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5 Reasons to Avoid RV Living (for Full Time Travelers)

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?

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

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  1. Jeff says:

    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.

  2. David Wayne Baker says:

    When they say blow outs can be pricey consider this. Your tires may look perfect on the surface but it is so important to watch the date of manufacture on all your rigs tires. If one is blowing out chances are that all the others are within just a couple hundred miles of doing the same. I had all four tires blow out in one south to northwestern trip over just a few days. Each tire was about $230 a piece and the last tire took electrical, both DC and ac, and propane lines too. It effected even the entertainment devices where the conductors were ripped out of the insulation of one unit. So, blow outs can be super destructive. Just so people will take dates on the tires more seriously. Don’t go through what I have and learn the hard way PLEASE! DWB.

  3. Nikole says:

    Planning on traveling around Washington and Oregon as a barber and psychic

  4. John says:

    It’s what you make of it.

  5. Robert F Schroeder says:

    Yes, it’s what you make of it. But ….
    I drove a big truck for 17 years. My wife drove for five. Getting out of the truck and into the camper was a great, roomy change. When on the road we only came home every three months, mainly for doctors. Getting away in the camper was great fun. We’ve gone to Hershey many years for the AACA old car show. Gone to NEA conventions , the National model airplane contests and toured the country and parts of Canada. We downsized and now live in two condos in Florida. We still have our 2001 Dodge Ram 3500 with 17,000 miles on it and a brand new four year old 33 foot couples trailer, both ready to go up in Ohio. It seems we can’t get out of Florida for more than 3.5 weeks at a time due to doctors and medications. One of these days we’ll get back out into the country to see what we were only able to pass by.we had planned to full-time it but that never happened thanks to my problems with my body. Se La Vie!

  6. Rita says:

    It nit as bad as the person who wrote this. I agree it not for everyone. But you can try before you sell. I live in a 36 ft. 5th wheel it all I need it park most of the year. Lot cheaper then owning a house. As I am a single person. I only have a dog. So try it to see hiw it fits you

  7. Dae Dempsey says:

    New to RV traveling

  8. AL says:

    While visiting the kids in Florida, discovered the black tank was leaking. After $1200 for two visits, the replacement parts of $50 made me question the cost of letting someone do the repairs. I needed to replace the intake gasket from the toilet to the tank. And house calls were $160 an hour plus traveling to our location. Not really what i was looking for in repairs. Yes known afterwards makes you question things and troubleshooting.

  9. Sam says:

    Has to be the most generic story and statements forthis type of life. People are not stupid and 99% don’t just jump into this at a whim. I sold a 5bd 2.5 bath house and now live in a truck camper by choice. Every aspect of life and living has pros and cons and the ones listed in this story are basic. Have a little more next time.

  10. Guy says:

    Thanks for all the help

  11. Guy says:

    I’m trying to decide what to buy, maybe Casita, It’s small but low maintenance, all the videos are great you’re all great for making them and the comments to, I live out of a grand caravan now, part time, good luck to everyone

  12. Bonnie Muir Shanks says:

    I romanticize about van living but husband is poor health and wouldn’t be realistic at this time to attempt that lifestyle. I’m already in my late 70’s so might not be realistic for me either. Maybe in the future I could do short trips in a truck and cab over camper alone not getting too far from major hospitals in case I need medical help. What do you recommend for a single woman alone in the world? Bonnie

  13. Keith says:

    I am a Full time RVer, been doing for 12 years enjoy every bit of it, yes you have, repairs but look if you are in home repair roof over$10,000, my roof if I need replace apx $2,000. Nice if you do not the neighborhood you leave in a house much harder

  14. Harold Baete says:

    Article sucks! Period! How stupid are you? Like things break and maintenance issues don’t happen with a house! Again article sucks! Can’t believe I even bothered to read it! Starting my 14th year full timing!!!

