10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Fulltime RVing…

Our svelte 32,220 lb monster. How little we knew when we first started out…

Pre-Post Note/ Aug 2015. Although this post was written in 2011 it’s still my most popular post ever (!!), so I’m refreshing it as part of our 6th year on the road. See my updates in italics below the original text on each topic.

One of the beautiful things about aging is you carry along the wisdom of years of experience (that, and your wine gets better of course). By many standards you could easily call me but a pup in the great dog-park of life, but as our multi-year journey in RVing progresses I have managed to gleam a few gems of sageness which I can happily pass along. In that spirit, here are 10 things I wish I’d known before we went full-timing:

1/ Bigger is Not Always Better

Sometimes things are not as they seem. A fiery and dusty sunset in NM

I always imagined that you should try to buy the biggest RV you could afford. After all, who doesn’t want lots of space? Our travels over the past years, and perhaps more specifically the kind of travel we like to do (camping in public campgrounds, forests, state parks, off-the-beaten-track spots) has taught me that bigger is not always better. Our “beastly” size is super-comfortable but requires me to do quite a bit of detailed planning to make sure we can fit into the kinds of spots we like to visit. In retrospect, I would have wished for a smaller RV. For those camping mostly in private parks this is not a consideration, but for our kinda camping it sure would be nice with a few less feet.

2015 Update – TOTALLY still agree with this. Although we’ve gotten used to our “beastly” size I still wish we were a tad smaller and we (still) dream about downsizing. 95% of our camping is on public land and if we were smaller and more nimble we’d have many more options open to us, especially for boondocking. 35-feet would be nice, 30-feet would be even sweeter, but hey we make do. Maybe one day….

2/ Hard-Mounted Satellite Dishes are Mostly Useless

When we first got the RV the thought of a hard-mounted, fully-automatic Satellite TV dish on our roof seemed just the ticket. Push a button and off you go….fabulous! However camping as we do in lots of spots with trees and obstacles we have line-of-sight perhaps only ~50% of the time making our dish mostly useless. In retrospect a movable dish would totally be the way to go.

2015 Update – YES. In fact we even disconnected Direct TV last year and moved towards other electronic means of entertainment (Netflix, Redbox etc.), but for those of you wanting satellite I would definitely still recommend getting a movable dish.

3/ Most Camping Clubs Are Not Worth It

Most of the places we go don’t taking club passes. This is gorgeous Eagle Nest State Park, NM

When we first started RVing we signed up to just about every camping club out there, Sam’s Club, Escapees, Club USA etc. In retrospect (again because of where/how we like to camp) these were not worth it. The only camping club I currently consider is Passport America, mostly for short stops and I do like the Escapees Days End list, but even these have mostly been replaced by overnight “freebies” when we need them. The rest of the time we’re out in nature/boonies where club memberships do not go. For some people clubs are great and they can certainly be cost saving if you make use of them, but for us they’ve simply not made the cut.

2015 Update – YES. We still feel the same way. Clubs are only useful IF you make use of them. There are RV folks who love their club memberships (e.g. Thousand Trails members who do nothing but stay at Thousand Trails), but for our type of camping (mostly public land, lots of State Parks etc) they simply haven’t made sense. The only membership club we currently have is Escapees. I always recommend that newbies wait on joining any camping clubs until they’ve spent some time on the road and figured out how they like to travel.

4/ Beware Heavy Slides

I love the slides in our motorhome because of the massive amount of space they give internally, but it seems some manufacturers go overboard. Our “beast” has a massive front drivers-side slide with refrigerator in the slide, something I now understand is an engineering no-no. The weight of the slide has been the cause of the only real issues on our home in 2 years. I love slides and will always want them, but in retrospect I would never buy another home with a fridge in a slide-out.

2015 Update – YES. Our big slide issue is still the only major issue we’ve had (touch wood) in the RV since we started fulltiming.

5/ Finding Great Public Campgrounds Can Be Easy

Finding great campsites can be easy. Soaking in the view at fabulous Elephant Butte State Park, NM

The first year of RVing I struggled to find the kinds of campgrounds (natural, green, spacious) that we like to visit. It was a constant battle of going to one website, through a ton of clicks, then another website, then to a map, then to another spot and back again to try and figure out which one matched our route. Early this year I discovered uscampgrounds.info and my planning life changed. If you like public camping there’s simply no better resource out there and I use it as the base for all our travel planning now.

2015 Update – YES. Public Land is still our #1 camping choice. There are now many more options for finding these kinds of sites including ultimatecampgrounds.com (which has overtaken uscampgrounds IMHO), Benchmark Maps (which are excellent paper maps for public lands), AllStays (which also offers an app) and other resources. If you want to see how I plan our own travels, check out the 3-part series I wrote HERE.

6/ You Don’t Have to Sign Any Internet Contracts

When we initially looked at internet solutions we knew we wanted a Verizon-based system since it was simply the best coverage out there (and our experience has proved that true). We ended up w/ a 2-year 5GB/mo contract which is a little tight for our needs. What we didn’t know was that you can get a Verizon-based coverage using no-contract resale partners such as Millenicom. It’s the same coverage, but simply without the contract! You can boost it just like any system out there too. Millenicom resells both Verizon and Sprint and they won’t/can’t tell you (directly) who they’re using, but you can easily narrow it down via the device (the Verizon-based contract is currently offered on the 20GB/mo deal using the Novatel U760 Device). For more info check the forums.

2015 Update – TOTALLY. I still recommend a contract-free approach whenever possible. This gives you the flexibility to sign-up to the best plans (and offers) whenever they became available which has improved our own set-up and saved us many $$ over the years. The whole Mobile Internet landscape has changed dramatically since 2011 (e.g. Millenicom is now caput and gone), but there are still many contract-free options for mobile travelers. You can read about our current internet, phone & boosting set-up HERE.

7/ Take Your Time On the Road

Take your time to smell the roses..or in this case the sea. Boondocking for 10 days at Sea Rim, TX

When we first started on the road we rushed like crazed animals on stampede to see as much and as far an area as we could possibly see within the timeframe given. It took several months before we realized none of this was necessary. In fact taking more time to enjoy our surroundings not only saved us money, but we’ve met more people, seen more local gems, created a sense of community and felt more in-tune with the journey. Our 2-month trip through New Mexico earlier this year was a great example of how this attitude has really made sense for us. We are progressing more and more into “sitters” (RVers that spend several weeks in one spot) rather than “movers”. It may not be for everyone, but I sure recommend giving it a try.

2015 Udpate – TOTALLY. Since that original “crazy” year on the road we’ve enjoyed a much more relaxed pace of travel (you can see all our travel maps HERE -> we average just over ~5,000 miles/year) and it’s made everything SO much better. For us this is a lifestyle, not a vacation and taking the time to enjoy each spot has made it a deeper, richer (and more enjoyable) experience for both of us.

8/ You Really Don’t Need Much Stuff

I spent months trying to figure out what to take on the road before we started out. I already knew (instinctively) that we wouldn’t need much, but  I wanted to try to cover all the bases. The truth is that we needed even less than that. I took ~10% of my then-wardrobe with me, and I currently use about 10% of that. We brought along tents and other equipment we never use.  We ALSO ended up buying a bunch of nifty (so we thought) “RV stuff” before we’d really spent any time in the rig on the road, another thing I’d now consider a no-no. In retrospect spending some time on the road before loading up would have made alot more sense. We’re planning a major cleaning-out when we get back to our storage in San Diego this winter and will end up much lighter for it (no doubt). If we keep this up the storage might end up going too…

2015 Update – YES. The more time we spend on the road the less we find we need. We end up donating half our clothes to charity almost every year and our outdoor stuff has been cut down to a select set of “glamping” basics. Our only regret that I didn’t list here? We wish we’d never put anything in storage. It’s been 6 years and we’re still paying for stuff in storage we’ll probably never use (or could buy again for half the cost). Maybe next year we’ll actually (finally) get rid of it. If you can avoid storage altogether, I highly recommend it.

9/ Follow the Weather

My kind of view….hanging out in perfect weather at The Forgotten Coast, FL

This kinda makes obvious senses, but when we first started out we really didn’t pay too much attention to weather. In our first year we ended up travelling through the Mid-West in very hot and buggy conditions, not ideal for a natural-born bug magnet (such as myself) in a metal home. Since then we’ve paid closer attention and the beauty of being mobile is that you can do exactly that. I launched my flip-flop barometer early this year and we managed (mostly) to stay right on it. We’re wintering in the SW this year and will be back to cool and gorgeous coast & mountains by next summer. Most definitely the flip-flop way to go!

2015 Update – YES. We’ve become better & better at following the weather and it’s a key part of our yearly travel planning process. The past few years we’ve spent winters in the beautiful SW desert and summers on the gorgeous PNW coast. Perfection!

10/ RVing Costs Are Manageable

We agonized over the cost of full-time RVing for a long time before we jumped in. The truth is costs are flexible and totally manageable and our experience has certainly proved that to be so. There are great options for saving money both on camping, gas, health insurance, taxes, car/RV registration and other areas. You can take your time and boondock, workamp along the way or run around and stay in pricey resorts. All can be great experiences, but the real beauty is that the choice is there.

2015 Update – TOTALLY. In 6 years on the road our expenses have actually been flat to slightly down every year despite increasing health care costs. We keep camping expenses low by volunteering in summer and boondocking (= free camping) in winter, and we manage gas costs by how we travel. The point is there is lots of flexibility on the financial side, and my viewpoint on this hasn’t changed. At some point I’ll get around to updating our 2011 expense post, but you’ll still get useful info from the other links in that post.

Well that wraps up my list…got any good ones of your own?

2015 Update – Knowing what you know now, are there any additional things you wish you’d known??? Apart from the storage unit that I wish we’d never gotten (item #8) nothing at all. Our top 10 is still the exact same today as it was in 2011.

Click HERE To Shop Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the product links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. That said, I only ever recommend products or services I personally use and love! Wheelingit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. says

    another outstanding post–and very timely for me-have finally reached a decision re hitting the road after following your blog and so many others–a great source of inspiration and information. have been doing lots of research on the forums and just signed up for the Escapees Boot Camp as a walk-in. will finalize my thinking re rig size and other items soon and this input is great!! hope to hit the road by the end of the year as the “downsizing” is already completed and most is in storage–need to “just do it”!! thanks again for all the info–really enjoy your posts–you guys have been a big inspiration

    • libertatemamo says

      CONGRATS on the up-coming fulltming! As you can tell it’s a pretty addictive lifestyle :) Enjoy every minute of it!

      • Pam and Bob says

        Hello Nina,
        My name is Pam and we are planning on full-timing in 6 months to a year.
        We were just wondering what your thoughts on where to register vehicles were. We have a pickup truck, a 30 ft trailer, a four wheeler, and a small boat with a motor. We have been camping for approximately 15-20 years throughout New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, and Ontario.
        Also do you know of any restrictions for the items listed above in any states.
        We enjoyed your blog and it answered alot of the questions we had. Look forward to more advice.
        Thank you so much,
        Pam and Bob

        • Doc says

          Some states have requirements for residency to register vehicles.
          However, there are a couple of states, that just want your money and make it easy to register it and have an out of state address. I think? Alabama is one and Arizona may also be an option.
          If you are a workamper you should be able to check with other workampers on their website and get the most current advice.
          If you are not a workamper, become one. The site is priceless for theses types of things.

        • libertatemamo says

          For vehicle registration it very much depends on where you plan on establishing domicile during your fulltime RV travels. Typically you get a drivers license and register your RV in the state that you establish domicile. Most fulltime RVers chose either SD, TX or FL as their domicile states since they are income-tax-free states and are very “RV friendly”. If you plan on keeping a house or address in your home state however, then that may change how/where you can establish domicile. I’m not familiar with the rules in any of the states you mentioned so I don’t know the requirements for domicile in those states.

          You can read more about domicile here:
          Home is Where you Park it…or is it?


  2. says

    I totally agree with your list.
    A non resident has to leave the country after his staying permit expires which is usually after 6 months (Max) so we cannot do it full time but I consider ourselves as “Summer full timers” that have 2 residents:one at our home in Israel and the second on wheels in North America-this is for as the optimum and we are enjoying it for the last 10 years.

    • libertatemamo says

      I think you guys have a great set-up. Summer-timing can be a great idea for folks who enjoy having a home-base.

  3. Sandie says

    Great list. Especially the size of the rig and taking your time. Our first year out we tore around the country. Now we’ve learned to slow down and enjoy the journey.

