RV life isn't all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, it's filled with quite a bit of stress.
So, before you decide to fully commit to this lifestyle, here are some things to consider.
Being mobile has its perks. I've seen some beautiful things, met some wonderful people, and have grown a greater appreciation for Mother Nature's creation.
Reservations, however, always cause me a deal of stress.
Look, there are some people that can just go out, boondock, and make reservations on a fate's whim. I am not one of those people. I need to know where I'm going. I take comfort in knowing that we will have a safe place to call home.
That said, reservations can cause some serious heartache, especially in the summer. Since most people are on break and many travel, reservations can be limited. It is also summer, so it's hot. Getting a shaded spot in the heat is a luxury.
Things can become even more stressful when you have to narrow down a reservation by distance, time you want to travel, budget, park accommodations, and weather.
Needless to say, planning your next home one week at a time can be disheartening. Gas is expensive, a lot to tolerate with regular pack-ups, and it can be tiresome when parks can't accommodate you.
Disappointing RV Parks
This will happen more often than not, which is frustrating. Deceptive advertising and underserving high ratings happen all the time. I remember when I was so excited to pull into a park that had a 4.5-star rating. I made a reservation for 2 weeks, thinking that this place would have all the amenities needed to comfortably call it home.
Lo and behold, when we arrived, it was not well-maintained or safe. Needless to say, I cried. We traveled 7 hours only to lose a deposit with no place to go. We ended up calling it a night in a National Forest, which was interesting. I think I got 4 hours of sleep that night because I obsessed over where we would go and how we would survive.
Some people will say, "Well, you have your home... Right there." To some extent, that is true. But if you need electricity to make food or run your heater to stay warm, you'll need to pop on that roaring, gas-guzzling generator. If you want running water to flush your toilet, shower, or even wash your hands, you'll need some water in your water tank. And what happens when your tanks fill up? You'll need to dump them somewhere. These inconveniences are something to take into account. It's hard to learn how to adjust, well, at least it was for me.
As if the stress of reservations wasn't enough, sometimes you arrive at a park and even though it isn't what you expected, it's good enough for now. Not every place will be Instagram-able. You can find yourself in some pretty undesirable spots. We've dealt with unlevel, poorly maintained, tight spots that would've even stressed the most seasoned RV'er to park in. What I think is most frustrating is, you'll most likely feel like you've wasted your money. Which puts an overall damper on your stay.
My tip: Always call before booking. People are usually willing to help you.
A bad neighbor can be brutal. Keep in mind, RV walls are paper thin, and neighbors are typically only a few feet away. We've dealt with other people's encroaching junk, arguing spouses, loud parties, deafening movies... and one guy even offered us his barking dog!
Luckily, most people are pretty considerate. But if you do end up with a bad neighbor, they're most likely staying for just a few days. If it's terribly bad, talk to your camp host. Hopefully, they'll resolve your issue.
Upon buying our RV, the salesman told us, "It's not a matter of if it'll break. It's a matter of when." This quote resonates with me to this day. There are pieces we have to constantly maintain in order to travel safely, and it can be a lot to handle.
Here is a list of some issues and items we've run into and fixed so far:
- Engine issues - Loft window leak - Water pump - Refrigerator fan failure - Mold / condensation - Black tank back-up
- Slide-out motor issues - Main door
- Drawer latches
- Screws rattling free during movement - Hydraulic line burst - AC failure - Electrical issues
-Water intrusion - Awning - Exterior storage doors - Generator
I think it's important to be transparent about this lifestyle. It is certainly high maintenance and costly. Hopefully I haven't scared you too much, because there are some wonderful places that are waiting to be discovered. You should go for it! Find all those natural and manmade wonders this world has to offer! Just know that it doesn't come without a cost. It's always best to be prepared.