As you may know, we have been living Full-Time in our RV since 2009. When we decided to get rid of our Sticks n’Bricks, we started looking for more “OUT OF THE BOX” ways for us to make the income necessary to live a comfortable RVlifestyle. When we took our 1st camphost job in Tybee Island GA., I was able to do the job while Ed stayed in Iowa for a month to finish up his job then he joined me. This particular job was WORK FOR SITE only which worked great for the season. But after the 1st season there I started a Sales Job that I worked at a physical location during the summer. Once we headed south again, I was able to take that job with and work remotely. But after that year I found that the Sales Job was not something she wanted to do long term. So we began searching for all the options out there. We had NO idea how many different options were out there.
1 of the ways we look for opportunities are by subscribing to a FREE NEWSLETTER at, Workers On Wheels. New postings come right into your email on a weekly basis. There are volunteers positions to fully paid positions so it will fit everyone’s needs. On Workers On Wheels they also have services that allow you to post your resume for employers to see for a very low cost of $5.00 for 30 days OR if your an employer, you can post job openings for as little as $1.00 per day/minimum 30days.
As you would for any job, do your research before you accept the job. And if you are not able to make it to the job for any reason, and you’ve accepted the position, please be courteous and let them know so they can find a replacement.
The summer season has just begun so Ed and I hope as you get started on your new ventures, you have an enjoyable time living on the road, making money and making long lasting friendships.
“Are you crazy? You plan to live in your RV during the winter?” We’ve heard that question many times. My response is always the same, “You bet, we’re full-time RVers. Where life takes us may be uncertain, but the changing seasons are predictable.”
You may be wondering, however, how we live in our RV in the winter, while experiencing freezing cold temperatures. I’ll be the first to admit there can be challenges because RVs are not made or insulated like a sticks-n-bricks home. Even “four-season” or RVs that have the arctic package are not immune to the effects of extreme cold weather.
While we prefer to spend our winters in parts of the country with more mild winter weather, we’ve experienced extreme cold, snow, and paralyzing ice in these areas as well. We’ve also wintered in the Midwest and spent weeks in sub-zero temperatures and managed to survive to tell the tale.
Throughout the years, we’ve made our fair share of mistakes, experimented with different winterizing techniques, and learned some valuable lessons that you might find beneficial for living comfortably in the winter. It just takes preparation.
Top Winter RVing Tips
Manuals. First, read and familiarize yourself with your RV manufacturer’s and RV component manufacturer’s manuals so that you understand how your RV’s systems work. Then you can take steps to overcome or cope with your RV’s deficiencies and limits. Batteries. Cold temperatures are hard on RV batteries. Make sure your batteries still have a useful life and are charging properly. Windows. Insulate your windows at night or during extreme weather events. RV windows lose a ton of heat, regardless of how insulated they claim to be. There are several ways to insulate windows: foam insulation boards,Reflectix aluminum foil insulation, solar blankets, or heavy-weight thermal curtains. You also want to check the weather stripping around the windows to make sure nothing needs to be replaced or caulked. Don’t forget to check your door window. Skirting. Put your RV in a skirt when parked. We prefer using rigid pink foam board insulation sheathing. This product typically has an R value of 3.6 to 4.0 per inch of thickness. Use the thickest material you can find as it not only provides the best thermal performance, it is stronger and less likely to break or blow away. The material is virtually impervious to moisture penetration, lightweight, durable and easy to handle and install. Keep your vehicle and generator exhaust pipes clear of the skirting and snow accumulation. You want your RV exhaust to blow outside, not underneath. Pipes. While skirting can help prevent freezing, you will need to wrap your pipes with heat tape and use a heated RV water hose if connected to a water source. If you don’t have a heated water hose, limit use to your RV’s onboard fresh water tank. A standard water hose will freeze and crack. Roof. Inspect your RV’s roof and all seals before the cooler temperatures arrive. Look for cracks or broken seals and make repairs or caulk. During the winter, keep the roof clear of snow, ice and debris. Icing and melting can cause cracks in seals and then leaks. Hatch vents. Lots of warm air can escape through the roof vents in your RV. A vent cover made of a piece of foam