Tips and Tidbits for Moving From Your House to Your Rig (Part 2)

Last time I discussed a list of things to think about in determining what household items and furniture you may want to store while you’re on the road.

Take pictures of what you store

Take Notes and Take Pictures

One thing I forgot to mention was the suggestion that our storage company gave to us. That is to take pictures of the things you put in storage. He said you’d be amazed at how many people forget what they have is storage after being away from it for several years. I thought that was a great idea! I also took notes on things like where keys to certain drawers in dressers were located, or what boxes certain items went into. Anything to spark your memory after being away from things for a long time. Then the next key is to remember where you put the pictures and the notes!

The Next Two Categories of Piles

Now it’s time to go cover the last two categories, stuff to get rid of and the things you want/need to take with you.

Remember these are only suggestions, and we’d love to hear from others who have experience with this task. Let’s make it easier on those who follow suit.

To pick up where we left off, here are the remaining two categories:

Category 2 – Things to get rid of:

There are many actions you can take with the items you no longer want or need. Here are a few ideas:

  • For things that are still of use you can donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or many other organizations that will resell the items in some kind of thrift shop. By using this option you can write some of the donations off of your taxes but you need to refer to a tax accountant to determine which items and how much you can deduct.
  • If you live in an area that allows estate sales or garage sales, you can put many of your items up for sale.
  • If you live in an area that does not allow sales, you can still set items out in your home and invite friends and family over to see what you have for sale. It’s surprising how effective word of mouth can be in spreading the word about furniture and other household items for sale. Many friends and family know someone who is moving or in need of some new things.
  • You can also list things on Craig’s List or eBay and although I’ve never personally done this, I have friends who have and they say it works great.
  • You can give a lot of items away as gifts. Instead of taking a bottle of wine to someone’s home as a hostess gift, give them something from your give away pile and know that it will be used by a friend. Or if you know of students going off to college or moving out on their own for the first time, they can always use household gifts. Use your imagination.
  • If it is records or documentation that you are disposing of, be sure to be cautious about shredding the items that have any kind of valuable information on it. Watch for social security numbers, account information and other items that can be used to steal your identity. My philosophy is – if in doubt shred it. There are many companies that will shred documents for you for a price.  Places like Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, and many others.
  • The rest of the stuff (that’s a technical term) can just be tossed. Be sure to dispose of hazardous material properly. Consult your local government websites to find out the locations and when the sites are open. The rest can be given to waste management companies or taken to the local landfill or recycle location.
Zeke pooped from helping us pack

Category 3 – Things to take with you:

This is the tough category. The fact that you will have very limited space must be kept in the back of your mind at all times. What I am listing here is by no means a complete list of things you need, but it will certainly give you a start and may trigger some other items you’ll think of. If you have other items you wish to add to this list please write about them in the comments section.

In addition to the obvious things like clothes, food, and other essentials here are a few other items you may not think about.

  • You need to think of what legal documents you may need. Things like tax documentation in case of an audit. You may not have to take these with you but you will need to store them somewhere you can get to them easily. If you store your things with a storage company they will more than likely charge you for getting into the boxes. You also need to have things identified so you can find them easily.
  • If you are planning to travel into Canada, Mexico or any other country besides the USA, you’ll need to take your passports. These are often forgotten about, so make sure you stick them on board and remember where you put them.
  • Additional checkbooks are often forgotten.  Most of your financial transactions should be done online, but if you have some that are not, then don’t forget the checks.
  • Remember to fill all of your prescriptions and bring the prescription with you for refills or arrange with your doctor to have some way of refilling them while on the road.
  • Don’t forget your pets’ medications as well. You’ll need to make arrangements with their vet to refill them while on the road.
  • Speaking of pets, don’t forget to take the shot records for your pets. Many groomers or kennels (if needed for whatever reason) require immunization records. They are also important if you have to take your animal to a vet not familiar with him/her, or across the border.
  • Bring the appropriate membership cards for organizations you’ll be using such as Good Sam, Escapees, fuel cards, FMCA, your vehicle insurance cards for both tow vehicle and Rig, and roadside assistance memberships to name a few.

Remove Some of the Stress

I know this all sounds pretty basic, but it’s very time consuming and can be stressful if you are pressed for time. This is why I suggest you start planning early. The more you can do ahead of time, the more peaceful moving experience you’ll have.

Another word of caution…make sure you keep all of the things you want to take with you completely separated from the things you are going to store or getting rid of. Things start happening very fast and if you have movers helping you, they’ll out number you. Even though you think you are organized, they move quickly and if you’re not careful, they’ll scoop up a box and have it stored before you’ve had a chance to tell them it wasn’t for storage. The next thing you know, you’ll be searching through storage boxes for that article you meant to keep with you.

I know I haven’t covered everything but I hope this gives you food for thought.

If you have additional items you want to add to this list, please write in a comment and we’ll compile a wonderful list for all of those who become full timers in the future.

 

All packed and ready to roll!

Happy packing!

113 thoughts on “Tips and Tidbits for Moving From Your House to Your Rig (Part 2)

  1. I don’t actually RV, but you make me want to go for the adventure! Do you ever feel “disconnected.” I’ve always thought I need one place to call home, but you guys seem to have let go of all that. Maybe as long as Zeke is with you, huh? Love your photos.

    • Hi Pat,
      Actually, letting go is harder than we thought it would be. We’ve talked to many Full Timers that say they’ve never looked back. We’ve also talked to some that have told us they got tired of traveling all of the time and needed to set down roots somewhere, even though they were still living in their rig. They either bought a condo RV site which they return to for several months of the year, or they always go back to the same parks for extended stays. They establish a circle of friends that they interact with and return to every year. We’ll have to play it by ear for a while and see how it goes.

  2. We are in the getting rid of stage stage, well, we have been in that stage for awhile now. Even after our 5th garage sale in two years I can still look around our house and find stuff we just do not need. My wife has started putting clothes into big plastic bins to help us figure out what clothing we really need. We still have some furniture left that we are giving to our oldest daughter and once that is gone we plan on moving into our formal living room to help us prepare for the limited space. Even with all this going on we are loving every step as it gets us closer to our RV life. Thanks for the tips!

    • Glad to be of help. It can be kind of scary when trying to make so many decisions, but as far as what to take with you, it’s better to error on the light side. If you discover you really should have brought something with you, you can always go out and buy it. That’s better than carting something around for months or years and forgetting you even have it on board. Weight is an important factor. Good luck and let us know how you are doing.

  3. We camped in rkrcpoot and took the ferry to port aransas but not with our Vectra. We would like to go back someday. Can you put your camper with a toad on the ferry?What year is your Vectra? Looks a lot like ours which is a 1994 34 pusher>

    • Hey Yassmine, We did take our coach across the ferry towing our car. We took up one whole side of the ferry. It was a little intimidating to think if the ferry went down, everything we own would go with it. But we survived and it was a fun trip albeit short. Only takes a couple of minutes to cross. Our coach is not a Vectra. It is an Alpine 40′ diesel pusher.

  4. We are planning to go full time in four and a half years, when the youngest graduates. I am starting to do research now and came across this article. Thanks for the tips, and I will be reading more from y’all. Keep it real!!! ; ))

  5. We recently renewed our vehicle plates but the courthouse didn’ t want to because we don’t own property in that county since going full time in our tv. How do other full timers handle this?

    • There are several organizations throughout the country that cater to Full Time RVers. You establish residency in that state, acquire a mailing address which is an actual street address, and then they forward your mail to you wherever you tell them to. In Texas, they have Escapees RV Club. In South Dakota there is mydakotaaddress.com. I believe there are others in South Dakota. If you google the topic you’ll find other states that have companies that offer this type of service as well. Each participating state has it’s own requirements on how to establish residency in that state even if you don’t own property. Some states don’t offer this option. Hope this helps.

        • Thanks Bob for the additional information. We’ve been very happy with My Dakota Address but I knew there were others out there.

  6. i am a wannabe. I am wanting a conversion van. I am avid reader so I have gotten a tablet. I am looking into laptop swell as portable DVD player. As far as my crafts I am clueless on how to pack them to take with. I do crafts to try to sell or give away for gifts.

    • Hi Lisa, I suggest packing your craft materials in storage boxes so they’ll stack easily. Use the smallest ones that will fit what you need to take. The firmness of the box should protect your items from damage. Unfortunately, you will not have a lot of room in a van, so you’ll have to pick only the essential items to take with you. Good luck.

  7. Hey there! Just perusing some sites because my husband and I are thinking about doing this. However, it’s not to “travel” per se, it’s just that we know we want to move from our current area soon, and move further West to be nearer to our kids and grandkids, so the job search begins. We thought maybe selling the house and living in an RV for like two years would be good because in the end we will own a nice RV, and save all that money that goes into our mortgage. So my question is….do local RV campgrounds allow you to pay month to month, and how much is that exactly? Wondering also how you do with one bathroom. Also, I doubt we will get a fancy schmancy RV that has a WD in there but if you don’t have that, do the campgrounds have laundry mats? We used to own an RV but have not really camped all that much, but we are liking this idea more and more the more we think about it. Thanks for all advice you can give. Our stuff will go into storage for now but I also wonder, what about your pictures, do you take with you or store them securely in the storage unit?

