Deciding to make the plunge into full time RVing brings on a lot of questions from people – especially when you are a family of 5. I thought it would be nice to make a list of common questions we have ran across so far and provide our answers. Here are the lucky 13 most common questions we hear. I hope you have a lot of fun going through the list, and maybe you have some questions haven’t listed – let us know in the comments.
1. Where do you plan on visiting/ Where are you headed?
We get this question fairly frequently from family, friends and just about anybody we meet on the road. It’s a great question, but most of the time, we really don’t have a great answer. One of the wonderful things about living on the road is that you can visit pretty much anywhere, but the down side to that is you have a lot of options. Sometimes this can be overwhelming. Michele really likes having more precise plans, so this is much more out of her comfort zone, but she has been adapting as we spend more time on the road.
We do usually have an idea of where we want to head for the next month or so, and we’re always trying to put together a rough sketch of our future on the road. As of right now, we’re in Galveston TX, and we plan on visiting places in Texas we can drive to while stationed here on the coast. We then plan to head more towards southwest TX and southern NM to see some of the National Parks. From there, we may head to AZ or up to CO (or maybe even somewhere else). That part is still fairly up in the air.
2. Where are you planning to settle down after all this RVing stuff?
Everybody assumes we will settle down back into a normal house and normal lifestyle at some point, and they ask where we would like to settle down. In short, we really have no idea. We do not know where we would like to call home and settle down. Actually, we do not even know that we really want to settle down somewhere permanently.
Full time travel and being location independent has really appealed to us since we started RVing full time. When we began this journey, the thought was always that we would settle down somewhere after traveling. Now that we’ve been doing it for a while, we would like to have the flexibility to travel and see much more of what this country (and even what the world) has to offer.
3. What do you do for work?
I actually don’t work right now. That answer usually creates some surprised reactions initially. We are living off our investments right now, and it has worked well so far. I am currently working on a separate and more detailed write up on this very topic, so stay tuned for more to come!
4. How do you get mail?
At first, we were not quite sure what we wanted to do about mail. My initial thought was the USP Store since they have a physical mail address and they do mail forwarding while you’re on the road. We ended up deciding on physicialaddress.com. It was the lowest cost with the best options. They actually scan in the envelopes of our mail, and we can review these to see what is worth opening and what is junk. Then you can have them open the contents and scan in your mail, allowing you to view it online. If you need a piece of mail physically sent to you, they can forward it for a nominal charge, but we have only had to do it once. We also have electronic statements setup for almost all our accounts which reduces the amount of mail sent to our mailbox.
There are a lot of resources out there to receive mail if you are a full time traveler – we call it location independent. Some of these options mail options will even allow for you to declare residency in an RV and tax friendly state. Since we are initially WA residents (which has no income tax), we didn’t need this option at first. Mark and Emily from Roads Less Traveled have an excellent write up on this very topic.
5. How do you do laundry?
When we were searching for an RV, we really wanted to have a built in washer and dryer. After all, we do A LOT of laundry with 3 young kids. What we realized is that the washer and dryer units in RVs are for very small loads, and they are not very efficient. On top of that, they add more weight to the RV which means less weight for our other stuff (you know, food and clothes etc…).
So, what do we do? A lot of the time, we use the laundromat at the RV Parks we stay at. We did however acquire an antique wringer washer from my parents. It used to be my great grandmothers, and it actually works really well. I recently re-greased all the bearing and gears, and it’s working like new. It’s also fun, and as a result, the kids love to help (or at least, they call it helping).
6. Do you homeschool the kids?
This is a very logical question. Right now, none of them are old enough for official school yet. Coco just missed the cutoff last year and will start this year.
If we are still traveling (which will likely be the case), then we plan on homeschooling her to start. We do have the girls working on their ABCs and numbers. We use ABC Mouse and flash cards, and they are doing writing exercises. Annika is not really writing yet, but Colette is starting to get the hang of it. Besides that, most of the time, their just being creative little kiddos.
7. What do the kids think about your RV lifestyle?
The kids have actually really enjoyed life on the road. They really like exploring new places (especially playground parks), and learning about all the places we visit. Colette is a natural born traveler and is always looking for reasons to do a road trip.
We have also found that living with less toys and extra clutter has been good for the kids. They use their imaginations so much more! The RV life also encourages them to get outside more to play. They enjoy creating play forts around the RV, riding their bikes around the neighborhood, and just imagining they are in a different world.