  4. Sue Bank says

    Wow, this is exactly the list I was looking for, and I didn’t even know it!
    You’ve answered so many of our questions, and confirmed many of our suspicions. Thanks! We’re heading out on a years “excellent adventure” in April.

  5. A.NOVELL says

    I agree with you totally on the size issue, especially now that manufactures are making more diesel pushers in 36 ft and 38 ft.

    • libertatemamo says

      You’re so very right. Many of the new 36-foot floor-plans are excellent, and those few feet less make a big difference in “fitting” into tight spots.

      • David BanVeckle (Hawaii) says

        My wife, dog and I are newbies who plan on selling everything and doing this for a year to figure out where we will live next (and last)on the mainland. We will be going both to camp sites as well as around some towns (not really cities, though). We have never RV’d before. What would be the right length/size RV for our situation? I see you are talking about 36 foot. Any recommendations on manufacturers and models? I think we might buy a year old one since we are only going to use for a year and then sell it. Don’t want to take too much of a hit on depreciation. Also, do you tow a small car for local transportation? Great website!

        • Elizabeth says

          Hi! My husband, dog, and I are in the same boat (so to speak). We are thinking of selling everything and hitting the road with an RV. Did you get any additional information/answers to your questions? Thanks! Elizabeth

        • libertatemamo says

          I personally like Allegro/Tiffin & Monaco. I haven’t recently looked at the models on the market, so I’d have to go back and research. For up-to-date info I’d recommend jumping on the RV forums (rv.net, iRV2.com) and asking around. You’ll get many more replies there.

          I do agree that buying a year old or so is a good option. Takes alot of the initial depreciation loss out of the equation. That’s what we did with our rig.


        • nancy says

          Hey,we live in Kailua and have the exact same plan
          We are looking at a lightweight trailer, maybe an r-pod…we should talk

  6. Sheila says

    Hi Nina, I love this post!
    I agree with your list. Howard and I are part-timers, in the RV during the winter months and home in Colorado during the summer months. We start off at the end of October and we ALWAYS seem to take too much “stuff” and way too many clothes. Last year I took more winter clothes than summer and did not really need them at all. We purchased our coach in 2006 and have been out on-the-road every winter since. You would think I could gage what clothes I will need by now, but for some reason this task eludes me!

    We use Verizon for voice and some data, DirecTV with the dome on the roof of the RV and DirecWay for most of our internet connections. Since we use DirecWay we have to carry the dish everywhere and spend time setting it up, of course we can place it anywhere within reach of the RV, which is beneficial. It is however big and it takes up a lot of room. We haven’t gotten rid of it, because we like having it at home and it has been very reliable! We are debating changing to another service, but we have not made up our minds what the replacement would be.

    Our favorite type of camping is in county and state parks enjoying nature. Our 40ft – one-slide- home does pretty well in these environments. However, we are not as adventuresome as you guys! Wishing to make it so!!!

    A few of thoughts on part-time (or full-timing) RV living:
    ~avoid some stress and hassle -never consider yourselves on vacation, you are just living differently
    ~routinely investigate and schedule things to do
    ~bring your hobbies and continue enjoying them if at all possible
    ~don’t forget to challenge your mind, enrich your soul and exercise
    ~as you have stated – don’t rush to get to different places
    ~thoroughly enjoy where you are
    ~take a few risks – adventure waits
    ~if you don’t like a place you can always just leave (we spent the entire month of February one year in cold and rainy conditions and why we did not just leave is beyond me) now we would for sure hid the road
    ~socialize and enjoy other RV’ers
    ~remember – alone time is okay and needed

    I saw a bumper sticker today that stated: “wag more and bark less”.
    So wag more, enjoy your life and each other.

    • libertatemamo says

      Some FABULOUS tips Sheila! Thanks so much for sharing them all!
      Especially love the “wag more and bark less”…one that speaks to me :)

  7. says

    We also use uscampgrounds.info. Great resource. Full-timing is certainly not for everyone. It requires some risk taking, overcoming fears of the unknown, saying good-bye to family and friends, and doing some things that may not seem wise. In the beginning, Paul admits, that one of his biggest full-timing faults is, he has difficulty “rolling-with-the-punches.” I find that the most challenging thing is not looking back so much. I love to reminisce and this leads me to get a bit melancholy. We have enjoyed worshipping with many different denomination and at nondenominational churches. We have made so many new friends that we stopped counting. This is one of the biggest advantages to our lifestyle. Thanks, Nina, for the great blog and giving Paul and I a few minutes of reflecting on our past year.

    • libertatemamo says

      It’s amazing how many people you meet on the road. RVing brings you into a community that’s unique and special, but so very rewarding!

  8. Martha says

    Great blog! lots of ideas for “newbies” — we have been fulltimers for almost one-year now and are in agreement with many of the items on your list (size and taking your time especially!) We have also been fortunate to meet helpful people on our travels and certainly fellow bloggers encourage and guide us! Keep up the great posts and we hope to get to meet you in person soon!! Martha

  9. says

    Awesome post, and we thoroughly concur on all points after our 5+ years on the road! (Of course, we’re coming from the other end of the scale, starting off in a 16′ trailer and now in a 35′ vintage bus 😉 ).

    Everytime I read on your posts or comments on our blog, it reminds me how much I look forward to our paths crossing in our respective journeys.

    For folks with smartphones, the uscampgrounds.info is also available as a mobile app called ‘CampWhere’. It’s incredibly well designed, and we use it regularly to find public camping options. Great resource, for sure!

    • libertatemamo says

      Definitely look forward to meeting you guys too! Your blog was one of the very first inspirations for our current lifestyle.
      Cheers also for the tip on the app!

  10. Terry & Linda says

    #1- Agreed. We would like to have a smaller (21-30 ft) rv to supplement our current unit.
    #2- We carry a portable dish and use it about 35% of the time.
    #3- Passport America easily pays for itself.
    #4- Completely agree. Not sold on those full wall slides either.
    #5- Good to know, thanks.
    #6- Really good to know!
    #7- Slowing down really gives us the chance to become part of the area and know the people.
    #8- Still working on this one.
    #9- Always!!!
    #10- Plus you have to prepare for unexpected expenses. Like bumping your head.

    • Jim Shireman says

      Terry, your response #4 is similar to my own feelings. Not only of the weight created by such a huge slide but the expense to repair such a huge monstrosity. And the huge inconvenience when it does not work properly.

  11. Michelle says

    Thanks for the great post. If you were to pick an RV today, what model and floor plan would you pick? I love the idea of the shorter Newmars but we don’t have dealer in the area where I can see them.

  12. says

    As always, I love reading your blog and if I can gain one new piece of information then I am a happy “camper”! You’ve confirmed a lot of what we have discovered in our year+ on the road. We live in a 35′, 2 slide motorhome that is the perfect fit for us & we have not had a problem yet finding a site. We were turned on to Millenicom at the start of our journey by the Technomads and not only do they offer a great product, their customer service is awesome. Our rig came with a roof-top satelite dish but as we are not avid TV watchers we decided to try the life without hooking it up & have just enjoyed TV when we were at a park with cable or just watching the local stations with our antenna when it is available. We also joined all the clubs our first year and are now down to PA & Escapees.

    I really want to slow down our travels and experience a little bit more of nature in our travels. The Technomads turned me on to the overnightrvparking.com site, which I love and now I am excited to try the uscampgrounds.info site you recommended. I also LOVE your flip-flop rule as we definitely try to follow the sunshine.

    Thanks again for being an inspiration to so many of us!

    • libertatemamo says

      I think your size RV is almost perfect! It’s probably the size we’d look at were we to do it over. Good to know you guys enjoy Millenicom. That pretty much matches just about every experience I’ve heard on them. We’re switching as soon as our contract w/ Verizon is up.

    • Kim says

      Which make/model motorhome do you have? We have spent the last few months reading about and looking at motorhomes (soooo many choices!) we were thinking 35 to 36ft would be about right for us. We are planning for a (hopefully not too distant) future of fulltiming, and would like to be able to go to a lot of state parks.

      • libertatemamo says

        We have a Holiday Rambler 40 PDQ which is really almost 42-feet long. If we were to do it over I think we’d look in the 35-foot range or there abouts. Some of the older high-end coaches (e,g. Foretravel) in this size range are excellent.


  13. says

    This is a great post.

    While we have only been out 4 months the size issue is true. Ours is the reverse of your issue. Ours is 33 ft. How long is your motorhome?
    Our 33footer size is perfect for almost anywhere, but greats issues inside and for under storage. When we get our next one we are thinking about a 36 to 38ft. We have less than 1 foot of Counter space in Kitchen.

    Will ditch the tow dolly pronto, it is a pain. Even though we the motorhome is 33 ft. with car and dolly we are 58ft. Nightmare for getting in tight places, even gas stations are difficult.

    Great set of things to consider before heading out.

    • libertatemamo says

      We’re 40-foot “officially”, but actually ~41.6-foot if you measure end-to-end. It’s just a tad too big. I think around 35-38 is a good range.
      Totally agree w/ you on the dolly. We decided to go flat-tow from the start and are very happy w/ that decision. It’s so much less hassle and space-saving too.

      • says

        How do you add the Reply button?
        I am currently on Blogger , I notice you are on WordPress.
        Is there a specific widget,gadget or plugin, or whatever its called??
        It really is nice to be able to reply to a comment instead of just making another comment about a comment.


        • libertatemamo says

          Ummmm…I have to admit WordPress does that one automatically so I don’t have much help to give you on that one. Sorry :(
          I do like the WordPress comments format.

  14. says

    Our not quite 35′ motorhome has been the perfect size for getting into places bigger RVs won’t fit. Our frig is on a full-wall slide but it has never been a problem in the year and a half we’ve lived in this rig. But, we are now preparing to leave the road so our 2010 Winneago 34Y will be for sale this fall. It will be a great opportunity for someone looking for a big little motorhome. If interested, watch our blog for details to come soon.

    • libertatemamo says

      Ahhhh…sorry to hear you guys are getting off the road. I’ll definitely keep a watch on your blog for more info.

  15. says

    Excellent thoughts and we agree on all of them, especially the part about bigger is not always better. Although there are times when our 24′ 5er seems small, almost all of the time we’re in there we feel that the space is just right for our lifestyle.

    As for the roof-mounted dish…don’t give up, usually it’s just a matter of repositioning your rig by only a few feet. At least that’s our experience with our Motosat.

    • libertatemamo says

      I have to admit the satellite dish does frustrate me. We’re (yet again) in a site w/ no contact today and I’m not sure I could reposition to make it work.
      Then again, I’m not the most patient type :)
      I do love the size of your home!

  16. jil mohr says

    nice list (research is the key here I think as you have found out)…although I would never give up my escapee membership as I joined to be part of their community…it so much more then a campground membership….I will be curious to see what your list next year will be like…mine is ever changing as I am sure yours will too….

    • libertatemamo says

      Escapees does have a wonderful community. Totally agree on that one.
      And you’re right on the list too. RVing is a constantly-learning thing, just like everything in life. No doubt my list will evolve and change!

  17. says

    Love this post. We will be back home in San Diego this Winter too (in our 24′ RV –which I think is the PERFECT size! :) ) We should make it a point to meet up there since we haven’t had the chance yet being “sitters” or “movers”.

    Tally Ho!

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh yes…let’s DEFINITELY meet up in San Diego. We’ll probably be there starting around beginning Dec. Gonna book in the next week or so.

  18. says

    Sure agree with 9 of your 10, and for your style, even that one (about most camping clubs) is true. We also were in vacatioh mode and just about burned ourselves out at first. Anxious now to try out uscampgrounds.info!

  19. Brent says

    We’ve been thinking some of the same things and although I can’t argue with number 1 I suspect that there are a lot of advantages to a larger rig that will be missed once you have lived in something smaller for a while.

    We’ve never actually bothered with our satellite dish but I wonder if you have the same problems with your solar panels as well. Thinking that if we end up adding some solar to our set up will just go with free standing panels and move them around much like Imperfect Destiny does with their set up.

    • libertatemamo says

      The Solar question is a great one. We haven’t had nearly the problems w/ getting adequate solar coverage w/ the fixed roof-panels as we’ve had w/ the fixed satellite dish. For our satellite we have to have direct line-of-sight and a few trees (or even branches!) will easily throw it off. For the solar, although it’s best (of course) to have full sun, we’ll often be fine as long as we can get an adequate amount of sun for at least a few hours. We dry-camped in pretty heavy forest both in NM & CO where we got part-sun and it was enough to recharge us daily. I’ve been very happy w/ the set-up.
      I do get the idea of movable panels tho’…it does provide more options.

      • bretmar says

        We are doing our research now & are pretty sure we will be rv-ING full time soon! I’m loving your list & replies. I started feeling more confident & excited as I read this thread. Now, my question is do you have an update to your list? ?? It’s April 2014 & I’m reading from 2011 Lol. Thank you so much!

        • libertatemamo says

          It’s a good question Bretmar and surprisingly my Top 10 are pretty much the same, even 3 years later. Perhaps the biggest thing we’ve learned in the last 3 years is better tank management allowing us to boondock more (plus we’ve gotten much better at finding boondocking locations), but that really just fits into the flexible budget catagory.

          Also having spent lots more time in very windy areas (where we often have to pullin the slides to protect the toppers) I’d recommend buying an RV where everything is functionally usable with the slides in. That’ll help when you’re overnighting somewhere, or just want to stop for lunch say too. Ours is totally functionally usable (which is great!), but it’s total luck coz we didn’t actually think about this when we bought the rig.

          Otherwise there’s nothing I would change or alter in this list. The lessons are all super-valid even today.


          • Mary says

            I’m a little late to be answering this, but you are so right about the floor plan needing to be functional with the slides in. We were careful about that when we bought our 5er, because we had lived in a short Class C for a year and knew what we wanted. Some of the floor plans look great with the slides out, but then you can’t get to the fridge or bathroom with the slides in, especially the kitchen island set-ups. Our fifth wheel may be a little cramped with the slides retracted, but it is completely usable.

          • Liz says

            Mary, great point about being able to use your unit with slides in. What size and brand of 5er do you have? We are looking for one now, about 30-34, hope it will be our preferred size.

          • MaryAnn says

            This is in answer to Liz about our 5er. We have a 30’11” Crossroads Patriot, a 2011 model. The model number is 28 something or other. You can’t use the model number as the length, by the way. You usually have at least 2 more feet of trailer. We bought our 5er fully expecting to retire early and get back on the road. We were full time for a while because of my husband’s job. Since then we have become guardians of our now 16 year old granddaughter, and have a few more years left at home. I think I would reconsider to about a 30′ length Class A now that you can get shorter diesel pushers. I miss having enough room for family in the vehicle, being able to get to the bathroom without pulling over, and being able to get to the “bedroom” without getting out of the vehicle. There are lots of RV sites with info about choosing a trailer or a Class A or C. Just depends on what your preferences and needs are at your point in life. I think we will be happier with our trailer when we are living in it, doing campground hosting and/or whatever life hands us. Right now, we actually removed all the living/kitchen area furniture except the table and chairs. Our youngest son and his wife and daughter, and our 16 yr. old, all set up cots in that area and are able to join us to camp without packing all their gear. We enjoy being outside when we are camping, so this set up has been lots of fun, and we have camped in our local mountains in all kinds of weather. If you look at Nina’s Eagle Nest State Park photo in the blog, we were in that exact spot 10 days ago, but we have also camped in Santa Fe National Forest while it was snowing. Lots of variety here in New Mexico! Had to get in a plug for my home state! My advice, if you haven’t had a lot of experience with different RVs, is to get a used rig and get some experience, and don’t spend major money at first. There will always be things you like and don’t like, though, no matter what you choose!

  20. says

    As someone who is getting ready to go RVing full-time, thanks for these Nina, and all the other tips you two have posted about solar and expenses on the road and the like :)

    Number six was especially helpful. Here I’d been thinking I was going to have to sacrifice internet time and watch my usage like a hawk to stay under Verizon’s 5GB/mo cap. With Millenicom’s 20GB/mo plan that shouldn’t be a problem, and I’m willing to pay more for the device up front to escape having a two year plan. What a life saver. :)

    • libertatemamo says

      So happy it’s helpful. I do think the Millenicom deal is one of the best out there.
      Good luck on the upcoming full-timing!

      • DIANWATKINS says

        Hi Nina, appreciate ur list of 10 things . . . We have gone on the road for a straight 3 months then again for 4 months. We have several memberships and we love camping with the conveniences of home so the memberships we have are absolutely wonderful money savers galor. Our main issue has been rushing to get from one state to another so ur comment to slow down and get aquatinted and feel more at home sounds excellent. I was wondering if you have any idea the cost of the 20GB/ monthly cost. We have Verizon and the 5GB is not ever enough for us. My husband both have IPads so we need more GBs and the 20GB with Millenicom is something I too would like to check into after my contract is over. Totally agree with your list.
        Thank You so much!

        • libertatemamo says

          The price for Millenicom just raised to $89.99/mo for 20GB (previously it was $69.99). It’s still the best deal out there for the amount if data you get on Verizon. It’s what we use and we’re very happy with it.


        • TRISH BIJOU says

          Hi Dian, did you used to work in Denver? I knew a dian there that i worked with, and she went full time. This is a dream that i want to make into reality for myself. i am deciding right now on what would be the perfect size rig for me as i will be a woman “rving” by myself. i don’t want something “too big” nor “too small” I’m thinking maybe a 30 ft class A?? how do you handle your laundry situation? I sure hope this is you.

  21. says

    Awesome list, and we pretty much discovered each of these too! Well, we actually never realized how easy it is to find great campgrounds, so that one’s off our list (wish we had known about that website!). And even though our fridge was in our slide, we didn’t have any problems with it (but maybe that’s because we sold it before the issues could emerge?). But other than those, I feel ya. :)

  22. William says

    I love the articles that come from first hand experience. I bookmarked several sites you mentioned and really enjoyed the knowledge you’ve added to my Rving experience ahead of me and My wife. Thanks again..

  23. says

    There is an excellent ipad ap that we found while using the internet public campground web site you use. It is called campmore. Cost is under 5 bucks. It is the same info as the web site, but the ipad ap is really really easy to use. Easier than the web site.

    Satellite internet. When we bought our coach used it had a Motosat internet satellite on it. We activated it and use it a lot. It has worked flawlessly except for when Hughes changed frequencies and that was a big dust up and PIA to get working right again. There was no equipment failure just software junk from Hughes. I bring this up as you mentioned sat internet in your “10 things”. The thing that is really really great about the sat internet is that you can be boondocked in the middle of no where and it works if you have clear vision to the satellite. For the most part it is not as fast as Verizon 3G with a good signal. But it is pretty fast. Now that there is a second big player just launched a bird (a San Diego company BTW) Hughes will have some competition and I would guess everyone will get faster. You can buy motosat dishes used.

    • libertatemamo says

      Thanks for the tips & thoughts. We’ve had very good coverage with Verizon since we started using them (only a handful of campgrounds where we couldn’t get signal) so for the time being we’re happy w/ their service. I think if we travelled regularly to sites without Verizon coverage we might opt for a movable satellite dish, but so far it’s not made the list.

  24. says

    6/ You Don’t Have to Sign Any Internet Contracts

    Have you guys actually used Millenicom yet or are you still stuck in the 2 year contract with Verizon? I currently have the USB 760 stick I purchased and I buy data from Verizon for $80 for 5GB which is very tight for my needs.

    When my 5GB runs out next I was going to give Millenicom a try but wanted to make sure I get the same great coverage and speed.

    • libertatemamo says


      We have not used it (yet!) since we’re still waiting for our Verizon contract to end, but I’ve talked w/ many who have and who have and are happy w/ it. The nice thing is you have the option to cancel month-to-month if you’re unhappy.

      Two important points when you go w/ Millenicon -> make sure you sign-up for the deal that runs on the Verizon network (not the other networks) AND I would *not* go for the 4G deal (yet). Technomadia have been checking it out and don’t think it’s ready yet. Check out their post here:


  25. Terry & Belinda + Dayton the wonder dog says

    We’re enjoying the “Tutoring” you are providing. We bought our first MH in 1996 and Boondocked almost everywhere we camped due to our hobby. Through the years sorta got out of the habit and we really miss it a lot! We’re pulling the trigger and will be fulltime by January with the stix and brix for sale. Four years in the planning and looking forward to this. Thanks again for your insight in this much needed lifestyle(us). 336Muffin

  26. says

    Hi Nina,

    As my husband prepare to hit the road (selling our home in Oregon, trading in our truck and buying a fifth wheel) your blog is invaluable. ( BTW I am in week 4 of the no-poo and love it!!)

    We are avid birders and love the solitude of nature. We imagine we will be staying and volunteering in wildlife refuges, state parks and boondocking for the most part. We are looking at the Northwoods Arctic Fox 32-5M (34’11’).( We love our daily yoga practice and need a floor plan that fits 2 yoga mats) We are heading to the Northwoods dealer in Oregon in the beginning of april to see about trading our truck in for a diesel long bed and buying the fifth wheel. Northwoods just came out with a new fifth wheel floor plan that rocks(35-5z) but it is 38’11”. In regards to bigger is not better do you have any guidance here to help our decision making process? I know this is a very personal decision. ANY input will be helpful. It is just the two of us and our binoculars, camera, bird books, and laptop computers for the most part. This is such a huge decision and we will be living with it for a long time.

    Thanks for being a sounding board:)

    • libertatemamo says

      I guess my best recommendation would be to look at back clearance. What we’ve found boondocking with friends is that some of the longer 5th wheels have a lot of back overhang (behind the rear wheel) and/or low clearance at the back. We went to some BLM land with buddies last year that had a 38 foot 5th wheel and they were scraping the back end over all the bumps while our 42-foot MH cleared them all with no issue. It’s not a critical thing, but I think if you really feel like you’ll be doing a lot of boondocking, then it makes a difference.

      Another thing to keep in mind is that a bigger, heavier 5th wheel may require a bigger, heftier truck. Totally depends on the model and weight, but it could bump you up on $$ for the tow. A bigger truck can be more hassle for sightseeing too.

      I’m not familiar with the particular model you’re looking at, but those are 2 things I’d recommend looking at to help make the choice. Sometimes the layout and size trump any inconveniences so you never know :)

      Good luck with all your plans!

  27. Ric says

    I been reading your blog and these are good tips! My wife wanted a Roadtek and I wanted a 34 to 36 DP. We got a 38 footer. I am Baddad53 on IRV2 and just saw your link to the blog today. Enjoyed the reading.

  28. mayy skoodan says

    My wife and I are going full time rving. I absolutely love what you guys have to say. We live over here on the west coast . We a younger couple and hard to find real support but thia has been so helpful !

  29. Rene Kremer says

    Great post! My wife and I are in the process of getting on the road. We have two boys Cole is 7 and Zachary will be 4 in November. I am 34 and my wife is 33. We also have a 5 yr old golden retriever/ horse( he’s 90 lbs). Our family has so far been supportive but have raised a lot of questions as well. One that comes up a lot and we are also concerned about is safety and security. have you found unsafe places to camp that you would never go back to. have you ever been injured and had to try and find a doctor or hospital you could be hours away from?
    Our situation is fairly unique (I think) because I work away from my family for 2 weeks and then i’m back with them for two weeks. I work in northern Alberta ( we are Canadian) and for the 6 really cold month of winter we could be anywhere in the US or Canada. For the 6 not so cold months she wants to set up camp in northern Alberta. near where I work. Our family is very concerned for the safety of my wife and kids while I am gone away at work for two weeks. do you have any advice on this or know any other fulltime families that have a similar situation?
    We are thinking of buying a 40 ft. extended stay model by Jayco(40bhs I think the model is). it has a full size refridgerator and range which we thought would be better suited for keeping my two boys fed. But like you said bigger not always better. My wife and I have been camping all our lives. and are in our second RV since we have been Married(10 years). We currently have a 2007 Springdale 27′ with one slide.

    • libertatemamo says

      Hey Rene,

      Lovely to “meet” you on the blog! You know regarding safety the *only* time I’ve ever felt even close to unsafe is in the center of big cities. We had one incident (in San Antonio) a few years back that sent us running, but other than that I’ve never felt unsafe. Whenever we’re in smaller cities or the boonies I’ve always felt perfectly fine. So, I guess I’d recommend getting out of the bigger spots and into some more rural areas…more space for the boys too?

      We’ve met quite a few fulltime families on the road. I’d recommend getting in touch with these guys:
      They’ve been on the road a while w/ their 2 kids and have both workamped & home-schooled during that time. Really nice family and I have no doubt they can put you in touch w/ others on the road. They just ordered a new rig too. I also like the NuRver group on Facebook…lots of young folks on there and several families too. Also recommend this resource Fulltime Families -> all about folks who live fulltime w/ their families on the road.