    • Hey Kimberly,
      Thanks for your questions. Sounds like you are giving this a lot of thought. That’s a good thing. Living in an RV full time is a major change in lifestyle so requires lots of planning. To answer your questions, yes many, but not all, campgrounds have monthly rates that offer you a discounted rate over paying nightly or weekly. The rates are all over the map depending on the location of the park and the amenities offered so you just have to do some research. There’s a lot of information on the Internet so look at some of the areas you are thinking of visiting and search for RV parks in that area. You can usually find a rate sheet. If you cannot, then call them. A lot of parks have seasonal rates so the time of year would have an impact as well.

      Also, most of the parks we have visited have laundry facilities. Some are better than others and they are usually coin operated so you need quarters. Some will have change machines but not all of them. We have run into a few that have a debit-like card that you can purchase. If the park does not have a laundry facility, then you have to go into the nearest town to find one.

      With regard to storage, just remember that space is limited on your Rig. You really need to decide what is absolutely necessary to take with you. You may want to figure out how to store your pictures safely and securely. The configuration of the rig will also dictate your ability to put any pictures up on the walls. Some will have more wall space than others. If you’re worried about storing them in a storage facility, perhaps a friend or family member would be willing to hang onto them for a short period of time.

      To answer how we manage with one bathroom…we learned to share and be respectful of each other’s space and time needed. It takes some patience, but you get used to it.

      Hope this helps. Good luck with your move.
      cb

      • We have laundry hookups in our fifth wheel, but do not have a washer/dryer. We have been on the road for three years and don’t miss the washer/dryer. It’s nicer to be able to do 2-3 loads at once and be done with it, rather than take hours doing one load at a time. Also the combination w/d take FOREVER to do a load.

        I found we had plenty of room for storage, but weight limitations are more limiting than space.

        • I agree Bob. We’ve thought many times of taking our washer/dryer out and use the space for more storage, but haven’t done it. It’s nice every once in a while to do a small load in the evening when nothing else is going on. You are right…Weight is a key issue!

  8. My wife and I are going full time in 4 1/2 years. We are going on the road with a 39′ fifth wheel. How long did it take you to down size? We are planing to find a new home in another state, but will be looking for the perfect place while on the road full time.

    • Congrats on your decision to go full time. It’s a big decision and downsizing is just a part of it. I would suggest starting to go through your stuff now and getting rid of what you no longer use or need over the next 4.5 years. We started when we decided to put our house on the market and did it all at once instead of over time. We did it in a short amount of time and felt stressed out trying to make so many decisions quickly.

      Since you are anticipating buying another place, that will impact your decision on what to keep. You need to figure out the cost of storing items versus replacing them in a few years. A lot of that depends on how long you plan to be on the road. You can find companies that will store your belongings for a reasonable price and then ship it to you when you find your new home. We used Delivery Doctors in Tucson and have been very pleased.

      I also suggest you make a list of everything you do store. It’s amazing how soon you forget exactly what you’ve kept. Once you get on the road and don’t see your things on a daily basis, it’s hard to remember what you stored and what you sold or donated.

      Good luck with your downsizing and be safe on the road.

  9. MaryAnn and I did some camping when we were younger now we are close to retirement so we plan on going full time RV hopefully in a diesel pusher. we are looking at States for residency for title and insurance and Taxes.Thank you for letting us pick your brain ! Bob

    • Hi Bob and MaryAnn,
      Congratulations on your decision to go full time. It’s a big step and takes planning but there are many positive things about it. To answer your question about residency for title, insurance and taxes, there are several states out there that are Full Time RVer friendly. We chose South Dakota and went with an organization called “My Dakota Address”. First of all we visited the state, established residency by getting our drivers’ licenses, registered our cars and Rig, and registered to vote. “My Dakota Address” provided us with a street address and they gather our mail. They send us an email every day telling us what mail we received. We tell them where and how often to send it to us. The street address that they provide for you (it’s actually what they call a private mail box or PMB) becomes your home address. So all of your mail and connections use that address as your “home” address.

      There are other companies that provide similar services. Escapees is a popular one and is located in Texas, and in Montana, you can establish a corporation for your Rig and that becomes your residence state. I don’t know the details about the corporation option so you might want to investigate that one yourself if you are interested.

      There are several states that don’t have state income taxes which make them popular with RVers. Some have stricter rules about establishing residency without owning any property than others. Best thing is to Google the details for these states and see which one fits your needs the best.

      Good luck and let us know how you’re doing.
      ~cb

  10. Hello, and thanks for this site! My husband and I are talking about doing this, but our concern is making a living while on the road. Im a school bus driver and he works in shipping and receiving. Is it hard to earn money on the road?

    • Hi Jake and Emily,
      I think the best way to make money on the road is through some online business. I am a freelance writer and therefore can do my job from anywhere as long as I have an internet connection. I write web content, blogs, design flyers and brochures, online marketing pieces, video scripts and the like. If you Google Internet Marketing you can learn about ways to earn money online. I got a lot of training from AWAI (American Writers and Artists Inc.)

      You can also investigate Camp Hosting or Kamp Workers. Many of the RV Parks hire couples to do work for them. It usually includes office work, outside grounds keeping and maintenance, directing rigs to their spots…things like that. I don’t know what the pay is and I’m sure it varies based on the park. Many places offer a free spot in return for work. Another thing to look into is Amazon Workampers. They hire RVers during the peak time of Sept. through Dec. to work in their Fulfillment Centers (warehouses) to fill orders through the Holiday rush. They provide a spot for parking and pay an hourly wage which differs depending on where you go. There are three locations that I know of, Fernley, NV, Campbellsville, KY, and Coffeyville, KS. It’s pretty grueling work and you are on your feet for ten hours a day, but many RVers do this to earn extra money for the rest of the year. It’s a commitment for the whole 3 to 4 months. From what I understand many people return year after year and have formed quite a community.

      Those are some ideas to get you started. If you look for jobs that allow working at home, then you should be able to do it on the road. The only bit of caution I will mention is that you’ll need some kind of back up internet service. Although most parks have internet service, it isn’t always the best. Good luck and keep me posted.

  11. We have just bòught a fifth wheel are in the process of sorting(downsizing) from 30 years of accumulation. This is a difficult job. Can you give a basic essentials list for the rig? Going fulltime in the spring.

    • Hi Marietta,
      I am working on a series of check lists for RVers. One will be things to bring with you. I hope to have them done soon so stay tuned.

      One thing you can do in the meantime is make a mental note as you use things and determine if you could live without it or have to have it. Start writing down the things you determine are must haves. Hope that helps.

  12. We’re just starting the process to Full Time RV’ers. I’ve been reading your blog. Thanks for the good imformation. I’ll be looking for you list of what to bring in the RV.

    • Hope you are enjoying yourselves Milton. I’m working on the lists (I’m going to provide several) and hope to offer them soon. Good luck on the road and keep me posted.

  13. HI and thanks for all the info…My wife and I are just beginning our adventure into full time..We sold our house 2 yrs ago and now live in an apt. I will retire in a few weeks and love our RV lifestyle so after a month living in our RV in San Diego feel this is our thing.
    Our big question like others is becoming a resident out of a state that has no state tax.
    We plan on traveling for about a year but then find a nice park and stay 6mos at a time.
    Do we use the “out of state” mailboxes during this travel time and can we keep that out of state address if we decide to have a base camp in Calfifornia.

    Thanks again..

    • Hi Vince,
      Congrats on your upcoming retirement. I’ll bet you are looking forward to it.

      First of all let me say that I am not an attorney nor a tax expert of any kind so you may want to seek the advice from a professional. We chose to become residences of South Dakota and get a physical address through My Dakota Address. They are set up to help RVers while they are on the road. We get an email daily telling us what mail we’ve received. Then they mail it to us wherever we tell them to. We usually receive our mail once a week unless it sounds like something urgent…then we have them overnight it to us. This way we are consistent with all of our correspondence and have a permanent address. We only have to deal with having our mail forwarded once.

      There are other companies that offer this kind of service. Escapees in Texas is one and there is another one in South Dakota but unfortunately I don’t remember their name at this time. I’m sure there are others.

      Since everyone’s situation is different, you’ll have to decide what works best for you. I also recommend getting as much of your bill paying as possible online. This helps you stay current and not have to worry about things getting lost in the mail or missing you at a particular site. It also helps reduce the amount of snail mail you get and the cost of forwarding it to you. Think about canceling physical copies of magazines and changing them to online as well. Anything you can do online will help you save.

      Good luck on your journey!
      cb

  14. Hi,
    I am doing the full time rving thing. Selling the home on the Jersey shore which may take a while as the realestate market is not good to say the least. Hoping sooner than later. Slowly getting rid of stuff one way or another. No storage unit maybe a few things to reatives what ever they want. As soon as the home is sold purchasing a Tiffin Pheaton 40QKH. It will probably be my self and Autum my Golden Retriver. South Dakota seems like a good home state. All my insurances will be from SD Vehicle and medicare supplement. I know it is a very general question but any sugestions. Just a bit of additional information I plan to do a good bit of state and national parks and boondocking.

    Jack

    • Hello Jack,
      Sounds like you have a good plan and are thinking ahead. If you become a resident of South Dakota and use My Dakota Address to get an address and manage your mail, then your insurance, vehicle as well as medical, would out of that state. That is the only one I can speak to because that’s the one we used. But I assume it works the same in the other companies that offer these services.

