Here at Guaranty RV, we work with people all the time who are opting to give up their stationary lifestyles for life on the road. While a good number of those travellers are retirees who are selling the homestead and taking up snowbirding as a lifestyle, increasing numbers of working Americans are also seeing the advantages of combining their love of travel with bringing in a paycheck. There have long been options for RVers to work part-time and/or seasonal positions across the country, and for people to earn extra money working as campground hosts, etc. Now however, with the advent of the Internet and Wi-Fi, new options have opened up to work remotely or telecommute while travelling. Some working RVers are earning money by freelancing, others are running small business from their RVs, or setting themselves up as a consultant, etc. There are certainly things to consider when taking up this lifestyle, but if you’ve been dreaming about getting away from the 9 to 5, then working from the road may be exactly the right way to go about it.
Lower Cost of Living, More Adventures & Less Work Days
An RV lifestyle can be much more affordable than renting or buying a home. Some of the savings are obvious—you can purchase an extremely nice RV for significantly less than a house costs, campground fees are a fraction of the cost of renting an apartment, etc. Other savings might surprise you; for instance, it can actually cost more to live in an apartment and commute to work every day than it does to drive around in your RV, where you can pull into a great campground, fold out your favorite camp chair, fire up the laptop and put in a day’s work in a beautiful setting.
That said, the cost of living on the road depends entirely on you. Are you ready to live a simpler life? Fortunately, there are a lot of people already living this lifestyle who can give you a good idea of what it will cost and how you can live within your budget. Go online and look at RVing resources like Wand’rly Magazine—written by a family of five who travel full-time and embrace “location independence” by working from the road. They have great articles like “ How to Make a Living on the Road” and information about how they save money by travelling full-time. There, you’ll find a good breakdown of how living expenses compare between homeownership and RV living. Similarly, you’ll find helpful information and RV living expense breakdowns on websites like Simple Life Full Hearts and the Tiny House Blog’s article on The Real Cost of Living Full-Time in an RV.
The question of how much monthly income you need to live your life on the road will come down to your basic expenses (food, fuel, propane, clothing, etc.) and how simply you’re willing to live while you travel. This lifestyle requires downsizing to make it most affordable.
You can also trim expenses in the long run by making some upfront purchases like investing in good solar power. This will allow you to camp anywhere and bring your own electricity with you, saving you campground and propane costs. Head back over to Simple Life Full Hearts to see how-to videos and good specifics about how to solar power your RV.
Options for Location Independent Employment
When you’re brainstorming ideas for supporting yourself in your RV, start with a Google search. You’ll be surprised how many resources you can find from the comfort of your favorite chair. Your plan might include one or a combination of jobs. How about:
Part-time and seasonal work across the U.S.
RV Park and campground maintenance, groundskeeping, office work, etc.
A travelling home business
RV repairs and tutoring
Travelling sales careers
Freelance writing and design
And of course these days, with the Internet and more viable options to get Wi-Fi on the road, the possibilities to work online while travelling are practically endless. Telecommuting may very well be the work style of the future. The key is to be able to get Internet access where and when you need it, particularly if you’re working with clients or customers. To get more information about upping your technology game in order to work from your RV wherever you are at the moment, take a look at our two-part blog “ RV Lifestyle: Technology Makes RVing Even Better.” There, you’ll find information about how to figure out exactly what you need, technology that can save you money, useful apps, and great resources from RVers who are tech experts.
Also take advantage of online resources for RVers like Workamper News. The good folks who run this website have been helping RVers find jobs on the road since the 1980s. In fact, they came up with the term Workamper® to describe RVers who “work in exchange for something of value and sleep in an RV at night.” Their members have access to free RVer job listings, resume tools, employer reviews, education resources, jobinars information and more.
But don’t limit your brainstorming to RV-related websites. For instance, you’ll find great information at websites like BootsnAll: The One-Stop Indie Travel Guide. They focus on world travel, so not everything applies to RV life, but they’ve got good information for travellers of all kinds, like their blog “ 5 Options for Working While Traveling.” Similarly, you can find helpful information at healthy lifestyle websites like Lifehack’s 10 Steps to Working on the Road or websites devoted to employment like ThePennyHoarder, where you’ll find a blog about “ Making Money on the Open Road.”
Supporting your RV lifestyle full-time might require some thinking outside the box, but increasing numbers of working Americans are proving it can be done!
The Dream is Sometimes Less Dreamy: Being Prepared is Essential
Every life and job has its ups and downs, whether it’s commuting daily to a 9-to-5 factory job, or working as a CEO of a big company. Working from the road is no exception; the reality doesn’t always match up to the dream, particularly if you weren’t prepared for the reality in the first place.
Working from the road requires discipline. As blogger and traveller Cait Flanders puts it, “It’’s not easy or particularly fun to have to pull yourself away from the adventure aspect of it, in order to get things done.” You must understand going in that “there are still long hours, tiring days, sacrifices and mistakes to be made.” For some people, like Ms. Flanders, it becomes a good experiment but not something they want long-term. For others, like the Fay Family over at Simple Life Full Hearts, there are as many things to love about living and working full time on the road, as there are to dislike, and the positives outweigh the negatives. The key is to create a life as close to your dream as possible.
Understanding ahead of time what you can live with and what you can’t is going to go a long way toward getting and maintaining the work life you want. Being forewarned is forearmed as they say; in other words, prior knowledge gives you a tactical advantage. So before you commit yourself to life on the road, spend a lot of time reading what others have to say, talk to lifestyle RVers to learn what makes RV life the best, and spend time in RVs to find out what models make you feel most at home. When you feel like you’re ready, you might even try renting an RV to get some real life experience before you commit your money to a purchase.
Setting a work schedule and sticking to it can help you maintain the travel and work balance you’re seeking. If you’re able to practice this ahead of time, you can gain some insight into what works best for you. If you have the opportunity to experiment by taking yourself to a nearby campground for a couple of weeks, it’s a good way to discover your own best schedule.
Being flexible is also key. Things are going to happen that you don’t expect. You’ll have bad days and good ones, and the ways you need to deal with those will be somewhat different than how you might have dealt with them in your previous work life. By being flexible, not getting too caught up in how things “should” be, you can truly enjoy a travelling lifestyle.
And finally, be patient with yourself. There will be a learning curve as you get used to your new and exciting life. That’s part of the process. You’re going to make mistakes and that’s okay; all you’ve got to do is learn from them.
The Best RVs for Full-time RV Living
Whether you’re looking for a towable RV or a motorhome, there are a variety of options for full-time RV living. Depending on your travel plans and family size, there are also a number of things to consider, including RV size, 4-season readiness, what kind of tow vehicle you intend to use, and more. We’ve blogged on these subjects before, so we won’t repeat ourselves here, but we’re happy to point you in the right direction so you can get the information you need whenever you want it:
Questions to Ask When You’re Considering Full-Time RVing
Is a Fifth Wheel or a Motorhome Better for You?
The Best 4-Season RVs
Toyhaulers: So Much More Than Just a Portable Garage
Class B and Class C Motorhomes: Get the Best Gas Mileage and Ultimate Comfort
RVing with Pets
If you have any questions or you’d like to explore your RV living options, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re happy to talk about what kind of RV might be best for your unique lifestyle and needs, and to spend time exploring the hundreds of options on our lot.
Because it’s March and closing in on St. Patrick’s Day, here’s our wish for all you RVers who are living and working in your RVs:
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. ~ Irish Blessing