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5 Reasons to Avoid RV Living

5 Reasons to Avoid RV Living

5 Reasons to Avoid RV Living

It’s all the craze right now. Sell everything you have and hit the road. Buy an RV and travel the country. But is RV living all it’s cracked up to be?

YouTube influencers make it look like it’s all canyon views and beach access. Make money creating videos and do what you want with your family.

But maybe this just isn’t how reality is. We’ll take a closer look into this lifestyle and see if it’s the right move for you and your family.

Let’s dive in!

RV Living Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be, Here Are 5 Reasons to Avoid It

Although Keep Your Daydream and Less Junk More Journey may have embraced this RV lifestyle for many years, it doesn’t mean it’s the right lifestyle for you. There are challenges and stressors that you don’t encounter when living in a sticks-and-bricks house. Let’s look at five reasons to avoid RV living.

Man sitting in front of motorhome.
While RV life might look fun and easy on social media, behind the scenes this is not always the case.

1. Seriously Cramped RV Living Space

The average home size in America has been increasing since the early 1900s. But each state is different. For example, in Alabama, the average home size is 1,800 square feet. In Colorado, the average home size is over 2,100 square feet. However, compare that to 300 square feet of living space in a travel trailer. Even in a 45-ft Class A motorhome, the living space isn’t going to be much more.

The idea of traveling around the country, visiting the National Parks, and exploring other cities sounds like a wonderful dream. But it can quickly turn into a nightmare if you aren’t prepared for cramped living quarters. Especially if you have children, the tiny space combined with no privacy can equal disaster.

2. Difficult to Stay Comfortable in Extreme Temperatures

Even though you have this idea that you’ll follow 70 degrees all over the country, there will be evenings and early mornings that dip below freezing. Remember, in Arizona, the desert might be 85 degrees during the day, but when the sun goes down, the temperature quickly drops.

But it’s not just the cold you have to consider. Hot temperatures require air conditioning units to run often. Many travel trailers only have one air conditioning unit. This will not be enough to cool the entire living space when it’s over 90 degrees in Florida. Plus when an air conditioning unit doesn’t function properly or goes out completely, it can be very uncomfortable and ruin your experience no matter what the view.

It can be difficult to live comfortably in extreme temperatures unless you spend a lot of money upgrading your RV. You might have to add an air conditioning unit or add tank heaters. There are options out there, but it will cost you.

Dad, daughter, and cat sleeping in RV.
With small living spaces and varying temperatures, RVing can be quite challenging.

3. The More You Travel, The More Things Break

Any full-time RV traveler will tell you the more you travel, the more things break. You simply can’t avoid broken parts when you’re living in your RV. And when you have a travel itinerary, you don’t have time to mess with repairs. Big repairs can derail a trip in an instant. Small repairs can create frustration and anger.

If you blow a tire traveling down I-40, you might be able to change it out and move on with your travel day. However, you might have to call a tow truck and stay overnight for several days until repairs can be made depending on the amount of damage.

When living in an RV with children, more things break. Handles fall off, drawers get stuck, pocket doors become unhinged. RVs are cheaply made even though they aren’t cheap. You aren’t getting residential finishes in most RVs because those types of luxuries are heavier and make it more difficult to travel. It can be a weekly or even daily occurrence to deal with repairs.

Men loading camper van onto tow truck.
Be prepared for things to break while on the road!

4. Maintenance Is Expensive and Unpredictable

Along with the previous statement, maintenance is expensive. That tire blowout may just cost you a tire and a spare. Or it may cost you an entire rebuilding of the underbelly. No one plans for a tire blowout either. These types of challenges are unpredictable, which can add to the stress of an already stressful travel day.

Other maintenance items like repairing a roof or replacing a slide-out are also expensive and unpredictable. You happen to hit a tree branch backing into a campsite and puncture a hole in the roof. One day the slide-out just stops working when you try to bring it in. If you don’t have the tools or know-how to make the repairs yourself, it will be expensive and it will delay your travel.

Pro Tip: We spoke to an RV mechanic, these are the RV systems he says will break first

5. It Can Be Really Isolating

If you don’t find a community on the road, RV living can be isolating and lonely. You’re out on your own traveling the country and experiencing wonderful things, but when you come back to your campsite, you’re alone. You can feel really far from family and friends.

Your kids can become homesick, too, and make RV living that much more undesirable. Families, couples, and individuals are all doing their own thing, so it can be hard to make friends and sustain those friendships.

Upsides to RV Living

Having said that, there are some amazing perks to RV living. There are reasons why it’s all the craze and people are choosing this lifestyle.

It Can Be Cheaper Than a House

Although this greatly depends on your personal lifestyle, RV living can be cheaper than living in a house. Especially if your house is in a metropolis where rent or mortgage is very expensive, a monthly RV bill could be a welcome reduction in your living expenses. You aren’t paying for utilities or city services either.

Stuff becomes less important (not to mention you have no place to put it) so you aren’t spending money on more things to collect dust.

If you manage your budget well, RV living can be cheaper.

