Travel Trailer concept; right for my situation?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

grizgrin

Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Posts
15
am interested in the RV lifestyle but not sure that it's the right move for my scenario. Thought I would post up here to get some feedback form those who would know.

I am a homeowner, and it's a pain in my butt. I work outside of the US for extended periods of time, spending a maximum of 6 months a year at home. When in the country, I would like to take my boys to go visit family more, which is some long driving. I have places to stay when I get there; really I only would be using the TT when I am in town, with possible summer excursions to the coast.

I am divorced, with two kids. They stay with mom when I am gone. I need something the boys can stay in.

Is this sounding like the profile of a TT lifestyle? The kids, not having a traditional home, and leaving the TT in storage half the year? I am a total noob here and just trying to think outside the box. The big problem is, due to some issues not fit to air here, once I sell my home it will be years before I qualify to buy again should I so choose. This is looking like a one way street for me, and since it affects my children I need to be pretty freakin sure.

Thanks for the sanity check, yall.
 

donn

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Posts
4,670
Maybe you would be better off renting an apartment, then rent a motor home when you want an RV for. Few days at a time.
 

grizgrin

Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Posts
15
Why would an apartment seem to be a better idea? Not trying to be a smart allec, I appreciate the input, but the better I can see your ideas the more input I have. I have my own ideas, but came here to learn, not teach. ;)
 

Lou Schneider

Site Team
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
11,022
Sounds like you're more in the market for a mobile home in a mobile home park than living in a travel trailer in a RV park - especially with the two kids.

Mobile homes are larger than a travel trailer and are built to permanent housing standards.  RVs are designed for temporary housing that can be moved from place to place.  That doesn't mean you can't live fulltime in a travel trailer - many people do.  But they don't withstand weather extremes very well, and if you live in snow country many RV parks close from the first freeze until spring thaw.  Or if you're in the desert southwest, RVs can be downright uncomfortable during the summer.  That's one reason most fulltimers follow the seasons to stay in nice weather year around.

With two kids, even the largest travel trailer will be a tight fit - especially if the weather isn't conducive to staying outdoors most of the time.

Mobile homes hold their value better than RVs.  They're more like regular houses in that regard, even though the land beneath them belongs to the mobile home park, not you.  If you decide you want to return to a regular house after your finances get straightened out in the future you'll have more equity available with a mobilehome.

You will have to pay monthly rent year-round to the mobile home park but it's usually pretty reasonable.  And the park usually takes care of most of the grounds maintenance.  When you go overseas all you'd have to do is close up the house and make arrangements for the rent payments.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,320
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
Is your idea to travel with the kids during the time you are back in the USA? What about school for them, and their relationship with their friends? Aren't you likely to be anchored to one place anyway?

If you don't travel, or at least move the RV once in awhile, there seems to be no advantage in a trailer vs a mobile home, or at least an RV "park model".  Storing a trailer is no hassle free, especially in a region that experiences cold winters. Plumbing has to be winterized, etc. Nor is living in an RV trailer ideal during winter months in norther regions - they are not designed for cold climates, and frankly don't do all that well in very hot ones either.

What size are you considering? The largest RV trailer is quite small compared to a house or apartment - less than 400 sq ft and more typically about 250 sq ft. You probably have a single room in your house that is nearly that size. Kids can take up a lot of space, inside and out. Toys & games, bicycles,  etc. And two beds in addition to your own.

What about your present home is a pain?  Why do you expect an RV will be any less?
 

DearMissMermaid

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Posts
2,572
Location
on the move, USA
The travel trailer sounds like a better plan. If you don't have to be stuck in one spot when you are back in the USA, then you could have more fun with the travel trailer, being able to go visit relatives or take the kids on vacation or on educational trips.

Kids are pretty adaptable and generally see the potential adventure if they have the least little bit of imagination.  There are people raising their kids in RV's fulltime and having a grand time.  When it's all said and done, kids don't really understand nor appreciate the money you spent on them.

All they remember is the TIME you spent with them.

When I was around 10, my parents left me at camp for 2 weeks. They picked me up, then took me to a remote rustic cabin I had never seen before. They told me that while I was at camp, they sold our suburban home and now we would live in the mountains in the tiny cabin. I asked them about my "stuff" and they said, well they sold or gave it all away.  The cabin didn't have heat except for a fireplace, nor TV or radio.  Indeed you had to go out on the back screen porch to enter the bathroom which was built out there for some strange reason.

Finally they confessed it was supposed to be a weird joke on me (to this day I don't get it!) But the reality was they had not sold our main home, but we would be spending our summers in the rustic cabin.

