Don't believe it! Don't believe what you see on social media when it comes to living in an RV.
Why not? Because most people only show you the dreeeeamy parts of full-time RV life. They skip all the hard parts and downers.
Instead of relying on social media, read this article to learn the absolute truths about that happy-looking life.
Why Trust Us About Full-Time RV Lifestyle Truths and Myths?
We know because Marshall and I were full-time RVers for a combined total of 12 years. Therefore, you're getting it straight from the horse's mouth.
YES, there are truths and lies out there about living in a camper. We're going to show you 5 of each.
Myths About Living In A Camper
Here are some things you might have heard about RV life that just are not true, starting with a common one:
1. The Full-Time RV Lifestyle Is Cheap
This is a partial myth. Why? Because it's only sometimes true.
You can do it on the cheap, or it can be more costly than sticks and bricks life.
Let's start with the obvious.
Just because you live in a travel trailer doesn't mean your regular living costs are going to disappear.
I hope you already figured that one out.
That said, on top of those fixed costs, you'll be adding monthly payments for your RV (unless you paid in full), gas, campground fees, propane, RV insurance, laundromat money, discount camping club fees, maybe extra WIFI, etc.
You can go expensive, OR you can save money, depending on how you go about it. (I boondocked and traveled full-time in my travel trailer camper, saving on living expenses.)
Your monthly payment on your RV could easily be $500+/month.
An upscale resort campground might run $1,500+/month!
Smaller, not nearly as nice campgrounds might run $300-$600 per month.
So as you can see, living in a camper can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be.
2. Polar Package RVs Can Take Freezing Temperatures
Well, sure, you CAN camp in some sub-freezing temps.
However, you still might experience frozen/broken water pipes or tanks if you don't prepare properly.
Even with an arctic package, RVs aren't meant to be camped in below-freezing temperatures for long periods. Broken pipes can and do happen.
At the same time, you can do things to help insulate and warm your RV so that spending time inside is comfortable.
Putting insulated panels all around the bottom of your camper is one example.
Even summers can be brutal even if you have more insulation than the typical RV.
Your AC may not be able to keep you cool.
3. You'll Be Lonely
This doesn't have to be true. However, it's on YOU to seek out others.
Join some RV groups and attend gatherings.
For example, there are Escapees, Xscapers, Full-Time Families, and Tin Can Tourists.
A quick Google search will show you many, many different clubs.
Additionally, there are clubs surrounding RV styles (van/trailer/fifth wheel, etc. groups), RV brand clubs (Casita, Airstream gatherings, etc), and more.
On top of that, some clubs have many benefits, more than just finding community.
Join, attend a rally, and don't stay in your camper the whole time!
4. You'll Be Trailer Trash If You Live In An RV
Oh, please. Sure, some people will judge you that way. So? So what?
If you live your life trying to please others, be prepared for a very sad and unfulfilled life. Though most full-time RVers don't fall into this category.
5. I Can't Full Time RV Because Of Kid(s)
Here's another false myth. MANY, MANY families are on the road doing full-time travel.
They homeschool and the kids get to experience an adventure that most kids only dream of.
Granted, you may not be able to have as much sex as you'd like because you're living in one big room.
But here are some tips for getting it on when you have kids!
Then there are full-time RVers with families that practice stationary living in their camper.
You may need a larger camper to fit your family, but it's doable.
Just check out Full-Time Families for help and inspiration.
Facts About Living In A Camper:
Here are the things you CAN believe about the lifestyle!
6. You Can Explore The Country For Cheap!
So you want to take a trip? Do it in an RV! Look at what you WON'T spend:
Hotel costs: $0
Rental car: $0
Airport Parking: $0
Yes, you can save money exploring the country by living in a camper, even just for a few months of full-time RVing.
All you need is your camper and gas money! It's just about all you need to hit the open road.
It's a HUGE saving compared to flying everywhere.
Simply drive around and take your camper with you. You'll see so much more.
This is an especially cheap idea when you're exploring out west.
Because camping on public land is free.
Now you have zero lodging costs, and you're living right in and among all the cool things to see.
Simply DRIVING a camper to explore the country offers ever-changing scenery while full-time RVing and with significant savings.
