If you found this page you’re probably looking for full time rving pitfalls to avoid. Maybe you’re researching this way of living and want to be fully aware of all the issues that can come up. Or you’re a significant other who is being dragged into this idea by your loved one and you want to find all the reasons why it’s not a good idea. Either way knowing the pitfalls will help you make it through your first year of rv’ing.
We’ve covered things over full time RVers wish they knew before starting out. But with this article we’ll cover some of the full time rving pitfalls that you may or may not have to deal with when you get on the road.
Below I cover issues that we’ve dealt with. Issues or pitfalls I guess if you want to call it that most rv’ers deal with at one point or another in their travels.
Things You’ll Likely Encounter
- Isolation You’ll meet some wonderful people on the road and you might even join communities where you meet at a rally or other place, but by and large, it’s just you traveling. For some this isn’t an issue at all and part of why they chose the open road. But if you are a social butterfly or someone who doesn’t like meeting new people, this can make you feel more isolated.
- No safety net When you live in your city or town, you have emergency contacts that you call if something goes wrong. You have your home base to go to if your car breaks down. On the road, you don’t have those safety nets and you have to go along with whatever happens. We learned this lesson two weeks into our travels when our starter went out on the RV. We were stuck in the Big Bend National Park waiting for hours for the nearest tow truck to come get us. You’ll scramble to find something open that will take you and the rig and hope that they are fair and reasonably priced. If you go with the flow it could be an adventure as well.
- Less Room Like most Americans, you’ll probably downsize from a home with at least 1500 average square footage down to something with 300 or less. You have to pick the things you really love and need to keep in your new, smaller living space. That usually leaves you with either a storage unit full of your old life in case you hate traveling or you have the headache of getting rid of all your stuff.
- Less Privacy With less room comes less privacy. Will you be ok with constantly sharing your space with your partner or do you need ample alone time? If you have arguments often before going on the road, you’ll have to learn to resolve them quicker. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be in the rig all the time and you can certainly go on your own walks for some solitude if needed, but many people we talk to say they just can’t imagine doing that.
- Maintenance Hell When you live in your home, you run into typical issues like plumbing, pests, leaks or all the other things that can go wrong with a home. And if you have a car you have those typical maintenance concerns. But when you combine the two, the issue is right in front of you. There is no sending the RV to the shop for days to get fixed or having a plumber come out and fix your toilet while you are at work. Many of the maintenance issues are on your shoulders to handle or delegate, but you are in the middle of it all and you live there as well. The best way to deal with this is by monitoring systems like your electrical system or your tire pressure while going down the road.
- No Built in Routine Oh, you’ll have a built in routine of who dumps the waste, who fills the water, gas, and propane. You’ll get the setup and teardown down to a science and can finish it in olympic time. But you will constantly have to find a new favorite grocery store that sells the specific coffee creamer that you want, or the nearest laundromat that has decent dryers to dry your clothes and doesn’t take all your money. You no longer have your neighborhood diner to get your favorite dinner. Humans have a tendency to break everything down into a routine and the brain likes this so it can go on autopilot for these mundane tasks, but when you’re on the road, you don’t have that luxury anymore.
- Medical Issues If something goes wrong medically you typically want your trusted doctor to handle it and you want to be able to go the hospital that you know and trust. On the road, you are at the mercy of whatever hospital is nearest and whatever doctor is on call. And you hope that it isn’t an emergency while you’re in the middle of no where.Also, what happens if you find out that you have a medical issue that needs weeks or months to take care of. Will you be ok to get treated where you are or can you make plans to head “home” to get treated.
- Laundry If it’s been a while since you were in a laundromat, things haven’t changed much. The process of doing laundry on the road is usually top on the list of things people hate most while traveling. You have to find the nearest one, make sure you have enough quarters for the job and hope the washers and dryers work well enough for you.
- Internet and TV We have become pretty accustom to having our internet and TV a certain way and if you find yourself in an area where the coverage is spotty can be a nightmare. Especially if you work online and need stable access to the internet. There are a few different options for getting TV in your RV. Some free, some paid.
- Money When you first hit the road, there’s so much to explore that you’ll want to cram everything into your first two months. But you have to pace yourself for your sanity and for your pocketbook and to keep your cost of RV living down. You can budget for your travels, but you’ll still get caught off guard by RV park fees, tolls, gas price fluctuations, cost of living differences in the different regions. Not to mention tourist attractions and park entrance fees. If you don’t stay on top of your spending you could run through your savings quicker than expected.
- New Neighbors You get new neighbors all the time and they might not always be ideal for you. RV parks make their money by filling up a park and having close spots so you might be right on top of someone else and they might have an RV full of kids. Or maybe you have an RV full of kids with no one else in the park to play with.
- Sameness Nothing is ever as great as that first bite of meal, sip of beer, spoonful of ice cream. The same can be said of your travels. When you start out, you’re excited about every new place you visit and all the sites you’ll see. If you aren’t careful, the wanderlust can wear and places can start to look the same. I’m not sure if that’s just human nature, but make sure you strive to really appreciate every new place you visit and stay amazed at what you find.
- Utilities You have to be careful about the power and water you consume. When at your house, you can just turn on all the lights you need, all the water you want and not worry about where the waste goes. In the rig, if you are boondocking, you have to keep track of all this and it’s like a little tick in the back of your head when taking a shower, washing dishes, or charging your phone.
- Mail Do you still get a lot of mail? Now you have to find a company that can take it for you and send it when you ask for it. This is also an added monthly cost to consider, but don’t expect to get your mail fast. Some companies offer the ability to scan and email your mail to you for additional fees.
- Cooking I know this seems like a weird one, but cooking in the rig smells up the place and the kitchen stove isn’t always the greatest. You’ll probably also have an older oven that is too small and cooks too fast so you have to adjust your cooking to a pretty inadequate kitchen. One thing I’d love to do with our is completely remove our stove/oven combo and microwave and get a convection oven microwave with a new stove top and use the old oven area for more storage.
- No Assets If you can purchase your rig outright, you won’t have a mortgage, which is great. The downside to owning an RV vs. a house is that the RV will depreciate over time.
- Regional Sports if you have a favorite team that you follow during football, baseball, or basketball season then you might not get to see them play while on the road. Many regions are licensed to show certain teams in the area. This is probably where a adding a sports package to your satellite service comes in.
Can You Deal with The Issues?
So there is the exhaustive list of everything I can think about that could be considered as full time rving pitfalls. Some of the issues are particular to rving, but if you look closely, you’ll see many can be said for any kind of living.
The biggest question you have to ask yourself when researching it all is:
Are you going to be happy living in an RV full time?