10 Signs That You Will Not Make It as a Full-Time RVer

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The RV industry is booming. Eleven million American households now own an RV. Although most of these RVers only travel a few weeks out of the year, a growing percentage of Americans are hitting the road for full-time RV living.

But just because more people are selling it all and setting out for adventure doesn’t mean it’s the right lifestyle for you. Maybe you’ve considered this lifestyle and wondered if you could make it out on the road.

Let’s look at ten signs that the full-time RV life isn’t for you and save you from stress and regret later. Let’s dive in!

The Truth About the Full-Time RV Lifestyle

The RV Industry Association reports that in February 2021, there were 48,286 RVs shipped out to dealers. A year later, in February of this year, there were 53,722 RVs shipped, an increase of over 11%.

Although Instagram and TikTok may paint a particular portrait of the RV lifestyle, the truth is there are both positives and negatives. It’s not just roasting marshmallows every night by the campfire or waking up to beautiful sunrises over deep canyons.

But it’s also not always full of stress, everyday repairs, and reservation systems. Let’s look at both sides of the full-time RV lifestyle.

Pros of the Full-Time RV Lifestyle

When you choose the full-time RV lifestyle, you choose experiences over things. You choose family time over work time. You choose nature and exploration over devices and television. These pros are enough to make some people dive in, sell it all, and head out on adventures.

Taking your home anywhere means you can see different landscapes, learn about new cultures, and savor many cuisines. You don’t have room for a lot of stuff, so you spend money on activities and experiences instead of objects.

You’re also living in a tight space. This can lead to bonding and family time like never before. The experiences can also lead to deeper relationships within the family. Going on a 4-mile hike with your kids or taking the kayaks out for a paddle with your spouse opens up time for conversation.

A happy couple standing in front of their fifth wheel RV in a campground

Cons of the Full-Time RV Lifestyle

Most of what you see on social media and YouTube from influencers and RVers are the best moments. However, the full-time RV lifestyle also has its disadvantages.

First, RVs aren’t really made to be lived in. They don’t always have the best quality. So you may repair things often, order new parts, install them, or pay someone else to work on your rig. It can be expensive to maintain your RV.

Plus, sometimes your plans derail when things break because you have to deal with them immediately. Were you planning on heading out tomorrow for a new destination? Now you’re stuck trying to find a repairman to fix your refrigerator. You’ll have days when the stress level is sky-high.

Even though living in a small space can lead to stronger familial relationships, it can also be challenging. Fighting with your spouse doesn’t happen in private. When your teenager wants alone time, there’s not really anywhere to go. “Me” time is challenging to create, and this lack of privacy can ruin the full-time RV lifestyle for many people.

Learn More: If you’re interested in learning some of the things that drive us crazy about this lifestyle, you can read 13 of the Worst Things About Full-Time RV Living!

10 Signs That You Will Not Make It as a Full-Time RVer

So you’ve considered the pros and cons, but you’re still not sure if the full-time RV lifestyle is for you. Let’s look at ten signs that you won’t enjoy this lifestyle.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t go camping every weekend or take off on a month-long journey. But living in an RV might not be the best choice for you!

1. You Value Things Over Experiences

If you like to collect things or buy your kids the latest gadgets, the RV life probably isn’t for you. There just isn’t room for a lot of stuff when you live in an RV.

Also, traveling around opens the doors to so many unique experiences that you may get bored quickly if you don’t enjoy new experiences and the learning curve of RVing.

2. You Aren’t Flexible

Being flexible is crucial to living full-time in an RV. Things go wrong, and you forget to make a reservation. The weather changes your plans. You might need immediate repairs.

If you aren’t flexible, you’ll get stressed out every time something unexpected happens. This can also cause problems if you work.

A man holding his RV landing jack with a shocked look on his face

3. Dealing with Human Waste Disgusts You

You have to empty the tanks at some point. Usually, it’s every few days or so. Dumping your tanks is a weekly, bi-weekly, or daily occurrence, depending on the size of your family.

So you’ll have to deal with the smell and sight of human waste. Yes, it’s gross. But it’s part of the full-time RV life.

