Living full time in our motor home allows us to be Ready To Go. . .on to the next adventure!

Golden Gate Bridge - San Francisco Skyline as seen from the Marin Headlands - California

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Full Time RV Living–Planning for the Adventure–What Advice Can You Add?

We are just beginning to plan for the FT RV adventure. My husband is
retired, I have my own biz at home, so its the perfect scenario to
take on the road and see the country. We are both in good health and
have some debt but nothing we couldn't pay off before we hit the road.
We live in Delaware and own our home, so our main concern is how
quickly we could sell our home in this market. We plan to purchase a
Class A & tow vehicle, but only after we sell the house & both
vehicles. In your opinion is 12-18 months enough time to accomplish
this? We'd prefer 12 months but we know its in God's timing. Do you
have suggestions for a home base state, and how you plan your route to
see the country in seasons? Any other advice or suggestions would be
greatly appreciated. We are excited about this but at the same time,
its a totally different life and a bit scary too.

I always appreciate and love receiving notes from those just starting out. . .
or just beginning to research the lifestyle. . .there are so many variables. . .
and I still remember that feeling of the unknown. . .

Being a planner, and somewhat OCD (what? you admit it. . .my hubby says)
not knowing how to plan or what to expect was a little on the edge for me. . .
so I know exactly what this writer is asking. . .I will address each issue as stated:

DEBT – I am happy to see that you plan to start the RV life debt free. . .that is very wise!
I know folks say how much cheaper RV’ing is. . .and how you can save so much money!
HA. . .it’s still life. . .so while you don’t have all the normal expenses of maintaining a household. . .
there are still numerous expenses. . .you still gotta eat. . .pay insurance. . .cell phone bills. . .
then there’s the fuel costs that continue to go up. . .in fact, I write about all of this and outline
these various budget items in this article about fuel costs.

We recently met a couple who were just sitting in the RV parks, not doing any day trips,
or seeing any of the local scenes. . .they said they couldn’t afford the fuel. . .but,
they had a new, high dollar fifth wheel. . .and a new customized truck. . .
I am sure they are making hefty payments on both. . .which is their choice and is great
if that is what makes them happy and floats their boat. . .however, I was just thinking to myself
that I would rather have our 10 year old rig, and our 11 year old truck, and keep that $1000
per month in my pocket to pay for enjoying the lifestyle. . .so point being. . .
starting out debt free puts you way ahead of the game. . .

Also, calculating projected expenses ahead of time, to the best of your ability,
will allow you to make sure you will have enough money coming in. . .
and make the needed adjustments.  We determined we would like a $500 per month
cushion, so had our financial advisor make those adjustments to our monthly income.

TIME FRAME – as stated, your projected 12 – 18 month window is just that. . .projected.
I know we all want to get in a hurry, and make things happen. . .
but we usually make a mess of things. . .or at least that’s what we usually experience. . .
so while it’s good to have a projected time frame. . .just go with the flow,
and allow the magic to happen. . .and happen it will!

HOME BASE STATE – The Escapees RV Club addresses this issue better than I ever could. . .
so I will defer you to them. . . they offer an information packet on their website,
which will answer many of your questions.  We were fortunate to already be Texans,
which is where the Escapees Club is based, so we just stayed with Texas and Livingston as
our domicile. . .but I know lots of folks prefer South Dakota. . .

PLANNING YOUR ROUTE – to me, the most important aspect of planning your route,
and the thing you will hear over and over from those who’ve been doing this a lot longer
than we have is. . TAKE YOUR TIME. . .SLOW DOWN. . .you’re not on vacation. . .
you can’t play tourist every day. . .believe me. . .as we quickly learned. . .this is all true!

Our first trip out was supposed to last three months. . .we would do a loop out to the
Grand Canyon, circle up to Four Corners and Western Colorado, then back down through
Santa Fe NM, and back to Texas in time for the holidays. . .ha! 
In half that time. . .six short weeks later. . .we were done. . .we had seen and done everything
on our list. . . and we were exhausted. . .worn out.  That was the end of traveling like that. . .
we learned our lesson right away. . .now, we figure out where we want to be, and what we want to see. . .
and we stay awhile. . .and spread out the pleasure over a couple of weeks.  If it’s a really pricey,
high dollar, high cost tourist area, we even make plans to volunteer for the time we want to be there.
This usually allows us to get our RV space for free, or at a greatly reduced rate.

Case in point. . .we wanted to spend last summer in the high dollar Estes Park Colorado area. . .
$1200 per month for an RV site. . .which does NOT fit into the budget.  We wanted to stay several,
at least three months and see absolutely everything there was to see in the area. . .
we wanted to explore every inch of Rocky Mountain National Park while we were there. . .
because once we’ve been there, the plan is to not return anytime soon. . .
there’s a whole, huge country to see out there. . .so we volunteered 24 hours per week with the County,
and got our RV space for free. . .a beautiful RV space overlooking the snow covered Rocky Mountains!

MOST OF ALL -  enjoy the ride. . .it’s a great life!

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Janice