We’ve been living in an RV for 8 years now and we are still huge fans of all the pros of living in an RV, but we’ve also discovered some cons to living in an RV, especially with all the changes in the world since 2020.
Eight years in and I still love living in an RV with my five kids. I realize living in an RV and traveling with kids is not on most people’s bucket list and for good reason. It’s challenging and requires a great deal of perspective.
Most days I do have to stop and remind myself why this is a conscious choice made with intention and purpose. There are many pros and cons to living in an RV but let’s start with the 5 great things I love this RV living.
#1 Pro of Living In An RV: Freedom
When things got weird in 2020, I loved that I wasn’t tied down to any one state.
At the time, we were using San Diego as a home base in the winter so we could surf. We were often flying all over the world and so it didn’t really matter where we had a home base since we weren’t there that long.
But in 2020, we had to adjust our international travel plans and were thankful that because we lived in an RV, it was easy to go establish residency in South Dakota and travel through states that valued freedom.
But even before 2020, I love that everything that is important to me is always with me and it can be packed up and ready to move in less than an hour. When I’m ready for a change of scenery or a new adventure it takes very little work to grab it and go.
Pro Tip: If you are considering living in an RV and traveling, think about where you’d like to see yourself spending most of your time. We live in an RV because we like an ever changing backyard, which means we pack light in order to move easily. Many people downsize to an RV to save money, but are looking to stay put in RV parks and can hang onto a lot more stuff.
Related Blog: Things To Consider Before Buying An RV
It’s very important to know what your intention is when you decide to live in an RV and travel with kids. Our kids love the outdoors and living in an RV allows them to spend a lot of time playing outside. If you decide to live in an RV with kids, include them in the decision making especially when it come to where to go.
Pro Tip: Have your kids keep a dream board of places & adventures that they’d like to do on your travels. By involving my kids in our travel plans, they are more motivated to behave and pitch in to help make travel a reality for us. (Follow us on Pinterest for ideas to add to your dream board!)
#2 Pro of Living in an RV: It’s Cheaper
Besides the obvious freedom to move, the cost of living is so much less. We were spending $10,000 just for our business rent, house rent, and food and by switching to an RV, we only had to pay for food.
Of course, we did pay for campgrounds and gas for road trips, but we always had the option to sit still and free camp if we wanted or needed to. Having the option made me feel calmer & be able to breathe a little deeper.
# 3 Pro of Living In An RV: We Became Time Rich
“What do you want to do today?” became the common question each day (and still is).
Since we had freedom to move and less expenses, we could decide day by day what we felt like doing.
Gone were the days of “I have to.”
With our pace of life slowed down and not having to rush to be anywhere, we were able to take the time to cook great food, read books, lie in a hammock, and appreciate the important things in life.
I spend a lot of time curled up on my bed reading and writing (I actually wrote 2 books the first year of RV living!) or staring out the window at the amazing scenery I’m surrounded by.
My friends tell me how each of their kids goes to their own rooms and watch their own show on their own iPad and I can’t relate. My kids all cuddle up wherever they can fit in our “living room” to watch a movie.
The closeness our family gets from living in such tight quarters is wonderful.
# 4 Pro of Living in an RV: More Adventure
This was the real reason we still chose to live full time in an RV. We get to chase adventure!
Yes, the flexibility and freedom to pack up and just go, plus the lower cost of living, is a big pro of living full time in an RV, but for us, it’s always been about the adventures.
Over the past 8 years we’ve…
- Hiked the most spectacular destinations like Abel Tasman, Tour du Mont Blanc, and Cirque of the Towers
- Visited the best US National Parks (numerous times) like Grand Tetons, Glacier, Zion, and Mount Rainier
- Surfed in some amazing breaks like Raglan, Hossegor, Portugal, Pavones, and Santa Cruz
- Mountain biked through beautiful forests in Rotorua, Bend, and Colorado
- And rock climbed in complete solitude in places like the Lander, Ten Sleep, City of Rocks, and Squamish
# 5 Pro of Living in an RV: Simplicity
I know all this travel and road trip planning sounds like it could be a logistic nighmare, but it’s not. I love travel planning and find a lot of joy in the fact that I have multiple itineraries ready at any one moment. I enjoy being on a non-stop road trip but you don’t have to travel this way just because you live in an RV.
In fact, many people who live in an RV travel slow and take their time enjoying one destination fully before moving on.
But even with all these adventures, life is simple. We have so little to worry about. We get to take road trips and go on adventures, and don’t feel the pressure, obligation, and stress that most people live with.
We don’t have a lot of space, but the space we do have feels inviting and comfy. We have eliminated the nonessentials and have only kept what is of value to us.
I used to spend hours cleaning my house, picking up after my kids, organizing and reorganizing all the stuff we had accumulated, now I don’t.
