Whether you’re renting or buying a home, you know it’s hell to find an affordable place. Costs for living spaces have gone up 15% recently. The median rent is already above $2000 nationwide.
If you’ve been on TikTok and Instagram, you know about the surge in popularity of live-in vehicles to save money. Camper vans decked out with all the amenities–albeit in a very, very compact space–let you see the world. You may want to join the trend and buy an RV to live in–but not so fast!
Buying an RV–and, more importantly, living in an RV–comes with some noteworthy caveats. This isn’t to say RV life isn’t great. You do, however, want to anticipate foreseeable problems where you can.
In this guide, we cover five things to consider before purchasing your own live-in recreational vehicle.
1. Buy an RV to Live in According to the Number of People
So you are sold on the RV lifestyle. You and yours want to travel the open road–and live there, too. The question is, how many are coming with you?
Sure, your RV may have sleeping arrangements for five. That doesn’t mean, though, that it accommodates five people.
RVs generally tend to be for people who plan to have outside living arrangements. They provide the main amenities and facilities. Then, everyone spends communal time in the great outdoors.
Perhaps you plan to spend most of your time inside the RV–especially in extreme weather. Make sure there is enough space.
A family of people in a too-small space can quickly go stir-crazy. Think catty fighting, except while on the road in a place you can’t escape. Choosing the right class C RVs keeps everyone sane.
2. Account for Storage Space
Following off the previous point, you can’t stop just at sleeping and living space. You need to account for storage as well.
Even if everyone has only a single bag, you need a place to store them. Most RVs have plenty of hideaway storage spots. If you don’t plan ahead, though, those nooks and crannies will quickly run out.
The last thing you want is an already small space to feel more cooped up. Without proper storage, people are bound to leave their things everywhere. This creates a tinder box to engender further annoyance and resentment among tired passengers.
So, consider how much storage space there is when buying an RV. Determine if it is really enough for your group size.
3. Understand the Limitations of Your RVs Water Tanks
RVs can do almost anything a home can. They can provide a place to shower, wash dishes, and store drinking water. The largest RV sizes tend to have big tanks that can last a long time.
They cannot last forever, though! RV manufacturers build their vehicles with short-term trips in mind. The water tanks hold quite a lot, but not enough to last you weeks or months.
This presents a couple of considerations. One, you will need to find regular pitstops where you can refill your drinkable water. Two, you will also need places to dump your gray water and waste.
This means you have a hard limitation on where you can travel and for how long. You can live anywhere, sure. But if the place you are at lacks refill and dumping stations, that reduces how long you can remain.
Again, you will need to do some calculations depending on your average passenger list. Estimate how much water each passenger will need and how long the tank can wait between dumping. Living in an RV that can’t accommodate these things will be hell later on.
4. Consider What You Can–and Can’t–Live Without
Many people idealize and romanticize the thought of living outdoors. You think of waking up to have your coffee in front of a stunning remote sunrise or going to sleep under the stars. This fantasy can quickly turn into an uncomfortable reality, though.
Some people are campers to their core. They could be perfectly happy living out of a sleeping bag for the rest of your life. If you are not 100% sure that you are that person, don’t set yourself up for failure.
An RV can provide practically any amenities you can imagine. They could include a generator to power a television for watching movies. They can even include a satellite for remote Internet access.
Determine which things you cannot live without, and buy an RV that has them. Be honest with yourself. Think about your everyday life, and imagine the consequences of going without a particular convenience.
Don’t skimp on something essential out of a shortsighted yearning to live like someone you aren’t. Sure, you may wish you were as outdoorsy as some Insta celebrity. But if you aren’t, it’s smart to purchase ahead of time your ideal creature comforts.
5. Have Redundancies in Place
When you’re out on the road, it’s just you and the asphalt. Emergencies and contingencies will happen. You have to account for these things rather than hope fate drops them on another unfortunate soul.
So, have a backup for everything. Have a backup generator in case the first one fails. Then have a backup tank of gasoline in case the first one leaks–and so on.
Plain and simple, assume that anything and everything could break. Having a backup option could very well save your life–or your sanity.
Take, for example, mobile Internet access. If you plan to work on the road, you absolutely need to have guaranteed Internet. Consider having cell service as your main with satellite as your backup–if one fails, you try the other.
Get Your Dream RV Today
Many people want to buy an RV to live in after seeing the incredible nomad lifestyles of social media travelers. You can too, but you should double and triple-check that you have the right recreational vehicle. Consider the sort of RV lifestyle you want to live and purchase accordingly.