can add an extra layer of insulation. Be sure to close your AC vents. Ceiling fans. Use your ceiling fans by switching to reverse. This will push the warm air down to your level. Furnace. Service and inspect your furnace regularly. Make sure it ignites and functions properly. Heat pump. Some RVs come equipped with a heat pump as well as a furnace. A heat pump should not be used when it’s less than 40 degrees. Doors. Check the weather stripping on every exterior door, including the entry door, basement areas, and access panels. Replace if necessary. Indoor plumbing. For added protection for your indoor plumbing, you may want to open your cabinet doors in your kitchen and bathroom to expose the pipes to the interior heat. You may also want to turn your faucets on to drip, especially at night. Tanks. The bay that holds your tanks must always be kept above freezing. If your RV doesn’t have tank heaters, buy some. Mini space heaters in the bay can also help prevent freezing. Propane. When living in your RV full-time in the winter, you need to ensure you have plenty of propane. If you’re away from your RV during the day, be sure to leave the thermostat set high enough to keep the RV warm and to prevent the pipes from freezing or any pets from getting too cold. A propane tank gas level indicator that can be read by your smartphone could be very valuable. Utility space. Placing a drop light in the utility space can keep the space’s temperature above freezing. Portable heaters. Use portable heaters with extreme care and caution. Never leave a space heater unattended or when you’re sleeping. Keep them out of reach of children and pets. Make certain the area around your heater is kept clear of rugs, blankets, and combustible materials. Never use a portable heater with an extension cord. Portable heaters safe for RV use include: a ceramic tower, electric, or oil-filled radiator. Exercise extreme caution to prevent carbon monoxide build-up and always use a carbon monoxide detector inside your RV. Fresh water tank. Many RVers drain their freshwater tanks completely during the winter. Of course this is the safest approach because it prevents the tank from freezing; however, it also means you will need to switch to supplying your own potable water for drinking, brushing your teeth, doing dishes, and cooking. And, plan on using public restrooms. In our experience, having indoor plumbing in the winter is a must, so draining and winterizing is a last resort. Holding tanks. Never allow your holding tanks to freeze. Keep your tanks closed until they are full and need to be dumped. Extreme sub-zero temperatures. Ideally, if you’re planning to live in your RV in the winter you don’t want to fully winterize it or it becomes impossible to utilize your water and plumbing systems. However, if you are going to stay in your RV in a region with sub-zero temperatures for an extended period, you will need to fully winterize your RV. The fresh-water tank and hot water heater must be drained. The grey/black tanks should have RV antifreeze added. You can do this by flushing antifreeze down the toilets and pouring it into your drains. Location. In the summer, RVers hunt for the shadiest spot to stay cool. But in the winter, you’ll want all the sun you can get. Look for possible areas of direct sunlight. Avoid tree branches that might break under the weight of heavy snow. We also recommend a site with a concrete pad. With fluctuating temperatures and freezing and thawing, your RV can settle or sink into the ground without a pad. Generator. Having a generator saved our lives during a major ice storm that took out the park’s electricity and made it impossible to travel to another safe location. Be sure to perform all preventative maintenance on your generator before winter arrives. Make sure the generator runs properly and you have plenty of fuel for it. Test your generator at least an hour each month.
Summer travel comes with hot days, depending on your current location, even fall and spring days can cause temperatures to climb. That’s why, whenever you travel, you need a game plan to keep your RV cool during your trip. With the right mixture of positioning, planning and a few other tips, you’ll be able to stay comfortable. Check out our video on these particular tips and how we stay cool living in our RV.
While no single tip will keep your RV completely cool, combining these tips should make a noticeable difference in the indoor temperature of your RV. But by minimizing your RV’s sun exposure and the heat you create, you can greatly reduce the amount you’ll sweat.
How to Keep Your RV Cool During Hot Weather
1. Consider Your RV’s Orientation
Before turning on your air conditioner, make sure you’ve positioned your RV in the best possible spot. Choosing a shady spot is no-brainer, but if you only have partial shade, try to park your RV so the refrigerator vents and the A/C unit are covered. Also, try to park your RV so the largest windows receive the least amount of full sun.
Traveling without air conditioning? If you don’t have AC, do some advanced planning to take advantage of passing breezes by installing RV roof vent cover. This product will channel breezes inside and keep rain out. Keeping windows and vents open also encourages cross ventilation that keeps your RV cool. You can also add fans to your roof vents, which will ensure that you’ll be able to make your own breeze during still days.
3. Use Shades to Prevent Heat Gain
Even if you’re running your air conditioner, use your awnings and window shades to prevent the sun from overheating your RV. Once you’ve parked your RV, extend any awnings to provide some shade. Close the shades and blinds on windows that also receive full sun.
4. Clean Your A/C Filters
When you regularly hit the dusty trail, it’s easy for your A/C filters to get dirty. Dirty filters make it difficult for your air conditioner to work efficiently, but you can clean them quickly with a handheld vacuum cleaner. You can also wash some A/C filters with soapy water to keep them clean.
If you still have a few incandescent light bulbs in your RV, change them for some LEDs. Not only do LED bulbs run significantly cooler than old-school light bulbs, but the LEDs.
6. Cover Your Shower Skylight
A skylight can make the shower stall feel larger, but it’s also a major source of heat gain. After you’ve finished using the shower, consider covering the skylight with sun block attached to the ceiling with hook and loop fasteners. If you don’t mind permanently blocking the skylight, consider replacing the inner part of the skylight with Reflectix insulation.
Well, this concludes our RV tips how to beat the heat and keep your RV cool during the hot summer months. You can still enjoy RVing and camping as the mercury rises. Happy camping!
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.
As seen in our previous video, we were having some stinky issues which our fresh water at our kitchen sink faucet. After doing a lot of troubleshooting, we found that bacteria must have been growing in our cold-water line leading to the kitchen sink. Ed had previously flushed our system out but only using a small amount of chlorine bleach. Just enough to ensure the water coming into our RV was drinkable. Well…after we left our job site and were where we could hook to city water, Ed placed a large amount of chlorine bleach into our freshwater tank, ran it through our cold-water lines using our onboard pump. Once the tank of water with bleach was run through, Ed once again filled our freshwater tank full of water but with just fresh water, no bleach. He repeated the fresh water step a couple more times. As I am typing this blog, we feel confident that we have effectively removed any bacteria in our RV water lines.
Your RV’s tanks need to be in proper working order for you to be able to enjoy camping to its fullest, especially the freshwater system. The freshwater system on your RV not only needs to work right, but it needs to be clean, too. Without a clean freshwater system, you are asking for a trip filled with illness. Like any other part of your RV, your freshwater system needs to be cleaned.
So…we wanted to share with you how YOU can sanitize your water system BEFORE you experience issues like we did. Below are the steps to complete regardless if you are weekend warriors or full-timers.
All you need to do is follow a few simple steps BEFORE you have issues like we had
Step 1: Turn Off Your Water Heater and Drain Your Freshwater System
You don’t want to drain the freshwater system with the water heater on. This will damage the water heater. You need to turn it off and let it cool before you drain the water. It’s not a bad idea to have the water pump on to ensure you can get all of the water out of the system before you start sanitizing.
Step 2: Calculate the Amount of Bleach You’ll Need and Add It to the Freshwater Tank
You’ll need 1/4 cup of bleach for every 16 gallons of water in your freshwater tank. This also equates to one ounce per eight gallons. Make the calculations based on those ratios. That means. If you have a 20-gallon freshwater tank on your RV, you’d need 2.5 ounces of bleach to sanitize your system.
Don’t add the bleach straight to your freshwater tank. You should dilute it first. Take that amount of bleach you’ve calculated for your specific RV and add it to at least a gallon of water. Then pour this water-bleach mixture into the freshwater tank with the help of a funnel.
Step 3: Fill the Freshwater Tank with Potable Water and Pump It Through The System
The next step is to fill the freshwater tank with clean, potable water. Make sure to fill it all the way. This will ensure that the tank and the rest of the system get fully sanitized.
You also need to make sure the water with the bleach solution gets all the way through the system. Turn on all the faucets to ensure the bleach water makes its way to every part of your freshwater system. Once the water is circulating through, you can turn them off again.