      Good luck w/ all your travels! Maybe we’ll meet you on the road?


      • stimpreny says

        Thanks for the reply. Can’t wait to get out there and start living. Great advice.  i will definitely be contacting the folks you left links to. Question: do you two caravan with other folks sometimes or always on your own? I thought it would be a lot of fun to to caravan along with some of the great people out there, does that happen or do people just move on and say so long.

        Sent from Samsung Galaxy NoteWheeling It wrote:

        • libertatemamo says

          We’ve definitely caravanned. Most of our caravans have been impromptu gatherings…just folks we met on the road and decided to travel along with for a while. It’s a ton of fun as long as you stay loose and not get too rigid about how much time you spend together. All our experiences doing this have been fabulous!

      • matt skoodan says

        Hey guys! I love your posts. Me, my wife and our goldendoodle are hitting the road in a few months to live the simple life in our 20ft rv! Your info is priceless and could only cone with experience. We appreciate you saying it with us all! We are 26 years old and have been looking for other aged rvers, any tips ?

  30. Cameo Franz says

    Enjoy your thoughts and insight. BUT…..(yes, I’m a BUT gal), you obviously have plenty of finances w/cushion should you have unexpected expenses on the road. It is not so “go for it” when one is a BABYBOOMER, widowed Gal, whose main income is Social Security ($1500). It gets tricky. I’ve lived from Tokyo to Stockholm and all over the USA. Full timed a while crossing the country 12 times. Currently stuck in South Texas and loathe it. (formerly resided in Las Vegas, Beverly Hills, Miami, Honolulu, Tokyo and Palm Springs – the total opposite of anything in Texas. It’s a long sstory.) So, tell me where should I begin? I’m thinking New Mexico or north Arizona. Avoid DRUG TRAFFIC is an obvious concern; yet, too isolated places are risky ALONE for a petite gal. Not interested in mid-west/east coast: been there done that. Need SUN. That limits much of the US. Any advice or introspection welcome. Guess it’s a future choice of in the “rocking chair or on the road”.

    • libertatemamo says

      Well if you’re interested in fulltime RVing I’d probably recommend a smaller trailer or Class C, and then I’d focus on the SW. New Mexico offers lots of great State Parks and has their yearly camping pass which is an amazing deal -> $225 for one year of dry camping! It’s a great state for spring through fall, but gets too cold in winter. For winter I would head over to Southern Arizona where you can free camp on public land. There are quite a few single ladies I know that do this, and it can be done on limited income.

      Have a look at these blogs:
      She travels in a trailer and also has detailed financial pages

      She travels in a Class C

      I wish you good luck with whatever road you decide to follow!

      • Cameo Franz says

        Thx for the advice. I have a 2012, 32′ A Class I’m liviing in on the Tx gulf. State parks n public land VERY dangerous in states near Mexican border for anyone but especially a woman aone. Money avails safe, upscale resort parks. I’m staying iin park here for now. Thx again n BE GRATFUL!

  31. OWV says

    We are new to your blog and new to the world of RVing. We are in the process of selling the house and plan to become fulltimers within the next 3-6 months. Our big issue right now is with size. We like our creature comforts, but we also want to use state and national parks and forests as much as possible. In your comments you suggested that the next time you might stay in the 36-38 foot range. We are thinking 40. I recently read something that indicated that anything over 35 would rule out 85% of state and national parks. If that is true, how much worse does that number get if you are in a 40 footer vs something in the 36-38 range? And, if the percent available is pretty much the same between 36 and 40, why not go 40?

    On a related note, I saw several references to Boondocked. In the RV world, what is Boondocked camping.

    Many thanks for any insight you can provide.


    • libertatemamo says

      Hi there,

      It’s hard to make a “firm” assessment on the size issue. A lot of times it depends on where you camp. For example State Parks in CA are notoriously old/small and being 40-foot or larger rules out almost 85% of them. Same thing in the National Forest campsites in the CO mountains (we’ve camped there, but it’s often a struggle to find sites that fit us). On the other hand State Parks in CO are usually quite spacious as are State Parks in OR (we’ve been able to take our 40-footer just about everywhere in OR) and throughout the Mid-West. Also if you like boondocking smaller is always better. So, just depends.

      My best advice is log onto uscampgrounds.info and click around on some of the states you’d like to visit. There’s size-info there and you’ll very quickly get a feel for where you can go.


  32. Debbie says

    We have a 28 ft travel trailer with slides and I’m so ready to move into it and became a full timer. Can it be done in a travel trailer?

    • libertatemamo says

      I don’t see why not. We’ve met people who fulltime in all kinds of rigs from pop-ups to truck campers, vans and big class A’s. If your trailer enables you to start the life you’re looking for, I say go for it! You can always upgrade or change your mind down the line.

  33. Roman & Kathy says

    Hi Nina and Paul, Fantastic job on your blog; has answered so many questions for us. Kathy and I tend to plan well in advance for such ventures as full time RV’ers.. Being in the starting planning changes, one topic that seems to come up quite a bit is RV length with regards to parks that RV length “issues”. We are looking at the next year or two to sell the “bricks, sticks and mortar”. One question maybe you can answer from your travel experience is the 40′ length issues at some parks with regards to a motor home, how does that compare to, for example a 38 ft. 5th wheel and along with 18′ length of a double cab truck needed to pull it? Does the combined length of the 5th wheel and truck come into play in some or most places, i.e. setting the 5th wheel and where does one typically park the truck, in line, along side? Guess that does not matter when boon-docking. Would appreciate your feedback … regards…. Roman

    • libertatemamo says

      In my experience a 38 foot 5th wheel takes up as much, if not more space than a 40 foot motorhome, specifically because of the big truck. I can squeeze our little toad in just about anywhere (often we just park it across the front of the MH), but with a big truck you may have to find a separate parking spot, depending on the campground. Many campgrounds will offer that, but it just depends.

      Also be careful of back overhang on the larger 5th wheels. We caravanned with a couple who had a large 5th wheel last year and they had so much low overhang on the back of their rig that it kept bottoming out on bumpy roads. We actually had to be careful choosing our boondocking spot because their clearance was so much poorer than ours.

      I think 5th wheels can be a fabulous choice, but just watch for size and overhang, especially if you are planning on rustic camping.


      • Roman & Kathy says

        Hi Nina, thanks so much for the prompt reply. Follow up question to your comment “couple who had a large 5th wheel last year and they had so much low overhang on the back of their rig that it kept bottoming out on bumpy roads” Are you referring to the distance of the furthest rear axle to the back end of the 5th wheel or simply the ground clearance at the back end of the 5th wheel? I can see it being a problem the greater the distance between the rear axle to the end of the trailer on any bumpy road as being a problem, and I have seen some motorhomes that would have the same issue.

        BTW, we live in Mesa, AZ, not too far, 5 miles or so, from Usuarry Pass. Currently 82F here, expected to be 101F today. regards….Roman & Kathy

  34. says

    Nina and Paul, I just found your blog today on Pinterest, and it is filled with very good information. I will be more or less full-timing it with a friend who currently lives in Okinawa, Japan. He has been living in Japan for 23+ years and plans on moving back to the states permanently. Whenever that happens he has asked me to come along on his life long dream of traveling to all the National Parks/Monuments etc. We don’t plan on moving much more than 100 miles or so per day and may stay in a place for a while if we like it and there is lots to see and experience in the area. I plan to keep watching your blog as it really speaks to what we want to do.
    As for a choice of what type of RV… we’re looking at a diesel-pusher… would love to find one in the 32-34 ft range. Loved your advice about the internet service Millenicom . I’d read about them from another source just yesterday and feel much better about them now that I’ve heard from a 2nd unsolicited source. I didn’t know that they don’t require a contract…that is so much better… I used to drive a truck for a living and have been to almost all the lower 48 states (just missing North Dakota…) I used Verizon while I was on the road and cannot ever remember not being able to get a signal for my phone or my internet connection. Of course, I was mainly on major highways or secondary roads so that sort of explains that… Sorry I’ve gone on and on… just wanted to introduce myself and hope to see you one day once we ever get on the road… Beverly/Wayne

  35. Marie says

    I just found your blog on Pinterest, and learned some important tips. My retirement fantasy is to RV full-time and follow the warm weather through Canada and the US for a few years. I’ve just bought a 5th wheel that will be staying put in a nearby RV park for three or four years until I can afford a tow vehicle, but I’m very excited to experience RV life. Since I’m in Canada, that won’t be until next Spring, but is something to keep me busy planning for during the winter.

  36. Diana says

    My husband and I are planning on going on the road f/t the first of the year. 3 questions: what is the easiest way to have our mail catch up to us? Also, how do we register to vote in the presidential elections? And finally, how do we update our drivers licenses for a “current” address? Thanks, I love your blogs.

    • libertatemamo says

      We use a mail forwarding service (Alternative Resources in South Dakota) to manage our mail. They keep our mail at their office until we ask them to send it to us. Most RV parks will accept mail or you can send mail as “general delivery” to a local post office and pick-up it later. The address we have in SD also serves as our address on record for the purposes of taxes, voting, car/RV registration, insurance and drivers license. When we established domicile with them we had to make sure we got to South Dakota within a certain time-frame to get our drivers licence (can only be done on-site). You can read more about establishing domicile here:
      Home is Where you Park it…or is it?

      • Wendy says

        What issues did you have with the fridge in the slide? Too much weight going down the road or when you parked?

        • libertatemamo says

          The fridge is really too heavy for the slide and caused it to dip and “catch” on the outer frame of the RV. You can read more about the problem here:
          RV Slide Woes & A Total Change in Plans
          Fixing this issue required many weeks and a 1,000 mile drive to Oregon (back to the manufacturing location). We’ve been OK since, but I always worry about the big slide everytime we bring it in.


  37. says

    Hi Nina and Paul.
    So if you had to do it over again would you still go with a diesel pusher? Anything that you would want in a different floor plan that you don’t have now?


    • libertatemamo says

      We love the power of our Diesel engine. It can go anywhere and drive any mountain. So, that portion I would probably try and keep. But size-wise I wish we’d gone a tad smaller…closer to 30 or even 35 feet. It can be tough finding accessible sites with “the beast”, and a smaller size would sure make that easier. We love our slides and would definitely buy with slides again (it makes the interior so much roomier) and our layout is good, plus I can’t deny the tanks in this rig are nice and big. There’s just the size thing :)

  38. says

    I feel so fortunate I stumbled on to your blog. I’ve learned a lot already. My husband and I are newbies and when I mean new… we don’t even have our very little 14′ hybrid trailer. It is being built in Tucson as I type. It will be ready in late february. We will pick it up the 1st week in March and will bomb around New Mexico all of that month and most of April before we start heading back to Duluth, MN at the end of May. I want to leave tomorrow as it was -24º last night.

    It will be an interesting learning curve to be sure. Because neither of us have ever done this. Ideally I want to boondock a lot. We have a swiss shepherd who is traveling with us and I like the idea of giving him more space. However, since we know nothing I am wondering if we should invest in the New Mexico State Park Pass and use the hookups until we know our trailer. Maybe start boondocking in Utah and on our way home. Any sage advice for us? I have a million more questions I am sure. Reading these blogs are priceless. Thanx

    • libertatemamo says

      Well congrats on the upcoming adventures! For an easy “entry” into RVing I would most definitely recommend the New Mexico State Camping Pass. Not only are all the New Mexico parks quite lovely, they’re spacious with lots of trails (very dog friendly) and you’ll get to travel around and see a lot of variety at very low cost. Plus you can test out your rig and dry camping skills. I think it’s an excellent idea! Good luck and good travels!


  39. says

    Your’s is a timely post for us. We are negotiating an RV purchase as we speak. We’re soon to be full-timers pending sale of land, sailboat and home. Happy trails.

  40. Marilee says

    We are just in the planning stages, our house is for sale, I’m dividing things up between our children and selling or storing the rest. We’ve found the 5th wheel we want and the house is for sale, really looking forward to this new adventure. We’ve had a 5th wheel before but only for occasional trips. All your information is so helpful, will be back often to see what else is new. From cold, snowy Canada

    • libertatemamo says

      Congrats on your exciting upcoming adventure! Hope your journey is everything you expect it to be.


  41. Jackie Schulz says

    My husband and I are considering fulltime rving. I have been reading different blogs and how to start and all. I am wondering on jobs. Unfortunatly we are not independently wealth and still have not won the lottery. Our thought is to travel to area work for month or two and then move on. Do you have any suggestions on jobs or really good website for that info. We are at a point in out lives we just want to go and see the world why wait until its to late. We are young and ready to go just have to take that leap.

