Is it possible to live large, but inexpensively in RV World?

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Wildflower63

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Apr 28, 2006
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6
I recently went to a RV/camper show.  I quickly realized that my idea of serious downsizing is living quite large in the RV world.  I want to live in it so that I don't have to pack every time I feel like running away from home! lol!  I am definitely an RV wanna be!! 

I saw fantastic RVs that were bus like, that I would definitely need to tow a small car.  I saw equally nice campers that require a large pick up truck to tow.  It appeared to me that it was more cost efficient to buy an RV with a motor and tow the car vs. paying for an expensive pickup large enough to tow a camper the size I would like.  Is there any cost advantage to either choice? 

Is there any advantage of buying new vs. used?  I am talking about older models, even from the 80's.  Are there updating cost that don't make it worth going used?  Where do I begin looking into prices?

I realize the gas cost will eat me alive, but how expensive is it to live in interesting places, for months at a time, with electric and water hook up? 

I will have to work.  Is it realistic to staggar my way east to west, get a job, and save enough money for the next trip and money I will need for unexpected expenses?

Let me know if I am being delusional!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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You've asked huge questions that could have books writen and still not adequately cover all the variations in the answers. I'll attempt short, but necessarily crude, answers.

There's little reason to buy new except for style. Most anything built in the last 10 years will be substantially equivalent in technology as far as the fundamental systems and features, but there is always new gadgets and amenities.

If you sit in one place for extended periods (month or more), a trailer will be significantly more economical than a motorhome. Reasons are insurance costs, drive train maintenance and depreciation on the high-dollar motorized portion of the rig.  A motorhome towing a car is TWO motorized vehicles, with insurance and upkeep costs on both. A trailer and a tow vehicle has only one motorized vehicle and that almost always works out cheaper.

Long term RV site rentals are generally inexpensive, except in highly seasonal places with high land costs, e.g. New England. Monthly rates of $200-400 plus electric are common in the southeast and southwest.

There is always work available for personable and educated travelers, but the pay rates are not great. I don't know what your expectations are for a pay scale, but in general the work available to Rvers should be considered supplementary income rather than primary.  However, there are some jobs, such as construction work, farm labor and health care services, that lend themselves to  itinerant workers.

 

Tom

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Jan 13, 2005
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Gary gave you some good answers. There are also a few files in our library that might help, although the one(s) with actual costs are a little dated. Click on the Library button above and select Fulltiming.
 

Wildflower63

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Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Posts
6
Cost was just one of my many questions!  I guess you definitely could write a novel answering what I asked.  Knowing gas cost will eat me alive, I am trying to plan a budget so that I can be a working person, but live in interesting places.  Home is where I decide to park it! lol!

I am a RN, but was hoping that I wouldn't have to do this type of work.  What a stress out!  I have to go through the expense and red tape getting a license for every state I work.  I am ok with working at WalMart stocking shelves for a fraction of the money, but that doesn't look too promising.  I have a few too many expenses, like kids, to pay for.  That really is more horrible than today's gas cost!   

My daughter is 15.  I was planning on this idea after she hits the college dorm, but she decided she wants to live as a vagrant too.  My son is going to overdose on testosterone, any day now, but still thriving.  He lives with his cool friends, splitting rent.  The only thing my wild child, 19 year old, son bothered to listen to was me telling him to show his, 18 year old, girlfriend more respect and marry her, since he insist they get an apartment together.  They are now happily engaged. 

Who really knows if they will ever marry or not.  It is for the young to have the enthusiasm, of love, that my son and his girlfriend do.  I gave my son the engagement ring given to me, by his father.  They actually have the exact same first names as we do!  I am offering rent money so that these two get an education, since they are obviously too young and arrogant to know they really do need it.  If either fail to attend school or not make passing grades, the money stops immediately.