Step 4: Let The Water Sit For 12 Hours
The solution will take time to really sanitize your system well. You can’t just run some bleach-water through your freshwater system in a few minutes and call it good. I suggest letting the solution sit in your freshwater system overnight. It’s a great way to make sure it gets the job done.
Step 5: Drain the Tank and Then Flush the System
After at least 12 hours of letting the RV sit with the bleach solution in the freshwater system, you need to drain all the water out again. Then refill it with fresh water and start circulating that water through the system with your water pump. Open all the faucets and flush the system until you can no longer smell the bleach.
It may take a few times for you to get all of the bleach smell out. Don’t worry about doing this step multiple times. I’d suggest continuing to flush the system even after the bleach smell is gone. This will ensure you eliminate all of the sanitizing chemicals from the system.
Once that’s all done, I’d suggest replacing any water filters on your rig or inline filters you are using outside the RV. After you’ve replaced those filters and switched your water heater back on, you should be ready for another full year of camping!
Full time RVing certainly has its challenges. Read these can’t miss tips.
1. You don’t need the biggest rig. Don’t wait. It does not matter what size your RV is. Just get out there and start enjoying this great county.
2. You don’t need half of what you think you do. Oh boy do I know this. When it comes to clothing I sure went overboard. As if your living in a home, if you don’t wear it OR use it, you don’t need it.
3. You’ll learn how to clean. You’ll have to clean multiple times a day from washing the dishes and wiping off the countertops to sweeping the floor and tidying up the trash. If you like us, we tend to feel a bit claustrophobic when things get cluttered or if there is dishes in the sink.
4. When Google Maps says you’re 3 hours and 45 minutes away, it’s probably more like 5 hours. Google gives you drive time for your car. It takes longer drive time in your RV and you may be stopping more often for fuel.
5. Something will always be broken or in need of repair. While your RV is going down the road it is a mini earthquake. Things will break. It can be as simple as a light bulb or it can be as big as our brake failure this past summer. But try to keep a positive attitude.
6. It’s good to take your time. As you get on the road, try not to rush from point A to point B. Take your time and look around. You’d be surprised what you could have missed if your rushing.
7. Take advantage of RV rewards and discount programs. I wont go into the names of programs but do your homework because 1 night at discounted rv park could have paid for the program. Example: we stayed at a RV park that normally charges $85 per night. With our discount program we paid $20. AND the program itself was only $35 to purchase for a year.
8. Not all Walmarts are created equal. Many Walmarts do not allow overnight parking. Either a city ordinance does not allow it or it has been abused. Now many Cracker Barrels allow over night parking, rest areas or truck stops. If you have question if its allowed or safe, call the business directly.
9. You can’t find your favorite food just anywhere. Your favorite food items may be regional defendant. IE: hamloaf. It seems to be an Iowa thing because we can not find it in every state.
10. RVers are the most helpful people around. As you pull into a RV park or just driving down the road, if you have problems, the people we’ve encountered have been fabulous. They lend a hand if needed or make suggestions of where we can get help.
The arctic blast in Texas this February was very dangerous with treacherous road conditions, power outages, no running water and LP & gas shortages. Yes we were uncomfortable, grouchy and just not happy to be without running water for 6 days , we also realize that thousands of people in Texas are enduring much much worse situations.
The brutal temperatures, ice and snow caused millions of people in Texas to lose power. When the power grid failed, it affected water treatment plants. As temperature begin to rise, people are facing frozen pipes and are concerned even more pipes will as they thaw. The State of Texas announced that they will be working to renew plumbers licenses, and the plumbing board is coordinating with out-of-state companies to bring more to Texas to help with the recovery.
Sadly, dozens of deaths have been tied to this week’s storm, but many say the death toll is likely far larger. Deaths were traffic related, people trying to stay warm in their homes and succumbed to carbon dioxide poisoning or hypothermia.
Lets all take a minute and pray for everyone that has been affected by these horrible storms.
Considering our latest experience of RVing during the Polar Vortex, we thought we would share a few tips on how to survive in your RV during the winter months.