      Good luck and enjoy the ride!
      cb

    • I was just talking today to someone about full time RVing when I retire. I wonder if there is a “singles” blog for full timers. It would be me and my Golden as well. Good luck to you.

      • Hi Linda,
        I just Googled RV groups for singles and a number of them came up. The top five listed were: Single RVers – Loners on Wheels, WINs – Wandering Individuals Network, Solos – Escapees RV Club (You would have to pay to join Escapees I would think), RV-Singles, and RV Clubs for the Solo RVer – Roaming RV. I know nothing about any of them but perhaps if other readers know about them, they could chime in. There were others listed as well. You could go to their websites or if they have a Facebook page, go there and check them out. See what kinds of topics they blog about and get a feel for the group. Hope that helps. Good luck and let us know what you find out. ~cb

    • Hi Jack! Just now starting to read blogs of what other people are doing in their RVs….. Yours sounded interesting…..so what Nat l Parks have you gotten to since then(2014)? I full timed quite a few years and live in So Cal……did S D work out well for you?

      • Hi Donna,
        Not sure who Jack is but I’ll respond to your comment. We’ve gone to many National Parks over the years of RVing. Our most recent one was Death Valley. Actually it was our second time being there. It’s amazing and definitely a place to visit if given the chance. This time we were dry camping because most of their RV spots do not have hook-ups. It was very hot even though it was in February and we had to run our generator a lot for AC. We actually ended up leaving sooner than we’d planned but enjoyed our time there.

        If you’re referring to South Dakota as a residence, it works great. Daily emails describe what mail we’ve received and they send it wherever we ask them to. We found licensing all of our vehicles much less costly than other places as well.

        Hope that answers your questions.

        ~Chris

    • Hi Luis,
      I will say up front that I am no expert on this issue. I suggest you look up each state’s regulations because I do know they differ. I’ve heard that California is especially restrictive and friends from Canada say it’s very limited on what you can take across the border. I highly recommend knowing the regulations before you go.
      Good luck.
      cb

  15. We are about 6 months away from retirement and going to RV full time, and like most of you we are getting very excited, but we are nervous also, we should have about $3500 to 4000 a month income with a paid for diesel pusher, i am having a hard time finding great info on how much is needed to full time, and I am also having trouble finding info on best internet service and satellite
    Any help where to look

    • Hi Ted,
      Congrats on your decision to go full timing.You are in for some fun and wonderful experiences.

      That’s a really good question about how much money is enough.The fact that your Rig is paid off is a big advantage to you. Of course you’ll still have the normal maintenance expenses such as new tires, fixing things as they go bad…and they will…keeping your tow car in great shape and the like. How much money you’ll need for non rig and car expenses depends on a lot of things. For example will you be traveling a lot or staying in one place for months at a time? This will impact your expenses.

      Here are some things to think about and hopefully other RVers will chime in. One of the biggest expenses is fuel. The prices are high for diesel especially depending on which state you are in. Prices tend to escalate in the summer and some times reduce in the fall. Of course a lot depends on the political and monetary situation around oil. If you plan to travel a lot, then of course your diesel requirements will be higher. If you stay in one place for a while, that reduces the fuel costs.

      Another expense is the cost of the parks. Depending on where you stay, the park fees can vary tremendously. You can pay as high as $100 per night or as low as free if you belong to an RV travel club such as 1000 Trails or others. Be sure to get a Good Sam membership. They offer discounts on many parks. If you are a KOA member, you get discounts at KOA parks. FMCA and Escapees have discounted parks as well. Staying in state parks is usually a lower cost option. Depending on how big your rig is, some times the parks can be difficult to get in to.

      Many RV parks offer monthly rates which are much cheaper than paying on a daily or weekly basis. Be sure to check that out before setting forth your plans. Some parks include electricity in their rates and others charge additional rates off the electrical meter. Depending on the area where you are staying, if you have to run the AC, these fees can add up.

      Propane is another cost and will vary depending on your individual habits and your rig. Ours has a fully electric refrigerator. Others have dual propane and electric. Furnaces are usually propane, so if you are in the cold, that would be a cost to be considered. In some states, the propane companies will no longer deliver to the park unless you have an external tank. One park we stayed at wouldn’t lease us the external tank unless we were staying there for a year. (That’s unusual in our experience but there may be length of stay requirements). If you can’t get the external tank, then you have to drive the Rig to where they can fill it up directly. Washington State is one of those states that won’t come to the park and fill your rig. Must be external tank.

      Food costs shouldn’t be that much different than what you are paying now. Most larger cities have Costco Stores for the kinds of things you can buy in bulk…toilet paper, paper towels, etc. Walmarts are prevalent and are usually cheaper than some of the other groceries.

      You also asked about wifi and satellite. We have DirecTV which is pretty RV friendly. We tried Dish one time and they were not set up for traveling customers. The satellites kept switching at certain times of the day which disrupted viewing if you were parked. This may have changed as it was several years ago that we tried it. With DirecTV we also have in motion satellite which means we can use it while on the road. Great for listening to music along the way.

      As far as wifi, this has been a problem for us. We are both on our computers a lot. Most parks will have some kind of wifi service. Some are better than others and some are just plain unacceptable. Some you pay for through an outside agency, others offer it for free. What we found is we needed to bring our own wifi device. We use Verizon’s Myfi. It’s usually pretty good as it works off the cellular network so as long as you have cell coverage, you’ll have wifi. However it’s not cheap. There are different plans you can get depending on your usage patterns. If you have Verizon cell service for your phones, it’s just added on to that package. You can turn it off with certain restrictions if you are not going to be using it for a while. I believe AT&T has a similar offering. Depending on the kind of cell phone you have, you can turn your phone into a hotspot for wifi as well. It all depends on your carrier and you’ll have to research what kinds of plans your provider offers. If you are out in the wilderness, there’s a good chance you won’t have any coverage.

      I hope this information at least gives you some things to think about. Hopefully others will chime in and offer their experiences as well. Good luck and keep us all posted on your adventures. If you have any other questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.
      Chris

  16. I have been reading in some of the motor home mags about cell phone boosters to increase your signal for use in your rig, has anybody used one and if so your opinion

    • Hi Ted,
      We have not tried a cell phone booster but have tried a wifi booster which did not work. I hope others will chime in and give some insight.
      ~cb

  17. My husband and I will be starting our new RV life on December 3, 2014 in a 36 ft. fifth wheel. I’ve lived in motoehomes, campers, and 5th wheels my entire life since my parents loved to travel. However, my husband does not know what to expect from this new life. How can I help him adjust to this new lifestyle? He’s excited but I know he is in for a shock when he realizes exactly how much space we are really going to have. Any advice?

    • Hi Kristina,
      That’s a good question and something that needs to be addressed before you begin your adventure. Since it sounds like you already have your rig, I would suggest going on some small trips ahead of time. Dec. 3 is just around the corner so you don’t have much time but hopefully you’ve been taking some short trips and getting him acclimated over time.

      You didn’t mention whether you were selling your home and going full time or if you are keeping your house. If you are selling your place, then it will be necessary to down size to what you need to take with you or put some of your stuff into storage. If you have things in storage, it is not very easy to get at it, but at least you know it’s still there and available to you when you stop traveling. Something that may help you hubby feel more comfortable about.

      Organization is key. Take advantage of some of the organizational products like storage boxes and sliding shelves for keeping things underneath. Try to be as realistic as you can in terms of how much you really need to take. Clothing was the big deal for me. Of course I thought I needed everything but that wasn’t going to happen! Take only what is necessary. Be sure to take warm clothes and cooler clothes but be selective.

      Don’t try to take too many supplies with you all at once. It’ll make things feel even more crowded. Shopping at Costco is great, but you must remember you don’t have all that much room to store things if you buy things in bulk. Same thing goes for food. You won’t have an extra freezer or refrigerator in the garage like you may have had in your home. Try to do some menu planning and shop only for the things you need for the near future…like a week or so.

      The less clutter, the more roomy things will feel. A big problem for us is all of our computers, digital devices and the cords that go with them. They always seem to be in the way. We try to have only the things we need to be in reach. The other things are in their storage place.

      Hopefully you’ll be traveling where it’s warm enough to sit outside and do a lot of things outdoors. If you are in a cold or wet climate, that contributes to the feeling of being locked in and making your rig feel smaller.

      I think the best advice I can give is once you’ve decided what is absolutely necessary to take, then keep everything in it’s place. Like I said before, the less clutter, the more you’ll feel like you have room.

      Once you get on the road, meet your neighbors and talk to them about how they do things. We’ve learned some of the best tips just by talking to other RVers. People are very clever and creative. You’ll learn a lot from them.

      Also, take part in the activities at the different parks. Again, this gives you space and you won’t feel so confined. The more time you can spend outside, the more space you’ll feel. At least that’s what works for us. When you are inside, keep the blinds open as much as you can to let the light in. After a while, I’m sure your hubby won’t mind the smaller space. He’ll be too busy enjoying his surroundings, seeing the country, and making new friends to worry about it.

      Good luck and let me know how it goes.
      ~cb

  18. I really appreciate your site. My wife, ten year old daughter and I will be retiring from the military after 30 years next summer, and we are looking at selling our house and going full time Rving for a year. We have never RV’d at all, so this is something we are feeling more than a little trepidation about. We have done a number of 10-15 day road trips and travel very well together, but I am quite sure that full-time life in an RV is not a 15 day road trip. The list of things we need to learn is so long but it’s sites like these that I think will help us get started. If you can think back to when you first got your feet wet with RVs and started learning about the lifestyle, and make any recommendations on how we can start getting smarter on RVs and any stupid mistakes to avoid, it would be deeply appreciated. Thanks much and your blog is great.

