If you’ve been RV camping for some time, you may be ready to make the big change and take on long-term RV living. After all, it’s a great way to spend less, experience more, and see the world — not a bad trifecta!
But the full-time RV lifestyle does come with certain challenges. And we’re not just talking about the weekly one that involves an RV sewer hose. (Actually, that part’s not even all that bad.)
RV living does mean giving up a certain amount of stability, especially if you’re planning on picking up camp often enough to cover every fun to-do in your favorite travel guide book. Let’s face it; as amazing as it is, this great, big beautiful country of ours can’t explore itself. In the mobile comfort of your RV, however, you can — especially if you have a Rand McNally Travel Atlas stuck in your glove compartment.
Even the most wanderlusty among us sometimes crave a little bit of stillness, though, and having a home base can make day-to-day logistics, like work and school, more feasible.
“But how on earth do a choose a spot?” you may be wondering. “And where can I park my RV long term?”
Never fear, campers. In this post, we’ll discuss basic tips for permanent RV living, like how to choose a home city, the easiest way to find the best goods and services in a new area, how to find cheap (but livable) long-term RV parks, and more!
RV Living Tips
If you’ve already done extensive RV travel, you’re likely aware of some of the main — and totally overcomable — obstacles when you’re living on the road.
Some of them are just minor annoyances that you quickly get used to, like finding laundromats along the way if your rig doesn’t have a washing machine. (Yes, we said “if;” some motorhomes do have washers, believe it or not! Here’s our guide to purchasing and installing an RV washing machine if you’re interested, and you can also look into small, affordable, portable washers like this one.)
You might also have run into the problem of constantly orienting yourself to new spots, which doesn’t seem like a big deal until it’s happening all the time. It can become tiresome to have to re-learn where the best pizza and Thai food are in every city, for instance; in minor emergencies, it can be a little scary not to know where to find the best urgent care center or vet’s office.
Fortunately, these minor trials are especially easy to overcome now that we live in the digital age — almost all of the answers to those questions are easily Googleable. Be sure to check out user review websites like Yelp, as well, to help you learn more about which of your options have the best reputation.
Once you decide you’re ready to settle down, at least for a little while, you’ll face a different kind of challenge: figuring out where on earth to park that giant beast for longer than a weekend. You have a few different options to consider.
The first, and most important, part is to think hard about the kind of place you want to live in the first place. Now, some of this is just about your favorite activities and pastimes. Is your kayak or surfboard collecting dust in your basement storage compartment? Maybe it’s time to head to the coast for a while. If your hiking boots haven’t seen the sun in a while, maybe the mountains will motivate you to get moving.
But you also want to choose a location based on resources and amenities. Proximity to a certain church or school can help you participate in your chosen community and feel more at home, and nearby access to a grocery store, laundromat, or gym can make day-to-day life less of a hassle.
Monthly Campground Rates
So let’s talk brass tacks. How much is this going to cost?
Depending on your preferences, you may find that many of the RV parks you’re already used to staying in actually offer long-term rates at a discount — though they may not necessarily advertise them on their website or lobby sign. Many RV resorts, whose primary business consists of short-term weekend campers, are happy to have a site filled for a longer period of time. Ask the customer service rep at the front desk about their monthly RV space rental rates, which you may find are surprisingly affordable considering nightly costs of $75+ at some of the fancier campgrounds.
The best long-term RV parks will offer monthly rates for a few hundred dollars, which will include basic hookups like electricity, water, and possibly sewer, cable, and WiFi. You may need to trek to the front of the park to visit a dump site in some cases, and certain parks’ “free WiFi” can be overcrowded and slow enough to be basically unusable — check out our guide to staying connected on the road here.
Long Term RV Parks Near Me
There’s one more thing you should consider if you’re looking for affordable campsites while full-time RVing, and that’s your Passport America membership.
You’ve likely already joined Passport America if you’re on the road frequently — and if not, it’s worth considering. It’s the only discount camping club that gets you a full 50% off your campsite accommodation fees at almost 1900 developed campgrounds across the country, including some locations in Mexico and Canada. (That’s a whole lot of options to choose from!)
Many of the campgrounds that participate in Passport America’s discount program do offer long-term RV spots, and your membership may help you score a better deal on your monthly rent. A year’s membership only costs $50, which will easily pay for itself whether you’re bopping around on the road or staying in one place for a while.
Although it’s certainly an out-of-the-box lifestyle choice, full-time RVing can be one of the most rewarding ways to experience the world around you — and we here at RVshare will be around to support you every step of the way.
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