Summer may be the most popular time for road trips, but that does not mean you have to pack up your rig at the first site of a snowflake. RVing in the winter is a great way to experience a wide variety of outdoor activities, from skiing and snowmobiling to simply meandering around in winter wonderland, cup of hot cocoa in hand.
You may be wondering, however, how to keep a RV warm in the winter. After all, even the best-made rigs on the market have significantly less insulation than a sticks-and-bricks home. And just like your sticks-and-bricks, RVs have a variety of items that can be damaged by the freezing temperatures.
RV winter living is all about one thing: preparation.
If your not prepared, you will experience big problems. Your RV’s pipes can burst just like the ones at home, and the cold weather is killer on your RV batteries. Even though many four-season RVs come with thermal packages, which include extra insulation, it’s still not enough for extreme cold weather RVing in sub-zero temperatures. If you’re camping in extreme cold, put your RV in a skirt! Skirting the RV will keep the battery bays, plumbing, and other important components warm. We spent a winter in Iowa and put a skirt around our RV but also placed a small heater under the RV to keep it above freezing. If you don’t have a skirt, you can pack snow around the RV bays. We do not suggest hay or straw bales being placed around your RV because of rodents and it’s a fire hazard. But if you travel for work like we do, do you best to keep the furnace running to keep that RV belly warm so the pipes don’t freeze.
Some of the most important items in your RV is deep in the underbelly: the tanks, batteries, and plumbing. While skirting can help, you’ll also want to wrap your pipes in heat tape and invest in a heated RV water hose, so as to avoid having your water line freeze if you’re hooked up to a city water connection. If you don’t want to upgrade to a heated hose, you can also add insulation or tape to your existing water hose or fill your onboard freshwater tank and use that as a water source instead.
RV windows lose a ton of heat, no matter how insulated the manufacturer claims they are. There are several ways to insulate them: foam insulation boards, relectix, bubble insulation, solar blankets, etc. For extra warmth, line your windows with heavy-weight thermal curtains. You may also want to go over your RV windows and doors with a layer of RV sealant or caulk, just to ensure they’re nice and weather-tight.
There’s one major area of confusion many RVers face when RVing in the winter, and it’s all about the HVAC system. Many rigs have both a “heat pump” that’s built into your AC unit and an onboard furnace that uses propane. We feel the heat pump can be used UNTIL you are experiencing freezing temperatures. You need the onboard furnace to run during these times, so it heats the belly of your RV, keeping the plumbing warm and toasty. Now with that said, we use the heat pump and furnace to keep us nice and toasty inside however, we do run the furnace to ensure the belly temperature stay above freezing. While your furnace does utilize propane to burn, it’s more efficient at warming a space quickly. Which means that if you’re planning on living full-time in an RV in winter, you need to ensure you’ve got plenty of propane. When you’re out of your rig for the day, be sure to leave the thermostat set to switch on your furnace if the RV reaches a certain temperature — it can be pretty cool, if you don’t have pets waiting, but you don’t want your pets to freeze inside while you’re away.
Now that we’ve covered the basics for keeping you and your RV warm, let’s talk about what RV is best for RV living. Although many RVs are advertised as four-season or insulated, not all rigs are created equally when it comes to living in an RV for the winter. The best RV for winter living is one that’s fully self-contained and as insulated as possible, perhaps even with some extra, after-market insulation added. Large motorhomes and trailers may be constructed out of sturdier, more weather-proof materials, but on the other hand, a smaller motorhome or trailer may be easier to heat, since there’s less internal living space. In today’s RV market there are particularly large, luxurious RVs — offer fireplaces, which can be a welcome addition for those planning on extreme cold-weather traveling. And no matter which rig you go with, you’ll want to ensure it does have an onboard furnace, since, as discussed above, the HVAC heat pump or fireplaces won’t cut it below freezing.
Here are some more quick tips and tricks for winter RV camping
Many RVers drain their freshwater tanks completely for the season. That means bringing bottled water for brushing your teeth and doing the dishes. However, if you’re a Full-Time RVer this may not be possible so we suggest installing tank heaters for those freezing temps.