    • libertatemamo says

      Sure! There are lots of online jobs you can do depending on your skills -> computer programming, art (selling on Etsy), writing, teaching, CPA work, medical billing etc.

      If you’re looking for physical jobs some Workamping positions do offer pay (check out Workampers.com), plus there are seasonal jobs such as Amazon and See’s Candy (both hire seasonally for Christmas), gate keeping (in Texas for oil companies), and the Dakota Beet Harvest (in late fall). We also know folks who work at fairs or sell their wares at markets.

      Those are just a few ideas! I suggest checking out workamper.com to start with.


  42. Ronald & Laura Garton says

    Love the list.
    We are new to full time RV living and are looking forward to what ever yonder brings us and seeing all that our beautiful country has to offer.
    My question is my wife is looking in to time shares that as I’ve found are very expensive and only offer a few weeks a yr any ideas on alternatives to these over priced resorts we both love the outdoors and camping this is what we have to work with we have a 41+ ft fifth wheel that is fully self contained

    • libertatemamo says

      Well we rarely stay at ANY private parks so I really can’t comment much on resort-type camping. To save money and enjoy the outdoors we primarily camp on public land (state parks, national forest, BLM etc.). We are 40-foot (41.6′ measured).

      If you require resorts you may want to look at something like Thousand Trails membership. Not my thing so can’t really comment further, but there are lots of memberships floating around for resale. If you post on one of the RV forums I’m sure you’ll get good feedback on the pros and cons.


  43. Joe says

    Great site and information, thank you, I’ve learned a lot. We just bought a 34ft MH, so I am glad to hear your size comments. We will start our adventure soon.

    When dry camping how do you manage clean black and gray tanks?

  44. Isabelle says

    This is a wonderful blog! We are getting ready to start our RV adventure as newbies, in our 34 footer! We are avid motorcycle enthusiasts and will be planning our trips based on where the best motorcycle roads are in the US. Regarding the comments about size considerations, we will pulling a 10 foot trailer with the motorcycle. Will that have to factor into size considerations for sites, or can we just get creative with how we park the trailer? Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

    • libertatemamo says

      It kinda depends. Most places you can be somewhat creative on how you park, but you do want to factor some space for your extra stuff. I would start by booking larger sizes until it get a feel for how you can arrange everything on-site. We’ve been able to park in most 40-foot sites with our little toad squeezed sideways in the front. We’ve even made it into smaller sites as long as access was good and the site provided some overhang. Then again, there are some 40-foot sites that won’t fit us at all because trees are in the way, or roads turns are tight etc.

      So, just depends on the site and the park. Older parks often have smaller sites and tighter access than newer parks. Forest service campgrounds are typically tighter than desert campgrounds. I use rvparkreviews.com to help gauge these things, and combine it with satellite pics (Google Earth) and campsitephoto.com where it’s available. Between the three I can usually make a good guess if we can fit. It’s a process!


  45. says

    After three to four months of researching the idea of becoming a full time RV’er beginning the spring of 2015, this top ten list has provided me the last bit of information needed. to possibly move the date to the fall of 2014. Thanks you for the list and I hope to one day cross paths take care and keep on RV’ing.

  46. Peggy says

    Enjoyed your post and found it very enlightening. My husband and I are currently planning to “sell the farm” and go on the road year round. We will be purchasing a travel trailer and have a vehicle capable of a large tow load. My question, What make/model/size of travel trailer would you recommend? Your advise is greatly appreciated.
    Peg Peltier

  47. Regina says

    I’m just starting to investigate FT RVing. My husband is joining a traveling nurse program and we are currently planning on purchasing a used RV to start with but we’d really like to live in one for a month before purchasing. Any thoughts?

    • libertatemamo says

      I think living in an RV before you try to get fully into it isn’t a bad idea at all. Rental RV’s are a great way to do this. Just try it out for a while, travel around to get a feel of living in the thing in different areas and see how you feel. We’ve met many traveling nurses who fulltime and enjoy the comfort of having their own bed/home wherever they go. Good luck with everything!


  48. Dewey & Stacy says

    I am still trying to find out things about RVing. I had a question about RV height. We are looking to purchase a 5th wheel with a height of 13′ 4″ I am concerned that we will have trouble traveling and it is also long at 39′ 10″ without the the tow vehicle. Do people have trouble with this traveling the country?

    • libertatemamo says

      That’s a big beast! The main issue you’ll run into with that size is getting into older parks especially public campgrounds, depending on state. Roads will be fine…you just need to be aware of tunnels. Most private parks will be fine.


      • Dewey & Stacy says

        Thanks for the info we have so many questions to answer before we buy one. This helps us in narrowing down the one will buy. We so nervous and excited at the same time. Do you know of any links on how you visit doctors and get medicine while on the road. We’re going to be traveling as a family with kids and I don’t see to much info on this.
        Thanks again,
        Dewey & Stacy

  49. says

    Great article which has helped a lot with my pre-plunge “anxiety”. My dog and I are hitting the road full-time in less than a month. Hope to cross paths someday…Cheers!

  50. Debby says

    I just ran across this today. My husband and I are trying to gather info so we can set out on a full time RVing adventure. I have found this info very helpful since we have not fully committed yet by actually purchasing our RV. (He’s retired and I’m not quite yet!) My question is, what do you do about having a permanent residence for times when that is needed? (Like when it’s time to renew your driver’s license.) We plan on selling our home and this was one of the many questions that came up. Any info would be helpful in making a more informed decision. Thanks.

  51. Josie says

    I sell RV’s, and love it. The people I sell to are excited and eager to get on the road, love my customers. Anyhow, some things I would mention tell your RV sales person about yourself and your plans, most of us in the RV industry have experience and can help with idea’s and help find you the right coach with items or without items you may not even know you will need or that will greatly enhance your time. Also most RV sales people have resources, and it’s not a used car salesman tactic (well not where I work) we want to help and for you to refer us and come back. I full timed for 4yrs, with 3 kids a dog and a cat as a single mom. Let me say we did have our struggles, but I LOVED it. Now I get to help others too. So my suggestion is let your RV sales person help and ask them questions, they generally have a wealth of information.

    • libertatemamo says

      It’s nice to hear from someone who’s selling in the industry and also has experience fulltiming. I’m sure your customers appreciate your experience.


  52. Kathy says

    Thanks so much for all the good info. We are considering trading our house in Green Valley, AZ for a motorhome and travel where Gary speaks, as he is a speaker. We are retired. I will
    definately follow your blog.

  53. Pat H. says

    Hi Nina,
    What did you guys do for insurance on your storage unit? You don’t own or rent a house so you can’t cover it with homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Wondering who you found to insure your “stuff”.
    Pat H.

    • libertatemamo says


      We have insurance provided by the storage facility (Public Storage). We pay an extra few $$ a month for that particular adder, but it’s included in our monthly price.


  54. Leslie says

    Thanks Nina for the great advice — and thanks to all the posters…so much useful info here!

    Kid’s grown, house sold, living in temporary housing — my husband and I are getting ready to go full time; a dream of ours since we were married nearly 37 years ago. Like others, we’re excited and apprehensive at the same time. The full time RVing community looks like such a great community to be joining. Can’t wait!

    We’ll be taking our 10 year old grandson and my widowed sister and young daughter on lots of trips so we definitely need a 6 sleeper. We’re looking for a used rig but we’re finding the majority sleep 4, especially if they have a dinette table and chairs, as opposed to a sleeper booth.

    I’m wondering if this is a simple fix by adding an after-market sleeper booth (which I would like to have anyway – could be a nice place for the kids to sit to draw, play games, etc, while we’re on the road). Where would we look for such a thing? Is it possible to make a 4-seater legal to seat six (w/seat belts)?

    Since we’d like to camp in public parks and boondock, we’re taking your advice by reducing our desirable size from 40 foot to 32-38 foot – hoping to find something closer to 36 feet to perhaps have the best of both worlds. But I’m wondering how a tow vehicle impacts overall size?

    After checking out other blogs that said towing is cumbersome, we were thinking of foregoing a tow vehicle and renting a car when we need to get around. My concern is this might be problematic if we’re boondocking or camping somewhere remote. We considered trading our current SUV in for a mid-size four-down tow-able SUV (like a Honda CRV) then we’d only have to own one vehicle. But if this size is too cumbersome to tow we could get a compact car for towing and store our SUV on some property we own. (We need access to an SUV when we’re visiting back in the mountains of our home state of CO.)

    Would love to know what kind of vehicle your little Toad is, and your thoughts on making your way over bumps and holes when dry camping with a tow vehicle? Would an SUV make it easier – or is smaller better? Do you ever wish you didn’t have a tow vehicle, or do you find it indispensable?

    Thanks again for your advice! :-)

    BTW – if any of your followers know of someone selling their rig, we’re in the market for a 2004 up diesel pusher, 32-38 foot, lots of basement storage and must have a WD hook up (and either sleep six or be convertible to this?). Thanks folks!

    • Rodney says

      Hi Leslie, I am not a full-timer, yet, but I have something to add on your comments on type of RV. I have a towable, a trailer. It is not hard to tow and, I might add that if you go with a motorhome and toad, you are in fact, still towing only without the ability to back up – it just seems different. The challenge is backing of course. I have friends that started out with a trailer and went to a motorhome after being misled on an underpowered tow vehicle and wrecking their trailer.

      I’ve spent quite a bit of time skimming through forums and have found some overall themes on types of rigs. My only concern with my current is size. When I purchased it with the purpose of a few months at a time it was perfect but full-time is another matter. Most blogs on the subject say- stay small as possible but then focus on Class A or 5th Wheels- not so small. Other concerns are roof construction, slide out reliability, moving versus squatting, etc. I am single so that cuts down on size requirements but again, how much space is too little? Doing research on parks in my state (FL) most public parks become site limited past 36 feet with the most sites rated for 20-35 foot rigs- easier to get and make reservations.

    • libertatemamo says

      For the extra sleeper idea, I honestly can’t see why you couldn’t after-market modify your rig. I’ve seen lots of folks modify to their needs, so as long as the space is there I would think it possible.

      Regarding towing, I HIGHLY recommend a tow-vehicle if you fulltime. It gives you SO much flexibility in terms of getting around once you’re at a site. Plus there are many sightseeing spots you simply can’t take your big rig. I’ve known folks who do the rental thing and it gets old real fast. Even shopping is easier with a tow!

      Generally if you get a small tow you don’t need much extra space to store it. We have a Honda CRV and we’ll often park our car crossways in front of our RV. We don’t “add” to our site size for the CRV. We usually just book for our rig and find somewhere to squeeze in the toad once we get there. Haven’t had a problem so far.

      I DO recommend towing 4-down. Much less hassle. The Honda is made for 4-down towing (you just need to run through the gears), but other cars can also do it (or they can do it with modification). You do need to make sure that when you buy your rig you have the extra weight capacity to tow.

      I actually have a full 2-part series on tow vehicles here:
      All About Dinghy Towing Part I – Toads
      All About Dinghy Towing Part II – Tow Equipment & Supplemental Brakes


      • Leslie says

        Thanks Nina for the additional info. I think this has settled our tow vehicle vs rental debate. :-)

        Can you please tell us where you think the best place might be to look for help with modification to the interior of a motorhome? Is this something a place like Camping World would handle or are there individuals who do this type of work who might be more cost effective?

        Thanks again!

        • libertatemamo says

          Any good RV repair/modification center should be able to handle this. I’m not a huge fan of Camping World, but I’d recommend looking at other good repair shops in the area. Try to find someone who sells the tow system & ask around on the RV forums for your particular area.

          We got ours done in San Diego with County RV.


  55. robin williams says

    I am presently renovating my 1999 fleetwood bounder 36s that I bought almost 2 years ago. Being a single guy, i am turning it into a man cave. I hope to be done in the next 2 months and then I am going to give full time RV a shot.

    • Leslie says

      Robin – What a great idea. I kind of like the idea of renovating an older model so perhaps we could put in some healthier more natural and greener finishes. As a nutritionist I’m a bit bothered by all the laminates and the accompanying chemicals including formaldehyde.

      May I ask what you’re renovating and the investment required?

  56. Collin says

    Thanks for the blog. My wife and I are considering a year on the road and this has been very helpful. We are young empty nesters.

  57. says

    What a great post, have just found your blog, really great.
    I have just completed my first year in my 7m (23 ft) converted Hino Raimbow bus.
    I totally agree with the speed and what not to take.
    Safe travels.