For me, it was an adventure, I hiked the mountains, forded the streams, went tubing down the river. I collected rocks, salamanders, lightning bugs, wild flowers.  More than once I found working moonshine stills in them there hills.  At night we played cards or games or read books.  We fought over who got to sit in the rocking chairs. Even though we had TV and phone at our main home in suburbia, my parents said we would have neither at the cabin and it never occurred to us kids to dare question them about their decision. 

It was a 3 room cabin but our family of six spent many summers there. At night we unfolded cots and slept on the porch or in the living room while our parents took the only bedroom. The cabin in the mountains was an adventure for me. Even as an adult, I used it every chance I got. Sadly my father sold it while I was working overseas, but luckily a friend of mine bought it from my dad and he used it every summer while raising his kids.

I think your kids might enjoy the sheer adventure of living and traveling in a travel trailer, getting to see more relatives and spending time with you.
 

grizgrin

Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Posts
15
Lou Schneider said:
Sounds like you're more in the market for a mobile home in a mobile home park than living in a travel trailer in a RV park - especially with the two kids.
A lot of truth in this. My kids keep most of their stuff at their mother's house, and bring whatever their current interests are with them. A bit unweildy, but none of us like the idea of them having their stuff locked up in my place while I am gone. And my ex-wife is not getting a key to my home. Lol. The boys are relatively mobile. So long as I can find a place for the flatscreen in the RV, I am not expecting a huge issue. However, this comment got me started thinking about how much space in my house I actually DO use, and making some calculations. Good point, and thanks for it.
Mobile homes are larger than a travel trailer and are built to permanent housing standards.  RVs are designed for temporary housing that can be moved from place to place.  That doesn't mean you can't live fulltime in a travel trailer - many people do.  But they don't withstand weather extremes very well, and if you live in snow country many RV parks close from the first freeze until spring thaw.  Or if you're in the desert southwest, RVs can be downright uncomfortable during the summer.  That's one reason most fulltimers follow the seasons to stay in nice weather year around.
Thanks for the info about heat/cold resistance. We typically don't get snow. Once every 5 years or so, on average. Maybe a freeze or two in the winter, maybe hit 100 once or twice in the summer. Temps in the 90's are fairly common however. Within those extremes, I would plan to be in an RV park with electric at least, to keep the place from becoming a box of suffering. Heat, from what I understand, would generally be off the propane circuit (depending on your particular RV, I would imagine), so just plan to go through a lot of that. Does the weather I am describing sound more extreme than an RV could typically handle, or were you describing, literally, deserts and tundras?
<snip>...</snip>
Mobile homes hold their value better than RVs.  They're more like regular houses in that regard, even though the land beneath them belongs to the mobile home park, not you.  If you decide you want to return to a regular house after your finances get straightened out in the future you'll have more equity available with a mobilehome.
Heavy truth here for sure. I'm not sold on real estate as investment anymore, especially in older homes and given my travel. Being single and traveling so much,just leaving the place there doesn't make me comfortable. Break-ins, vandalism,...a lot can happen. That's an advantage of a self-storage place; secured compound with cameras. Still possible, but more secure than an empty home for crackheads to come tear wiring out of and steal AC condensers.
You will have to pay monthly rent year-round to the mobile home park but it's usually pretty reasonable.  And the park usually takes care of most of the grounds maintenance.  When you go overseas all you'd have to do is close up the house and make arrangements for the rent payments.
 

