The thought of vagabonding in this day and age is more alluring than ever. With the world as your oyster, you get to explore every crack and crevice contained within the Earth’s surface. You get to give up your inhibitions and try on a new lifestyle for a change. Best of all, you get to visit parts of the world that other people only see on TV or read about in books. Baker from Man vs. Debt is living the RV dream right now and he has a lot of great tips about how to pull it off.
Who doesn’t love the idea of traveling full-time? What a luxury it is to have greater control over your time, money, and choice of scenery. With that being said, living aboard a recreational vehicle is not for everyone so how can you tell it’s for you? Here are some things to ask yourself before you prepare for a life on the road in an RV.
- What will your expenses look like? Let’s face it. Gas isn’t cheap. That means that you have to have a plan if you want to get from point A to point B. Factor in the cost of upkeep and maintenance on your recreational vehicle as well. Campground fees, fishing licenses, insurance, and groceries are also realistic expenses while living on the road. Write everything you can think of down and come up with an estimate as to how much you will need to live on each month. You may be surprised how little money you need.
- What are you willing to cut back on or eliminate in order to make this dream a reality? How do you expect to make such a big change if you’re not willing to break bad spending habits? Will giving up your daily coffees and afternoon restaurant lunches help you get one step closer to your goal? Well, of course it will! You have to decide what is important to you and cut back on the things you don’t need. A few small sacrifices will go a long way over time.
- How will you make money along the way? Even the most frugal person requires some of the green stuff to get by. Will you live off of savings or will you do odds and ends jobs along the way? Workamping is a great way to gain employment while living on the road. You can sign up for their services by visiting http://www.workamper.com/optinnew/index.cfm. Or if you’ve set up an online business there’s a good chance you can work from a laptop anywhere you have an internet connection.
- Are there any places in particular that you want to visit? Knowing what part of the country you’ll be spending time in during what season will help you plan accordingly. Obviously, some places like Florida and California stay warmer longer. These are great states to visit when the rest of the country is frozen over with snow.
- What type of dwelling will accommodate you and your family or pets? RVs vary in size and function. Some have to be pulled behind a truck with a hitch while others can be driven and lived in. The size of your family and the amount of space you require to feel comfortable will determine which make or model best suits you.
If you find the though of hitting the road appealing, what’s stopping you? If it’s money that’s holding you back, find ways to sock more into your savings and buy a used RV and it may be more feasible. That’s what I plan to do. I have a price range in mind and I’m starting to put a little away each month to make my dream of full-time roadtripping a reality.
Charissa is into frugal living and saving money.
The idea of full-time RVing it is very appealing. In my experience, it is much more expensive than indicated here. While you mentioned camping fees, it was not mentioned that these fees are $50-65 for an RV spot, especially if you are going to hook-up to a generator. This is more expensive than staying at cheap motels, and not very many people could afford $60 a night for lodging.
If you are willing to stay in one place for longer than a few weeks, you can look into camp hosting. Many camp sites will let you stay for free if you are willing to do some work around the camp for a while (minimum is usually 3 months). Duties include selling firewood, light maintenance work, and helping out in the kiosks. Some Wal-Marts will let you stay overnight in their parking lots as well.
Woah - Martin... where are you staying?
We've never paid over $40 for a campground fee - and that's one-nighters at very nice places. The average place we stay is $20-25 even for one-night.
We've stayed several dozen places with weekly rate way less than $500 - that we'd gladly call home long-term if we needed to. Weekly rates can range from $150-$300.
I'm sure there ARE places that charge that much for campground fees, but it's far from the average. :)
Camping can be much cheaper than stated, currently in Montana we pay $315 for a month or $15 a day and then we venture out from this one camp to see the sites. With solar panels we stay on BLM lands for little or no cost. It's all in how much luxury you want. Many states have annual passes that really lower the cost of camping such as New Mexico. There are many styles to this vagabond life.