Most people think living in an RV with either being digital nomads or retirees traveling from state to state. What a lot of people don’t realize is that you can live in an RV and actually maintain a more “traditional” life—you can still drive to your job every day, you can have a mailbox, and you can take weekend trips.
Stationary RV living is the ability to stay or live in your RV, in one place, for an extended period of time. Typically, people who do stationary living will live at an RV park and pay a monthly “rent” for their space. Some stationary RVers don’t travel at all and treat their RV like a permanent home, while others will take their RV out for the occasional trip.
Now, you might be thinking that this goes against the whole point of RVing, but there are numerous advantages to this type of lifestyle. Listed below are tips and advice from us but also others that are currently living the stationary life.
1. Choose Your RV and RV Park Carefully
There are a lot of factors to consider when searching for your home on wheels. A big one is the floor plan—be sure to choose a rig with a floor plan that fits your unique needs. Number of beds, kitchen size, room for entertaining, and storage space are just a few things to consider. For us, upgrading to a larger rig was ideal because it not only gave us more physical space, but we didn’t feel like we were constantly crowding each other.
Next, when considering where to park your new home, always check the RV park’s amenities. What are your must-haves? In addition to the overall location and aesthetic of a park, consider things such as trash pickup, propane refills, a general store, a fitness center, and a laundry room. You may find that many RV parks are just like apartment complexes for RVers.
2. Remember to Factor in Utilities and Receiving Mail
Different RV parks will handle utilities and mail differently, so it’s important to ask about their policy on each. For example, a RV park may charge a flat fee every month for electricity and water. Some parks are not able to receive regular USPS mail for their guests, but can receive small FedEx and UPS packages. Some parks also have individual mailboxes for each site, so it was extremely convenient to send and receive mail.
If mailing services are not an option at your preferred RV park, there are plenty of third-party services that can set up mail forwarding for you or get you a PO Box at a local post office. A few of the best third-party mail services are Escapees, Traveling MailBox and Good Sam Mail Service. When we are traveling for an extended amount of time we use Traveling Mailbox. A very affordable and convenient option.
3. Learn How to Stay Connected
Most RV parks have WiFi but, in all honesty, it’s rarely a good, strong signal—especially if you want to stream entertainment or do video calls. There are WiFi boosters and antennas you can buy to help amplify the park’s WiFi, but we found that a portable hotspot device with unlimited data has worked the best for us and gave us the strongest signal.
Many RV parks offer basic cable connections for local channels, but you won’t be able to get premium channels like HBO, ESPN, or TNT. For those channels, we decided to try YouTube TV a cable app that works with your laptop, smartphone, or streaming device (Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast) and offers a wide range of channels, movies, and shows. Although it was a great option, we found we were not watching the service enough to justify the cost.
4. Get to Know Your Neighbors
We have met some of our closest friends because of the RV life. When we lived in our Sticks & Bricks home, we didn’t get to know our neighbors as much as we do now. Once we started RVing, we were constantly meeting new people—many of whom we still keep in touch with. Even if our neighbors were only staying for a weekend or a week, we would sit at each other’s rigs next to the fire, enjoy meals together, swap stories, and share RVing advice. The sense of community at RV parks, and among the RV world, is very, very strong.
Truthfully, Ed and I never thought we’d embark on a RV living journey—it’s not always what people expect. But if you want to hit the road, while still maintaining an affordable homebase, try it out. You might just fall in love with it.