Couple in campervan playing guitar.
Save money on expenses by living in an RV.

You Can Wake Up to a New View Whenever You Want

If you get tired of looking out over the Gulf of Mexico in Galveston, Texas, pack up and head north to Hot Springs, Arkansas. If you decide you’ve spent enough time touring Denver, Colorado, pack up and head south to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The destinations are endless! Not many RVers will say they become bored with their travel lifestyle. And when they do, they choose to settle down somewhere.

Parents playing with kid in their camper.
The world is your oyster to explore when your home is on wheels.

You’re Forced Into Minimalism

When you live in an RV, you learn what’s important. Material things don’t take precedence. Experiences and memories become top priorities. So when you move into an RV, you can’t take all of your stuff. You’re forced into minimalism. Donate, sell, trash your 27 t-shirts.

In an RV, you might have room for five. And your kids’ toys become less important. Instead of having a room full of toys they don’t play with, they have two or three toys in their room and then have all of creation as their playground. Minimalism can be a welcome change for many people or extremely difficult and burdensome for others.

Pro Tip: If RV life isn’t what you were expecting, you aren’t alone! Read about this readers RV Nightmare: Why Isn’t My RV Life As Rewarding As I Expected? 

RV Living Isn’t For Everyone

So even though everyone is rushing out to buy an RV, don’t join the fad unless you’ve considered the pros and cons. RV living might be for you and your family. On the other hand, weekend camping and occasional week-long trips may fit your lifestyle better.

Making the change from sticks-and-bricks living to RV living is stressful and hard. Don’t jump into it without careful thinking and planning.

So now that we’ve discussed the good, bad, and the ugly, what does your future look like? Will you be jumping ship, selling everything, and heading across the country?

Or will you enjoy the security and lifestyle you currently have?

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jon donoghue

Tuesday 12th of October 2021

I lived on boats 11years of my life...it's a nice way of life whilst your young ...but as we get older certain things get harder...it's easier to sell a house !!!??.... Than a few years later you want to buy one ?? Enjoy your life 🌷

Josh

Monday 11th of October 2021

They make extremely nice affordable RVs nowadays in all kinds of shapes and sizes. I recently upgraded to a 34 ft one and has a massive slide out came with a big screen TV a nice 3 person couch big living room full size glass shower in the bathroom a nice bedroom AC furnace dining room table big fridge stove oven and outside shower. There's probably the same amount of room as a small barely affordable apartment in San Francisco or NYC. A ton of perks to the amount of freedom as to places to go and views to change. Its not for everyone but for adventure seekers and if their job requires traveling or they can work remotely and don't have kids it can be awesome.

Tom

Sunday 10th of October 2021

That is not living on the road. I did it for 6 months without any a/c. That was the best time i have ever had and i will be doing it again in 2022. The wife and i did it out of a pop-up camper and had no problems on living space. Weather was awesome even when we watched the snow fall on the mountains then melt. The only time you are to spend anytime in a camper is to sleep or to get out of the rain. Even then i sat ourside.

Darrell

Sunday 10th of October 2021

I gave up the "sticks n bricks" life almost 11 years ago. I really downsized to a Scamp but didn't give up all my junk. After 7 years I bought a small plot of land in the country, still "living the RV life on my land but with a few sheds for storage. Low taxes, can take off for weekend or weeks. But a lot of the time I take off traveling even lighter. I look at a lot of my stuff and start getting rid of more of my past every few weeks. Less baggage to gold me back, for full retirement or whatever is next. If not for current events I'd be "cutting away" most of my baggage. My debt to income has dropped to about 1/4 to 1/3 of what it was with a house that I filled up with stuff I don't really need but once in awhile. The difference between a house and a boat..... A boat is a hole in the water you throw money in. aka "Break Out Another Thousand" the house is even worse in many ways. Yes you can make money with it when you sell it but at what cost to that point. I bought a house in the late 90s it's "value increased" to almost double for tax purposes, but the housing market had a down turn in that area. But the cost and expenses for it was more than it became worth in the 13 years I had it. If I could have kept it up and sold it anytime after 4-5 years ago I would have still been at loss on the amount of money I spent on it. Is it easy to live in less sqft than a house single yes but it can and does suck if stuck with bad weather. With a family to include children during that would be h### and very trying to say the least. As just two it can be possible but no real alone place or time, sometimes you do need that. In hindsight before I bought the house I should have bought a RV first it would have cost me less and I would have been better off. I would have double to triple in my savings and retirement accounts. Plus would not have accumulated 90% of what I have but don't have time to use.

Jeff

Sunday 10th of October 2021

I see (read) so many posts & articles, from various places, about all the people who are and/or get to travel the country and I am so envious!! That said, I can't wait until my turn comes (retirement) where I can start traveling, even if just a little. Getting away to somewhere warm during the winter months is currently my #1 goal. Right now, my plan is to keep my sticks-and-bricks. I want a home base to come back to. I really enjoy my RV, but not sure I'm ready, or ever will be, to live in it full-time. Of course, that thought may change...only time will tell.

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