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Where Can You Live Rent-Free in an RV?

Where Can You Live Rent-Free in an RV?

Many people are jumping into RVing to save money. Living in an RV can be an excellent way to save, especially if you can live rent-free in your RV.

However, you’ll need to find a place to park and set up camp to start saving some cash. So, where can you live rent-free in an RV? Let’s find out!

Can You Legally Live in an RV?

The legalities of living in an RV vary by location. Your ability to live legally in an RV dramatically depends on where you live. Some areas classify RVs as residential dwellings. On the other hand, some locations take the opposite view and severely limit RVers from living out of their rigs.

Even if you own property, you may not get power, water, or sewer to a particular area without a structure. We’ve heard that some areas have strict rules and regulations regarding how many days RVers can live in their RVs on land.

This is often why many RVers establish tiny homes on properties to serve as their legal residential dwelling. However, they’ll maximize their space by utilizing the RV and tiny home spaces.

Woman sitting peacefully on top of campervan
Living rent free in an RV requires planning and strict budgeting.

Is It Realistic to Live in an RV?

While it will require adjusting, living in an RV is realistic whether you’re stationary or traveling full-time. Manufacturers have added many residential features to their RVs recently. Many modern RVs come with practically everything you could need to live comfortably. 

They’re essentially small condos on wheels with patio spaces, dishwashers, and multiple bedrooms and bathrooms. You can live comfortably in an RV, possibly even more than in many homes or apartments.

Is RV Living Cheaper Than a House?

Living in an RV can be cheaper than living in a house, but not always. The money you save significantly depends on how you plan to enjoy RV living. For example, suppose you’re planning to move between campsites every few days.

In that case, you’ll have to consider not only the campsite prices but also the fuel costs, the truck to tow your rig, and the many other fees that come with owning and maintaining a vehicle. These costs can add up quickly and waste potential savings.

On the other hand, if you’re planning to enjoy RV living in a stationary or seasonal campsite, you could save a tremendous amount of money. Many RV parks and campgrounds offer vastly discounted rates for a select number of long-term sites.

Rates will vary depending on the area and amenities, but you can save hundreds of dollars monthly by taking advantage of these sites. The best situation for stationary living is to own the land where you can legally live.

Girl laying in bed in RV while camping for free
The cost of RVing will drastically vary depending on where and how you choose to camp.

Places You Can Live Rent-Free in an RV

If you want to live rent-free in your RV, there are several options. The availability of some of these will depend on local rules and regulations. So ensure you research before getting too far in the process. Let’s dive in!

Workamping Jobs

If you’ve never heard of workamping, it’s a camping style where an RVer exchanges labor for a free campsite. Some of these positions are full-time jobs with hourly wages that also provide a campsite. Many campgrounds will hire camp hosts to assist with enforcing rules, helping keep the grounds clean, and assisting campers.

If you’re looking for a way to live rent-free in your RV and enjoy interacting with others, this could be an excellent option.

However, it’s crucial to remember that workamping is a job, and there are expectations of anyone in these positions. While you’ll get your campsite for free, you’ll have to make a small sacrifice.

Many of these seasonal jobs make it very easy for RVers to plan their travels and work to stay in warm weather all year. If you’re interested, you can find numerous jobs on Workamper.com, KOA’s website, and Kamperjobs.com

Public Lands

One popular RV place to live rent-free is on public lands. You can find thousands of accessible camping locations on public lands all over the country. Not only do you get a campsite, but you can also often enjoy an incredible view. You can even find camping on public lands near tourist attractions, like the national parks of Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone.

While this may sound like the perfect way to live rent-free, there are some downsides to this camping style. Camping on public lands will require you to move from one campsite to the next to avoid violating stay limits.

Stay limits typically range from five to 14 days but will depend on where you’re camping. Enjoying this camping type will require you to be self-sufficient regarding water, power, and waste disposal. As a result, it’s not always the best rent-free camping option for everyone.

Pro Tip: Before you spend the night at Walmart, make sure you are aware of these 7 Things You Should Know About Walmart Camping.

RV parked in driveway while moochdocking
Give moochdocking a try to camp for free in your RV.

Overnight Parking Spots

Some areas allow overnight parking in various locations. Parking lots for retailers like Walmart, Cabela’s, or Cracker Barrel are the most common go-to places for RVers to park overnight. However, you can also stay at truck stops and rest stops occasionally. They may not be your standard camping environment, but they’re free and typically very safe.

Some areas are more hospitable than others regarding overnight parking spots. We’ve seen an increase in recent years of local rules and regulations cracking down on these spots.

Finding them can be challenging in some areas, so it might be tricky to depend on them. Some of these locations can also be rather sketchy and unsafe. You’ll want to ensure you lock up all your things and make your safety a priority. You should leave as quickly as possible if you ever feel unsafe in these spots.

Land You Own

If you already own the land, there’s a chance that you might be able to park your RV there. However, you’ll want to check with your local zoning and ordinance agencies to ensure you know any requirements or restrictions for RV living on your land.

The rules and regulations can vary vastly from one location to the next. 

You don’t want to purchase land or set up camp there and discover that you’re violating local ordinances. This could cost you a tremendous amount of money and do the opposite of what you intended.

Moochdocking

Moochdocking is a relatively new term for RVing, but people have been doing it for decades. You’re essentially parking your rig in the driveway or on the land of a friend or family member. Cousin Eddie is the most famous moochdocker in the history of RVing. 

This can be a practical option for short-term stays during holidays or seasons. However, as Cousin Eddie showed us, you want to ensure you don’t overstay your welcome.

If you’re planning to stay for an extended period, you’ll likely want to devise a financial arrangement. You can significantly increase the electric, water, and sewer bills, and you don’t want to cause financial hardship for your hosts.

Pro Tip: Don’t be an annoying moochdocker! Make sure to never commit any of these 7 Deadly Sins of Moochdocking.

Enjoy RVing While Saving Money

RVing is an excellent way to save a tremendous amount of money, especially if you can live rent-free. However, if you’re not careful or mindful of your budget, you can spend more than living in a typical residential home.

So stay on top of your finances and look for areas where you can reduce your spending. There are plenty of ways to live rent-free in your RV and spend your money making unforgettable memories. 

Where would you camp if you could live in an RV full-time? Tell us in the comments!

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