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  • Is Full-Time RV Living Worth it?

    Is it worth it to sell your house and travel full-time? The answer really depends on two things - your desires and your expectations. We did not actually intend to start full-timing when we did, but sometimes life just gives you signals that your plan needs to change. That's ok - its usually for the better. While we always knew we wanted to travel, we were only a year into a 5-year plan when the stars aligned... and since I was able to work remotely, we figured out a budget that made it work for us. Is RV living cheaper than having a house? That question has become a huge debate in the full-time RV living community. The answer is not as complex as it is being made out to be - just like in the "brick & mortar" world of home ownership, there are many options with full time RV living, and thus many budgets. Also - everyone is coming to full-time RV living from different scenarios, so the cost is always relative. