Nov 062011

The other day I got an e-mail from a blog reader who is in the planning stages before going fulltime, asking about the annual costs of fulltime RVing. This is probably the most frequent question I get, and as I tell everybody who asks, it can cost as much as one has to spend, or as little as they choose to. Because the one constant in the fulltime RV lifestyle is that one size does not fit all.

We know RVers who are fulltiming on $1,000 a month, and we knew one couple who got off the road because they could not make it on the $5,000 a month they had budgeted. It all depends on your lifestyle, on what you enjoy doing, and on what you may be willing to do without, to make ends meet. If you have an RV that is paid off, if you can do much of your own maintenance, if you take advantage of monthly RV park rates, if you enjoy simple (read inexpensive) activities like hiking, bicycling, and relaxing under your RV’s awning, you can get by on a lot less money than somebody who is making payments on an RV and tow car, plays golf once a week, and likes to be on the go all the time.

Isn’t it great that this lifestyle can be molded to fit each of us? We know many RVers who thrive on social functions. They live for happy hour gatherings, love going out to dinner in groups, and are always part of a crowd. Terry and I, and many others we know, do better in smaller groups, and cherish quiet times with just the two of us. We’ve met a few solitary RVers who shun social functions all together, and are happiest when left completely alone.

We get hitch itch if we sit in any one place for more than a couple of weeks, and after a month, I’m climbing the walls and reading roadmaps like some people do paperback novels. On the other hand, we have many RVing friends who are settled down in a comfortable RV park someplace for the winter, whose wheels won’t roll again until spring. 

Currently, we are staying at The Great Outdoors, in Titusville, Florida, a premier gated RV resort that has every amenity from an eighteen hole golf course to a nature center, stocked fishing lakes, four tennis courts, a restaurant, cocktail lounge, hair and nail salon, fitness center, and a church, to name just a few. You can rent  a lot here by the day, week, or month, or even buy your own lot or finished home  This is a beautiful place, and the price is reflected in all that it has to offer.

While Terry and I appreciate that there is so much available on-site if we choose to take advantage of it, it’s really not our style, and we couldn’t see ourselves settling down here. We love the Titusville area, and this is the perfect base to explore everything around here, but we seldom use any more than the occasional hot tub at a campground or RV park, so we’d never get the benefit of an upscale place like this. But we know many, many people who love it here, and for them, it’s a perfect fit. 

This extends to the RVs we live and travel in themselves. Some folks think our 40 foot long diesel pusher, with its two slides, is overkill. But we know people in 42 and even 45 footers, and many folks who have as many as four slides! Of course, we also know fulltimers who are quite happy in much smaller rigs. In fact, we once met a couple who were fulltiming quite happily in a ten foot long Casita travel trailer!

I think it’s wonderful that we have so many different types of people, and so many options available that they can tailor to their needs. This old world would sure be a boring place if we all had the same kind of RVs and spent all of our time doing the same things as everybody else, wouldn’t it?

Of course, Bad Nick helps keep things from getting too boring around here. He’s back with a new Bad Nick Blog titled Preocupied. Check it out and leave a comment.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  8 Responses to “One Size Does Not Fit All”

  1. Thank you Nick!!! I agree with you 100% Again thank you.

  2. Well said. There are too many variables involved to answer that question. Another factor to consider is how much “togetherness” time two people can handle for extended periods of time. But that’s probably a better topic for Bad Nick.

  3. And people’s taste change. We started out in a tiny motorhome traveling nearly everyday and loved it. Then we moved to a bigger motorhome towing a car and stayed longer times in places and loved that too.

  4. We have been full time now for over 7yrs and we still love it. Folks have been telling us we only half time now since we stay put for the winter since we got our lot here at the Escapee park in Hondo. We still live in our MH 365 days a year. For us we just make out a budget and stick to it, like you and Terry we are content to sit out when we can and read. We take side trips when we feel like it. We love to go to movies and the one here in town have decent senior rates. One trick we have learned is we now put the amount of money we would have spent on fuel into our savings, Believe me we will be chomping at the bits to get back on the road. We also belong to a membership park ROD that we use from coast to coast when we travel Yes the initial cost can be high unless you use a re-saler but in our case the darn thing has paid for itself since we use it often.

  5. It’s been my personal experience that no matter what the budget is FTers do spend less money than staying in a B&S house.

  6. Hi Nick & Terry –

    Yep, you’ve pegged the FT challenges and rewards perfectly! We are grateful to have choices – we are another couple who began our FT “egg-ventures” in a 13′ fiberglass trailer. We have since ‘moved on up’ to a 16 footer with a bath (name: Royal Flush) and have not regretted one moment or one mile of our years on the road.

    Thanx for a wonderful blog, paper,recipes, the rallies and now, your books. We’ll be watching for the Big Lake sequel. Safe travels and we’ll see you in Yuma!
    L ‘n D, the Scamp Geezers

  7. So true, Nick. The variety of sizes and travel styles is amazing. Bottom line, you can make it work if you want to.

    So many people would like guarantees- that they are picking the right rig, that this is the right lifestyle choice. Unfortunately there are no guarantees, but you can always make another choice!

    Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

  8. As little as $1,000 a month? How in the heck do you do that? And by that I mean how do you manage to spend that kind of money? I didn’t do that when I lived in a 1,900 sq ft condo (with a roomate). Retired type RV’ers never manage to let me down with their insane budgets!! I’ve heard many talk of spending “as little as” $35k a year! Almost always followed by the line “it’s amazing how little one really needs in life.”

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