If you are thinking about travel via full-time RVing or even just living in an RV full time there are several key steps to take.
Deciding to sell or keep your home, if you have one, is a major stepping stone to RV travel full-time. If you are retirement age and have been in your home for some time, then selling is certainly possible.
Assessing income and assets is a must to determine if full-timing is right for you. These are personal decisions and assessments that must be faced honestly before taking the plunge into full-time RV travel.
You may want to keep your home and plan to be away a fixed portion of the year, to return for holidays or summers with family, or to work, making RV travel full-time during concentrated periods. This is how many folks chose to design their RV travel adventure. If you decide to sell everything and make a permanent commitment to full-time RVing then that will take some planning and time to accomplish.
Once you've determined how you'll make the break to full-time RV travel, and for how long, it's time to determine your new monthly expenses and compare those to your monthly income.
The expenses here are a little more tricky. Some will be new and unknown costs at the beginning. And some you'll have a little more control over.
You'll now need to camp or park and those costs vary widely from free to over $50 per night. How much time can you spend in any one place at the given rate? Weekly rates are usually available to lower the cost per night.
But knowing how much you have to spend a month on fixed expenses and how much is remaining will give you a budget to work from. You can work from that figure and determine the where and the how long of your RV travel adventure.
This will dictate where you stay and how long. If mostly free is what you need to afford full-time RVing then Walmart and boondocking locations for dry camping will be what you need. Make sure your rig will support this approach to full-timing.
If seeing the natural beauty of the country is the goal of your full-time RVing then State and National Parks are likely the choice. These will keep your camping costs mostly in the moderate range.
If lots of travel is your plan then gasoline will become a major expense. If you have a smart phone then I recommend downloading an app called Gas Buddy from the App Store. It allows you to find gas and diesel fuel at the lowest prices by distance and fuel grade. It has saved me lots of money and is easy to use.
Of course some full-timers work seasonally in campgrounds and at other short term or seasonal jobs to boost their income and pay for the months they take to the road. If the job comes with a campsite as part of the compensation then your expenses are lessened as well.
And maybe you are wondering if will you like full-time RVing as a permanent lifestyle? A trial period may be the ideal next step.
Renting an RV and planning to spend a significant number of months to really get a taste of full-time RVing could be a smart investment. Especially if you've not done any RV travel at all.
Rentals can be done for short term too. Either way, here's a great source for just such an approach, Go RVing. Lots of info here on types of RV's, rental companies and even campgrounds that rent out RV's.
Really, why not pick a place to test the waters! This way you can take baby steps! Try the living first and then the driving when you get the bug to go someplace else next!
In the case of a full-time RVing travel test period, you may want to either close up the house or condo for the duration planned or possibly get a short term house sitter. If you must keep up the mortgage or rent still, then a tenant or a sublet could cover that cost, provided, in the case of renting, a lease would allow it. Check with businesses that employ international interns who need short term housing for either situation. Executives working from abroad for a longer period of time may be another possibility.
Networking with friends and family to find possible tenants maybe the slow approach but in the end is often best. In my case, I have preferred to leave my condo furnished and have rented it out to interns, working in a local company, one of which I met through friends. I'd been telling of my full-time RVing plan for months. Anyway, I find these circumstances to be more favorable and me to be happier with those living in my home.
Of course you must first tally your costs to formulate a rental fee. Mortgage, insurances, condo fees and utilities, maintenance costs are the usual components.
With online banking and mobile communications it's so very easy to set
up financial transactions and be in touch with tenants to resolve any
issues. Set these up ahead of time. And keep it simple.
I maintained my local bank account with free online banking and debit card. I use Verizon Wireless service (the consensus and my experience shows they provide the best coverage) for my iPhone with a mobile hotspot for connecting to the internet using my laptop computer. Some bills I auto-pay with my credit card and then pay this off monthly via online banking. This allows me to build points/miles faster. The remainder I make scheduled automatic debits or pay using online banking.
Eliminating paper bills and mailing payments takes care of most of the mail you receive and send. The rest of the mail can be handled in a few ways.
Having your mail forwarded to a family member or trusted friend can be done in the short term. I have known people who have actually changed their address, if they no longer have a residence, to a relative's. If anything of importance needs to get sent on, it can go General Delivery, in your name, to a local Post Office near you.
Another popular option, for those who stay in one place for months
together, is to have a P.O. Box. This is especially true for those who
return to the same location year after year.
If you are traveling often, using General Delivery and paying the USPS for forwarding services is one way to go. Be sure to check with local Post Offices to verify that they will receive General Delivery mail. Not all branches, in some places, do.
There are many private companies that provide this service too. UPS is the one I currently use. But there are RV clubs, such as Escapees and the LOW's (Loners on Wheels) that have mail forwarding services as well.
So how do I get all the loose ends tied up? When can I begin my full-time RVing travel adventure vagabonding?
Selling possessions such as a car, home, and accumulated stuff can be time consuming. Things don't sell as fast as we'd like or the need to stay task focused doesn't come as easily. And then there may be family events and concerns to keep you from launching your full-time RV travel adventure.
Maybe the solution is to give away much of the stuff. At least the small things. Maybe the price of the car can be lowered to sell faster. The same may go for the home. These are personal decisions . . . just saying, maybe.
No worries! It's all good. Keep your eyes on the prize and you'll be a full-time RVing Vagabond before you know it.
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