Road trips are an age-old tradition that have taken different forms throughout history.
The former transportation of a horse or camel is now just a tourist attraction, and the crammed Volkswagen van adorned with shag carpeting is a distant memory of yesteryear.
Today, if you want to hit the open road with the room of an apartment and the comfort of a Cadillac, you need a recreational vehicle—known as the RV.
Be warned, embarking on an adventure in these homes-on-wheels isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you rise to the challenge, prepare to reach for the stars.
The Costs Of A Road Less Traveled
There are countless of benefits to taking your life on the road such as reduced living expenses, the freedom to relocate at the drop of a hat, and a renewed appreciation for the little things in life.
But the first question when planning a life on the road is what kind of RV do you want and what can you afford?
Class A motorhomes are those giant beasts of an RV that offer all the bells and whistles. However, they are costly to buy and costly to drive—think of filling up a truck’s gas tank. A few times over.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have pop-up trailers which are small and lightweight. You can often tow these with any standard SUV, which costs next to nothing in gas when compared to driving a motorhome.
Once you’ve purchased your RV and have it properly insured, will you use it for the occasional road trip? Or live in it full time at an RV park? Or keep moving nomadic style, going from site to site?
These are tough options, but at least you have them!
Being tied to a mortgage for a traditional home greatly limits where, when, and how often you can travel.
A Special Kind of Life
Most people who live in a home or apartment know just how quickly possessions can accumulate. The guest room inevitably becomes the I-don’t-know-where-to-put-it room.
When you are tethered to your home, your baggage can really start to weigh you down—literally.
Of course, when switching to the RV life, there’s a lot of downsizing to go with it. You’ve got to fit all your belongings in a space that used to be the size of your kitchen.
Try the trending Marie Kondo method from Netflix’s “Tidying Up,” and only keep items that truly bring you joy.
Although, we do understand that some of us are more sentimental than others, so this process may be painful or difficult. But we promise it will be rewarding in the end.
It’s Not All Wind In Your Hair
Just like everything in life, there’s always a downside—even with the unyielding freedom for the professional traveler.
Living in such a small space with your spouse, children, or friends can really test your patience.
With little room for solitude, interests and noise meld together with everyone in tow.
You can’t exactly head off to the movies to catch a break or hit the gym to blow off steam.
While this may sound daunting at first, the togetherness can also bring many blessings with quality time you may not have had with each other otherwise.
Words Of Wisdom
Preparing to take your new rig out for its first trip can be overwhelming, but there are some simple steps you can take that will make hitting the road a breeze.
Since each RV has a different set of instructions for a safe takeoff, keep a checklist handy of all the things to do and check for.
Use plastic or stainless steel dishes and wrap two rubber bands around each dish to reduce breakage.
Keep all wires and cords twist-tied tightly so they don’t catch on anything when the road gets bumpy.
Store all food and beverages in airtight containers that have a locked lid—no one wants to clean up thousands of Cheerios.
And while it can be tempting to eat out when you’re on the road, remember you have a full kitchen at your disposal!
Save those dollar bills for the kitschy attractions you find along the way, such as the Museum of Bad Art in Massachusetts – and yes, that is a real place.
Keep an emergency fund at all times, because you do not want to be stuck without a hot water heater in January or no air conditioning in July.
And when staying at a campground or an RV park, your neighbors will matter.
If you like to keep to yourself and watch the sunset in peace with a glass of wine, don’t park next to the chatty Kathys who will tell you over and over about that one time they almost hit an albino deer.
And last but not least, leave some travels uncharted.
Planning a route that hits the best pancake joints across the country is one thing, but don’t get too caught up in staying on a strict schedule.
You may want to take a detour through a wildlife reserve or stop and see your favorite band in Chicago.
Remember why you chose the RV life to begin with and allow the experiences to manifest organically.
The Glitz and Glamour of Life on the Road
Now, after all this, you may be thinking you’re just not cut out to take showers in a small plastic box, or that you don’t want to hook up your toilet every time you stop for the night.
But with so much fun to be had on the road, you won’t even notice after the first couple of days.
RVing is like riding a bike, once you’ve learned how to do it, you’ll never forget.
And the exhilaration you felt on your very first trip is the same exhilaration you’ll feel on your tenth trip—the thrill never gets old!
Please tell us in the comments section if you’ve thought about transitioning to a mobile life and if you found any of these tips helpful!