  15. Barry Jones says:

    I would like to know more about free campsites

  16. rosa avey says:

    We were full time rivers. No kids or pets is almost a must. Not fair to the animals when you have to leave them for site seeing. And kids get bored. But we love it. And we were happy with mom and pop rv parks. I never was a shopper. So didn’t worry about filling up my drawers. Our rv was a 36 Montana. And it is very expensive to fix stuff that breaks down or damage of flat tires. But buying extra warranty was very smart. The inconvenient when you need work is not fun. Hopefully you will be close to hotels and shopping. But the most important is money,lots. And if you work from home, conection to internet.then comes age. To young or to old. When your young you don’t know what your medical issues will be. When your old you have so many doctors appointment or your health goes down quickly. So I would say money and a good relationship with your better half is super important. But we had the best life ever. Now full time medical. But we are on the road till December. And we never sold our homes.

  17. Marilyn says:

    Well thought out presentation of pros & cons of RVing. Lived all young life in them & it wasn’t all fun & sweetness! WE WERE ALWAYS ON A TINY BUDGET so every tiny breakdown was a major trial. Think it through VERY CATEFULLY!

  18. Gwen S Martin says:

    We love our Motorcoach and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

  19. Bob Conquest says:

    Article written by someone that doesn’t have a clue…

  20. Ric & Lorri Quintana says:

    We are with you, we hate having to pay so much just to park our 38 ft.D.P. after all it’s fully self contained able to provide all our needs to live in comfort. Thanks for any savings info.

  21. Anonymous says:

    You got problems, that’s the whole point of this video. It really was not helpful as I’m single and don’t have a family. I thought they were gonna be real tips.

  22. Kurt Glassell says:

    Been doing it extensively for 18 years– all 50 states Canada and Mexico in various RVs.
    Most of what the article says are good tips for beginners, but I’ll just make two minor points.
    You don’t have to spend a lot of money on maintenance and everything. We’ve concentrated on boondocking and paying very little for parking but we have good solar systems to keep our batteries up.
    Second point is that the more people you have in an RV the faster things can go bad. For instance, just having two people instead of one necessitates about three times the space.

  23. Diane says:

    This is very important information. Thank you. I’m good to go on a trip for a week.

  24. Christian says:

    Y’all better never try living on a boat then…RV living would be a walk in the park comparatively…

  25. Missy Horsley says:

    Crazy article because less than half of people out there jump into lifestyle without doing major homework. Those Instagram and a few Youtubers make it look glamorous yup I checked them out. Beautiful men and women in their beautiful RV/Skoolies. Parked by the beach or some remote place near waterfalls. Whatever. Not all vanlife is like that and for most of those people, they’re weekenders…Me and my Hubby are living full-time in a Dodge Grand Caravan. We’re close to our 2 year Vanniversary and are loving it. Yes it’s closed quarters, yes things break down, yes it can be frustrating at times and yes this lifestyle is most definitely NOT for the faint of heart. To live in such a cramped area means we not only love each other but more importantly we like and respect each other. We can be together all of the time yet give one another space as well. We have seen and experienced life together all of the bad and all of the good and it’s been amazing. We wouldn’t trade living in sticks and bricks over a van for anything and we are meant for this Nomad lifestyle. See ya down the road!

  26. Jeffrey B Hall says:

    Reason number 6.
    It will make your nipples hard, view first pic

  27. Patricio says:

    Is no expensive lived all time in RV,WE ESPEN 8 YEAR AND HOPE 10 MORE

  28. Vincent Dominic Odenbrett says:

    We traveled full-time for nearly 7-years in a 34ft diesel pusher with toad. Together with our 85# mixed flat-coat retriever we visited all 49 of our beautiful contiguous states.
    YES, there were maintenance, emergency issues, frustration getting campground reservations, and at times, scary weather. But, we wouldn’t trade the experiences we had for anything! Oh yes, it was very expensive when included repairs, fuel, food, campgrounds, emergencies, tours, etc., are factored in.
    But if you can handle challenges, do it

  29. Stuart. Stong says:

    I’m interested in the free camping. Sounds good….

  30. Albert Smith says:

    My Wife and I were Full-time RV’ERS for 5 years .If it hadn’t been for me having to come back home because of cancer (what the doctor. Says) We would have continued traveling !!.
    My Biggest Fear was the “Unexpected ” Breakdowns !!,, Although I was a Diesel Mechanic so I did most of our repairs myself !!, But the Fears I had was either Engine internal breaking Or Transmission breakage.