We find that they do miss friends they made back home, but they have become very good at making additional friends along the way. They even get excited to see what new friends they will meet as we change locations.
8. Do you have a functioning bathroom and how does it work?
This is probably a fairly common question to all full time RVers from non-RV folks. Although some RVs do not have a “normal” bathroom setup, most decent sized rigs do (including ours). It’s actually just like a bathroom in a regular house, but perhaps a bit smaller than most. We have a full flushing toilet (special RV kind, but it works awesome), a nice size shower, a big basin-style sink, and plenty of storage.
So, what about the waste? It’s actually not that bad, especially when we are parked for a while and have what they call “full hookups”. That basically means we can run a hose from our RV directly to the septic/sewer. There are tanks in the RV which hold the waste, and you let them fill up during normal use. Once they are fairly full, you pull some levers to empty things out and push the levers to close things up. There’s a little more to it, but it’s more of an added maintenance item than anything.
9. How do you get internet?
We don’t have the best internet setup for full time RVing, but it works most of the time for what we need right now. Our main source of internet is using our phones as a Wi-Fi hotspot. We are currently using T-Mobile which we largely chose due to cost. We can get unlimited internet, talk and text between two phones for $100 per month (that includes taxes and fees). The downside, T-Mobile is not always available when you get outside of large metro locations. To help out, we do have a cell booster that T-Mobile provided us, and it does help at times.
Our second option has been using the free Wi-Fi at the RV parks we’ve stayed at (if they offer it). We’ve had mixed results here with some parks being excellent, and other’s being really slow and spotty. The free Wi-Fi we have right now is fairly slow, but our phones are making up for it most of the time. The worst experience we had so far was staying at a park outside of Acacia NP in Maine. We had no internet with our phones (and mostly no phone coverage either), and we were parked too far away from the office to pick up the park’s free Wi-Fi. We just had to walk closer to the office to get internet.
We may change our setup at some point if we are in a position where we need more reliable internet, but our setup is proving adequate enough for our current needs. We just have to be patient sometimes. If you’re interested in seeing a super reliable setup for getting internet on the road, check out this post from Tiny Shiny Home.
10. Where do you stay and how do you find places to stay?
Since we hit the road back in May 2017, we have mostly stayed at RV Parks. We are in a fairly large rig (41 feet long and slide outs on both sides), so we need to find places with large enough parking spots. RV Parks usually work well for that. We can also get a decent rental rate when we stay for a month at a time. I was quite surprised at how much it can cost per night to stay at some of these campgrounds. It’s usually around $50 per night and I’ve even seen over $100 per night. You can just start getting a hotel once you’re over that.
So far, besides RV parks and campgrounds, we’ve stayed overnight in Walmart parking lots all across the country. It seemed kind of strange at first, but they make great overnight spots. You just have to run off your onboard water and power (we do use the generator at times), and it’s free. They do figure you’ll shop at the store, but you do that anyway. We do need groceries after all, and it’s convenient.
11. What triggered this decision?
We had been talking about going smaller for some time – maybe even tiny. We had even started looking at RVs with a discussion around living in it full time while staying stationary in one place most of the time. We could do some serious minimalizing while saving money. It would be a win-win.
The final trigger ended up being around work. I knew it was time for a change, but I wasn’t sure exactly what. After Michele and I discussed things over, we determined the best course of action was for me to quit my job while I look into other career opportunities. At that moment, we realized it was the perfect opportunity to do that “super road trip travel in an RV” thing we’d been discussing. We weren’t sure how it would work out, but just decided to make the jump in head first.
12. How long are you doing this for?
We said we would try it for a year and see where things go from there. So far, we have been enjoying this lifestyle – both living small and being able to explore new places. We also really like being able to “live” in new places all the time. As of right now, we are not sure when we will stop this life of living small and traveling. I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned!
13. Do you like living in the RV?
Well, that’s the short answer. Most people think wow, an RV is small to live in. And it is small, but the lay out is really nice. I never feel like its too small, and at times, I even feel like it might be too big (mostly when driving in tight places or crazy back roads). We really like the ability to be location independent and living a more minimalist lifestyle. It’s so great to live almost anywhere we want in the country. For the last couple months, we’ve been right across the street from the beach. We are really getting sucked into the beach lifestyle lately!
Now that we’ve shared some of the most common questions we get, let us know what else you’re curious about in the comments below. You can also stay up to date with what we’re doing by subscribing for our email updates.