    Adam

    • Hi Adam,
      How exciting for you and your family. What a great learning experience for your daughter. She may want to start her own blog and talk about all of the things she’s learned about our country. It would be a wondrful way to remember your trip and also give her a great project to work on.

      We first started RVing about 12 years ago. We knew very little about it at the time. When we bought our coach, we talked to the sales people and the mechanics to learn as much as we could about the rig itself. The salesman also did a walk through of all of the mechanical parts and showed us how to work them. Hooking up the sewer, running the slides in and out, the AC/heat pumps and propane system, everything. We took it on several test drives as my husband had never driven something that big. He also read the owner’s manual cover to cover so he knew how everything worked. The one thing I wish we’d done before setting out on our first trip was to take it on a weekend trip to try everything out on our own. We bought it new and the company offered us a free weekend at an RV park to test everything out. Instead, we took off for our first 6 week trip and discovered a lot of things that didn’t work right. Had we done the preliminary weekend trip, we would have saved ourselves a lot of headaches. So if you get a chance, do some practice runs first.

      I would also recommend joining some of the RV groups out there such as FMCA, Good Sam, different associations associated with the particular rig you buy, and any other groups that you feel would match your desires and situation. You can Google RV groups and can find a lot. There may even be one for RVing with children.

      Talk to other RVers. That’s where we’ve gained an incredible amount knowledge. People are so willing to help. It’s also fun meeting people from all over the country and the world actually. You run into people from other countries that come to the States and travel around to see the different environments we have to offer. Some rent rigs while others buy.

      Attend some of the rallies. That’s a good way to meet up with others and learn. You also get good ideas of where to go and which parks to stay in.

      Those are some suggestions to get started. If I think of some more things to do before you head out, I’ll let you know. Perhaps others will chime in and give you their advice as well.

      Good luck and keep me posted on your adventures!
      cb

    • As a military retiree you will be able to take advantage of the FamCamps at many of the military installations. You can sign up at this website http://www.militarycampgrounds.us for a listing of all the FamCamps with directions/reviews for the camps. My wife and I are retired and spent the past two summers RVing and decided to take the plunge and sell everything and go full-time. We are currently awaiting the completion of our 36′ 5th wheel.

      • Thanks Carl,

        Thats good information for all the military folks out there. I appreciate you letting us know.

        Good luck on your new adventure as a full timer in your new 5th wheeler!

        Have fun and enjoy.
        ~cb

  19. Hi Chris!! First of all I want to thank you(and your readers) for the wealth of info provided in this blog!!! My hubs and I have decided to sell our N. AR home and hit the road in a class A. Hopefully by spring at the latest. We planned on doing this 15 yrs ago, did MAJOR research then, at the last minute were unable to actually do it. WE would be very appreciative of places to get any practical advice on which class As ( low to mid range) are the best for full time (warm weather primarily) Like the idea of boondocking. I would also like to hear from you and others some advice as to what is sane to think about bringing kitchen-wise. I use a lot of 1zip bags already, but that is the only plastic I use. I have many mason and glass lock lid jars, I believe I know how to keep them in the cabinets, but how to keep them from rattling??? Plates I get, but what about glasses?? I would also LOVE to get some info on traveling w/cats. Please Help!! Thank You! W

    • Hi again Wendy,
      I think I touched on most of your questions in the other post, but this time you mentioned boon docking which brings up another thing to think about when purchasing your rig. We have a fully electric refrigerator. Many of the rigs have frigs that are either electric or propane. When we boon dock, which isn’t very often, we have to run the generator several hours a day to keep the refrigerator cold. We could use the inverters but that takes the batteries down which we don’t like to do if we don’t have to. So if boon docking is a priority for you, be sure to determine how often you’d have to run the generator to keep things running. If others are boon docking around you, the noise of the generator is not always welcome.

      As far as traveling with cats, you’ll need to have a spot for their litter box somewhere. Something to keep in mind when you look at rigs. We keep ours on the floor of the bedroom. I’ve seen some people actually put them in a cupboard on the floor with an opening so the cat can get in and out or in the shower with the door propped open. We have a dog too so we need to position the litter box so he can’t get into it but the cat can.

      If your cats have their claws, be sure to bring along a scratching post. We’ve also trained our cat to walk on a leash. He’s pretty good, but we never let him outside without being on one. There are a lot of dogs in RV parks and many of them are on those dreaded long expandable leashes that are 50 feet long…well maybe not quite that long, but long. Most parks have a 6 foot leash rule but for some reason many people don’t follow that rule. They have very little control over a dog on those long leaches. Anyway, we are very protective of our cat when outside. Things can happen so fast.

      Let me know if you have any other questions. I still owe you a couple of answers and will post when I get them.
      ~cb

  20. Thanks so much Chris! I REALLY appreciate the promptness of your reply! And you mentioned some very good things to think about. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the knowledge shared here! Is there a link for info on solar panels for rv’s? When we were checking this out years ago there were models we looked at that came w/the whole set up, but I’ve seen no mention of them lately. Thanks! W

    • Hi Wendy,
      We have solar panels on our Rig and many others do as well. We have some friends who have an RV a couple years newer than ours and they just had some panels put on. I just Googled solar panels for RVs and a bunch of links came up. I think solar is a great idea, especially if you’ll be staying where the sun shines a lot.
      ~cb

  21. Chris,

    We are in the planning stages (hoping to begin fulltime RVing within two years). Researching for now and planning downsize – how did you decide what to purchase? 5th wheel versus motorhome? I see so many positives in both – parking/moving/towing, etc? How did you decide?

    • Hi Evangeline,

      You ask a good question and I’ll give you some things to think about when trying to decide. Everyone is so different that what works for one family may not for another. So it’s a very personal and individual decision.

      Try to think about where you want to go on your journey and what type of parks you want to stay in. Will you be staying in State parks or upscale RV parks. Will you do a lot of boon docking (no hookups) or will you stick with the places that have full hook ups with power, water, and sewer?

      How much room do you need? What kinds of things are you planning to take with you? For example, do you want to take ATVs, boats, things to do hobbies with, etc. With a Fifth wheeler, you tow it with a truck. Will the truck serve your needs as your vehicle to get around when you are parked. Would you rather have a car or SUV which you could tow behind a motor coach or use to pull a trailer. With a motor coach you can tow a trailer and have multiple things in it. I’ve seen trailers with a boat on the top and a car underneath it. People have trailers fill with wood working equipment to do while on the road. I’ve also seen a truck pulling a fifth wheel pulling a boat. I can’t imagine doing that and I don’t believe it’s legal in all states so I wouldn’t recommend that without further study.

      So you can see how personal the decision is. Are you going to be traveling in colder weather? You would need to find out which rig is safer to drive in snowy or icy weather. If you are going to stay where it’s hot, then be sure the rig has a good AC system.

      For us, we never even owned a tent. We went straight to a 40 ft. motor coach and have never regretted it. We tow our SUV behind us and we have plenty of room for what we need. We do very little boon docking and like the fully equipped parks, so the coach fits us well. We’re somewhat limited to where we can park because we’re so long. Maneuverability is also something to think about. We don’t bend in the middle so navigating around some of the parks can be a challenge.

      I just Googled ‘Consumer Reports for RVs’. A number of websites came up that do comparisons between the various types of RVs. They looked like they were full of good information. Also, if you can, try renting some before you make a purchase. Go for a weekend trip and see how you like them. Talk to other Full Timers to see how they made their decision. All of this will help you think through what is best for you.

      I hope this helps. Like I said before it’s not a one size or type fits all. That would be too easy 🙂 That’s why there are so many choices out there.

      Good luck and let me know what you figure out.
      ~cb

  22. In this blog you mentioned making sure you have your prescriptions. Don’t forget to add the prescription for your glasses. If you should loose them or break them while on the road they can easily be replaced.

    Since we are in the process of getting ready to full time, we have started packing up our motorhome with all the “must take” items. Weight is obviously an issue but so is space. I’m putting some clothing that we don’t wear too often (like sweaters and long pants since we tend to stay in warm weather areas) in vacuum bags. They take up less room. As the storage space fills up, we will have to decide which items are “needs” versus “wants”.

    Only 1-1/2 months to go!

    • Hi Jean,
      I’m so sorry for the tardy response. Unfortunately my site was hacked and I’ve had to get it cleaned up and back on line. My apologies.

      You’re absolutely right about prescriptions for glasses. In fact I recommend having an extra pair with you if you are totally dependent on them. Same thing with contacts. You never know when they might get lost or damaged and how long it will be before you can get a replacement.

      I too have stored clothes in vacuum bags. We have storage space under our sofa which unfolds to a bed. It’s a great place for storing items you don’t need on a regular basis. I’ve used this space and vacuum bags to store extra blankets as well.

