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Preparing For An RV Life

I didn’t just jump into the RV life, though many do. Before I purchase my own trailer, I am doing my homework.

First, I joined the Good Sam Club. There are many benefits to being in a club such as discounts, information, meeting people, etc. Their Highways magazine is tops in my book and each issue is read cover to cover including the ads. Another good club is the Escapees out of Texas and for motor coach owners there is the Family Motor Coach Association. Join one or more.

Books. There are plenty of great books out there to explain all the ins and outs of full-timing, RV systems and repairs, how to buy an RV, easy recipes for the road, the Trailer Life campground directories, etc. Full-timing is a big step and and it pays to be in-the-know. Not everything in modern life has quite caught up to speed with full-timers and you should be aware of compromises that may have to be made. For me, the biggie is reliable broadband internet access because I work full-time over the Internet. And of course I’m a modern TV junkie who wouldn’t be caught dead without cable or satellite TV for more than 3 days.

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People. Talk to other RVers, full-timers, RV park owners, the guys and gals at RV repair and parts places, RV dealers, etc. They can tell you what the books don’t. If nothing else, their own stories of newbie screwups will make you feel better when it happens to you. 😀

Catch every RV show you can. Remember, you are looking for a way of life but it must fit your life. The RV you choose will decide a lot about your future life so you want the RV to fit to you rather than the other way around. It is hard to believe that there can actually be so many differences between RVs the exact same length and width and yet there are. I saw two side by side where one had very nice cabinets while the other’s seemed cheap, one had a big roomy bathroom while the other was tiny, one had arranged their space so that they could fit in a washer/dryer all-in-one unit while the other completely wasted the space. RV shows will let you see so many units that you will be able to get a feel for what is and is not truly important to you in the way of features and layout. Make a list!

I personally have a non-traditional life so fitting the trailer to me and my budget is not easy. I like a little bigger bathroom so one where they are all in the same room appealed to me. I don’t want a glass shower or sink in my bedroom and I detest bathrooms in the middle of a unit that you have to go through to get in or out of the bedroom. I am not an exhibitionist or a patient person. I like a big living room because I work at home and spend a lot of time at the table or couch. I need a slideout there. For one person, a dinette is unnecessary and acutely uncomfortable for work. I like loose chairs I can move around (preferably stuffed) and a fold up or stand-alone table. Counter space in the kitchen can be very important for true cooks (I push buttons on a microwave real well). A pocket door on the bedroom would be nice for sleeping if you have company. Curtains and vinyl dividers don’t quite cut it for me. Bedroom placement can be an issue. As a night person, I sleep days so I prefer my bedroom at the back of an RV space rather than next to the road.

Check out RV stores and RV insurance. Know the cost of parts, extras, repairs, regular insurance, full-timers insurance, and extended or extra warranties. These can add up quickly. Be aware when outfitting a new trailer that many things in an RV store can be found cheaper at the local department store or even the thrift store.

Lastly, spend some real time in an RV. Rent one for a week or month if you have to or borrow one. Can you live in a small space alone or with others in your way? Can you live with much less “stuff”?





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