You know the story. Your neighbor set out with his wife, two kids, and dog last year for the road trip of a lifetime.
They visited National Parks, stayed in 30 states, and shared all of these experiences on Instagram.
But now, a year later, they’re calling it quits.
What changed? What happened to the s’mores and campfire pictures, the gorgeous sunset picnics, and the swimming with the dolphins TikTok videos?
Let’s dive into the reasons people quit RVing. Perhaps you’ll find yourself (or your neighbor) in one of these examples.
Why Do People Quit RVing?
There are lots of reasons why people quit RVing. And they aren’t all negative. Sometimes life just happens and takes a different turn.
Other times RVers leave the life because they’re fed up with traveling and the stress that comes with the responsibility of owning an RV.
Let’s take a look at several of these reasons in more detail.
RV Life Burnout
The RV life can be exhausting depending on how you travel, where you travel, and how often you run into problems. For some people, because their goal has been to visit as many states or National Parks as they can, they’ve picked up and moved a lot throughout their RV life.
This constant moving can get tiresome and lead to burnout.
For others, because they’ve wanted to visit popular areas like Yellowstone National Park or the Florida Keys, they’ve dealt with the stress of full campgrounds or traffic. Especially if they don’t like to plan, this constant fear of missing out on getting a reservation can also cause burnout.
Dealing with unexpected problems that seem to occur at just the wrong time also leads to burnout. Tire blowouts, water leaks, broken latches, condensation, and other problems RVers face can mount up.
Pro Tip: RV life is not for everyone! Find out if it is right for you with The 4 Types of RVers. Tell us Which Are You?
Desire for a Home Base
Many RVers left the traditional sticks-and-bricks lifestyle because they were ready for a minimal way of life. After a few years of traveling, perhaps the kids are getting older, and they’re ready for a new home base.
They’ve been there, done that. It’s time to settle down again.
Running Out of Money
It’s very easy to spend money to do lots of fun activities and visit new places when traveling. If you don’t have a budget and don’t adhere to that budget, you’re going to run out of money.
On the other hand, some people hit the road with this plan.
They’re going to live off of their savings or off an inheritance, and once the money is gone, they’ll get off the road and find somewhere to settle down again.
Personal, Pet, or Family Member Illness
Many times life itself causes RVers to quit RVing. A spouse is diagnosed with cancer; a parent has Parkinson’s; a pet ages and can’t travel well.
In these cases, the RVers don’t necessarily want to leave the RV lifestyle, but life has taken a different turn, and they need to be stationary.
They may have to take on a new caretaker role and be near family to help during a difficult time.
Finding Somewhere You Want to Stay Long-Term
As you travel, you find new places that you might enjoy settling down near. Once a place resonates with your family, you may choose to remain there, buy a house, and enroll your kids in school.
It’s not necessarily that the RV lifestyle was too stressful or you were tired of moving around but that you just found somewhere you wanted to stay long-term.
Wanting to Be Close to Family
Some RVers travel for a few months or even a few years and end up longing for home. They miss their family and friends.
They may even love traveling, but the desire to be close to loved ones is greater than the desire to explore. As a result, they leave the RV lifestyle and settle down.
Relationship Strain from Constant Travel and Small Spaces
Living in an RV can put a strain on your relationships. Constantly traveling means making reservations, planning safe routes, dealing with crowds, and more.
Spouses or partners will have to deal with conflict amid these changing situations. If they don’t handle it well and have poor communication, it could lead to burnout.
Living in a tiny space can also cause relationship strain, especially with kids. There really is no privacy when living in an RV. So if you have a teenager who wants their own space, you’re going to have problems. If this becomes a constant conversation, you’ll be getting off the road.
Pro Tip: Create a safe space for intimacy, even in a small RV, by reading Intimacy in an RV. Is It Possible?
A New Job
Another reason people leave RV life is that they found a new job. They may have been traveling because of their job, and so when that job ended, they got off the road.
Or they may have been working remotely and decided they would rather work in an office or around other people.
In either case, they may not have gotten burned out by the RV lifestyle, but life took a different turn.
A Lifestyle Change
Similar to previous reasons, sometimes it just comes down to needing a change. You’ve been there, done that, and it’s time to do something different. You’ve lived minimally for a few years, and now you want to build your forever home.
Or maybe you’re tired of having to maintain your rig and want a break from fixing things. Or maybe you want to explore the seas, so you leave the RV life for a boating life.
It’s not necessarily burnout that’s leading you but a desire to just live differently.
The Need for More Space
This can happen, especially as kids get older. There’s only so much room in a bunkhouse. Twin beds are only so long.
As your kids grow, your family may decide it’s better to have more space and leave the RV life. Or your family may grow with the birth of children, and you might realize RV living just isn’t going to cut it.
Although many large families travel, other large families choose to settle down and find a house to provide more space.
To Try a New Mobile Lifestyle (Like Sailing or Boating)
Sometimes the lifestyle change may be for another mobile lifestyle.
Some RVers choose to leave life in their RVs not because they want to settle down or stop traveling but because they want to travel differently.
They may buy a boat and choose to sail around the world.
Meeting Someone Who Can’t Travel
For single adults who enjoy traveling, their RV life may stop because they meet someone who just can’t travel with them. Maybe it’s because of a job, or maybe it’s because of a health issue.
But the love for that person is greater than the love for travel. So they settle down to start a life with that person.
Is RV Life Actually Challenging?
The RV life is challenging, but all of life is challenging. Whether you live in an apartment in New York, a 3,500 sq-ft house in Illinois, or on a 20-acre farm in South Carolina, certain challenges come with each lifestyle. RVing is no different.
But if you can’t adapt to the changes and tackle the challenges that RV life brings, then you’ll be getting off the road sooner than later. Some RVers have been traveling for years, dealing with these changes and challenges, so it’s certainly not impossible.
But there may come a time when you’re done with the RV life and ready to leave those stressors behind.
RVers leave the RV lifestyle for a myriad of reasons. Some are due to the actual strain of the lifestyle. Others are due to life circumstances. And many don’t leave the RV life for good.
They may still travel on the weekends or during the summer, or they may plan to head back out in a few years. But RV burnout is certainly possible.
Do you know someone who has gotten off the road recently? Do you sense a change coming for yourself?
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