Pros and Cons of Full-Time RV Living

By | November 7, 2019

Are you thinking about living full-time in your RV? We’ll go over the pros and cons of full-time RV living as well as expected costs and other frequently asked questions about full-time RV living. Let’s jump in!

Pros of Full-Time RV Living

Here are just some of the pros of living in an RV full-time:

  • Flexibility
  • Freedom to go where you want when you want
  • Travelling across the province country or continent and seeing lots of cool places
  • Live like a local (no need to rush around sightseeing)
  • Choice of where to stay from full-service campgrounds to boondocking
  • Ability to explore nature
  • You can save money and even live debt-free
  • Meeting new people
  • Ability to visit family or friends wherever they are (or have them come on vacation with you)
  • Working remotely or seasonally is very feasible depending on your industry
  • No commute
  • Less maintenance than a home
  • You can always put your RV in storage if you’d like to take an international trip
  • Simpler lifestyle with less stuff
  • Can always take a break or sell pretty easily

Of course these might not be pros for everyone or you may have a few of your own to add. The pros may also depend on the type of full-time lifestyle you adopt like staying in one place year-round circling through a few destinations or hitting the road more frequently.

Cons of Living in Your RV Full-Time

Of course there are always downsides. Here are some cons of full-time RV living:

  • Lack of space especially in the kitchen and general storage
  • Driving around big cities
  • Booking campsites particularly during the summer holiday weekends
  • Maintenance
  • Distance from family and friends
  • Extreme weather like storms cold and heat can be tougher to manage
  • Finding work or working in general can be tougher
  • Lack of privacy
  • Health care (moving around can be a challenge)

While some of these cons may not bother you at all you might have a few extra ‘cons’ of your own. It will also depend on the RV you live in and your style of full-time RVing.

Things to Consider If You’re Thinking About RV Living

Here are a few things to ask yourself if you’re thinking about living in an RV full-time:

  • Where do you want to travel?
  • Do you want to move around or stay in 1 or 2 places?
  • What type of RV do you own (or would you want for living full-time)?
  • Would you be working? If so what would you need to work remotely?
  • Where would your permanent address be (which province in Canada do you want to live in 6 months of the year)?
  • What would your monthly and annual budget look like?

Here are a few other things to consider:

  • You need to reside in one province for 6 months of the year for health care tax and driving license reasons.
  • Your permanent address can be a family member friend property you own or even a campground you live in.
  • Receiving mail is a lot easier these days. Go digital or paperless where you can use Canada Post’s e-post service get a PO box or send mail to your permanent address.
  • For health care you need to live in a province 6 months each year to be eligible for coverage. Travel medical insurance can help if you get suddenly injured or sick. You’ll also need to consider your regular health care like doctor’s appointments optometrist visits dental care and prescriptions.
  • Internet access may be limited depending on your destinations. Some campgrounds provide access but you may want a wifi booster or alternative. If you’re staying close to a city you may have some wifi access – make sure there aren’t any privacy concerns with your personal information or work though.
  • If you have kids you’ll need to consider their education and social needs too.
  • If you travel with a pet you should also consider their food stuff and veterinary care.
  • Maintenance on your RV is important. You may also want to consider roadside assistance (this is included with some RV insurance policies too).
  • Insurance is critical. You’ll want full-timer RV insurance that protects your RV belongings and personal liability. Travel medical insurance is also a good idea for medical emergencies while you travel. If you’re towing a car you’ll also need car insurance. Make sure to inform your insurer of where you’re going and when!
  • You’ll still need to file taxes… but how it works will depend on the province and your individual situation.
  • Make sure you book campsites ahead of time during the summer (especially on weekends). You may also need to book ahead if you’re heading to the US or if there are other special events where you’re planning to go.
  • Living in an RV means you’re a resident not really a tourist. That’s important to keep in mind with regards to your budget if you’re looking to save money.

There’s a lot to think about! We’ll try to answer some of your questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions About Full-Time RVing

What’s the best RV to live in full-time?

That’s up to you! Many people choose the larger more luxurious Class A motorhomes (and tow an every-day driving vehicle behind them). This works well if you plan on moving around a lot. They offer the most space but are also more cumbersome to drive. They also come with a higher pricetag.

A more economical option (but also a smaller one) is Class B motorhomes and camper vans – that’s what the millennial #vanlife is all about. There is a wide range of motorhomes in this category.

A fifth wheel tends to offer more space and luxury while also having the benefit of being able to be parked and separated from the tow vehicle. Travel trailers are the cheapest option and come in a wide variety of styles and sizes.

The best RV for full-time living will depend on where you’re travelling how often you’re moving around how much space you need if you’re going to be working how many people and pets will be living in the RV and what your budget is.

How much does it cost to live in an RV full-time?

The cost will depend on a number of factors. Here are lines you should include on your budget:

  • Campsite/parking
  • Gas
  • Food
  • Insurance and registration
  • Utilities (internet phones)
  • Healthcare
  • Household maintenance (like cleaning supplies lightbulbs etc)
  • Personal items (clothing toiletries etc)
  • Maintenance for your RV (and any other vehicle you have)
  • Emergency fund
  • Savings and investments
  • Debt payments (credit card financed RV etc)
  • Entertainment

You can live extravagantly or very cheaply in an RV. It all comes down to your needs wants and budgeting.

Where is the best place to live full-time in an RV?

The beauty of the RV lifestyle means you can go almost wherever you want. Many Canadians winter in BC where the climate is milder or head to the US for hot temperatures and sunny skies. Arizona and Flordia are the two most popular snowbirding destinations although many other states fit the bill.

Many full-time RVers take the time to explore Canada and the US (and maybe even Mexico) as well. You can visit the wilderness or stay in or close by to major cities. That’s the freedom of the RV lifestyle!

Just remember that if you’re a Canadian citizen you can only stay for a maximum of 182 days in a 12-month period. To be eligible for health care and other benefits you’ll also need to live in a single province for 6 months of the year.

What insurance do I need to RV full-time?

You should get full-timer RV insurance which will cover physical damage to your RV and personal belongings as well as your personal liability if someone gets hurt or has their stuff damaged by accident. If you have a motorhome this will also include third party liability coverage which covers injuries and property damage you or your vehicle cause.

If you’re travelling out of province you should get travel medical insurance. This helps cover emergency medical expenses if you’re sick or injured. If you’re going to the US this coverage is essential due to the astronomical health care costs.

If you have a tow vehicle or car you tow behind your motorhome you’ll also need car insurance.

Make sure you always inform your broker and insurance company if you plan to RV full-time or are leaving the province or country.

Can you really live in an RV full-time?

Yes many people live in their RV full-time. It’s a popular option for Canadian retirees (especially if they want to snowbird down in the US or BC).

That doesn’t mean that this RVing lifestyle is for you though. Hopefully this article will give you some insight on if you’re a match for full-time RVing.

Do you have any other questions about RVing full-time? Have a pro or con to add? Leave a comment below!