    • libertatemamo says

      Sweet rig you have (super cute too)! Nice to have you following along. By the way we road tripped in NZ some years ago (mix of car camping and backpacking). We’d love to go back one day. Such an amazing country!


  58. Jim Shireman says

    Like many others who have responded.. Thanks for posting your Top 10. The wife and I are in the planning stage for full time RV’ing and you have answered many of the things we were questioning and listing other web sources of information is extremely helpful. We hope to be full timers in a year or so. One question you did not address in this blog was the question “Gas or Diesel?”. I realize it “depends on where you are going” but, in your opinion what has been your experience? We are leaning strongly to diesel because we do plan to go west of the Mississippi.

    • libertatemamo says

      Diesel versus Gas is one of those age-old questions with lots of folks on both sides of the equation. Honestly I think you’ll be fine with either as long as you stay within the weight limits that the engine can handle.

      That said, we LOVE our diesel. Our engine is a power-house and we rock massive (and hilly) drives with almost no effort whatsoever. Plus, we know our diesel will last forever (at ~26,000 miles we’re barely broken in!).

      I would get whatever you find that’s within your budget (diesel’s do tend to be more expensive) and suits you best. I’ve seen people fulltime in both types with no issues whatsoever.


  59. Rose Cowan says

    Hi Nina,
    I love your story and all of the wonderful information I have been able to glean from your site! Thank you for it.

    My husband and I are currently living in Panama but have sold our home and will be moving back to travel the U.S. full-time in a motorhome early next year. More than one time you have said you wish you had gone with a smaller coach. We will want to boondock, camp in (or somewhere close to)all of the national parks, and in BLM land on occasion, etc.. But we are not opposed to staying in RV parks when needed. My question to you is: Do you think we can do that kind of traveling in a 43′ motorhome? We have done tons of research on the manufacturer and make we want to buy. Their 38′ and 40′ models just don’t have a layout that I think will work for us, especially since the 43′ seems to have everything we want in the right place.

    If you think we are crazy, please say so!

    • libertatemamo says

      Honestly our feeling is the larger you go, the more limited you will be in finding spots to stay, especially in the more remote areas and older, public parks. We’ve found our 40-footer to be limiting in this respect and often wish we’d gone smaller.

      So, you’ve got to weigh your priorities on what is more important to you. Is the space/layout key to your happiness on the road? Then, absolutely go for the bigger rig and make it work! Is camping in remote areas & boondocking your top priority? Then, you’ve got to look smaller. The answer is highly individual. No wrong answer at all…just the best answer for YOU!


  60. Rose Cowan says

    Thanks Nina for responding and your input. We are evaluating our priorities. Our initial goal is to “see the U.S.” so we may postpone the majority of our boondocking, etc. until we reach our “too frazzled” limit like you and Paul did.
    Am an avid fan and will be following you where ever you go.
    Thanks again,

  61. Oldog says

    My wife found your site last night and we love it. Next year around June we are looking to go full time RVing. We have a 2013 Tundra with a 4.0 v6 to pull at the most a 22ft. trailer. We’ll probably look to install a larger radiator and tranny cooler first and will be going with the anti sway bars setup. We lived in a 34ft. motorhome for a year in Sacramento in a trailer park in 2007 with 2 dogs and a cat who adopted us (he was left behind from one who moved out, we still have him along with another and a golden retriever). We plan to stay with the truck and smaller trailer for a year or so to see how it goes. We’ll do some boondocking, and mostly look to stay someplace for a month at a time, and work camping.

  62. says

    I am the author of two RV books, one of which is published by Woodalls and hundreds of RV articles. My husband and I have been fulltiming for ten years. I have to say that this is the best article that I have EVER read on full-timing. We have come to the same conclusions that you have…even after 10 years. Great job!

  63. says

    I am the author of two RV books, one of which is published by Woodalls and hundreds of RV articles. My husband and I have been fulltiming for ten years. I have to say that this is the best article that I have EVER read on full-timing. We have come to the same conclusions that you have…even after 10 years. Great job! I will be sharing with my group of 5000+ Rvers.

  64. says

    I’ve spent a year so far living and traveling in a self-converted cargo van. I’ve been through four major purges of stuff. Just yesterday I combined the contents of two partially empty containers. Now I have a container to divest myself of. The thing is, I don’t feel like a radical minimalist. It’s just that I’m finding out I don’t need a lot of stuff I thought I would, and holding onto it just got in the way. The less I have, the more I can see and evaluate what’s left. If I can’t tell you exactly what’s in a box or cupboard, if I’ve forgotten some things I have, then they’re probably not necessary. If I don’t know I have it, it’s the same as if I didn’t have it. It’s rarely a case of, “Oh! I’ve been looking for that.” More often it’s, “Why was that once important to take with me?” So I like your advice to start out with nothing and then add only what you need. I know it’s not practical to always be acquiring things piece by piece, but it’s a good way to keep from being overburdened.

    • libertatemamo says

      You’re so right on. Like you, we’ve purged every year since we started RVing. We started out with lots of stuff we thought was “essential” only to realize we never use it. Plus we made the mistake of buying a bunch of “RV stuff” before we even moved in. These days I advise newbies to bring stuff they definitely know they use on a regular basis (hiking clothes, kitchen items) plus a few basic tools (multi-screwdriver, duct tape etc.) and safety items (e.g. Fire extinguisher, surge protector) and then go from there. It’s amazing to find out, once you get into the lifestyle, how little you actually need.


  65. Wanda says

    My first rv, an older 28′ class A motorhome, was a gift from family member, and we used it part-time, mostly in Arizona, since we lived at Lake Tahoe, with long, snowy winters. My second rv, a 32′ diesel, with double panes windows, but no slide-outs, no basement, and no levelors. A great rv, but our 33 ft, 2014 motorhome with 2 slide outs, automatic levelors, ample basement storage, and nice size refrigerator is great for us as we are still part-timers. I do miss the diesel (so much quieter), the double-paned windows, and our small truck which we towed, carrying our bicycles. I preferred the view from the first 2 motor homes as the built-in dinette with large window was across from soda bed, which also had a large window. We now have no view on passenger side except for small kitchen window. My second rv also had a better arrangement for queen bed, which faced forward, enabling view out front dashboard window, with two regular size windows on sides of bed. If you like to camp in gorgeous nature, as we do, views are important. When we did extended stays, we alternated camping in “nature areas” with minimum or no hookups for a week or more, then moving to private campgrounds with laundromats, and some food services for a few days. We especially enjoy the national and state parks. I enjoy the motorhome over a 5th wheel or trailer as we do not have to get out in the rain when we arrive at a campground, and, as we did one night, when we didn’t feel safe, just started the engine and left. I would enjoy trying full-time Rv living, and realize there will be days that will range from glorious to trying.

  66. Terry says

    I can’t tell you enough how I enjoy your informative blog. Thank you!
    Camped for 25+ years looking forward to full timing it next year.

  67. Dewey & Stacy says

    We our looking to buy a RV but can not find a bank to finance for fulltime rving. Do you know of any? or does everyone just not tell the banks.
    Dewey & Stacy

  68. Matt& Ida Thresher says

    We’ve down sized, got the house on the market, and will be using the Clearwater Fl. area as our enitial home base. We’ve realy injoyed your blog. Your tips have been benificial, and your weekly blog updates are great. We hope to come across the two of you some day, perhaps some fall while traveling back from visiting with our friends and family near Placerville Ca. where we plan on ending our summer runs, before heading east to fl. for winter. PS: Your light house blogs brought home some warm memories of my home town in Fond du Lac wis. We have one in our town park. A raminent of days gone by. Also here is a web conection to some I’ve recently come across. Thanks, Matt & Ida

    • libertatemamo says

      Outstanding! Good travels to you and may the RV bring you many years of fond adventures! Very happy my blog has provided some inspiration to you.


  69. Sara & Tsvika says

    Hi Dears,
    We were so thrilled to read your article. We are planning to become a full time RVs in the USA next year(We’ll arrive from Israel). It is just the kind of information we need and search now in this stage of preparations. It helped us a great deal and we’ll sure be visiting your blog again :-)
    Sara & Tsvika

  70. jen says

    Just a word of advice from a nurse …..make sure you have a plan for health eventuality. You want to ensure that if your health fails you have a home where you are comfortable near health services and friends and family for support.

  71. Laurie says

    I am very seriously considering RVing F.T. at least for a while anyway. If I visit a place that I love I will consider finding employment & possibly moving there permanently.

  72. Linda says

    Love this blog. In 105 days we try our first long term (4 months) full time RV trip. We had a motor home that we loved but did not like the vehicle towing and must have a car to get around once we hooked up. The motor home was fantastic for storage and ease of leveling and hookups but very expensive compared to a travel trailer and tow vehicle (for us half the price). Due to our business we had to sell back in 2006. We just bought a 27′ travel trailer and I do have concerns that it is a few feet too small. I wish I had seen this blog before. However we will make it work for our first trip and excited to be working in a national park for our 4 month trip! Safe travels everyone!

  73. RLW says

    Greetings. Nice post and food for thought. on size, you post that 35′ would be perfect for the two of you. What if you were traveling alone. Would 35′ be just right or more toward 30′? Just curious as I am considering 3-5 month living periods from my home as a single. Ironically some have shared that a small Class C or A would be great, like 24-26′ but as I looked at them there was little storage. The trailers of the same size had more storage. I just am not sure about the amount of storage needed yet. They all seem to have the basics but…

    • libertatemamo says

      If it were me solo I’d lean towards a 30-footer or smaller, likely a Class C or a trailer just because it’s sooooo much easier to maneuver around (think backing into sites, driving around campgrounds with large trees, going boondocking, getting into tight spots etc.).

      With the bigger rigs I always feel it’s harder to back-in and maneuver in tight spaces (always better with a spotter since there are so many blind spots in a big rig), whereas the smaller rigs drive more like a car and can more easily be parked without help in just about any space. Also the smaller rigs use smaller (= much cheaper) tire sizes, can get serviced at a regular oil change place (instead of a specialty truck spot), and are easier/cheaper to maintain. All stuff I’d prefer as a solo traveler.

      That said its certainly possible to go solo in a bigger rig. I’ve seen solo travelers (both men and women) in rigs up to 40-foot in size. Its just a question of how comfortable you are driving/parking it and how mobile you want to be. Anything is possible!

      My advice is to go test drive some rigs and practice getting into back-in sites and driving around a treed area to see how it feels. You may feel fine, or you may not. Also once you get on the road you may be surprised at how little “stuff” you really need.


  74. Lawrence Montoya says

    Hello, thanks for the information. We will be pulling our travel trailer long distance for the first time. From Albuquerque to Daytona Fl. We are very excited but nervous as well. Could you share your list or thoughts about items you wish you had not drug along that you did not need? Any other experience or advice would be great. Thank you.

    • libertatemamo says

      Ahhh, the things we bought along and didn’t use. I have more than I can count, but here’s a few:

      1/ clothing – we bought waaaaaay too much. Every single year we’ve been on the road we’ve cut back. I’ve found I don’t need more than a few good camping outfits (layers are your friend) and one “going out” outfit. Our closets are half empty.

      2/ grill – the first grill we bought was way too big. Our current grill is a smaller one and works great.

      3/ decorations – we bought a bunch of RV type decorations (e.g. Hanging lamps for our awning) that we never used and ended up giving away. My advice is don’t buy too many decorations until you get on the road, since you’ll quickly figure out what you use and what you don’t. Some camping chairs and a small collapsible side-table will get you started on your outdoor gear. Add on from there as you go.

      4/ wet suits and beach/surf gear – for some reason we had it in our heads we’d use these a lot. Instead they took up a bunch of space and we rarely (a few times per year?) used them. We decided it makes more sense to rent these as needed. We feel the same about kayaks and paddle-boards. You may end up differently, but my advice is leave these at home when you start out until you have some experience with where you travel and what you like to do. You can always rent and if you really miss them you can brings them along on the next trip.

      Those are the biggies. I’m sure there are more, but these are the first that come to mind. Good travels to you!


  75. Jim says

    Looking at 3/4 time RV-ing to start with. Still have a home place to go to with the plan of selling down the road if we like full timing. Presently have a Lance camper in the bed of my truck. have had it for 21 years and has worked great. Would like to go bigger (35′ range) Also would like to tow a small Jeep. any thought on towing and hanging on to a home base for awhile. My wife and I retired in April and took a 2 month trip in the Lance. Had a Great time and we didn’t kill each other. How nice is that. We did put on a lot of miles and next time would spend more time in one spot. We did put on over 450 miles on the ATV during that time and got to see a lot. Thanks.