grizgrin

Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Posts
15
Gary RV Roamer said:
Is your idea to travel with the kids during the time you are back in the USA? What about school for them, and their relationship with their friends? Aren't you likely to be anchored to one place anyway?
We would travel some. The mobility would be a benefit for me, because I am not the most social animal in the world. I really like the idea of being able to pull up stakes and haul butt if the neighbors get to be horses' butts. But it would help a heck of a lot with summer traveling to the coast, Hunting Island, seeing family. My kids don't socialize in my neighborhood, their social lives are at their mothers place for the most part. Just no one their age around. I am anchored to an area, for sure. I don't want to reside more then an hour from my ex, and she would probably freak if I was even that far. Yeah, she has little actual SAY in what I do, but I'm not looking to stir up any beehives with her unless I feel I HAVE too. Ultimately, I want to live as close to my kids as possible, because that has worked out exceedingly well so far and all 4 of us like it.
If you don't travel, or at least move the RV once in awhile, there seems to be no advantage in a trailer vs a mobile home, or at least an RV "park model".  Storing a trailer is no hassle free, especially in a region that experiences cold winters. Plumbing has to be winterized, etc. Nor is living in an RV trailer ideal during winter months in norther regions - they are not designed for cold climates, and frankly don't do all that well in very hot ones either.
Considered a park model, but like the flexibility or one with all the plumbing to boondock if I have to/choose to. Would hate to come into town and not be able to get a spot in a local RV Park because they are all full. WIth a park model, I'd be screwed. With a full RV, I could chill for a few days, see if something opens up. I am not sure how big a concern this actually is, however. Input? WHat kind of temps ARE cozy in an RV, generally (I realize there will be a lot of variance for make model and year of course)? What could I reasonably expect to be comfortable in?
What size are you considering? The largest RV trailer is quite small compared to a house or apartment - less than 400 sq ft and more typically about 250 sq ft. You probably have a single room in your house that is nearly that size. Kids can take up a lot of space, inside and out. Toys & games, bicycles,  etc. And two beds in addition to your own.
I have a 30' TT in mind. I would consider being able to park it and drive off in my truck almost essential, nothing else makes sense to me. I would want as large as I can reasonably go and still feel comfortable handling the beast, preferably also without having to upgrade vehicles (currently drive a 1998 Yukon so 5500-ish on the tow, and I think 600 on tongue weight; would firm the numbers up solid well before making The Move but I have 8 months at least). Anything longer than 30', and it seems I am edging up to size limits in local RV Park; many seem to not be able to handle 32' or greater. Not looking to limit my options. My house is currently a 3br/2.5 bath @ 1350-ish sqft. I use MAYBE half of it. The rest is storage space and room I had to fill with furniture to stop the echoes. I have a bedroom I didnt go in for a year or more. Crud, that takes my usage down to less than half. I work on ships for a living, so my ideas on space tha ti need are a bit constrained.
What about your present home is a pain?  Why do you expect an RV will be any less?
1. I pay for a security system to prevent furhter breakins. And it's still bypassable if you know a thing or two, easily done actually and while it prevents thefts it wont come in and secure my property for the month or more I am at sea.
2. I have no effective way to guard against vandalism, and since some of my neighbors and I recently fell out big-style thats a worry. Even a camera system (further money) that records everything is bypassable.
3. paying for yard care when I am gone sucks. so does yard work when I am home.
4. I am in the place 6 months or less in the year, yet I have the maintenance to do for a "full-timer" in a house. That sucks because I spend a much greater proportion of my time doing crap I don't like. I realize RV's are maintenance hogs, but my idea of it is that it's a heck of a lot smaller, less expensive, and easier to do for one man. My house is a split level built into the side of a hill, replacing fascia behind a gutter becomes a totally different proposition when you look down and it's 35 feet to the ground.
5. an RV in a locked, secured self-storage lot when I am gone offshore would have, I imagine, greater security from catastrophic events than a stick-built home. A branch falls off a tree and hits the roof of my covered RV parking space, and I look up, say thats too bad, and drive off. Same tree branch falls in my yard and skewers my roof of my stick-built house, it could easily be a month before I get home and find a month of rain in my living room. The damage that could cause to a house is tremendous. Yeah, insurance takes care of a lot of it, but they want to give you depreciated value, not replacement value.

These are my ideas. I realize there may be some lack of realism in here, and that some of my ideas about RV's are not realistic (hence me joingin an RV forum and coming to chat with the experts while I still have 8 months or more before being able to make a move.). Any input is welcome.
 

grizgrin

Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Posts
15
DearMissMermaid said:
The travel trailer sounds like a better plan. If you don't have to be stuck in one spot when you are back in the USA, then you could have more fun with the travel trailer, being able to go visit relatives or take the kids on vacation or on educational trips.

<snip>...</snip>

I think your kids might enjoy the sheer adventure of living and traveling in a travel trailer, getting to see more relatives and spending time with you.

THis sounds like a lot of what I am aiming for. The flexibility, the freedom. It SOUNDS like a great way to be, and thanks for the input!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,320
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
Re the house "pain"...

-At least the RV eliminates the yard work (but so would a condo or apartment).  :D
-Placing the RV in secure storage is similar to providing the security system. Neither is foolproof - a parked RV is a target too. Probably less issue than a house, though, as long as the facility is reliable.