      Thanks for contributing and good luck with your Full Timing experience. Have fun.
      ~Chris

  23. Hi Chris! Great blog and it’s amazing how responsive you are – kudos to you! My husband & I are in our late 40s and we’re planning on taking the big plunge on June 1, 2016 in our older 33ft motorhome that we just purchased. We’re doing some serious re-vamping of the RV & I’m already making lists for packing/selling/storing. We’re very excited except for one aspect, we haven’t told the family yet & I know their reaction won’t be pleasant! Both sets of our parents are in their 70s and in pretty good health, we have children in their mid-20s and two grandchildren, ages 6 & 2. How did you handle this part of full-time rving? I would appreciate your thoughts on this or any other RVers out there. Looking forward to your response & keep up the good work!
    Chris (too)

    • Hi Chris,
      I’m glad you’re finding the blog helpful. As far as letting family and friends know what you’re planning, you’ll get all kinds of responses. As I said on my home page, many of our relatives and friends thought we were nuts. But a lot of them were envious. The thought of freedom from having house and yard responsibilities appeals to them.

      I think a big part of what turns people off is the thought of living in such a small space. Once I took a few of my friends on a tour of our coach and showed them the kingsize bed, washer and dryer, full size refrigerator, surround sound, etc., they understood better. But some people can’t imagine being that “closed up” or living in such tight quarters with their spouse. They feel they need “their” space. I guess what a lot of people don’t realize is the whole art of RVing is to go places where you can spend a lot of time outside. Sitting in lawn chairs and watching the world go by is one of the things that appeals to us.

      We bought our rig long before we decided to go Full Time. We had just retired and even though we had a home, we did a lot of traveling in it. When we moved to Tucson, we used our Rig to go North in the summer, so we were gone for long periods of time. So it wasn’t too much of a surprise when we decided to make the change.

      I’m not sure where all of your family lives, but a lot of our friends find it the best way to live so they are free to visit family wherever they are and can stay for as long…or short…as they want. Especially when it comes to grandkids. They have their own living quarters and aren’t intruding on others. If that’s your situation then I would think your family would like the idea. But everyone is different and what works for some may not work for others.

      Hopefully others will chime in and give advice.
      Thanks for your comments and good luck. Keep us posted on how you handle it.
      The other Chris

  24. Hi Chris,

    My husband and I are considering the full time rv life when we retire (a few years off). One thing that I am working on now for our home is a household notebook. It occurred to me that this would be a good thing for rv’ers as well. This is one book that has many lists of all your important information. Phone number list, doctors name and information, insurance, etc….. Some of the things you and others have put on here would make a good tab for this kind of book (Ex. – storage location and list of items in it, etc..)

    I have enjoyed this blog and we look forward to the rv lifestyle!!!! Just have to wait till retirement :(. LOL

    Pam

    • Hi Pam,
      Yes, the notebook is a great idea. It’s amazing how much information you find you need at some time or another. Keep us posted on when you make the leap and let us know how it’s going. Bravo to you for getting an early start on planning!
      ~cb

  25. HI Chris,
    We will be fulltime RVers in about 4-5 years after my husband retires. I really like your ideas about what to keep, etc.
    My question is: Have you ever had trouble with mice in your storage below or even in your coach living space?
    Thanks for your help.
    Bev

    • Hi Bev,
      Welcome to the world of fulltiming. Glad you have found this website useful.

      As far as mice, the only time we had trouble with them was when we stored the Rig in an outdoor lot and our spot was in the external row. Open space was on the other side of the fence and they started building on it. It must have moved all the critters out and over to our lot.

      We think they came in through the space around the steering wheel because that’s where we found a lot of droppings. We set traps for them in that area as well as on the kitchen counter. We caught a few. We also put traps below in the basement but never saw any evidence they were there.

      After that we put mice repellent around the tires whenever we stored it. Knock on wood…we’ve never had a mouse problem while we’ve been traveling or living in it. I’ve heard of others who have had problems with mice coming into the coach by tight rope walking the hook up cables. Again, we haven’t had that happen.

      I think you need to be aware of places where critters can come into the Rig. Then make sure you keep those areas free from things that might invite them, such as food of any kind. Those are also the places to put repellents but be careful if you have animals. Even if you don’t have animals, be cognizant of the fact that most other RVers do so you certainly don’t want to poison them.

      We’ve also had ants on occasion. I have to tell you I HATE ants. We were in a particular park that seemed to be infested with them. Fortunately we were only there 2 nights. We had to be diligent about keeping the area clear of any crumbs and we also used spray (nontoxic to animals) around the perimeter of our coach. Again be sure to check any likely entry point where they can come in.

      There are usually ants around most parks, but this particular one was infested. We bring insect spray with us.

      Hope that helps,
      ~cb

  26. Chris, just found your web site and love it. Wife an I are both 70 yrs old and in the process of buying our 1st RV. So many things to consider is mind blowing. Class a (gas), class C or 5th wheel.
    What to keep an get rid of what to take, where to go, Thats a lot to think of at one time. I’m leaning towards 5th wheel. We have a house in Fla and we plan on going out for 3-6 months a year to start. That will better tell us what we need and don’t need. Then we can decide on full time RVing. Does that sound like a good idea to start for 3-6 months and let things level out where they will?

    • Hi Craig,

      Welcome to the RVing world. I think your plan sounds great, especially if you haven’t done any RVing in the past. It’s a big step to downsize to an RV and there are lots of things to consider. Taking some time to get used to RVing and testing the waters before you jump in full time is smart. We RV’d for 3 or 4 months a year for a long time before we sold everything and moved in full time. Even then it was kind of scary. It’s a big jump. The more thought out your plans the better. But then that’s just my opinion. Others may be a lot more spontaneous then I am.

      Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
      ~cb

    • Just found this site. I am 69 and my hubby is 72. We bought an old motorhome last Oct. 2015. We had planned to start using it but I was hospitalized in Dec. and in rehab. I have finally recovered enough to travel. My hubby has been working on the MH doing small things getting it ready. It’s nice to see someone else at our age is doing the same things. Any advice will be appreciated.
      Billie

      • Hi Billie,
        Thanks for connecting with us and I’m glad you’ve found our site useful. Sorry to hear about your hospitalization but glad to know you are well on your way to recovery! In my book, age is just a number and as long as you take care of yourself and have the right mindset, you can keep right on going. There are many full-timers in their late 60’s and early 70’s so you will not be alone.

        If you have specific questions, let me know and I’d be happy to try and answer them. Where are you going for your first adventure? Keep us posted on your journey.

        Good luck,
        ~cb

  27. My wife and I will be full timing and taking the mother-in-law along for the adventure. I am retired military, and plan to take advantage of FamCamps. We are selling our home and researching fifth wheel 2 bedroom 1.5 bath RV’s. Because we are selling our home and vehicles we need to find a reliable RV home. I’m not sure if new or used is the way to go. Also like the idea of a light weight RV for easier towing and fuel economy. Appreciate any input.

    • Hi Gary,
      Sounds like a well thought out plan. I wasn’t familiar with FamCamps so had to look it up. What a great opportunity for the military folks.

      As far as a reliable RV and whether or not you should buy new or used, there are lots of things to consider. If you buy new, just like a car, as soon as you drive it off the lot it depreciates. That’s my biggest issue with buying new. (We bought ours new.) Also, there are always little bugs that show up and need to be worked out by living in it and using it. Hopefully if buying used, the bugs will be fixed.

      On the pro side of buying new, you are the first owner and will know exactly where it’s been and the history of it. It’ll be under warranty and if there are issues, they should be covered. If you buy in the early stages of manufacturing it, you may have some say on the final features and appointments to fit your specific needs.

      When buying used, I suggest doing as much research as possible. I found a couple websites that have some history of motor coaches but didn’t find any for trailers or fifth wheelers. Carfax.com has some info on motorized vehicles. RVchecks.com and dmv.com has history based on the VIN number. But it’s not clear what types of reports you get. If you buy through a dealer, they will have some history. If you buy from an owner, ask to see records of repairs etc.

      We’ve only owned a motor coach so I’m not able to give you any real life experience in a fifth wheeler. But our friends who have them love them. A lot depends on your particular lifestyle and personal preferences. Perhaps others reading this will have some comments.

      Good luck!
      ~cb

  28. Thanks for the quick response Chris, I too am concerned with the depreciation of a new RV. I think buying a left over new unit may be an option. I’m thinking some modification of a bunk house will be needed too, give the mother-in-law a real (not bunk) bed. Lots of things to think about but we are down sizing now and just waiting for our home to sell. Will be hitting the road with no debt.

  29. Great site. My husband and I are about 2 1/2 years out from retirement. I guess you would say we plan on doing part time-fulltime. We are keeping our home in Fla and plan on traveling about 9 or 10 months but coming back home for the holidays. We think we will be doing this for about 3 to 4 years but nothing written in stone. I wondered if you planned your stays at each park, my dream is to park my “home” and stay until I am bored which could be days or weeks? Thanks again for a GREAT site

    • Hi Sherba,
      I imagine you are looking forward to retirement. Sounds like you’ve got a great plan to enjoy the best of both worlds, having a home base and the freedom of the road.

      As far as planning stays at parks, we like to make plans ahead of time to ensure we’ve got a spot big enough to handle us. We lay out our route, determine how far we want to travel each day or if we want to stay for a while. That’s just us though. We tend to be planners. We know lots of people who come and go pretty much on a whim.

      My advice is to be sure you know the rules of the park. Many require paying up front and no refunds or credits if you change your mind. Others are more flexible and require a down payment and then you can pay as you go as long as you give them enough notice. A lot of parks host rallies which can fill the park and they need every spot. So when you make your original reservation or check-in, just ask about the flexibility of their reservation process. We’ve found most parks are pretty accommodating. Others, the more popular ones, are not.