  76. says

    Nina – We are devoted readers of your blog. We ourselves are just getting ready to hit the road this spring, and as basic as this question may be, we would like to know what type of dishes you recommend. Do you travel with regular flatware or something more light and durable? We are hoping to find something that does not contain BPA. Just wondering if you could recommend a brand and/or source.
    Best, Steve and Liz, Toronto, Canada

    • libertatemamo says

      We’ve always travelled with regular ceramic dishes and flatware. We just enjoy the feel of eating on the “real” stuff. I put “grip it” type dish separators between each plate and we’ve never had a problem with rattling or breakage in 5 years on the road. Many RV folks love Corelle, or melamine type dishware coz it’s really light, but we’ve never been able to switch away from the classic stuff.

      We also use real glassware for our wine, cocktail and drinking glasses and just keep the glasses in a cardboard wine-bottle box with foam liner when we travel. Never any problems there either.


  77. Debbie Steinhauer says

    I’m widowed a while now and planning on moving from south to northwest. I plan to purchase a good size camper. The two main reasons 1)I will be hooked up at my son’s property and my home is becoming nightmares ‘re:repairs and general up keep. I’m 64 and should I find a special someone, my son & wife wish to purchase my rig. Thanks to all for the tips and welcome any advice. Have you or know someone who has done this? It’s me and pup, any suggestions on camper must haves, things to look for and size etc?

  78. Lisa Herring says

    Thank you for the list! I’m trying to get as much useful information as possible right now.

    My husband is possibly getting us transferred to Winnipeg, MB, Canada in the next couple months. Being that he’s never set foot in Canada and I am a sand person – not a snow person, we thought we would sell our house in Indiana, buy a fifth wheel and find a year-round place or campground to park, near his work. I said if it doesn’t work out, we’ll pack up and head straight for Florida (or someplace warm at least).

    I wondered about the weight in the slide-outs; especially since we are looking at units that come with a residential refrigerator. So as to save money and the cost of living being so much more in Canada, I’m going to have to learn to cook and find space to store things.
    We just started looking at fifth wheels and have been narrowing our search. What is on the radar right now is Open Range 3X because of the insulation and dual pane windows. Any info and suggestions are HUGELY appreciated!

    It will be my husband 38, myself 33 and our Labrador and German Shepherd living in this full-time. We are young enough to make a bunch of mistakes but mature enough to know we need all the advice we can get!

    • libertatemamo says

      So I admit I’m not much of an expert on 5th wheels. For full timing it definitely helps to have a rig with extra insulation and dual-pane windows. And of course you know how we feel about having a fridge in the slide out (still our only major problem in this rig).

      I recommend thinking about size, especially if you plan to camp in older state parks, national parks and national forest. A smaller rig may also allow you to choose a more nimble truck.

      But beyond that I’m not overly familiar with 5th wheels. I suggest posting on one of the big RV forums (RV.net or iRV2.com). Lots of knowledgeable people to help you out there. Good luck with everything!


  79. Edward Conley says

    Hi, I’m enjoying the posts I’m seeing here.
    I can see there are a lot of things to consider when buying ad living in a RV.
    I am basically retired and do have a guaranteed income so at least I don’t have to be all that concerned about earning any money.

    Currently I Live in Colorado but have family in Tucson and am seriously considering buying a RV so I can spend winters where it is warmer. I have a 2011 Dodge Ram 1500 quad cab truck that I would likely tow and from what I am reading elsewhere I think I must use a flat dolly. I’m just wondering what you would recommend in a used RV.
    I am inclined to think something in the 30-35 ft. range would work just fine for me for now.I would likely stay put in one spot on either end for at least 4 months at a time. I may occasionally head north to northern Washington State but really don’t have plans on extensive wandering at the time.
    Thanks for any thoughts or recommendations.

    • libertatemamo says

      Sorry for the late reply. Somehow this comment hid from me. I like the older Diesel’s, but whatever you buy make sure the carrying capacity can handle the truck. You may also be able to flat-tow the truck if you modify the transmission.

      Good luck with all your plans!


  80. Ralph & Ginny says

    Hi Guys, we enjoy your blog. We are planning on full timing it next year. We are working hard on our house so we can sell it. We retired from our sign business (The Sign Mobil) in 96 and went cruising on our (37′ Sea Runner Trimaran) for 10 years. Since then we have lived on6 acres near Ava, Mo. We’re tired of the winters, tornados and lawn mowing. We’re planning on buying a 35′ motorhome and hitting the road. Your blog is a godsend with tons of good info. We will be using Mail Call in Shelter Island for our address. I did the sand blasted sign for mail call in 1986. Have you used them? We may have met each other in San Diego. I am a grad of Point Loma High went to San Diego State. I knew a Liberto when I was in school. Any Connection to your name?

    • libertatemamo says

      Glad you’ve “found” us and gotten some useful info from the blog. No connection with Liberto (libertatemamo is just a screen name I use from the Latin “liberty lover”), and no I’m not familiar with Mail Call either.

      If you’re full timing and not keeping domicile in MO you might want to think about switching to one of the RV friendly non-tax state such as FL, TX or SD. Lots of mail forwarders in those states who are very familiar with the needs of fulltime RVers. Either way I wish you the best of luck with the transition!


  81. says

    When out camping try SAToolz for your iPhone, it let’s you see if any obstacles like trees are in the way before you try setting up your Dish. It’s available for Dish Network, DirecTV, Exceed and HughesNet. Search the app store for SAToolz.

  82. says

    I love this list! We have been full timing for close to 3 yrs now. Truth is, we don’t know where we want to live! So this lifestyle suites us fine.
    We seeing through Maryland to see the family and friends and back on the road again.
    A couple things we plan for are rv maintenance costs. Tires, batteries, etc.
    And 2, mail. We use our daughters address and have her forward our mail to where ever we will be for enough time to receive it. And use online banking for most bill paying.
    Happy RV’ing!

  83. says

    This has been a wonderful site to discover! We have been considering full-time RV life once we leave Australia next year and return to Europe. Do you know of any RV forums for Europe? So much of what you have written is applicable to ANY country or continent, so thanks for taking the time to share your own hard-earned knowledge.

  84. says

    Love your article.

    When you say that your RV is “too big” for the kinds of camping you like to do (public parks, etc) what would be the perfect size you think?

    So far our favorite size for the layouts we see is a 30′ Fifth wheel. We hopefully will do a lot of boondocking and staying in public camps. Tips in any way? =)

    • libertatemamo says

      We would love a 30’ish Class A. That would give us a lot more maneuverability, especially in forested sites.


      • Brian Schermerhorn says

        Ah cool! What’s the difference in maneuverability you think between a Class A 30′ and a Fifth Wheel 30′ plus truck hauling it?

        • libertatemamo says

          For the same length I do feel a Class A is more maneuverable than a 5th wheel, but it also depends a bit on the particular model. If you’re serious about boondocking look at clearance & back overhang on your rig. Both can make a huge difference as to how far you can go into the boonies. I think 25-30 is a good size for 5th wheels (decent compromise between living space & maneuverability).


  85. De ricci says

    Enjoy your web site. Looked through most of the posts but did not find any regarding the address on drivers license?! We tried to get the change just using the insurance card but DMV still wants a utility bill with new address…we don’t have a utility bills.????
    Every thing else has worked out fine.
    Yes, we are new to RVing full time, but not to camping, we have camp in a tent to a diesel pusher for the past 44 years. We purchased a Landmark 365 42 ft fifth wheel and have a F350 4×4 dually, and I have a CRV Honda. My husband is a transpo drive for a RV dealer during the winter and is comfortable hauling the mighty beast. I drive my car to where ever our destination for the summer will be, be it 1000 miles or 500, I don’t mind driving.
    I so enjoy living full time in the RV, but we have decided to work camp for the summer as well and I have new resume’s written up. Just one question, do you fill in the hours you want and the pay requested or leave it blank as we would like to do as we are flexible.

    • libertatemamo says

      See my other response regarding the address. What state are you applying in? If you’re fulltime RVers with no fixed links I would suggest establishing domicile in one of the “RV friendly” states, specifically FL, SD or TX. Some other states can be difficult with their requirements and are not as easy to establish domicile.


  86. De ricci says

    We have just become full-time RVers after 44 years of camping in a tent up to a diesel pusher.We now live in a Landmark 365 42′ fifth wheel, tow vehicle is a F350 4×4 dually, and I drive a CRV Honda. My husband is a transpo driver for a RV dealer during the winter so he is comfortable hauling the beast. Yes, I take my CRV and follow, I don’t mind the drive be it 100 or 1000 mi.
    1. All has worked out fine except we cannot get our new legal mail address on our drivers license, required is utility bills and or ins card. Don’t have a utility bill.????
    2. We have decided to work camp for the summer months, I have new resume’s, but do we fill out the hours and pay, or as we would like to do, leave it ‘open’ as we are flexible?
    Thank you!

    • libertatemamo says

      For your address you should be able to use cellphone bill and insurance bill, at least in the states that regularly deal with RVers (e.g. FL, SD, TX). Other states may have stricter requirements.

      As for workamping. We’ve only ever taken volunteer jobs at State Parks, so I can’t really help on the question. I suggest posting on the RV forums or on Facebook workamping groups.


  87. says

    A great post! So happy to hear that bigger isn’t always better! We are about to start across country in our 26′ airstream, and a lot of people were trying to convince us to go bigger. But we figured the smaller living space would force us to get out and explore as much as possible!

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh definitely! Your 26-footer is going to be perfect, especially if you love the bigger nature spots. Good travels to you!


  88. Susanna says

    I loooove your blog
    Sooo many useful things, thank you for all your hard work. Very, very appreciated.

    I’m new to the scene, reading several full timer blogs and wishing to be on the road more.

    I’m curious, are you from Denmark as in you were raised there? Just something I saw you wrote and had me wondering.

    Thank you again for a complete and detailed blog, lots of time and work must go into it.


  89. says

    Hello, Enjoyed the reading of this post. My sister and I are looking at going full time into an RV and we have never lived in one before. I’ve driven one before but it died before we go out of the state we were in. We are looking to buy something that is in better shape and I’ve pretty much landed on a camper with the Bunkhouse in it to give us two bedrooms. We plan on selling the extra stuff (Furniture and things we do not need) before hitting the road and really just looking for a place to call home permanently. I have a couple of questions for you…

    1. About the internet how exactly does that work? We do not plan on having a “home base” so to speak so we would be on the road 100% of the time living in various places. I have to have decent internet for my work so that we could continue to live the way we want. How hard is it to get internet if say you are living off the grid in the woods somewhere? This is an absolute must for us.

    2. How much does it cost a month to live full time in an RV? I’m really just asking for a ball park figure here as I realize that it will differ depending upon where you are and the size of the RV if you are staying at an RV park.

    Thanks! Len

    • libertatemamo says

      For internet most RVers sign up for a cellphone data plan with either Verizon or ATT and use a MiFi to distribute it to all their devices. You’ll likely have to adjust your data usage quite a bit since cellphone plans are much more limited than what you’re used to at home. Also, you’ll want to consider buying a booster to help boost the signal in more marginal spots. My best advice is actually to buy this book written by fellow RVers and techno-mads who’ve dedicated 226 pages to this exact question:

      Mobile Internet Handbook

      As for costs it’s a very variable question, but I would say most RVers are in the $2500-$3500/mo range with a few RVers who do it much cheaper (around $1,000-$1,500/mo) and some who use alot more ($5,000/mo). Your biggest variable budget item will be gas & RV park costs, both of which can be managed by how far you drive and where you stay (or if you volunteer, workamp etc.).


      • says

        Thanks for your reply. We would probably not have that much expense as we plan on living off the grid almost 100% of the time with the exception of say a few days out of the month. We also do not plan on driving really long distances like from one end of the US to the other (I.E. Florida to Washington lol). We plan on doing it slowly and staying in each place for a month or two before leaving that city. My sister is on disability so we have a fixed income and I do not make tons of money myself. We have been homeless together before so we have ways of doing things that probably a lot of people would not do or be able to do.

  90. Henry Metevia says

    Love your list . Been full timers for about three years now . Both ended up on disability , sold or gave away all . No turning back , no regrets enjoying what we are doing , in are own time . Still got to get a better handle on the weather thing . Been great

  91. Mark Schneider says

    We love reading your post. We are looking to go full time RV in 2 years you’ve answered many of our questions. Our big thing now is getting rid of everything in the house before we sell it. Does anyone have any suggestion on that?

