If your idea of “living the dream” has been to toss away the ties of a standard home and have the freedom of RV life, you will need to think about a few things that you may not have considered. Achieving your goal can be done but ensuring that you have taken care of some of the small and large details will help you enjoy the enriched life that you have chosen.
Home State, Mail, Registering Your Vehicle:
No matter where you travel to, you will need to have one state listed as your ‘home state’ for the purposes of vehicle registration. Even with so much of our technology being listed online, there will always be some form of mail and you need to make arrangements for mail forwarding. This is especially important for legal and tax mail.
Many people maintain ownership of land in their home state and that can continue to be the method that you want to use. However, if you don’t and have the option of making a choice for a state, there are financial considerations for registration. Some states such as Florida have higher registration fees but also have no state taxes. Other states that share the no state tax are Texas and South Dakota and they are some of the best RV travel areas. South Dakota is one of the most popular “home states” for full time RV living. In addition to low taxes, they offer no vehicle inspection requirements, no inheritance tax and no property taxes.
The best way to have your mail forwarded is to have a family member or friend take care of it. If you don’t choose that option, you can set up a postal box at a UPS or USPS location and simply use online forwarding.
If you aren’t aware, all vehicle insurance rates are based on the state that they are registered in. The states with the higher accident rates have higher insurance costs. States like California and Florida are known for their higher rates. There are a number of things that can happen when you are on the road and this can include everything from accidents, fender benders all the way to theft. The most important two coverages that you need to have is the full RV replacement value should it be stolen or damaged and the replacement value of your personal belongings. Be sure to review the plans well and ask hypothetical questions. There are usually many levels to choose from and you don’t want to be caught unaware should anything happen.
Health insurance is also a major consideration and is also based on the “home state”. If you have the option of choosing a home state, do a bit of homework to find those with the lowest rates. Talk to an agent to arrange insurance that offers “mobile” abilities. Insurance plans that are HMO’s require in-network and limited out of network and most are based on the state of residence for that criteria. You need a plan that travels with you. This also includes dental insurance, although most of those plans are limited as to max coverage.
Practice Before You Jump in Full Time
This is actually a very important step. Even the most experienced RV travelers may not be prepared for full time RV life. Make a few practice runs because this lifestyle is different from the long weekend or your previous vacation week. It will help you to decide whether you want to be on a constant “move” or you prefer to preplan and be located in camps that offer the amenities that you want. This will also give you the opportunity to decide if you want to have a life enjoying the beauty of nature in quiet settings, want to share RV time with others or a combination of both.
Your practice runs will be another way for you to establish some game plans so that you will know where you want to go.
Knowing the Campgrounds
RVing has become so popular that there are an incredible volume of places that welcome all in a free spirit manner. However, even with so many national parks and campground areas, not all are open to everyone at all times due to weather, season and even RV size. Pricing is another consideration as there are certain times of the year that offer reduced rates, while the most popular have higher costs.
Becoming familiar with what each location offers is another hint to the demographics that they want to attract. If you are an RV family with kids, you will want to seek out those places that offer the fun and activities that are appealing for them. However, if you are only looking for adult locations you can differentiate to find what makes you happy.
Look for discount coupons and season passes. Many of the campgrounds as well as RV membership clubs offer them. Living the RV life full time means stretching your dollar.
Become Familiar with the Small Repairs
Let’s face it, things can go wrong on the road, but one of the best things that you can do is become familiar with how to do the little repairs. This includes minor plumbing, patching leaks in the roof or windows, etc. There are a number of online videos available to learn but have an actual detailed manual in case you lose internet connection. Create a portable repair kit that has some of the basic tools and items that you will need. The good thing about traveling is that there is always a hardware store in the next town for any of the items that you may not have thought of.
In today’s internet world we need to remain connected. This goes for maintaining cell phone connectivity as well as the net. Almost all campgrounds offer WiFi hotspots but there are also a number of excellent plans that you can choose from while you are on the road. Do the homework to find the provider that offers you what you are looking for at the best rates. Maintain a high level security firewall for your portable devices so that you protect your information and data.
Over the last number of years the popularity of temp jobs while on the road has become quite the trend. These can be anything from freelance writing to seasonal work in the towns that you are traveling to. The attraction to this part of RV lifestyle offers opportunities to help with the finances and that can be a great peace of mind.
If you happen to have a particular talent such as handyman, cooking, or even light mechanics, there are often temporary jobs in a lot of the towns that you will be traveling to.
Having the freedom of the open road is something that can enrich your lives and gives back more than you can ever hope for. But with this comes the responsibilities so that you are free to experience and enjoy. Thinking of the smaller things ahead of time and doing your due diligence pays off big time.