Pro Tip: State and national parks often have better deals than private campgrounds.
7. Things WILL Break/It's Not All Flowers and Rainbows
You can count on this one 100%. Have monies set aside for RV life maintenance and repairs.
For instance, new tires for a Class A motorhome cost between $2000-$3000!
You'll need to do regular maintenance, such as checking and fixing cracks in your caulking. Batteries might go bad and need replacing.
Your inverter may stop working. It's no different than a house.
You will have repairs and maintenance to do. The handier you are, the better.
8. It Is Very Different From Sticks And Bricks Living
Oh, it's different.
Your systems work differently. Your square footage will be much smaller, even if you have a large rig.
Daily life will likely be less monotonous and more challenging. Materials are more flimsy than in a typical home.
Showers are often teeny-tiny. RV kitchens are notorious for having little to no counter space.
The stove probably isn't big enough to have two pots cooking.
Therefore, if you decide you want to try the full-time RV lifestyle, I recommend renting one first.
See how you feel about the space.
You may opt-out right away just from lack of it! Or maybe you decide you need a larger rig.
Other full-time RVers (me!) just jumped into full-timing and loved it right away!
9. Families: Finding Alone Time Is Challenging
Living in a camper has at least one massive challenge for families: Alone time.
Family members will have to figure out ways to get away from each other when necessary.
There are ways to have downtime.
Having a separate vehicle is very helpful. Hit the open road. Or take a walk.
Still, you're going to be together A LOT living in a camper with a spouse or a family.
Your full-time adventure might even bring you closer as a family!
10. Getting Mail Is Hard When Traveling
First, if you're set up in a campground, the park may (or may NOT) allow you to have mail sent there.
Otherwise, you'll have to depend on USPS's general delivery (where available), UPS or FedEx to get mail.
I've found that getting mail is one of the biggest pains of full-time RV living when one is frequently moving.
Want to move soon? Not if you have to wait on your mail. It can be very frustrating.
PS- Health insurance and finding an in-network doctor are often another big challenge if you're out of state.
11.(BONUS) You Must Move Your Camper Frequently Even If Stationary!
This is ESPECIALLY important if you have a motorhome.
But it's also true if you have a travel trailer.
Don't just let it sit. (heh)
Sitting long-term is a surefire recipe for big problems. It has an engine that needs exercise. Tires also need exercise.
The movement of driving keeps the rubber supple.
Not having that expansion and contraction of rolling causes them to get rigid and crack.
So, even if you think you want to settle into a campground for 6 months, you should take it out for a ride about once a month.
Living in an RV has both perks and downers, FOR SURE.
If you are not locked into a stationary job, living in an RV is a great way to explore national parks, maybe see the western USA, or save on living expenses by staying in a cheap park.
If you want to RV full time, do plenty of research beforehand (as you're doing now) to decide if you want to stay in one location, or explore the open road, or to learn if RV living is for you or not.
Author: Kelly Beasley
As a seasoned and passionate RVing expert, I have dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 5.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road. Join me on this journey and let's make some unforgettable memories.
This was very refreshing to read. I am also considering getting an RV and am already hyped about it. Still, you should also take the negative aspects to heart and accept them before deciding to buy an RV. That’s why the blog post was just right for me. It didn’t stop me from buying an RV, but it did open my eyes to potential problems.
Do you have any special coating on the outside of your camper? So that the color stays longer and the paint doesn’t get scratched as quickly? Because I was recommended a ceramic coating and now I wanted to get different opinions.
Thanks for checking out Camp Addict and for the comment!
Neither Kelly nor I use anything on the outside of our rigs. Then again, they don’t have full-body paint. They are just fiberglass (I forget the technical term for this).
If you do have full-body paint on your RV, then you are also going to have a clear coat that is meant to protect it. Just like every modern automobile. You would take care of the finish however the manufacturer recommends. How’s that for some great advice! 🙂
You could use some sort of protection if you wish. I’m not aware of any of our friends that do. But I’m sure that there are people who swear by it. Not sure that it will do anything for scratches though. You just have to watch out for tree branches there, or just embrace them! They are a sign of you taking your rig places that are really cool. 😉