      Best of luck to you,
      ~cb

  30. My husband and I just sold everything and move into our 26ft camper tomorrow. We’ll be living in it full-time and couldn’t be more excited. It felt absolutely amazing to get rid of everything we owned and live simply. It took quite some time to sort through all of it though. As soon as it was official, I slowly started getting rid of everything. It took about a month to scale it all down. It’s amazing how much stuff can accumulate over the years! Thanks for the article. It was super helpful!

    • Hi Hannah,

      Congratulaions on your progress toward your goal of full timing. I’m glad the articles helped.

      You’ll have to keep us posted on where you go and how you like living the “Simple Life”.

      Good luck to you folks!

      ~cb

    • Hi Dixie,

      That’s a good question and one that full timers need to find an answer for. There are many companies and organizations that cater to the full timer. They offer a physical address and mail forwarding service. You can also establish voting rights as well. The requirements to become a participant vary with each company and each state has it’s own rules. We chose My Dakota Address which is located in Madison, South Dakota. When we went through the process, we were required to spend one night somewhere in South Dakota, obtain an RV Park receipt as proof that we did spend at least one night, and go to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles with that proof and apply for a driver’s license. My Dakota Address gives you a physical address which you use on your license.

      Escapees is another company that performs similar functions and is located in Texas. Last I checked, their requirement was to spend 30 days in the state to obtain a residence, but it could have changed by now so you’d need to check it out.

      Florida has some options as well. Montana offers the opportunity of establishing a corporation in their state which includes your rig.

      I suggest doing a thorough google search on the DMVs within the states you’re interested in. The rules are different in each state and they do change over time.

      Good luck and let us know what you decide to do.
      ~cb

  31. Hi Chris,

    My husband and I are thinking of becoming fill time RVers. I retired a year ago. My husband has been retired for a couple of years. I am 57 and he is 68. We are debt free. We have been together for 39 years. We love tent camping and traveling the back roads of our wonderful country. I discovered your blog while doing some research into fill time RVing. It has been very helpful and I hope to refer to it often. We hope to be full timers by the fall of this year. We are starting to downsize our belongings. We are also looking at the different size RV’s to determine what works best for us. Thank you for the time you put into your blog. We hope to join the ranks soon.

    • Dear Kim,

      Thanks for your comments and welcome to the world of Full timing…well almost. It’s a big decision and isn’t for everyone, but so many people absolutely love it and wouldn’t turn back. I wish you and your husband the best as you go forward and if I can be of any help, let me know.
      Good luck,
      ~cb

  32. We will be moving into our RV in about 18 months and will live in it while we stage and sell the house and my husband wraps up his work career. Our ‘stuff’ that we are keeping, will live in our daughter’s basement. I like the idea of photographing everything. Not only for our memory jogger but in case of fire and ins claims. I am currently sorting and boxing things to go and putting things to keep in clear bins.
    I am excited to see the country, many things just a brief go at on vacations , that now we can take our time. Also looking forward to much less cleaning. Not looking forward to laundromats.Thanks for your website.

    • Hi Lin,

      Thanks for coming to our website and glad you found it useful.

      The good news is some of the laundromats have wifi so you can get online while you’re waiting. If not, take a good book. With the big machines you can do a lot at once so don’t have to wait around too long. Be sure to save up your quarters.

      Enjoy your new adventure and I wish you the best!
      ~cb

  33. Tom & Cindy,
    We are thinking of going full time RVers. All the comments I have read have been helpful.
    I would like to know what traveling into the mountains is like with grads up and down.
    How do you learn to be prepared for this type of trail.
    I have a 2014 3500 Ram 6.9 Cumms Diesel, and 40 foot 5th wheel.
    I have never pulled in the mountains, always been on flat ground, (South East Texas).

    • Hi Tom and Cindy,
      Glad you like the website and hope it’s been helpful.

      Traveling in the mountains does take some special planning and attention to detail. We have never owned or towed a fifth wheeler so I’m afraid I can’t give you any specific advice on that. We have a motor coach and have put over 130,000 miles on it and have gained a lot of experience in varying kinds of driving. One key thing we are always cognizant of is the condition of our brakes. We have a two-stage compression jake brake and use it coming down steep grades. Another key thing is the ability to downshift to be sure we don’t overheat the engine going up a steep incline. The higher the altitude and steeper the grade, the slower you have to go whether you are going up or down.

      Don’t let other drivers intimidate you into going faster than you feel is safe. Let them work it out. There are usually pull outs so you can let others pass you. Take advantage of them.

      Patience is key. Don’t be in a hurry to get somewhere. When it’s hot outside, that can have a major impact on the performance of your engine, tires, and brakes too. If we know we have a high mountain pass to cross, we wait until the next morning and head out while it’s still cool outside.

      I would suggest looking online for some fifth wheeler groups. Maybe on Facebook or YouTube. You can probably find some videos on the do’s and don’ts of driving in the mountains in a fifth wheeler.

      You are smart to be thinking about this ahead of time and being prepared. We’ve seen some pretty scary situations when people don’t know their rig nor do they take the time to learn about the specific skills needed to drive in the mountains. There are usually runaway lanes for truckers, but I hope you never have to use one.

      Good luck and enjoy your travels!
      ~cb

  34. I have the option to be a traveling nursing assistant so me, the boyfriend and the dog are starting our RV planning. We haven’t had an apartment very long and have no children so we thought now would be a good time to fulfill our wanderlust.

    Does anyone have some general ideas of items they used daily and items they wish they hadn’t brought or never used.

    As of right now the only for sure items on our list:
    *kayaks/paddles/vests
    *bikes/helmets
    *paper towels/tp
    *a fan
    *our general camping supplies
    *blankets
    *my scrubs/the clothes we take when we extended camp (including coats/rainponchos/shorts/swim suits…stuff for all possible weather)
    *dog toys/food/bowl
    *laundry soap/dish soap/2 rags
    *shampoo/cond. we can both use/basic toiletries
    *just my essential makeup (I will be going to new facilities so I need to look somewhat put together)
    *a knife/one set of camping fork, knife, spoon each/2 pots/2 pans/one plate each?/one coffee cup each?
    *playing cards/notebooks/phones (for picks and calls)/pens
    *tapestries to put some color on the walls/bed
    *his guitar/a few basic repair supplies (he’s going to play a bit and try to do a little preforming for a bit of extra cash though i’ll be making the bulk of our income)
    *a spare for his truck/extra gas can just in case/jack…

    past those basics we’re not sure what would be really helpful and what we could just buy later. also, living on just my income (and the bit of money we save up to bring with), we don’t want to have to buy more than we have to.

    microwave? coffee pot? or just instant coffee? outdoor shower or just use truck stop showers? a tent just incase?

    We plan to do this for a year or 2. Neither of us has really been outside of the Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin/Iowa/ Dakotas) so we plan to be doing quite a bit of outside sight seeing and adventuring. We’re mainly hoping to travel MN for the summer (summer of 2017) then travel out to CA and go all over that. Then, hopefully take a bit of time up in Seattle/Portland.

    Any suggestions for those specific areas? Sorry for such a rant but I want to be as prepared as I can be before we jump in. 🙂 Any advice is appreciated.

    • Hi Kat,

      Wow, it sounds like you are embarking on an exciting experience. All the best to you, the boyfriend, and the dog.

      A couple of things to think about before you start out. You will be living in your rig so you want to make it as much like a home as possible. From the list you’ve shared, it sounds like you’re preparing to camp for the next few years. That’s great, but will you be attending other events where you might need more than camping clothes? It’s tough to think ahead to determine what kinds of clothes you may need but look at your lifestyle now and see if you can translate that to your new adventure.

      You didn’t mention what kind of rig you have, or will have. By the sounds of it, it’s relatively small and you don’t have much space. So you are wise to be a minimalist in terms of what you take along. A couple of things that pop out to me that are missing from you list would be a computer (unless when you say notebook you mean a tablet or some other kind of technical device), Chargers for your phone, computer and/or tablet, paper and pens, calendar if you don’t use a digital one, some bowls for mixing and things like cereal or fruit, refrigerator dishes for storing leftovers or other food items. Plastic bags always come in handy. Medications for the two of you and your dog. Leashes for the dog because all parks require dogs on leashes. A dog bed if appropriate.

      You need to determine what kind of paperwork you need to take with you or at least have access to. Passports if you have them, any licenses, registrations, or titles to vehicles. Insurance information. Bill paying information. A lot of this kind of stuff can be stored on your computer. Addresses and phone numbers you use now or thing you might need.

      As far as a coffee pot or microwave, that is totally up to your lifestyle. If you drink a lot of coffee then I’d say take a simple coffee pot. I believe instant coffee is more expensive than ground coffee and if you can boil water, you can make coffee. Whether you take a microwave or not is a personal choice. Depends on how you plan to cook. Does your rig have a stove top and oven?

      A fan is good but also consider a small space heater. If you are going to be in some cold areas in the winter, it can come in handy. I don’t recall you mentioning anything about tools. The basics, hammer, screwdriver, wrench, duct tape, a simple tool box. Include whatever tools you might need for the rig or the truck.