4. You Don’t Handle Stress Well 

Next on our list is stress, which goes along with number two about being flexible. Because unexpected things happen, you have to be flexible. You don’t have to like it, but you’ll need to take one whatever RV life throws at you.

The full-time RV life isn’t for you if change stresses you out. If a tire blows out on the interstate, you can’t go into meltdown mode. You have to deal with it. 

If tornadoes are forecasted to come through your area tomorrow, you can’t sulk about not being able to go to a cultural arts fair. You need to pack up and get out. If you already get easily stressed out, you may want to think twice about hitting the road.

Pro Tip: If you know you’re ready to jump into the RV lifestyle no matter what, then you have to read our Top 10 Full-Time RV Living Tips You Can’t Live Without!

A man and woman in orange vests changing a tire on the side of the road while their fifth wheel is connected to their truck

5. New Experiences Make You Uncomfortable

Most people choose to travel full-time to experience new places, people, and things. This life will be boring if you don’t get out and explore. For introverts, this is especially a challenge but not impossible.

However, if you aren’t willing to get out of your comfort zone and try new things, you may just waste your time traveling about the country.

6. You Don’t Like to Plan

With the RV industry booming like it is, you have to plan. You can no longer just pull up to a campground and ask for a site for the week. Some places open up six months in advance and fill up every day.

To live full-time in an RV, you have to plan where you’ll stay, or you may end up boondocking in a parking lot more often than you want to.

This also goes for visiting high-traffic attractions like national parks. If you don’t get your timed-entry ticket long before you arrive, you might miss out on exploring some of America’s greatest treasures just because you didn’t plan ahead.

7. You’re a Homebody

There’s nothing wrong with being a homebody. It’s great to have alone time at home to rejuvenate and relax. However, like number five about getting out and doing new things, you can’t be a homebody and enjoy the full-time RV lifestyle.

The point is to explore, learn, and make memories. Plus, in such a small space it may not feel as comfortable as a regular home.

8. You Can’t Live Without a Hot Shower

There isn’t an endless hot water supply when you live in an RV. Taking a shower is like playing a game. Can you bathe fast enough to wash and still have hot water at the end?

You may not like the full-time RV lifestyle if you love bubble baths and steaming showers. It’s okay to deal with five-minute showers for a weekend camping trip, but playing the hot water game non-stop will get old very quickly.

Keep in Mind: Have you showered at a truck stop yet? Here is Your Ultimate Guide to Truck Stop Showers.

9. You Can’t Handle Tight Quarters with Your Spouse or Kids

Tight quarters are one of the most challenging aspects of the full-time RV lifestyle. It’s hard to balance privacy and reality. Living in 300 sqft with four people and a dog means always waiting in line to go to the bathroom, everyone hearing your phone calls, and constant fighting over the one TV.

Sure, these tight quarters can create bonding experiences and special family moments, but they can also lead to big fights.

Keep the Peace: If you’re nervous about tight quarters, read our guide on How to Not Kill Your Significant Other While Traveling!

10. You Don’t Want to Deal with Repairs

As already mentioned, maintaining and repairing your RV is just part of the lifestyle. You don’t have to make as many repairs when you only camp on the weekend because your rig isn’t taking the constant beating of full-time travel. 

But when you step into the full-time RV life, go ahead and increase your budget for repairs. If you’re a handyman, you may feel like your job never ends.

If you’re not a handyman, you may feel like you have to fork out money to mobile RV technicians constantly. You can either learn to deal with repairs yourself or pay for someone else to do it. But this is a large part of full-time RV living.

An RV storage door open to show a peg board with loads of bright green tools organized in there

Is Full-Time RV Life Right For You?

Has your heart fluttered as you’ve watched the drone footage of crashing waves against South Padre Island when your favorite YouTube influencer shares about wintering in South Texas?

Or has your mouth watered as your friend shares pictures of lobster rolls from Maine, empanadas from New Mexico, and barbeque from North Carolina? 

You’d love to start traveling and live in an RV full-time. But is it really for you? Does it fit your style and personality? Make sure you weigh the pros and cons and consider whether the full-time RV lifestyle is right for you!

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