The bay that holds your tanks must always be kept above freezing. Mini space heaters are inexpensive and use very little amperage. Buy one and stick it in the bay. Just be safe! They can easily cause a fire.
Use RV antifreeze in your plumbing and gray/black tanks. You can do this by flushing antifreeze down the toilets and pouring it into your drains. That said, you do not want to introduce RV antifreeze to your freshwater tank or water heater!
If you do choose to use water hookups, make sure you insulate the pipes with heat tape. You’ll also need to insulate any connections and exposed piping.
Never allow your black tank to freeze unless you want to deal with a disgusting mess. Use a PVC pipe for your sewer hose – it’ll have less chance of freezing than a regular hose. If you plan on leaving the tank hooked up, add a layer of insulation around the sewer pipe. However, it’s a good idea to keep your tanks closed until it needs to be dumped. Don’t leave your black or gray water valves open if you’re camping in a spot where you’re connected to the city sewer. Why, you ask? Poopsicle!
Your never too dry. Even if your hair sticks up when brushing your hair
Cold and wet is bad. Not just for you, but for your RV, too. All that heat in one confined space can lead to humidity and condensation, which can cause mold in your walls.
Vent covers are great for two things: they help prevent condensation, and they keep you warm. Lots of warm air escapes out the vents in your RV. A cover adds an extra layer of insulation. The best part is, you can still open the vents even if there’s snow on the roof.
We hope you learned a few things in this post. So get out there. You’ll see some beautiful, unique sights along your winter RV trip. There’s nothing quite like being in the solitude of a winter campsite, watching the snowfall and blanket the land around you. Make sure you follow the tips we’ve included here to stay safe during your winter adventure. Remember, warm and dry, not cold and wet!
As full-time RVers & gate guards in Texas, we work in remote locations and run off a diesel generator, use a portable freshwater tank and an external tank to dump our tanks into. Well, the Polar Vortex hit the state of Texas hard. Parts have seen snow & freezing rain that have not seen this type of weather for years. Since this is not a normal occurrence in Texas, many people and companies have been caught off guard. The rolling black outs, water in cities shut off trying to conserve so that everyone can have access to the items we just take for granted. When I wake up in the morning I like to jump right into the shower.
Well…with the Polar Vortex took that luxury (?) away from Ed and me. Our water, we hope, is frozen at our portable freshwater tank and we have not split pipes inside our RV. We initially did the “water circulation” method that had been recommended to us. Ed found the water had stopped so when investigating he found a piece in our freshwater connection had broken causing the water not to circulate. Well yes, the part was broken however after Ed did the repair, thinking we were good, the water froze in the hoses. The “water circulation” method did not work. Possibly it would have if the temps had not dropped so severely. But then we decided to fill our fresh tank and run off our RV fresh tank until the temps warmed up. Approximately every 30 minutes we would run our water to keep things moving inside the RV hoping not to freeze the pipes. Well, when doing that, I think, well we hope, that our RV freshwater tank ran out. Our gauge reads empty, so we are hoping and praying that it is true and that the cold temps have not turned our tank into a block of ice.
Ed removed the plug from the freshwater tank, drained our hot water heater and opened all faucets to remove any excess water in the lines. We are hoping once the outside temps get above freezing, we will find the external freshwater tank was the issue & our pipes and tanks are fine.
It is interesting and challenging BUT what has come out of this situation so far, Ed said; oh, heck now, I know we can boondock. Gotta love him. Now warm up so we can go boondock on a warm beach.
At our second day, during my shift, I woke Ed up early because our commercial generator, that is provided by the company we are working with, started surging. Since we grew up in Iowa, we knew what the cold weather does to diesel if not a winter blend and/or anti-gel put into the fuel. Yep yep our generator was gelling up and shut down. We thought our company support man had put anti-gel in the fuel, but he had not. Our support came from Fort Worth, which is approximately a 3-hour drive but considering the road conditions it took him a few more hours to arrive. During that time Ed was able to get our personal generator running so we could run the furnace and portable heaters. Our support arrived with anti-gel and additional fuel filters. Thankfully, it did not take our support and Ed long to get it running again. Cross our fingers as I type this, the generator is running fine and we are warm.