      Some other things to consider:
      -camera and associated chargers
      -foil
      -sunscreen
      -cleaning products
      -chemicals for the rig, for toilet, grey tank, black tank
      -dish soap
      -first aid kit
      -trash/garbage bags
      -drinking glasses
      -kitchen utensils if need something beyond fork or knife
      -toaster
      -flashlights
      -extra keys to rig and towing vehicle
      -if you wear glasses bring an extra pair
      -sunglasses
      -clock
      -dog’s vet records
      -maps or gps

      You also need to figure out how to get mail.

      This is just food for thought and not a complete list. It may spark some items you need that you hadn’t thought about.

      Hope it helps.

      Good luck,
      cb

  35. My husband and I recently became full time rvers and as we all know it takes a bit more than 7 gallons of hot water to actually get clean. We bought a hot water on demand and they took my husband for a ride telling him he was getting this great deal for a brand new unit and let’s just say it wasnt. We gave it a try anyway… twice and after being scalded and subjected to hypothermia the entire time we were angry and to top it off we got to go outside in the freezing weather to get the evil machine so it didn’t freeze and brake. We want to get a hot water on demand and don’t want to be the test dummies anymore so fellow rvers please lend your advice on what’s the best and what we need to do to ensure we are using it properly. Thank you

    • Hi Angela,

      Sorry to hear about your bad experience with the hot water on demand product. I’m afraid I can’t help you on this one because I’m not familiar with these devices at all. I’ll post this to see if someone else has any information they can pass on to you.

      I’m sure you know this, but one way we stretch our water use is to turn the shower off while soaping up or shampooing your hair. Then only turn it on to rinse off. It is a challenge for sure.

      Good luck!
      cb

  36. This is so interesting and informative for me because I start full timing RVing next summer 2017. I will be alone most of the time and as I am a widow I am pretty cautious about watching out for scammers. I will be putting your site in my favorites so I can learn a lot of what I need to know by next year. Thank you

  37. Wow I had better start getting rid of stuff in a hurry. Yard sale next week and posting on Craigs list for the antiques. I thought a year and a few months was a long time to plan for my new life but now I see it is not. My worst problem is my kids grown and married and some friends trying to dissuade me from something I want so very much. I have loads of experience driving cross country and from Alaska to Southern California. I have a big dog who knows words like car and ride and trip. He is the first one out the door. Any tips for women traveling alone would be welcome. thanks.

    • Hi Jane,
      Welcome to our website. You are smart to start planning ahead to get rid of your stuff. That will give you more time to think through the process and decide what’s really important to keep, versus sell, or give away. It’s a big job and can be very emotional. Saying goodbye to some of your belongings will be tough. But going through it all brings back a lot of memories so make it fun.

      As far as tips for women traveling alone, there are some websites out there that I’ve come across that address that subject. I just googled women RVing alone and came up with several websites devoted to that very subject. I’m sure if you go on Facebook you can probably find some groups, both private and public that are made up of people in your same position. It would be worth a try to look for some. In the meantime, I’ll help when I can.

      Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
      ~cb

    • Jane,
      Hello my name is Amy I am just starting to read this blog, we are just getting ready to sell our things and live full time in our RV. I wouldn’t let people diseud you on what your heart desires. We only get one life and this one is yours, you are an independent strong woman. You got this!

  38. I’m fulltime now but I don’t know what to do about my mail. I’ve been using a local po box for the last 6 yes.

    • Dear Deb,
      Good question. There are several ways to handle mail when you are a full timer and wish to travel. Organizations across the country that cater to RVers can help in that department.

      If you want to remain a resident wherever you are now, then look for a UPS store or some other mailing type of store. They can assign you a private mailbox. Most of those stores will offer you a forwarding service. The post office will only do it for a limited period of time and to one address.

      If you don’t own any property, consider changing your residency to a state with no state income tax and cheaper licensing rates.

      We signed up with My Dakota Address in South Dakota. You can contact them at:
      CONTACT US:
      Dakota International Services, LLC.
      110 E. Center Street
      PO Box 137
      Madison, SD 57042
      Toll-Free: 1-866-202-2163
      Phone: 605-427-5863
      Fax: 605-427-9626
      Email: info@mydakotaaddress.com

      They will give you a street address in Madison, SD. Once you have that address then you need to get to somewhere in South Dakota if you want to establish residency there. It does not have to be in Madison.

      The requirements for establishing residency in that state, when we did it, included spending one night in the state, taking the receipt from the RV park proving you stayed there to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles along with your new address. You then establish residency by registering to vote and licensing your rig and car. There are no state taxes in SD and the licensing fees are cheap compared to other places we’ve lived.

      My Dakota Address will work with you and send you a daily email telling you what mail you received. Then they’ll forward your mail to you wherever you desire and as often as you desire. Their website is http://mydakotaaddress.com where you can get more details.

      Other states have similar offerings…each has similar but different requirements. Escapees in Texas is a large organization catering to the RVer. Montana also offers services but you need to establish a corporation with your rig as part of it. It’s costly but there are benefits for doing it that way. You see many rigs with Montana license plates.

      If you google “How to get mail while RVing,” several sites will come up offering different solutions. Many of our friends use their children’s address and their kids would forward the mail. As I mentioned before you can get a box at a UPS store and most of them will work with you to forward your mail as requested. Some of the other mailing stores also offer a forwarding service.

      The key is to get as much of your mail established online so you don’t have a lot of paper mail. Subscribe to magazines online, get your bills set up for online delivery and payment.

      This is by no means a complete list of options but it gives you some ideas on where to start looking. I hope it helps.

      Good luck,
      ~cb

  39. Hi Chris:

    Just came across your site and read just about every comment. My husband and I are torn between going Full time or just keeping the house and traveling ad lib. We are both recently retired and spent the first 5 months of our retirement traveling through Florida for the winter, then Charleston, SC, Asheville, NC, Nashville, TN then home. We love being on the road in our Newmar 5th wheel and when I got home, I didn’t miss it. I didn’t want to be here as I loved traveling so much, easier lifestyle, spent so much time outdoors which I love, and just enjoying the countryside. We are planning a trip out West this coming July to Erie, PA, Elkhardt, Indiana, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, then a month in Colorado. Taking the southern tier of the US back and leaving the RV in Florida for next winter. We live in NJ. We both want to go full time, but I am having such a difficult time deciding whether or not to sell the house. We have no mortgage and hate to pay property taxes, insurances and utilities for a house that we are not going to be spending too much time in. I think I am kind of looking for some feedback from full timers such as yourself and others whether anyone had regrets on selling their home, wishing they kept it for one reason or another.

    • Hi Maggie,
      Sounds like you are really enjoying your travels. That’s great. Some people don’t like being gone that long, but you are fitting into the full timer mode just fine.

      Some thoughts about selling your house. First of all, it’s a very personal decision. What works for some may not work for you but I offer some food for thought that might lead you to YOUR answer.

      What are your plans beyond full timing? When the time comes to settle down and quit traveling as much, where do you want to end up? Is it where your current house is? Or will you be more likely to move to another location to be near family or friends or some other attraction?

      Since your house is paid for, I view that as a positive. Can you rent it out to cover the maintenance and tax obligations but still hang onto it if that’s where you eventually want to settle down again? How rentable is it? How big is the house? Will it be too much of a house for you down the road and you plan to downsize anyway? Would renting cause a new set of management issues or can you turn it over to someone else to manage and maintain?

      If you sell it, how much of your furniture and other stuff (technical word) will you be keeping and how much would it cost you to store it. Again, since your house is paid for, how does the cost of storing your furniture and belongings compare to the costs of keeping the house.

      Those are just a few things that come to mind. Perhaps others can offer some other suggestions.

      Good luck on your decision. I know it’s a tough one!
      ~cb

  40. We are in the process of full time RVing. Right now the 5th wheel is being upfitted with a new hitch and new fridge. And we are anxiously waiting for it to come home so we can start loading it for travel. Which won’t begin until the first of the year when my husband retires. You are so right, the hardest part if what to keep, store or toss. We know what we need to take but are still working on that as well. Space is limited and more so when the RV has slides that take away from the “basement” storage compartments. We don’t own our home now but do own a share so we do have to sell before we can leave. That shouldn’t be a problem since there is a waiting list for units here.
    My family thinks we are nuts but hubby’s family has traveled by RV for years and are very happy for us and share in our excitement.

    All of your tips have been very helpful. I look forward to more reading on your site. Safe travels.

    • Thanks Cindy,
      Glad you are enjoying the website. Good luck with all of your plans. Keep us posted how you’re doing!
      ~cb

  41. My husband and I are wanting to RV full time when we finally retire, about 4 years away. We want to sell the current house, because all our kids and grandkids live elsewhere and our parents are all gone. I’ve started to think about the downsizing process. I think that many of the sentimental pieces of furniture, antiques, etc. will be sold or given to others in the family. However, we think we will store some of our basic furniture, and belongings for each room, because we expect that we may eventually buy a smaller place near one of the kids, to be a home base. I’m uncertain what the best storage unit solutions would be. PODs or UPACK, seem most convenient, but may be more expensive than a typical storage unit. Are any others storing furniture long-term, and what were their costs and experiences. We anticipate it could be at least a year that we vagabond around the country before we actually settled down again.

    • Hi Susan,

      We researched several moving companies in our area and then picked the one that seemed the most reasonable and had good ratings. We also checked to see if we could get access to our stuff if we had to. The company we chose charged for that but it was available. They charge $200 per month for storage. When looking for a company to work with I suggest asking these questions 1) How much do they charge for packing things for storage? 2) Check to see if there are any insurance issues for boxes you pack yourself vs. them packing them. 3) What do they charge for storage for varying lengths of time? 4) What do they charge to deliver your belongings to a place to be determined sometime in the future?