My kid expense is going to continue to be extravagant.  I am going to be paying up for my daughter, just as soon as I get a financial break paying up for my son, to get her an education.  I need private pay health insurance and vehicle/camper insurance.  Nursing license is going to take a few hundred/per state and a few months advance planning, which is workable, but a complete pain. 

My car insurance is dirt cheap, with no accidents or tickets, but I have no clue how much it will cost to insure a motorized RV and car.  How much does a motorized RV cost to insure?  Given gas prices of today, is it really going to be worth it for me to drive a huge gas hog truck, as a working person, who wishes to hang around for a while?  Is a large motorized RV worth the difference in gas vs. insurance cost for someone who has a (I am afraid to say this and knocking on wood!) flawless driving record? 

You mean that I could pay up to $400/mo for someplace to park an RV with water and electric?  Can park memberships be purchased at a lower cost?  If I really have to pay this kind of money, I might as well take an airplane, pay the movers, and drive the car to a cheap apartment close to something interesting. 

Is the RV lifestyle only for the retired or wealthy?   

I really want to live as a vagrant!!  How can I pull this off or can I at all?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Vehicle insurance costs vary dramatically by the home state/city in which it is insured, but costs are generally the about same as a passenger car. That's because liability insurance is the major component and that's pretty much the same across the board.  The higher price of a large motorhome is a relatively small increment.  Remember, if you full time in an Rv you will be probably be dropping homeowner's or renter's insurance and that wil offset the insurance on the RV. If you get a trailer rather than a motorhome, insurance costs are low because it is not a motorized vehicle and doesn't require its own liability insurance.

Monthly costs for a site will vary tremendously depending on location and amenities desired.  I've seen them as low as $100/month and as high as $1000, but somewhere in the $200-$300 is probably most common except in the Northeast (NT & New England).  Some rates include electricity and some do not, but water is always included.  Monthly and seasonal rates are the lowest, daily rates are the highest.  Campround memberships can reduce overall costs IF there is a suitable campround in the area where you want to locate and you use the membership camprounds religiously. If you use them only occasionally they don't help much.

With a 15 year old, you have to plan on schooling somehow and stay in an area long enough to complete a school year (unless you home school).  An iteinerant life is tough on a teenage's schooling and friendships and for that reason an apartment may be a better option.
 

Lou Schneider

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Mar 14, 2005
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It sounds like finances are the main thing holding you back.  Once you're in the RV, your costs can drop dramatically compared to owning or renting a house.

Would it be possible for you to work intermittantly as a travelling RN?  I know a few years ago they were very much in demand, taking temporary assignments lasting a couple of weeks to a couple of months at a time.  Several states have signed on to the Nurses Licensing Compact, where a nurse licensed in one state can work in any state that's a member of the Compact.  The advantage to this is you could work for a relatively short period of time and build up a savings fund, then take time off and travel before taking another position.

Workamper News magazine (www.workamper.com) is a monthly publication listing campgrounds, national park concessionaires, amusement parks, etc. looking for seasonal help.  But most of these jobs pay minimum wage and/or provide a free campsite for their workers.

Also, check out the Escapees Club (www.escapees.com).  Joe and Kay Peterson founded Escapees 25 years ago, after quitting their jobs, moving into their RV and hitting the road.  Today they offer a full range of support services for people who either live full time or travel extensively in their RVs.
 

Smoky

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Mar 11, 2005
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wherever we are parked
Motorhome insurance for a fulltimer will cost anywhere from $1300 to $2000 a year. ?I would recommend going with a company that specializes in MH insurance like Good Sam or Progressive.

A few weeks ago we met a motorhome couple at the same Spartan chassis dealer we were at just getting ready to head from Phoenix back to their original home in New Hampshire. ?the husband is an anesthesiologist and the wife is an RN. ?They travel all over the country, their motorhome and associated expenses like insurance, repairs, campgrounds, etc are tax deductible as travel expenses. ?the husband told me they have no trouble at all picking up work wherever they go. ?They do schedule work locations ahead of time so they can be sure to keep all their travel expenses tax deductible.
 
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