    • libertatemamo says

      We did LOTS of stuff on Craig’s List and Freecycle.com. For clothes we gave most away, for furniture a lot of our friends got it. But as far as selling Craig’s List was awesome. I also know people that do garage sales and estate sales.

      We didn’t get rid of it all and ended up with a small storage, something we’ve regretted ever since.



  92. says

    Dan, wish I knew about the internet one. We just locked ourselves into a two year contract with AT&T and used 1GB of our 5GB data in three days. YIKES. NO more streaming Pandora for us. Will definitely have to by tapping into some of the free WiFi at parks we stay at and working from coffee shops in town.

    Loved this list, and plan on linking to it from our Twitter account. We just started living in our RV full time about a month ago!

    • libertatemamo says

      Congrats on starting the fulltime dream Caleb!

      The internet definitely goes fast on cell data, especially with video (the #1 culprit). Hopefully ATT will do a promotion at some point (which they regularly do) and you can up your plan to more data for a reasonable price. I do know folks who make do with library and coffee shop WiFi. It’s more hassle, but it can be done.


  93. says

    Greetings from an RV somewhere in the desert southwest:
    If you are still out there RVing I would love to see you update this article.

    Take care, God bless and……have a nice day.

    • libertatemamo says

      Just (finally) refreshed the article today. Our top 10 is actually exactly the same today even though many of the details have changed. Enjoy!


  94. JohnsonNALL says

    Love, Love your posts! We have listed our home for sale and are searching for our RV. We are excited with caution. We have children across the USA and found there is no reason to stay put any longer. Because of your posts we have a lot of reading to do. It has taken several weeks to find your blog and thankfully we did. My parents lived in RV’s after retirement until they had to come home for their final journey. So, I remember well their travels. Need more information on the address matters. We were going to have our mail forwarded to us as we will be slow moving from place to place. Thank you for all the information.

    • libertatemamo says

      Most fulltime RVers sign up with a mail forwarding service and use that as their main address (and also often as their official domicile address for taxes, health insurance etc.). We have our service in SD (with DakotaPost), but there are many other good services out there (e.g. Escapees in TX, St.Brendans Isle in FL). Basically all our stuff gets sent to the mail forwarder where it’s collected and held. Whenever we want the mail we just ask for it to be forwarded from there to wherever we are. If we’re in a place that doesn’t accept mail, we’ll get it sent to the nearest Post Office as General Delivery and go pick it up there. We typically get our mail ~once per month.

      Another service that many mail forwarders offer is electronic mail scanning, so you don’t even have to wait to see what is in your mailbox anymore. You can just go online and look at the scanned envelopes and then either ask the mail forwarder to open them and scan the contents or get them to send the contents to you via snail-mail.

      I highly recommend signing w/ a mail forwarder once you go on the road.


  95. TLC2 says

    Newbie here.
    Any resources on Senior Women RV’ing that do not have a gentleman to assist?
    i.e., maintenance list for the RV. I presently drive a 34 foot older bounder and am looking to upgrade.

    I was so impressed with the 43 Foot Diplomat, I recently saw here, as
    I am going to be upgrading and soon so rethinking the size. There is a huge RV place in Texas he also referred me to, but then what about warranty’s etc.

    1. Tow Vehicles Recommended. Now have a 2006 Honda CRV. with this Bounder. Will I be able to transfer this set up to the newer motorhome or will I have to buy another one. I spent 1600 on this one in AZ and used it once.

    2. Need internet recommend as right now I am using my Smart Phone as a mobile hot spot and almost up to 10 GB, on a military base so internet is really in and out on their wireless.

    3. Any special resources for senior women on the road.

    4. Be advised one has to notarize the mail forwarding documents.

    • libertatemamo says

      1. You should be able to transfer that tow to the new rig. CR-V’s are great tow vehicles and can be towed 4-down without a problem. Just install a bar on the new rig and you’ll be able to tow.

      2. For internet it really depends how much you need and where you usually travel. With most carriers you can up your cellphone plan to a larger size which may be all you need. We have a mix of ATT & Verizon which covers us just about anywhere. You can see our internet set-up HERE.

      3. I don’t know of any specific resources for senior women, but I know of many resources for solo women. For example there are solo threads on just about every RV forum (e.g. iRV2, RV Dreams) and there are solo travel clubs (WINS, LonerOnWheels). Have a look at some of the links I’ve listed in THIS POST on Solo RVing.

      4. Yes. When we set-up our mail forwarder we got the initial docs notarized at our bank for free. Once the mail forwarder was established we’ve not had to notarize anymore docs.


  96. says

    I remember reading this a few years back when purchasing our first second hand motorhome and finding it most helpful. I was wondering if you still felt the same so thanks for your updates! Based on our experience at this pointI would make a minor qualification to #4 regarding heavy items on the slide out. And this probably varies between makes, models, and slide mechanics. I would avoid a design with heavy items on a “ramp” slide, but don’t feel it really makes any difference on slides that stay level and travel in and out on strong rollers. The ramp slide has to go uphill when retracting and that causes a lot of strain on the motor and rails, the others though slide easily even with a heavy load. Our large passenger side slide has the entire galley, a 20 cu ft fridge and a pantry filed with a lot of bottles and cans. Large rollers and a tile floor allow it to move easily and without strain.

    I also feel a full wall slide is asking for trouble and it potentially creates issues with roof integrity too.

    Regarding #6 as of today Verizon is technically eliminating contracts but still retains a way to lock you in.

    • libertatemamo says

      Cheers for sharing. I would have to agree the ramp slides are the worst (and our big heavy slide is exactly that kind). Good to know your non-ramp type has not caused you any problems.


  97. Doc says

    if more people could read this and become convinced the statements were absolutes, not just someones suggestions, there would be much more happiness in the RV world.
    it’s an easy way of life.
    I own a small condo but travel or traveled most of the time in the SW USA and kept a log of costs for 6 years. I never went without anything and it only cost me $1100 per month average for the 6 years. it’s totally affordable and i even threw in some games of golf and some gambling nights in NM.
    I fish and hunt a lot and enjoy the wild game and fish I catch.
    I work camp when I feel like it.
    Boon-dock all the time.
    Travel at night mostly.
    And above all, I enjoy my life an as old fart.

  98. Lisa says

    Loved reading your blog! We are thinking of full time RVing and we also have 12 paws.
    We are looking at 35′ Fleetwood

    One more question I have is, what do you do about a mailing address?

    Any other pointers would be greatly appreciated!

    NW Arkansas

    • libertatemamo says

      We use a mail forwarding service. They collect our mail for us and just forward it to us whenever we want it. Many of these services offer mail scanning too. We use DakotaPost in SD, but there is also Escapees (in SD, FL, TX), St.Brendans Isle in FL, MyRVMail in FL, MyDakotaAddress in FL and many others.

      The mail service address is also our legal domicile address for health insurance, car/RV insurance, banking, taxes etc..


  99. says

    I couldn’t agree more with paying for storage. Several years ago I started downsizing. Not wanting to permanently get rid of ‘all my stuff’, I rented a storage bay. After three years of paying for storage it one day hit me that everything that I was keeping, I could have bought brand new with the amount of money I had dished out for storage!!!!
    The following week I liquidated everything either selling it or giving it away.
    Unless it is something you want to keep in the family (in which case, give it to someone to store it for you), I do not see a need for storage!

    • libertatemamo says

      Yeah, that storage has been a BANE for us. Every month I see that bill and cringe, and every year I cringe even more when they up the costs 10% or more (which they do every single year). I think this year will finally be the year we tackle it and get rid of it (fingers and paws crossed).


  100. robin says

    This information is hugely helpful! I found the health insurance info particularly so. We live in NY and it is the same problem with health insurance for individuals — no out of network, no out of state except “emergency”.. Love your insights to RV’ing and travelling.

    Thank you!

    • libertatemamo says

      Health insurance is definitely a tricky problem, especially for pre-Medicare folks like us. This coming year will present more challenges as it seems insurance companies are continuing to limit their coverage range (e.g. BCBS is dropping nationwide PPO plans in several states for individual plans). I’ll keep reporting on the blog as/when changes happen. It’s just one of the things we must tackle as nomads.


  101. Dana says

    Thank you for this post. I am ready to pack up and travel from state park to state park. But what about jobs? Any ideas of what kind of work I can do? I want to hike and kayak all day and work at night. Am I trying to live a fantasy LOL

    • libertatemamo says

      Well there’s no end of online stuff you can do such as website development, coding, trading, writing, jewelry making, hobby-crafting (and selling on Etsy) etc. You may even be able to find jobs that cater to your kayaking/hiking lusts such as mountain guiding, Kayaking jobs etc. Or, do seasonal jobs such as Amazon Camperforce, Ski Instructor etc. where you make all your money over a few months and spend the rest of the year playing. In the end it all depends on how physically active you are, what your skills are and where you can best apply them. The sky is the limit!

      Paul and I do a combo of investing (Paul) and writing (me).


  102. Pam says

    We are planning on full time rving in about 6-7 months. Was wondering if a crockpot is useful in this situation?
    Thanks in advance!

    • libertatemamo says

      If you use it now, you’ll use it in the RV. If you don’t use it now…well, then you probably won’t RVing either. We home-cook a lot and for kitchen items we use pretty much everything we did in our main house. So, it just depends on your cooking style.

      If you’re interested in our “top-rated RV kitchen items” check out this post:
      Our 5 Favorite Kitchen Items For RV Cooking


    • Doc says

      A crock pot is a great addition to the RV. I however also carried a pressure cooker, electric-plug in, and it was even better and quicker. Pull in, hook up, turn in on with some great beef and veggies, take a shower, grab a beer and it ready! bam!

      • libertatemamo says

        We love our pressure cooker, but have a “traditional” one that we use on the propane stove. It’s easier for boondocking (which we do like to do) and super fast. We make stews, soups and pulled pork in it.


  103. Stefani says

    I just found your website and am going to read all of it. I am so excited to say that we are starting to plan a full time RV trip in about 4 years. This is the start of our plan. research Research Research and by the time my daughter is about o go into high school we will hit the road. Homeschooling across america. I just wanted to take the time to say thank you for blogging. I am also researching blogging as a family, (from my point of view, from my husbands point of view and from a hormonal teenage 14 year olds point of view should be interesting) Reading your blog gives me hope to having our dream becoming a reality. And let the research begin I hope to one day meet you on the road :)

    • libertatemamo says

      Welcome to the blog! We know lots of fulltime families out there on the road, home-schooling and seeing the country. If you haven’t connected already I highly recommend Ditching Surburbia, and Fulltime Families. Both resources are focused on fulltime RV families on the road, and have LOTS of info for you. Ditching Surburbia, in particular has traveled fulltime with their teenage son & daughter for years. I met them a few years ago…lovely family!


  104. Stephanie says

    In a few years my husband and I will be full timers. My husband will be working shutdowns as a welder, so it will be a few more years before we are traveling for enjoyment. We have had this plan for a long time, we said when the kids finished high school we would boom out together. I’m looking forward to our next journey together. I’ve found all the comments here very informative and helpful. Thank you for 10 wonderful tips.

  105. libertatemamo says

    Excellent! Glad the post (and comments) were helpful and I wish you the best of luck in your fulltime plans!


  106. Bob Martel says

    Nice to know the list still has integrity! We’ve always got room to learn, but at least we started out in a 28 foot Airstream so I can check-off lesson #1. 😉

  107. libertatemamo says

    It was kind of fun (for us too) to see that our early impressions of lessons learned have held true. Things have changed…we have a totally different internet setup, we don’t have satellite TV anymore…but the lessons learned are still the same. I wonder how we’ll feel 10 years from now? It’ll be interesting.

    P.S. Those airstreams are perfect, both in size and coolness factor.



  1. […] The down-time is also giving us some space to plan our next steps. In the last big storm we discovered yet another leak in…guess what?…our”big” slide on the front drivers side of the rig. This same slide, and the woes of getting it fixed was the very reason we rushed ~1000 miles cross-country to Oregon almost 3 years ago. Back then the main problem was in the back of the slide near the fridge. Now, the front has moved out of alignment with the front edge dangerously close to catching under the rim of the RV. Simply put it’s just a poorly engineered design and we should never have bought a rig with a heavy object like the fridge in it (one of our “10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Fulltime RVing“). […]

A Comment For Your Thoughts?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *