So, you’re retiring soon, and you’re thinking about selling all your worldly goods and hitting the road in a recreational vehicle! You’re going to see the country! Think of the small towns, the antique shopping, the landmarks to visit, and the local festivals. Plus, you can visit with the grand kids any time you want, and you can even take them on short trips with you. It’s going to be amazing, right? But hold your horses for a second here. It’s best to do some research on senior RV living before you jump in with both feet.
I have done some research on RV living, because that’s one of the things I want to do in retirement. Also, I have lived for a time in an RV, and I think my experience can help others. I will share with you below what I have found.
Why Do Seniors Want to Live in an RV?
“The best estimates say 750,000 to one million retirees call RVs home, according to Kevin Broom, director of media relations for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.” From The New York Times
Why? There are hundreds of reasons for and against taking on the RV lifestyle. Here are a few pros:
Travel: Seniors were asked to list the things they wanted to do in retirement. “For nearly 95 percent of baby boomers, the number one thing on that list is travel.” From Senior Living. If you have spent 35 to 45 years cooped up in an office, or out in the weather, or basically planted in the same surroundings day after day, it stands to reason that you would want to get out and SEE things. Check out different environments. Find a warmer (or colder) climate.
Freedom: For the same reasons people want to travel, they want the freedom of RV living. My husband and I always talk about how we would go to an area that appeals to us, Google everything there is to do in that area, and once we have seen and done everything there, hitch up and move to the next appealing site.
Time: We wouldn’t be under any time constraints. If we wanted to rest, or run errands, or the weather wasn’t cooperating, we could always wait another day. As poor working stiffs, when we took vacations, we were always limited to a week or two. They were always whirlwind tours, trying to see everything, and having to skip some things because we didn’t have time. We are looking forward to hitting the road in our RV, so we can see everything at our own pace.
Flexibility: Living in an RV, you can pull up stakes in a matter of minutes and be on the road. If your family needs you at home, or you have other issues that could call you away from your trip, or even if you come across a new opportunity, you can head out and have your whole household there in a matter of days. If you decide you need to find work, at the drop of a hat, you can go where the jobs are.
Continuity: You wouldn’t think there would be any continuity while RV traveling. But think about it. Every night, you sleep in the same bed. You have your own bathroom. These are all things I think about when I travel. I want to get home to my own bed more than anything. In RV travel, you have your own bed every night, no matter where you go.
Adaptability: You can either live full time in your RV, spend parts of the year in the RV and parts at home, or you can just go on a lot of long vacations in your RV. It’s up to you how long you want to travel or stay in one place.
Special Diets: When you live in an RV, you cook in the same kitchen, where you always have your favorite drinks and snacks and meals. Finding restaurants that serve special meals is getting a little easier these days, but it’s still hard to find healthy food, let alone special food, when you are traveling. In RV travel, you pull your kitchen right up to the grocery store, and stock all your ingredients, so you are ready to cook a healthy meal anytime you want it.
Pets: Your furry friends can go with you. You don’t have to kennel your dog or get a house sitter for your cat. There are thousands of RV parks that welcome pets, and provide pet areas. There is nothing more fun that hitting the road with your best friend along for the ride.
It can be less expensive to live in an RV: If you go whole hog, and sell your permanent residence to live in an RV, it can be less expensive. No property tax or property insurance. Repairs are more expensive in a home, rather than an RV. No utility bills. You save money by cooking most of your meals. There are plenty of free places to park your RV, if you are set up to live off the grid. And, if you are a senior citizen, you can take advantage of thousands of senior discounts at RV parks and resorts across the country. Belonging to a club, such as Good Sam or AARP can get you some pretty nice discounts as well.
The Cons You Should Consider
Medical Emergencies: If you have medical issues, dealing with them while living in an RV can be quite inconvenient. You can buy RVs that are ADA compliant if you are already disabled before hitting the road. But if you develop a health issue while you’re on the road, that’s where it can be troublesome. There’s a lot of climbing. Some RVs have beds that you need to climb up into, and climb down out of. Also, entryways can be a steep set of stairs, and can be narrow. If you need help going to the bathroom, you’re sunk, because RV bathrooms tend to be tiny, and won’t accommodate you and your helper. Also you should consider that the RV might have to be moved while you’re sick, and you may need to find someone to help you move it, far away from your home and friends/family. So be prepared for this contingency if you want to live in your RV.
Repairs: If your RV breaks down, you are going to have to get it fixed or fix it yourself. Fixing your own RV is great, but hard to do if you are stuck along the side the road. Unfortunately there are plenty of crooked repair outfits that will charge you an arm and leg, just because they can. The nice thing is, though, you likely have your smart phone, and can Google a good repair garage near you that won’t rip you off. Towing an RV with a tow truck is much more expensive than towing a car, because they are generally bigger and heavier than a car. If you are lucky, you have towing insurance, but if you don’t, that cost is on you.
Fuel Costs: RVs are notorious gas guzzlers. They are big and heavy, and need big engines to move all that weight. You must budget fuel costs into your retirement budget if you plan on moving around a lot in your RV. Be sure to check your accounts regularly to make sure you have enough money for gas to get home if something goes wrong. Also, club memberships can save you a lot on fuel. We belong to a nationwide grocery chain that gives discounts on gasoline when we purchase groceries and prescriptions and gift cards.
Laundromats: This will seem like a trivial concern but it can be a big deal too. Some RVs can be set up with washers and dryers, and there’s even an appliance available now that washes AND dries, saving space, which is ideal for RVs and tiny houses. But I didn’t have a washer. When I lived in our 5th Wheel RV, I had to go to the public laundromat. It wasn’t’t bad if I went during off-peak times. But during hunting season, the laundromat was jam packed all the time, and people were washing God-knows-what in the washers. If you could get in, and get a washer to use, it was often really dirty and smelly, to the point of being nauseating. The next closest laundromat was 60 miles away, so there was really no alternative. Perhaps the best way to reduce this concern is to wash things by hand if you can. RV suppliers also have available manually operated clothes washers that might work, and you can hang your stuff to dry. It would be super small loads though, so you must plan accordingly.
Far from Family and Friends: Stuff happens in life. There can be the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or any number of accidents that can befall a person. If you are traveling out in your RV, and stuff happens, you are far from your home community, far from your family, and far from people you know. You don’t have your usual coffee shop or cafe. You don’t have your favorite grocery store or hardware store. You don’t have your own doctor or dentist. It can get tough, and you might get homesick. However, with the technology we have today, and airplanes flying all over, you can talk to, or be with your familiar people and surroundings in a matter of a few minutes.
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Concluding With My Advice
Living in an RV can be a blessing or a curse, depending on a lot of factors. Be sure you are ready to live with the good and the bad. My advice is to rent an RV for a couple weeks, and live in it exclusively. Take it out on the road to get a feel for how it drives, and how much your fuel will cost. Cook meals in it. Wash clothes in it. For sure, spend a rainy day in it. If you love that couple of weeks, chances are that you might like living full time in an RV.
Please put your comments and questions below, and thank you so much for reading!
What an interesting site and idea. It’s my 50th birhtday this year and retirement in not on my radar just yet, allthough it would be nice 🙂
Living in an RV and getting away from all the clutter sounds like a winning idea to me. Defiintaly something for me to think about.
You have certainly covered all I would need to know about this subject, so thank you for doing all the research for us.
Taking the pets with us would be a must.
What sort of price range are the Rv’s?
This will certainly make life simple and eaiser, with more money in the bank for us to do more things in our retirment.
Hello Matthew! Thanks for reading and commenting on my website. I am glad you like the subject matter and hope I have provided some useful information to you.
As for an answer to your question, there is a wide range of prices, depending on what kind of RV you want to use, whether you want to go new or used, etc. You can pay as little as $500 for a older used fixer-upper tent camper, or as much as $100K+ for the brand new, fancy, 44 ft Class A motor home with granite, tile, Wifi and the works. I recommend going to an RV dealership near you, and also looking on your local Craig’s List for used campers near you. You will see the vast selections of RVs, and get a chance to ask questions about which type is right for you.
I will be writing more about RV living, so please stay tuned to this website! And it’s never too early to plan for your retirement, so although you are a young 50 years old, be sure you are planning!
Thank you again for visiting my site, and for your comments and your great question! Rhonda
Using RV to travel around or RV living has always been intriguing for us as we look forward to retirement. Great that your post provided a lot of useful information, including the pros and cons. These would help us make an educated choice. Your advice to test it out for a couple of weeks makes a lot of sense. That would allow us to see if living in an RV is for us.
One point that has been bothering us about RV living is your point about medical emergencies. What do you think are some of the common ways to mitigate anyone’s concerns when considering taking up RV living?
Hi JR and Zen, thanks for reading and commenting on my post. So happy you are finding my information advantageous.
I also find the whole issue with medical emergencies of major concern. Of course, you really can’t plan for medical surprises, but there are a few things you can do to help ease your mind.
One thing you can do is start out your RV experience with an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) RV. You can purchase these at any RV dealer; just keep in mind that you may have to special order or pay more for such an RV. These RVs are wheelchair ready, and have larger bathrooms.
Also, doing your best to stay in good health by following your doctor’s orders, eating right, and exercising, can help you avoid a lot of health issues that may pop up. Plan a yearly visit back to where your family doctor resides, so you can get a check up from someone who knows your medical history.
AARP recommends that you keep your health insurance PPO, so you can use out-of-network providers while you are out on the road and away from your own in-network doctor.
I recommend that if you fear you might suffer a medical emergency on the road, contact someone to help in the towns you will be visiting. It can be a branch of your church, a senior services center, or a home help organization such as Care.com. Contacting them as you roll into town, and letting them know you will be visiting, can be a proactive step in getting help in case something happens while you’re in town.
Also, many of your roadside assistance programs can help in case of a medical emergency. Try AAA or Good Sam Travel Assist.
I hope this helps alleviate your fears. Again, thank you for visiting my website, and thanks for your comments and questions! Rhonda
Enjoyed reading your post. I love travelling and when I retire it would be my dream to hit the road in an RV! As your first paragraph made it look like paradise.
But I suppose we don’t think of the cons. You would have to be in pretty good health to be able to do this.
I like how you provided little tips for each of the cons so there is always a solution to a problem. As I was reading this post I thought it was something I would like to do but don’t believe I would ever be able to afford to do this, and then right at the end you provided a legit way to earn money!
Was a great read
Jenny, thank you for reading, and I appreciate your comments. I learned a long time ago, working for the corporate world, that you don’t bring problems to the table without bringing a solution with it. Plus, I love everything there is about RV travel, and I would not want to discourage people from trying it, even though there are cons. I am so glad you want to hit the road in an RV, much like myself, and that you might want to try Affiliate Marketing, so you can find a way to do it. Thanks again for visiting my website, and thanks for your sentiments. Rhonda
I think this is a very informative piece of article for the aged who are planning of spending the last few years of their lives wisely.
And it is true that a lot of old people really like spending their vacations and holidays in a recreation vehicle and I think the is so because of the huge benefits and comfort they derive from it, among it are the ones you have highlighted below.
Hello Carol, and thank you so much for your thoughts on my article. I really appreciate your comment. I agree, that a lot of elderly folks want to spend their golden years doing things that mean something. I have a little of the travel bug myself, and can’t wait to jump into my own RV and take to the road. And I can’t stress enough that people need to plan these things. When you plan ahead and know as much about the pros and cons, you are bound to have a more enjoyable experience. Again, thank you a lot, Carol, for visiting my site and taking the time to write your comments. Rhonda