#6 Pro of Living in an RV: Mindfulness & Health
Living in an RV has made all the kids more mindful and crave being out in nature over using electronic devices.
We have time to sit and watch the sunrise and sunset. In fact, now that my oldest lives in his own RV, he often texts me pictures of the sunset. I love that living in an RV made him mindful to appreciate simple things like this.
Like I mentioned, we have time to prepare healthy food, workout, do yoga, meditate. Maybe my one IPA or glass of wine a night isn’t the healthiest, but my stress is so low that I can’t help but think that the benefit of sipping it, while connecting with my husband, and watching the sunset isn’t offsetting the small splurge.
With all these pros of RV living, why should you think twice about living in an RV. Well, three big reasons:
#1 Con of Living in an RV: I Still Have Too Much Crap
I love the simplicity of only having my sports gear but we have a lot of sports gear!! In fact, I’ve always had to keep an extra vehicle or extra RV filled up with off-season gear.
Pro Tip: Eliminate as much stuff as possible. It’s amazing when you live in an RV how little stuff your kids really need. We end up spending so much more time on experiences that we really don’t miss our stuff.
#2 Con of Living in an RV: Luxury Tax
Dumping the poo is still annoying. I’m embarrassed to say how many times crap has sprayed us (think Robin Williams and tube spreaders in the movie RV). In all seriousness, it isn’t that bad, but I can see how for some it would make this lifestyle not worth it.
Managing black and gray water tanks is a pain in the butt when you are boon-docking. And sometimes you manage it wrong and you have to leave a great site that you end up not wanting to go back to after you dump. C’est la vie.
#3 Con of Living in an RV: Covid Complicated Travel
Yes, there’s freedom but there’s also some headaches too. A lot of people have moved into their RV just to save money. A lot of them are choosing to live in RV parks full time and so the demand for long term RV guests is so high that many RV parks don’t even offer short term stays.
This is great for full time RVers if you can get a spot, which is becoming increasingly difficult. Getting reservation to get into National Park and general restrictions have increased since covid. It has added a level of concern with an otherwise amazing lifestyle.
At one point during covid, the RV park was telling us our kids couldn’t leave our site or we started having issue with tattle tales saying, “Those kids are playing with other kids in the RV park.”
#3 Con of Living in an RV
Which leads to the last con. It is hard for the kids to not have friends some day. Overall, it’s worth the sacrifice because I feel that I’m giving them something that will be more valuable for their future happiness, but there have definitely been tear shed over this problem.
When we sit still in RV parks, especially like Thousand Trails, we can often find other kids, but we don’t do this often and it too has its own issues.
It helps that our family is so large and that Victor and I act like kids still. We play with our kids daily so they get to have a lot of fun.
But if you have an only child or aren’t physically able to bring the fun, then the best way to work around this is to find homeschooling meet ups or check with fulltime families for yearly events where you can meet other people living this lifestyle.
Overall Do The Pros Outweigh Cons of Living in an RV?
Since we are 8 years in, the pros definietly outweight the cons for us but I don’t think they would for most people, hence why most people who start living in an RV with kids, tend to stopafter a few years.
I think it works for our family because we find purpose in our adventure sports, coaching, and blogging. For us to live each day in a new location, creating new experiences is the why behind a life well lived.
But it’s taken developing a really deep sense of self, aligning with intrinsic values, and seeing the world beyond the veil of fear.
Does it make you shallow for wanting your kids to play competitive sports, own a house, or have a routine? Absolutely not! For us, this way of living that makes life simpler and in doing so you feel lighter and can breathe a little slower and deeper. We have had the chance to feel and see the changes that come with living this lifestyle and encourage anyone to hope into it to see what they find out about themselves. Living in an RV and traveling is not for everyone, but there are a lot of great lessons it does teach you.I know living like this is a bit weird, but I love that my kids are learning the difference between wants and needs, value nature over having stuff, and enjoy that there is always someone around ready to listen to them.Click To Tweet
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- Things To Consider Before Buying An RV
- 7 Family Friendly Hikes to Add to Your Bucket List
Do you think RV living is for you? Got some questions about RV living with kids? Let us know in the comments or contact us directly with any questions about transitioning to RV Living! WE’re kind of experts on this 😉
Monday 11th of March 2019
your lifestyle sounds wonderful...your children are very lucky. we are planning on getting rv for our family...not for full time but part time travel. we have 5 children but they are younger. my question is when did you start traveling full time with your kids? and if they were younger how did you get from a to b with the kids...with car seats seat belts etc.
Tuesday 2nd of April 2019
when they were younger we had carseats for them in our motorhome (or truck when we had a trailer). When we traveled to Europe, we brought our 5 year old's booster seat, but everyone else was older by then
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