Re the size:
You aren't going to find a 30 footer in the 5500 lb range. Probably not  even a dry weight of 5500, let alone loaded and with passengers in the tow vehicle. Use the SEARCH function to review some of the numerous previous discussions of towing weights and tow vehicles. On the other hand, if you don't move it often, you can pay a service to haul it to/from a campground for you.
 

grizgrin

Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Posts
15
You know, I really appreciate the back and forth here, Gary. I also hope I'm not coming across as argumentative or adverserial. I can be a bit persistant at times, and some folks don't cotton to it too well. Just wanted to establish that I am here to learn and not try to poke holes in the experience wells of those such as yourself. I'm thankful to be able to access the experience.

Gary RV Roamer said:
Re the house "pain"...

-At least the RV eliminates the yard work (but so would a condo or apartment).  :D
-Placing the RV in secure storage is similar to providing the security system. Neither is foolproof - a parked RV is a target too. Probably less issue than a house, though, as long as the facility is reliable.
- Yay! Considering apartments and condos as well, but really would like to get further out of the city if I can. Ideally, I would like to be able to let my kids wander around the "yard" and go play outside a bit more than I can now, and having Paris Mountain State Park (as an example) makes for a hell of a yard; better than a condo or apartment could offer.
-As far as targets, I am going to have to ask the right questions of the facility. A lot of them have live-in management which probably makes things much better in addition to cameras and high fences. It will be a matter of finding the right place and weighing liabilities, I think.
Re the size:
You aren't going to find a 30 footer in the 5500 lb range. Probably not  even a dry weight of 5500, let alone loaded and with passengers in the tow vehicle. Use the SEARCH function to review some of the numerous previous discussions of towing weights and tow vehicles. On the other hand, if you don't move it often, you can pay a service to haul it to/from a campground for you.
I have seen a few 30' TT in the 4500# weight class (http://www.rvtrader.com/listing/2006-R-Vision-300qbss-106443873). They seem to be a bit rare, and I have SERIOUS misgivings about what sacrifices were made to achieve what appears to be a roughly 33% weightloss. I did a bit of research into electric vehicles a while back, and always the first step they took in conversions was shaving weight, even going so far as to grinding out frames and panels! It's been my understanding that anytime weight gets dropped on a vehicle, safety is the first thing that gets a redux wiht it. Sure, it might still hit whatever minimums the vehicle has to, but a redux is still a redux. As far as applying this to an RV, I would be concerned more about build quality. Insulation would be a concern as it is easy to leave out of a build and requires minimal design alterations. I think they use fiberglass walls in these "ultralights" as well, which is ok I guess but might have problems y'all would have experience with? I actually like the fiberglass from what little I have seen and know so far, as it seems to go with flat sided walls which I find to look better than the corrugated ones.
My Yukon also lists as 6500# towing capacity. I was wrong. Given the rough rule of thumb I have read around here of adding about 1,000# to RV weight for bodies and stuff (sounds reasonable), a 4500# RV would become 5500#, which sounds like it would be hauled nicely by a Yukon that goes up to 6500#. I want ot deal in real numbers, but am only willing to push the max in anything so much.
 

Jammer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 20, 2009
Posts
1,491
grizgrin said:
am interested in the RV lifestyle but not sure that it's the right move for my scenario. Thought I would post up here to get some feedback form those who would know.

I am a homeowner, and it's a pain in my butt. I work outside of the US for extended periods of time, spending a maximum of 6 months a year at home. When in the country, I would like to take my boys to go visit family more, which is some long driving. I have places to stay when I get there; really I only would be using the TT when I am in town, with possible summer excursions to the coast.

I am divorced, with two kids. They stay with mom when I am gone. I need something the boys can stay in.

I have recently been through a divorce and traveled with my three girls for a while.  Although I have since remarried, and have had a stick house during most of this period (all except three weeks), perhaps I can provide some insights.

I have found that my TT isn't quite enough room for the kids, though with only two you'll have an easier time.  Much hinges on how well the kids get along with each other, and on whether you'll mostly be staying in places that have activities for them, or opportunities to sleep in their own space.

Is this sounding like the profile of a TT lifestyle? The kids, not having a traditional home, and leaving the TT in storage half the year? I am a total noob here and just trying to think outside the box.

It could work but there are some things to watch.  Be sure you have a plan for them to attend school.  You will need some sort of seasonal or long-term campground to use as a base, and will need to figure out transportation from there to school and back.


The big problem is, due to some issues not fit to air here, once I sell my home it will be years before I qualify to buy again should I so choose. This is looking like a one way street for me, and since it affects my children I need to be pretty freakin sure.

My general advice is for people new to the lifestyle to rent an RV first and see how that goes.

 
Top Bottom