up gas, propane, draining of sewage and filling water supplies as well as the fees for staying at a campground. And wasn't sure if it's affordable.

Oh and propane is it really safe to use?

I don’t want this to be a nightmare and we end up living on the side of the road eating road kill lol

ANSWER: Greetings James and Crystal thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page.

Let me start off by saying that you have never lived until you have tasted a Fresh Road-Killed Opossum Stew :-)

OK enough of that. You have a lot of questions and let me try to get you the answers you need. The first thing I am going to do is refer you to some pages on our website to help you out. Later on in my answer I am also going to recommend some books that you should get that will help you out immensely.

I am not going to tell you what type of RV to get that is a decision that you and your wife need to make. Since it appears that you are at an impasse in this area, I am going to suggest that you visit our Types Of RVs Page. We have a lot of great information about the Pros and Cons of each type of RV. I would also suggest that you try renting an RV so you can try the different types of RV's out before you make a purchasing

Over 1,500,000 successful roadside rescues—Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service

I also suggest you visit our RV Lifestyle Articles Page and look at some of the articles we have there. There are some great articles available that will answer a lot your questions.

As far as saving money, there are many ways to save money; the first way to save money is by joining a Discount Camping Club. Discount Camping Clubs can get save up to 50% in camping expenses. Most camping clubs have a very reasonable annual fee and more than pay for themselves once you have used them a couple of times. For more information on camping clubs read the answer I gave to this question: We Just Bought A Motorhome And We Need A List Of Discount Camping Clubs.

Now here are some books that I recommend that I believe will help you out immensely. Complete Guide to Full-Time RVing: Life on the Open Road By Bill Moeller, All the Stuff You Need to Know About RVing By Ronald E. Jones and Robert G. Lowe and I also suggest that you visit the The RV Lifestyle Experts Book Page where they have a series of very highly rated downloadable RVing e-books available including the one pictured at the top of this page Retire to an RV-The Roadmap to Affordable RV Retirement by RV lifestyle experts, Jaimie Hall Bruzenak and Alice Zyetz.

I believe that all of this information mentioned above will help you learn what you need to know about the RVing Lifestyle.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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Comments for We Are New To RV living And We Have A Lot Of Questions

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RV living on a budget.
by: Good Ol' RVing

Hi, I am Gregg. My wife and I have been fulltime RV living for 10+ years. In my opinion I suggest preparing for the worst and hope for the best...let me explain. find out where the most expensive camping / RV living is and plan for that, Us, we live in Los Angeles County Ca. in a private park. We pay monthly $950. This includes electric, sewer, water the space and use of the pool and jacuzzi. We Pay approx. an extra $300.00 for phone, cable internet and TV. then when you add in groceries $100 to $400 per month (not including dining out) and gas (at todays cost) we average about $55.00 per fill-up (weekly). So if you have been doing the math, RV lifestyle is costing us approx. $1870 per month. OK, that is the living expense, now for other things to be aware of. If you are not handy with repairing your own RV those expenses can add up quickly. service calls can get expensive, in our area they are about $50-60 just to come out and check out your problem, and we only have one place that will do service calls "Mobile RV service and repair". RV's break, more often than a sticks and bricks home in my opinion, it may be cheaper to repair than a sticks and bricks but more frequent. then there are the extras, Washer and dryer, (it will pay for itself in the first couple years of use), solar system (if you plan on having extended durations of off grid living, water softener, better water filtration, electric heaters, dishwasher, BBQ / Smoker for outdoor cooking, outdoor lawn chairs and collapsible table. many of these add-ons you can have installed when ordering the new RV. then there is what I like to call the annual expenses, sewer hose, water hose, water filter replacement, insurance, registration, and of course income tax preparation. prices will vary depending on where your residents is. When buying your RV you have many options to summarize, pay cash or finance. when paying in full (cash) you have just saved yourself that monthly payment, which can be extremely helpful when retired. Financing, you will have the monthly payment, to include things that are basically robbing you blind (my opinion) but in some states if you still have a house you can write it off as a second home at tax time. Initial expenses, remember that you are going to stock every room with the appropriate stuff, Kitchen= pots & pans, silverware, ... bathroom= soaps, towels, medicine cabinet... bedroom= linins, blankets... SAFETY EQUIPMENT= fire extinguishers, first aid kit, operational smoke and gas alarms. OK, I realize I am only touching the surface and there is a lot to soak in. hopefully I have answered your question in the process. best of health and SAFE travels.

understanding the RV expierance
by: Anonymous

We have been full timing for about 7 years now. we have also been stationary in Los Angeles county for all that time. We went from a 27' toy hauler 5th wheel (no slide-outs) to a 36 1/2 foot 5th wheel (4 slide-outs) which I refer to as my home on wheels. There is a lot to learn especially if you only want to buy once. yes you can rent motor homes (class "B" or "c") that are not designed for full time living. I think you are approaching this correctly, read everything you can and go to as many RV shows as possible (dealers don't always know what they are talking about) but they should be able to inform you of the RV capabilities. as far as towing or driving one check the requirements with your local DMV (Department Motor Vehicles) in California there are special laws that you must follow and get extra endorsements on your drivers license. depending on size and weight of your RV. every RV park is different. the longer you stay the cheaper it is. camping is seasonal so choose destinations carefully. We pay under $900 a month with all utilities (full hook-ups) and then extra for cell phones and internet. and we are walking distance to a lake. if you are 62 or older get a senior citizen pass for all national parks, I think it cost us $10 and its good for life 1/2 price camping and free day use in all national parks + some state parks. our RV has a washer and dryer so we only use laundry mats very seldom for blankets and such. I just wanted to touch on some stuff I did not see yet. happy travels. by the way, it helps if you love the outdoors and not afraid to get your hands dirty. OK, happy travels.

Full timing it in Florida
by: Doris and Steven T

We have been full timing for 3 years now.
We live in a 36 ft fifth wheel and love it.
We considered a class A but decided against it
Found out we have more room in our fifth
Wheel and if the truck breaks down we have
a place to stay while its being fixed. Also
we have never had a problem with the propane
Its nice to know if I have no electric I can
still cook

We live on a fixed income. Social security
and we have no problem staying at a park full time
We pay 600 per month for the space and the
electric and have full use if all the stuff that
goes on here in the park and we live in Florida
and no we ate not snowbirds
Fulltiming it is great and yes you can fo it on
a fixed imcome and be happy

Living full time in RV
by: Bruce V

Solar Panels

My wife and I have been RVing for 30 years. For the past 7, it has been full time. What you are asking about is essentially called boondocking. Living w/o electrical, water or sewer hookups is done by making special dispensations to do so (solar panels for electrical, composting head for sewage and additional water storage beyond the normal 75 to 100 gallon water tank - frugal use helps). For electrical, try swapping as much as conceivably possible to l.e.d. Using the daylight hours to schedule your time also helps.

Now, what about laundry? Are you willing to go to the local laundromat weekly or do you want to go totally off grid (try a hand cranked Wonder Washer.

I don't know how much you wish to travel or why you want to avoid stays in parks but consider that as part of the lifestyle and get Reserve America (West Coast) and Camp USA (East Coast). They do overlap so depending on where you want to be may influence your choice. Each runs about $50 per year and the first time you stay and save 50% per night, your stay will pay for the purchase. Of course, you need to know they are seasonal and holiday sensitive but worth it.

If you are on the road, use rest stops and picnic areas (you are allowed to stay for 8 hours which is enough to sleep, eat clean up and go. Truck stops are also nice with some travel stations having dump sites). You may also consider the reduced rates offered for long term stays at some park (up to 40% with full hook ups for a year). Sometimes longer stay are nice. Lastly, most RVs have built in propane monitoring systems (make sure they are working and up to date) and are very safe.

We have had all sorts of RVs from pop-up tent trailers to fully self contained class A. For room, I liked the 5th wheel with four slides and 3 separated living areas. For on the road comfort and livability the Class C and boondocability, the 39' class A with nearly 400 sq. ft. of room. When it is your home, it needs to fit your comfort requirements and everyone will be different. Changing from one to another is really the only way to find "your" special palace.

Motorhome vs 5th wheel
by: Zinger2006

The only think I would add is consider the possibility that you have mechanical problems on the road in a motorhome. Your home would have to go to the shop and you would have to arrange for other living space. You might be in the shop for a couple of weeks depending on the severity of your mechanical issue. With a 5th wheel, your truck goes into the shop and you continue living in your 5th wheel. Just something to think about....

Lots of Boondocking
by: Anonymous

Be sure to check out http://rvsueandcrew.com/ she makes everything look easy..

Great Resource for Planning and Understanding
by: Anonymous

You must check out RV-Dreams.com
This couple explains ALL of the process of becoming full time RV'ers, from financials to rigs.
They even have education rallies - seems like the best place to start for you, based on your questions.

state parks
by: Anonymous

we camp at state parks and we can camp for a whole month and it's right around 600 depending on which park we stay at (most state parks we have found range from about 18 to 25 dollars a night). we have a honey wagon and dump our own waste and have extra hose to fill our own tanks. Unless you are doing a lot of driving and using a lot of gas and staying at 50-60 dollar a night private campgrounds I see no reason you can't camp nicely for 2000 a month!

Plan Ahead
by: Full-Timer

We spent 5 years doing research before committing to the RV lifestyle; attending RV shows, subscribing to Trailer Life & Motorhome magazines, and asking lots of questions. I could fill a book listing all aspects of the RV lifestyle that should be considered beforehand. Just to name a few big ones: Full time or part time? Keep the house or sell it? Pets or not? Compact and maneuverable or big and awkward? Fuel guzzler or economical? Communications? Entertainment? Hobbies? Volunteering? Work while traveling...or not? Remote camping or full-service parks with all the ammenities? Cold weather traveling? Health issues? Travel clubs or solo? Budget considerations? Satellite services? Communications? PLAN AHEAD!

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