11 Do's and Don’ts for RV Living

A few Do's and Don'ts learned from life in an RV.

Amanda Thomas
6-minute read
Episode #195

After about six months of living on the road in our RV, we’ve gotten a pretty good taste for the lifestyle. While we aren’t seasoned pros at it yet, we have gained an understanding of some of the do's and don’ts of RV living. It’s definitely a different lifestyle than living in a typical house or apartment. Here are a few of my lessons learned:

Do Watch Your Money

Just because you’re living in an RV and don’t have the typical monthly expenses of living in a stationary house doesn't mean you shouldn't be frugal. While we don’t have rent or a mortgage, utilities, or other monthly expenses like that, there are still costs that come along with this lifestyle. The biggest cost is typically fuel, but a close second in our life is food. We have found that we love to find local restaurants around the country, much more than we enjoyed eating out when we were in Arizona, but we’ve also discovered that grocery prices vary significantly from city to city. We also spend a chunk of money on sightseeing that we never had to budget for before.

Regardless of how you are spending your money, you need to make sure you are keeping a tight watch on your budget. We’ve met more than one couple who has had to make a more permanent home in a town because it’s where their RV broke down and they were out of money to fix it. Always make sure you have a rainy day account for fixes, and make sure you have money coming in quicker than you spend it.

Do Have a General Idea of Where You’re Going

Living in an RV allows for a lot of flexibility in travel plans. At any point in time, you can pick up and move to a new location. This is amazing, but it can also be overwhelming because there are so many great places to see. Plus, the more people you meet on the road, the more recommendations you get for amazing places. What we’ve found helps is having a general idea of where we are going, and goal dates to arrive in certain cities. It keeps us on track, and helps us prioritize the places and things we really want to see, but it gives us flexibility to deviate or stay longer if we really fall in love with a location.

Don’t Freak Out When Things Go Wrong

Notice I didn’t say IF things go wrong, rather WHEN, because things will go wrong. Ask anyone who has been on the road for longer than a month, and they can tell you a list of things that have gone wrong. From leaks to engine trouble to accidents, there are so many things that can go wrong when you are driving your home down the road every day. What we’ve found helps is to get to an RV park or campground and start talking to the other RV owners. Chances are high that someone has had a similar challenge and can offer you advice or a helping hand. Stay calm and know that you’ll be able to work through almost any problem you encounter.

Do Check for Leaks EVERY TIME It Rains

Every time you move your RV, it’s like taking your home through an earthquake. Things shift, and seals can come unsealed, especially if you have an older unit. Whenever you get to a new location, we’ve found it’s a good idea to take a quick peek at the roof and make sure that everything still looks good. Then, every time it rains, we check around for leaks. Leaks are pesky, and they are elusive, disappearing as soon as the rain stops, so check every time to figure out where the water is coming in. Catching leaks early is key to preserving both the integrity of your RV, as well as your sanity!