Monday, February 13, 2012

To full-time or not to full-time

We have seen on various forums the question come up as to whether or not a couple should consider full-timing in an RV so we thought we would offer up some hints to help in that decision. It will not cover which type of RV because there are so many options there and that is best left up to the couple. Just make sure you are happy with the layout of the RV after reading this article and make sure it has plenty of storage. The real key to have fun full-timing is to take what you like about living in a home with you on the road, albeit a much smaller home.

First and foremost both of you must want to at least give it a try for a good length of time, at least 2 years. The first 6 months to one year you will be questioning your sanity but just give it time, it is an adjustment just like anything else. For us we had plans of downsizing and RV'ng winter and summer. Then we realized we could just postpone the purchase of the downsized home and try full-timing. It was one of the best decisions we have made.

Secondly you need to realize that all the 'stuff' that you have accumulated over the years is just that, 'stuff'. It is amazing how liberating it is to be able to live with just the small amount of 'stuff' that you can bring with you.

So you have made the decision to full-time and to get rid of most of your 'stuff' now you need to make the RV seem like a home. We break that into major categories.

Water pressure; get a good water pressure regulator that does not cut down on the water flow. We got the Watts 263A which is one of the best you can get. We also put an aerator on the faucet in the kitchen.

Long showers; you may not be able to take as long of showers as in your old sticks and bricks but with some planning you can take a pretty good one. With a good showerhead like the Oxygenics Body Spa you get great pressure that feels like a home shower that does not use that much water so that the 10 or 15 gallons of you hot water heater will go a long time. Then just wait between showers for the hot water heater to recover. A good tip is that it will recover faster if you have both the propane and electric turned on for the hot water heater.

Laundry; we recommend getting a washer and a dryer or a washer/dryer combo and doing the laundry in your new home. It may be smaller loads but you will find that a benefit of this lifestyle is that you will probably have less laundry to do. We have a combo and just do laundry while we are watching a movie or television. If you already use a laundromat then disregard this suggestion as it will be an easier transition if you do things as if you were still in your home.

Speaking of television; if you like to watch TV then get a good satellite dish, we have an automatic dish on the roof, and also bring the comfort of home and get a DVR. Full-timers can also get a waiver and get what is called Distant Network Service from Dish or DirecTV which gives you the east coast or west coast feeds of network television. This way you won't miss your favorite shows. DVR'ng your shows will also allow you to extend your sightseeing adventures.

Speaking of sightseeing; if you love to travel and want to see more of the USA but don't like the hassles of airline travel then full-timing just might be for you. We have been full-timing for 2 and 1/2 years and have barely scratched the surface of what we want to see.

Take it easy; try to go no more than 250 miles in one day and then stay there for a week or more to get recharged for travel. When we absolutely have to be somewhere fast we still only drive 200-250 miles and stay for 2 nights.

Hookups; for the first year always get full hookups (electric, water and sewer) and try to get 50 amp electrical whenever possible. With 50a you can run what you want when you want it and not have to worry have tripping breakers. Save boondocking (no hookups at all) for the second year of your trial.

Full-timing is not for everyone but if you do this you will make it your personal experience. For us having to take short or worse yet, Navy showers is too much like camping. When we lived in our home we had a laundry room so we brought that with us. The same goes for television watching. And don't get us started on hookups, boondocking is not for us in fact we consider 30a electrical to be too much like camping.

We hope that we have helped those that might be considering a move to full-timing because we would love to see you on the road sometime. One of the best things about this lifestyle is the great people you will meet.

Finally the best advice we can give to full-timers heading out for the first time is that the first thing you should pack is your sense of humor because you will need it, especially for the first 6 months.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

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