Finding the Perfect RV – Part One – What Kind of Camper Are You?
Are you a full-time, seasonal weekend?
This is part of a series of articles in my Perfect RV series. Each article describes one aspect of finding the perfect RV for you right now. Your needs will change as you become an RV. Over time, you will need more or less space to sleep, your comforts will change, your transportation will change, and your desires will change. This is the first article in the series.
Full time stationary
Full time by a vague definition is considered living in your RV or RV as your home. Many people choose to live in RVs as a cheaper way of life. Your RV is stationary and rarely moves.
Living in an RV has many benefits. Housekeeping takes less time, costs are lower, maintenance is lower, and the cost of ownership is lower. RV owners have the same tax benefits as homeowners or what we call Stick and Brick owners.
For 12 years we were full-time stationary campers. We lived and worked from our mobile home or had full-time jobs in the local community. Daisy was a legal secretary and I was a database administrator at Nokia with responsibilities for a worldwide SQL Server network. You sold our house and the RV became our home. With an income of over $ 100,000 a year, I don’t think we qualify as trailer junk. We actually met many people who were professionals who had decided to live this lifestyle, including lawyers and doctors.
Full time traveler
The common thought when people say they are full-time workers is someone traveling the country living full-time in an RV. These folks have all the benefits of stationary RV owners and the freedom to move when and where they want.
There are some additional costs to traveling full time and that is the cost of fuel and maintenance. Many full-time workers who travel also tend to stay in one place for several weeks or even months before moving on. You are full-time travelers now, starting our new trip in June 2014. We spend about 3 weeks per location and then move to a new campground when our time is up. This past winter we spent it in FL moving every other week. It was the most pleasant winter I have ever had.
A snowbird is someone who travels to a warmer climate in the winter and a cooler climate in the summer. They can have a home in both locations, they can live in an RV in one and a home in the other, or stay in a RV year-round. Many retirees are snowbirds who travel to Florida in the winter months.
Seasonal campers are usually people who are still working but love the camping lifestyle and have an RV set up at camp full time but only use it on weekends or holidays. They can use it or not for the holidays. They are considered seasonal because they pay for the camping season lot. The camping season will vary depending on where you are in the country. In the northeast it can be from March to the end of October. Some camps may have two or more seasons with different rates. For example, winter and summer rates, as in FL.
On the weekends they are campers packing up the motorhome and hitting the road, usually Friday afternoon, heading to a local campground and camping for the weekend. On Sunday they pack up and head home. These people are likely still working full time and not ready to pack up and leave the world of work for an extended period.
Whether you work full time or are retired, finances will be a big factor in getting your RV. Financing an RV will be easier if you are working, however there are places that will work with the retiree as well. But from a basic business standpoint, someone with disposable income will have an easier time obtaining financing than others.
Other financial considerations will be your budget. Your income-to-expense ratio will determine how often you can go camping or, if you are thinking about traveling, how long you can travel and what you can see and do while traveling.
There are many young and old people who travel full time and also have one or more jobs. You know couples who would now be considered snowbirds and who work year-round as camp hosts. He has other friends who run businesses from their RV and others who change their camp rates for a few hours a week from camp work (workampers). It is possible to earn income while traveling. However, earning a comfortable living could be another story.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when looking at an RV. In many ways, this is like buying a home. You will live in it for a period of time and you may need the same comforts as in your house or apartment. Understanding how you will use the RV and what you already have to tow will help you keep your expenses and expectations in line. In the next article I will discuss the different types of RVs.