After I (Dora) got 4 hours of sleep, we got permission from the site supervisor to leave our gate unsupervised, go to town to refill our propane tanks and find a truck stop to shower. The 2nd day of no shower sure makes a person feel yucky. It was difficult to find propane as many companies were out. Luckily, we found one place that had not run out yet. As Ed states in the video, we believe they changed an outrageous amount, but he had us. We needed propane.
Once our propane tanks were filled, we decided to go to Walmart to get more gallons of water. Boy oh boy were we shocked when the shelves were empty. They had flavored waters but who wants flavored water to use to flush with or in your coffee. We left empty handed but felt ok because we can use a bucket to get water to fill gallon containers out of our external freshwater tank.
After leaving Walmart empty handed, we sat in the parking lot calling several hotels to see if we could rent a room OR if a pool area had a shower so we could get cleaned up. That too was a bust. The cheapest shower was going to be $120 because we had to rent a room. Well, my budget, or anyone’s budget, should not allow a $120.00 shower. We started calling campgrounds to see if we could pay them for 2 showers. Our first call was met with a genuinely nice southern woman. We explained our situation and she said, oh yes dear, the showers need renovated yet but your more than welcome to stop in and get your showers at no cost. Yes, they were not the best condition, but the water was HOT. Ed and I both felt like a million bucks. A big shout out to Miss Ellie’s RV Park in Waskom, TX!
During our drive back to the job site we enjoy some beautiful scenery AND a few deer. The ride back was wonderful. I guess a good shower can give you a new lease of life. #itsagoodliferv Since this video is in real time. I guess we will see how much longer before the crew gets back to work and we have running water.
The biggest question most people have before they run away to live in an RV full-time is: Can I afford it?
When we first started talking about RVing full-time, we had no idea how much it cost to live full-time in an RV. Was it going to cost more than living in a house? Was it going to cost less? How much would we spend on gas a month? We had no idea. If you are thinking about RVing full-time and wondering if you can afford it, this post is for you.
Living and traveling full-time in a RV is of course not free, but we were surprised how affordable it can be. You actually have a lot flexibility when it comes to expenses – depending on your budget and how you like to travel.
People enjoy the full-time RV lifestyle on all kinds of budgets, and the money full-timers have to work with comes in all kinds of forms. Some retirees have big pensions but not a lot of savings. Others have a nest egg of savings but no pension. Many younger full-time RVers work while they travel, either to cover all of their living expenses or to supplement other income streams.
We hope you find todays post helpful to anticipate some of the costs of full-time RVing.
Full-time Campsite Budget
Think of campsites like your mortgage or rent. Campsites are, in my opinion, where you can either spend the most money or make full-time RVing cheaper than “normal” life because there are so many options. Depending on your budget and camping style, you can stay in RV parks, State Parks, on free Boondocking land, or utilize RV Discount Clubs.
RV Parks with full-hook ups (electric, water, sewer) will cost on average anywhere from $30-$90 a night. Many provide showers and other great amenities, which has nothing to do with the budget but sure is nice. Average Monthly (which can vary greatly): $400 – $1,600
State Park Campgrounds
State Park campground fees will vary by state and what is offered. We’ve been found State Park campgrounds with partial hook-ups (electric, usually water) anywhere from $15-45 but have dumpsites available on the premises. We found most state parks do not allow monthly stays.
Boondocking is basically camping at free spots without hook-ups. Several State Forests and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) locations have free dispersed camping. Typically, you can stay in one location for a maximum of 14 days. We have also found a few state parks have free campsites. While this option is free, you do have to find and pay for dump stations. Monthly: $0
RV Discount Clubs
There are several RV Discount Clubs out there that allow you to pay an annual fee to camp at various sites. For example, there is Boondockers Welcome which costs us $50 a year. You are able to stay with Boondockers Welcome hosts throughout the country for no additional charge. Another option is Harvest Hosts which starts at $79 a year. We’ve haven’t tried this one yet, but it looks awesome! With either option, spend a few nights a month at different locations and it pays for itself after a few nights.
Our Monthly Campsite Budget
We budget $450 a month for campsites, but that is because while we are working, we are provided free onsite generator, water & sewer onsite. It works great for us – it’s free!
