How to Plan for Full-Time RV Life

When you’re planning a big life change, whether it is a move across the country or planning for full-time RV life, there’s always a laundry list of things to be done. From health to logistics to pets, here are the things I’m working to plan for. 

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Health

I wouldn’t say I’m an unhealthy person, but I have a fair amount of ongoing health considerations. From sleep apnea (yep, I wear a sexy CPAP machine to bed every night) to an acoustic neuroma (a tumor in my inner ear canal), nothing about planning for my health is simple. It's taking some coordination for planning for full-time RV living to get all my medical needs sorted.

planning for full-time rv living - doctors appointments

Since I plan to leave at the end of February, I’m making appointments with my local Austin doctors all during the month of February. My long-term plan is to return to Austin every February to re-visit these same doctors, see friends, and assess my storage situation. Your list may vary, but for me, these are the doctors I’m planning to visit prior to leaving:

  • - Eye doctor
  • - Gynecologist
  • - Dentist
  • - Primary Care
  • - Sleep Doctor (yep, it’s a real thing!)
  • - Dermatologist
  • - Chiropractor

 

In addition to visiting my various doctors, I also need to figure out what to do for health care. This largely depends on the job I get and if it provides health care. If it doesn’t, I’ve been doing research on what my options are.

Because my salary is likely to be high, I won’t qualify for any subsidies on the healthcare exchange. That means that any plan I want there will be quite expensive ($700+ a month for just me). I value a low deductible, even if it means a higher monthly cost, since I’m likely to use the whole thing fairly quickly each year.

I found the RVer Insurance Exchange through another RV blogger and it seems like my insurance rate through them would be a lot more reasonable - around $400 a month for similar coverage as the health exchange.

Once I get closer to my departure date, I’ll make a decision as to which option is best.

Finances

planning for full-time rv living - finances

This deserves to be an entire post on it’s own. When planning for full-time RV life, finances should be a large part of your consideration. For me, the basics come down to the fact that I have very little savings and fairly high debt. The plan is to limit expenses as much as possible once I’m on the road to pay down the debt. This means moving infrequently and working a regular 9-5, at least to start.

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Once I get my finances a little more under control, the plan is to work less and enjoy more. I’m also hoping to develop additional revenue streams so I’m not so dependent on a salary. I’m working on those prior to departure, but they may not be fully fleshed out by then.

While you're planning your full-time RV adventure, you need to determine if you're comfortable going on the road with debt, and how much you'll need to earn on the road.

Downsizing

This one won’t be too difficult for me, I don’t think. I’ve already downsized from 2,000 sq feet to 700. I’m in slightly more room now, so I’ve accumulated more stuff, but I’ve already gotten rid of most of the things I might have sentimental attachment to. I moved from Boston to Austin with only 11 boxes of possessions, so I don’t have a ton of memorabilia from childhood to consider.

RV's are very small places (duh!) so downsizing will be one of the most important tasks you tackle. You should start it as early as possible so you can take the time you need. Deciding what to do with sentimental items can be a very emotional process. There's always the option of storing some things, but you should really consider if it's worth the money. I will be storing some furniture for the first year but I plan to get rid of it after that, if all goes well.

Pets

My nervous, neurotic, arthritic dog, Lola, will be joining me on my travels. She’s 10 years old so she’s definitely not an energetic puppy these days, but she has some bad separation anxiety and is developing arthritis in her hips and back leg. She’s on medication for these things and we’re managing it, but I do worry how she’ll do without her regular chiropractor appointments.planning for full-time rv living - pets

However, I think she will love traveling. She’s super friendly (unless you’re another dog), loves riding in the car, and is generally the laziest, sweetest dog. As long as I’m with her, she’s not fearful of new places or situations and is always up to explore. In fact, her new favorite thing to do is to ride in the front of my kayak down a river or on a nearby lake. I assumed she’d be terrified, but she loves it!

If you already have pets, you should evaluate their personalities and health needs. Not all pets enjoy road trips, or new situations and may not be suitable for living in an RV.

Mail

Since I already live in Texas, my plan is to keep it as my domicile. Escapees RV club has a ton of great information about how to do this and also has a service in Texas that provides mail forwarding. I’ll work on getting this set up closer to my departure date.

There are a few companies that offer mail forwarding, depending on where you want to make your domicile. I still have more research to do in this area.

Well this seems a little overwhelming.

You’re telling me! I’m still doing a ton of research. I’m a super nerd and I love making lists. I’ve been using Trello for a few years now, both at work and in my personal life, and it makes staying organized a breeze. You can make it as detailed or as simple as you need. I started with a to-do list, and have since added packing lists and donation lists and things to buy to keep track of it all. Best of all the basic version (which is all most people need) is free! Sign up here

planning for full-time rv living - trello board My RV planning board. The background was a stock image!

What am I forgetting? What are some things you had to consider when planning for full-time RV life, or are you considering now?

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