      One thing we did was pack items, especially documentation, that we didn’t want to haul with us and locked them in the trunk of our car that we stored in a secure facility. This made them available if we need them. You could also store them with a trusted friend or family member.

      I know of people who have used the pods but have no experience with them myself. I’ve heard of people bringing the pod to their home and packing them themselves, but have no idea how that works. Perhaps someone else can comment on the use of pods. Personally, I felt better having my things professionally packed.

      Good luck and let us know how it goes.
      ~cb

  42. I paid over seven thousand dollars for a pod to move from Southern California to South Carolina. A regular mover would have been half that.

  43. Hi Chris, we have recently made the decision to live in an rv full time. We are mid 50’s and ready to be debt free! We hope this will happen within the next 6 months. We are going to sell our home, have garage and estate sales. We are only about a month or two into this thought and planning but are so excited! We will buy a piece of property in the town we live now, make a plan to park it there and live for at least two years. Our plans are to retire in the keys while rv’ing many places. My husband and I both own small business and they cannot be left until we officially retire. We will eventually sale our businesses. We definitely plan to do short trips here and there until we can officially retire. We would be downsizing from a 2700 sq. ft. home with lots of “stuff”. I am already going over in my head what I could live without. This list certainly needs to grow as I have so much. While quite nervous at the same time as being exited there will be many daily lifestyle changes that will have to happen. I am thankful I ran across you site and all the info I have read has been helpful and positive. I am continuing my research into full time living in an rv. If you have any helpful places to search I would appreciate it!
    Blessings
    Janet

    • Hi Janet,
      How exciting for you and it sounds like you are thinking things through which is a great thing. Decisions like this shouldn’t be made on a whim because it’s a major change. If you have specific questions, I’d be happy to try and help if I can.

      As far as resources, if you haven’t already joined Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) or Good Sam, I recommend them. They both have newsletters full of information and they also offer discounts. RV Parks that belong to Good Sam give you discounts if you are a member. There may be some local Good Sam groups that go on outings together. Or if not associated with Good Sam, there may just be an RV group of some sort in your area. There are also usually associations connected with the type of rig you have so you can look that up and see if there is one for yours. Another place to look is at RV groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. You can engage in conversations with the other members of those groups and learn lots. One thing about fellow RVers is they love to share experiences and knowledge. Many times it can save you from making the same mistake someone else did.

      Hope this helps. Let me know how things are going.
      Good luck!
      ~cb

  44. Chris,
    Thank you for this blog. I just found this site and love it. My fiancé and I bought a class A motor home in July and we are working on selling everything and moving in to it full time in April 2017. The only concern I have right now is living in it in the winter because we have to stay in the area we’re in now for 2 more years before we can hit the road. Do you have any suggestions on living in your rig in the winter?
    Thanks again
    Amy

    • Hi Amy,
      Our goal is to get out of the cold for winter and stay where it’s warm. However, that doesn’t always happen. We were in the Seattle area for late fall and early winter one year, and it was the coldest I’d ever seen it in Seattle. Got to 10° and there was snow. Not your typical winter in that area.

      The thing we were fighting most was the condensation on the windows. We found ourselves putting towels on the window sills at the base of the glass and making sure the moisture didn’t get into the base structure of the coach. We also got a dehumidifier which should have been great but the one we bought didn’t do much good. We took it back and got another one and it didn’t do much either. I’m sorry I don’t remember the brand or I’d tell you not to buy it. I’m sure there are good ones available and maybe someone can make a recommendation.

      One thing you can do is add insulation where you can, especially on the side walls and flooring of the slide outs. That helps the condensation on the metal surfaces. Also be sure to wrap your hoses or look into getting the kind that you can heat. You’ll want to take whatever precautions you can against freezing pipes, especially those that are fully exposed.

      Another issue we had was propane. Where we were staying, they would not come and fill our propane tank unless you had the external one for long time use. The kind of tanks people who live full time in one park use. We couldn’t get one of those because you had to lease it for a year and we weren’t staying that long. So we found ourselves having to unhook and go somewhere we could get our coach tank filled. It was so cold, we were having to do this once a week. Since it sounds like you’re going to be there for a longer duration, I highly recommend getting one of those large external propane tanks. It would save a lot of headaches.

      I hope this helps. Maybe some other folks more experienced in cold weather will chime in and give you some additional advice.

      Good luck!
      ~cb

  45. I posted 9 months ago and was in the process of sorting and boxing. We will move into the 5th wheel sometime in 2017 when the house sells. Since Feb we have had 2 garage sales, one a flop due to our garage sale being in the middle, no one made it past the others. 2nd was a great success. Still am sorting, packing, making regular donations and painting each room as I go. My goal is to have the upstairs painted by New Year and the down stairs by mid March. We plan on listing the house first of April.

    After a few trips out in our rig we found we had to fill the 100 gal water tank full even if we were going to use very little. After 3 gallons, it would begin to suck air, by 10 only air. Turns out a factory installation error left the line kinked and pulled nearly out of the holding tank. In it’s 13 years before us, obviously neither previous owner had ever dry camped.

    • Thanks for the update Lin.

      You’re making progress. You never know how much stuff you have until you try to get rid of a lot of it. Sounds like you’re very organized in your approach. That’s great.

      Funny how the previous owners never caught the defect in the kinked line. We don’t dry camp often, but lots of times we don’t hook up the water if we’re only staying at a place for a night or two. That’s especially true if it’s really cold. Good to check out all the systems before you take off for full timing. Easier to get things worked on when you’re not actually living in it.

      Good luck and keep us posted on your journey!
      ~cb

  46. The count down gets shorter, 40 weeks til hubby’s retirement. We will probably live several months in the 5th wheel as he finishes work, because the housing market is hot. There is a very nice RV park about 3 minutes from his work. Like you we are downsizing from 3800 sq ft. I have painted the upstairs and am starting the downstairs. I now have empty drawers and cupboards. I have sorted as you said and boxes for the kids and bins for storage all around. Due to a severe winter it will be April before we get things to the kids. My hubby doesn’t see how much work it is. He will when he has to do the garage and shed. One bedroom is for garage sale and one for keep and going to one daughter and niece.Have decided small things will be free. We will price furniture and larger nice items. What doesn’t sell will be donated. We are keeping some pieces for staging the house and those will be then sent to storage or donated. Tools are going to our newly married daughter.

    Did you find that as you thinned, things you weren’t sure about parting with, after a bit more time, were easier to part with later? Our master bedroom set has hit that list.

    Planning for our stuff to go to storage in a wet climate has added an expense, lots of plastic bins. Boxes for stuff going to family or donation.

    We had a little practice for hiccups along the way with the water pump issue and a little cancer this fall. Over the years we have experienced on vacations flat tires in the middle of nowhere to find the star wrench was the wrong size, car top carrier not having the lid fastened down and collecting our stuff off the highway with out getting run over,(that was his jobto do the car top carrier) and opening the door of our trailer at 11 pm with 4 very tired kids to Niagra Falls coming down the stairs. THings will happen over the next few years and we will have to go with the flow and remember all the “funny” stories along the way.

    Thanks you for you site and good info and tips.

    • Hi Lin,
      Sounds like you’re well on your way to your new adventure. I think it’s great the way you are planning things out.

      You have a great attitude about things going wrong. You know they will so best expect it and be as prepared as reasonable. As I’ve said before, any time you put a house on wheels and bounce it down the road, something is bound to happen. Going into this with your eyes wide open is a good start.

      You asked if parting with things was easier later on. To be honest, I had a tough time getting rid of things. I tend to get emotionally attached to stuff, so it was difficult. But it makes it so much easier if you can get through it and not have to deal with it down the road.

      Let us know how things are going and what great advice you may have for others going through similar experiences.

      Good luck,
      ~cb

  47. We finally decided today to sell everything and go full time. There will be my hubby, 12 year olddaughter and myself. We have a 37 foot RV and our plan is to take a year and see the country.

    I homeschool, so this will be an extension of school.

    We plan to be on the road by September 1st and head up to Maine and then down the east coast to Florida by November.

    Your blog has been so helpful. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    • Hey Shirley,
      Good luck with your plan. It sounds like great fun and will be very educational for your daughter. You should be hitting the fall colors on the east coast just about right.

      Have fun and if I can help, I’d be happy to.
      ~cb

  48. Last update was at 40 weeks from retirement and we are now at 16 and the house is on the market. How long does it take to become profecient at RVing? Seems we have a slow learning curve but maybe because we have only gone on 3-4 day trips. We seem to have a mishap each time. Making me a bit nervous about going full time

    • Hi Lin,
      I apologize. I thought I responded to your comment but don’t find it listed here. So sorry. The message must be floating around cyberspace somewhere.

      As far as becoming proficient, we’ve been RVing for 15 years and we’re still learning. The best way to learn is to just do it. We have also learned a lot from fellow RVers who are so willing to help. You’ll find that we all go through similar experiences, learn from them, and then pass on the solutions to others.

      Another way to learn is to use YouTube. It’s amazing what you can discover there. People are so helpful and they not only tell you how to do something but they demonstrate it as well.

      We’re happy to help in any way we can. I apologize it took so long this time.

      Happy trails,
      cb

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