Key Things to Consider Before You Hit the Wide-Open RV Retirement Road
Retirement’s on your near horizon – you can almost smell the heady fragrance of freedom. You’re itching to unshackle the stultifying chains that have bound you to the daily routine, commitment, and -- dare we say? -- drudgery all these years. What better way to celebrate your emancipation than to travel the country in an RV?
Well, that depends. Without getting into the logistical advantages and disadvantages of a motorhome vs. a fifth wheel trailer vs. a Pod . . . let’s explore a few of the emotional components of life in an RV to see if you have a full-timer mindset.
Pros of RV Retirement Living
Born to ramble. Do you thrive on geographical diversity? If you dream of spending every week in a different city, an RV’s your answer. Pop on over to San Francisco or New York whenever you’re dying for culture. D you love the beach, come alive in the mountains, or crave desert solitude? You can be there next week in your RV.
Loose family ties. Stay close to your kids and grandkids -- but not too close. Whether your family lives in your existing town or states away, living in an RV means you get to visit on your terms, and leave when you’re ready.
Just the essentials. If you’ve felt suffocated by all the “stuff” you’ve amassed over the years, RV life is bliss. You carry everything you need with you. Two benefits:
You know where everything is, and it’s always handy. Your books, tools, clothes, and reading glasses are just steps away.
There's no room to accumulate things you don’t need, so going shopping is no longer recreation. You’ll save a lot of money right there.
Cons of RV Retirement Living
Ask yourself these soul-searching questions:
Do you need consistent community support?
While you’ll certainly enjoy the camaraderie of the supportive RV community and meet a ton of new people, if you cherish your neighborhood or a circle of close-knit friends “back home”, you’ll struggle. This footloose lifestyle may leave you feeling untethered and off balance. Handle this by returning to your home region in your RV a few times a year.
Is a stable home sanctuary important?
Do you crawl under the covers or run for your woodshop to unwind? Are you attached to your luxury items, creature comforts, and your many four-legged creatures?
Remember: Everything you need to live has to fit onboard your RV. If you need room to spread out and dig in, this lifestyle is probably not for you.
Do you need a lot of personal space and privacy?
If you’re traveling with a partner, can you handle each other in close quarters 24/7? If you’re hitting the road alone, you won’t have as much privacy in a campground as you do at home. Barking dogs, loud RVs pulling in and out, busy highways, and other uncontrollable annoyances can be painful if you’re a “silence and solitude” worshipper. Be prepared with headsets or ear buds.
Are you a “go with the flow” person?
How do you handle minor annoyances and frustrations? If you’re thinking, “not so well, frankly” -- think twice about RV living. Mechanical glitches, wrong turns, and drunken campground neighbors are all inevitable. If you can’t laugh off small problems and keep rolling, you’ll struggle as a full-time RVer.
Is your health care team part of your family by now?
Life on the road means you’ll be seeing a doctor, dentist, or veterinarian that you don’t know. If treatment from a medical provider that’s known you (or your pet) for decades is important to you, the RV life is probably not suitable for you.
Three final points to consider:
1) Nine million people in the US own RVs, and close to a million of them are living in them full-time. The internet is full of RV-dedicated websites, forums, and videos created by enthusiastic RVers that can address almost any question you can think of.
2) Even if your bucket list includes a visit to every national park, go slowly the first year. Enjoy the journey, and get used to the different lifestyle. Many people stay at one campground for extended periods of time. You don’t have move constantly, unless you want to.
3) If you change your mind about the RV lifestyle, you can sell your RV faster than you can sell a house. Nothing’s set in stone!