Full-time RV Gas Budget
Honestly, I’m not sure if there’s a way to generalize the gas budget, since gas prices, gas mileage, and the number of miles you travel varies so much. However, we do recommend a discount fuel card if you use diesel. A TSD Fuel card has been very helpful to keep our fuel costs down. We budget anywhere from $300-$500 a month depending on how far we travel, the fuel prices and how much driving around we do in our tow-behind car.
Since our RV is our home, we upped our RV insurance when going full-time. If you are living in your RV rather than just taking vacations, you will need specialized insurance. We recommend doing some research on providers and finding out exactly what you need. Our RV insurance is $54 a month.
RV Maintenance and Repair Budget
If you’re planning to RV full-time, just know things break – often. This isn’t to scare you – full-time RVing is totally worth it, but just be prepared to spend $50-100 a month on repairs or maintenance. Thankfully, ED can fix most things on our RV, so we just have to buy the parts. Depending on the condition of your RV and your handiness, you may need to adjust this number.
Remember, you’ll also be putting some miles on your RV or Tow Vehicle, so oil changes and regular maintenance should be in your budget.
RV “Utilities” Budget
While you may no longer have a water, sewer, or trash bill, you may need to include utilities in your budget. Since we are provided a site during our work assignments over half of the time, we only budget $75 a month. This too will vary greatly. Some campsites your rental fee covers the cost of all utilities however, some monthly sites charge electric.
Cell Phone + Internet RV Budget
Before we hit the road, we upgraded our cell phone plan to the Unlimited Plan with AT&T but later got rid of those plans and now use Straight Talk utilizing AT&T towers. We saved appropriately $60 per month by doing this. Between both of our phones we pay $110 a month with unlimited data however only 15GB of data on our hotspots. So, we purchased another phone plan through a third-party vendor that allows us to use the hotspot with unlimited data. The cost of that plan is $45 per month. Our monthly costs for both our cell phones & internet phone is $155.
Full-time RV Laundry Budget
Laundry budget. This is our least favorite chore – even before full-time RVing and we do have a washer/dryer combo in our RV. But the larger items such as our bed quilt, we have to pack everything up and go to a laundromat, it’s really not our favorite. But it must be done. Some RV parks will have washers and dryers onsite, but if you are on remote jobs sites or boondocking, you’ll find yourself at the laundromat.
If you can find a place that has the industrial size washers and dryers, then you’re in luck. You can wash several loads in one machine. If we are washing clothes, bedding, towels, and the dogs’ stuff, we spend about $18-20 to wash and dry it all.
We really weren’t sure how much to budget per month for propane. We read online that you can spend $40 a month, so that’s what we originally budgeted. Luckily, we don’t spend anywhere close to that. We refilled our propane tanks approximately 2x’s a year. We only use propane for cooking, our refrigerator as we travel, and if its super cold out and our electric heater cannot keep up, we do run our furnace.
RV “Fun Money” Budget
This totally depends on what you want to do for entertain and fun while full-time RVing. Our fun money budget is way less on the road. This for a few reasons: We eat out way less on the road than we did at home. We can go explore or hike for free versus paying for entertainment. We do spend fun money on is the occasional dinner out, park fees and drinks if we are meeting up with someone. Your monthly budget is up to you!
Normal Living Expenses
Normal living expenses include food, cleaning supplies, toiletries – all the non-specific RV items you already pay for. This varies from family to family and should not change too much from your current budget. Except there is a lot less space to clean meaning fewer cleaning supplies!
Hit The Road
As you hit the road you may find several ways that you can reduce your overall monthly costs. However, on the flip side, you can live a luxurious life on the road, too. More and more RVS are being designed for full-time living and offer many of the same features that houses do. You can also find RV resorts all over the country that make you feel like you are at a 5-star resort. Obviously, this will all come at a higher price. We strongly believe that full-time RVing can be as expensive or inexpensive as you make it. While it may take some discipline and extra planning, there are a ton of ways to save money on the road and therefore make RV Life affordable and achievable. So, get out and get started today. You will not regret it. It’s A Good Life!