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How to Transition to a Full-Time RV Life in 1 Year

The four-phased approach I recommend anyone take if considering this drastic lifestyle change.

By Crystal A. WalkerPublished about a year ago 6 min read
Top Story - July 2022
Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

Can you do it quicker than a year? Absolutely.

My sister completed her transition to full-time RVing in less than a month. However, we had two completely different modes of thinking about how to go about it:

Sister - Already had an RV and was willing to donate or give away just about everything.

Me - No RV yet and chose to sell as much as I could to put some cash back into my wallet.

I remember the day when I decided that the hubs and I were going to be full-timers and from that moment - until the day we pulled into our first site - it was "Go Time."

I did this transition in phases and called it OPERATION: SHITTER'S FULL. Thank you, Cousin Eddie…

Cousin Eddie GIF sourced by Giphy

Phase 1 : Research (1–3 Months)

I'm going to be upfront with you: No matter how much research you do, you'll never feel ready. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say that in the first month (maybe two), you might second guess your decision.

However, the more research you do, the easier your decision will be if it is the correct one or not.

Personally, I dedicated 90 days to researching. During this time, I didn't commit, obligate, or promise myself a single thing (except to have an open mind).

Phase 2: Make a Plan & Commit (1 Month)

There really is no "Right Way" to undergo this transition because everyone's situation is different and there are too many variables.

However, one of the most popular questions is: Should I get a truck first and then an RV? Or vice versa?

This question is as difficult to answer as the age-old conundrum: Did the chicken or the egg come first?

Honestly, this one is going to be on a case-by-case basis because a deal may cross your path that you don't want to pass up. In my case, my husband and I knew what kind of RV we were looking for and knew that we'd need an F-350 (or more). As luck would have it, we found "Chunk" and he's more than we need.

You can absolutely buy your RV before you buy a truck. (If you're getting a Class A, B, or C, you can skip this completely as this only applies to towables.)

However, it's extremely important to know that if you buy your towable RV first to make sure you purchase a truck that is more than capable of pulling it without maxing out its ability.

Phase 3: Execute (3–4 Months Out)

Be Ready for Questions (Entire Time)

We've seen the housing market boom in 2006/2007 then bust in 2008 (which makes me worried about the market now with the similarities). In the end, we ended up upside-down on our first Sticks-n-Bricks and I (personally) attribute it to:

  • Being too slow to realize it wasn't a good time to buy a house
  • Being unwilling to 'Think Outside the Box'
  • Being influenced by "Friends" (because what we were considering 'was against the norm.')
  • Others simply are not going to understand and fall into the mindset of "Keeping up with the Jones's."

At the end of the day, we were burned and we learned that you don't need to explain yourself; Even if your idea to dig yourself out is against the norm.

Regardless, prepare yourself for some quasi-intrusive questions such as:

  • Do you need money?
  • Are you about to become homeless?
  • Are you having a mid-life crisis? (For real…)

A small part of the population are full-time RVers, but it's a movement that has caught like wildfire due to COVID and inflation. At the time of this writing (2022), I think more people understand and are more open to the idea of living a minimal nomad life and I (personaly) have incountered fewer questions.

Start the Purge (2 months)

This is the part when things start to feel real, it will be shocking, and probablly will unnerve you to the point that you have second thoughts.

However, let me warn you: This is the exact moment when you need to have a heart-to-heart to yourself and evaluate your feelings and values.

This is the perfect moment that you can either: Cut your losses and remain ops-normal or risk it all and relearn your values.

To help figure this out, my recommendation is to ask yourself the following (tough) questions:

  • How do I feel about getting rid of my stuff?
  • Will I regret [getting rid of] X, Y, or Z?
  • Do I plan on making this a temporary lifestyle of less than 1–2 years?
  • Image captured by the author of her garage sale prepping for RV Living!

    Set the Date (1-2 Months)

    The majority of landlords and property managers require a minimum of 30 days notice, so you can go ahead and automatically add a month to the transition timeline. However, there are a few things I suggest that you do before you give notice that way you're not in a rush to make logistics.

    As a tenant, this is a great time to pull that contract out that you signed when you moved in. Pay particular attention to the move-out/clean-up requirements and utilities as many property managers require you to keep the utilities on for a few days after your move out so they can come in and do whatever maintenance or repairs are needed.

    Like any move, there are a lot of moving parts and you want to enjoy this new chapter in your life and the feeling of urgency is going to put a damper on what should be a happy moment.

    ⚠️ Caution: With the RV movement, several RV sites have waiting lists for full-timers with many of them booked out for more than a year. Due to this you may have to bounce around for a bit at sites until you can find a long-term space.

    Phase 4: Tie Up Loose Ends (1-2 Months)

    At this point, you've done it! Congratulations! 🥳 🍾 🎉

    At some point between enjoying a mojito on your patio or your afternoon nap passed out under a tree in a hammock, you'll have a few loose ends to take care of. Some of these include:

    • Receiving your deposits back for your utilities and/or rent
    • Make sure your mail forwarding has been successfully updated
    • Change your address on any accounts you have
    • Plan your RV trips and/or your next RV move
    • Get ready for the next chapter of your RV life!

    ↠ Keep an eye out for a follow-on RV article "So You've Moved Into an RV. What now? | What to expect your first year as a full-time RVer." ↢

    If you're thinking about living an RV or nomadic life, I suggest reading these articles next!👇

    Hearts ❤️ and tips ️💸 are always welcome and much appreciated as they help support my writing! 🙏

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    About the Creator

    Crystal A. Walker

    Blogger | Creative Writer | Traveler | Full-Time RVer

    You can find all of my articles on my blog as well on Medium where I'm most active in Humor, Lifestyle, and Travel. I've self-published one fantasy fiction with the sequel in the works.

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    Comments (8)

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    • Jay Kantora day ago

      Hi-C ~ Once again can't resist the comment: City folk - Wife thought it would be fun adventure to hook up a trailer RV and run up our Cal-Coast. Rented small one @ uhaul..never towed anything before. Started to rain inside the trailer - 1st night - Stayed in a Motel. I know different strokes for different folk as you say. 'j' in l.a.

    • Justine Crowleyabout a month ago

      Fantastic. I do live an alternative lifestyle, yet I have not gone that far. It is important to also go for some driving lessons if you have not driven in a while. Good laid out tips. The research phase would take a few months, yet ever so important. Will come back if I ever need to go down this route for whatever reason. Cheers.

    • Living an alternative lifestyle, such as the RV lifestyle is a positively amazing endeavor. I also live alternatively by traveling all around the world and do not live traditionally with any mortgages/financing. You can also rid yourself of any debts if you have any and live freely without being bogged down by the mundane ongoings of traditional daily life. You may also like the following story: Thanks again for sharing your story.

    • Nikki9 months ago

      Your article offers practical and useful advice to those thinking about making this lifestyle change. I've been considering giving it a shot for the summer. Overall, congratulations, and thank you for sharing your expertise and experience with others!

    • Lindsey Donatabout a year ago

      Heavily considering this, just have to find a job that doesn't need to be connected to where I live. I also want to keep my plants, but there really aren't room for many of those in an RV...this is my internal struggle! haha. Any tips for finding remote jobs?

    • This comment has been deleted

    • Jimy Leeabout a year ago

      And when the shitter's full, there's only one thing going to make it unfull - you going out there and getting nasty :}

    • Brenton Fabout a year ago

      Very informative and well written - it made me a smidge jealous!

    • Kendra Maryaabout a year ago

      Saying hello as a fellow rv liver and traveller! Great tips for anyone starting up.

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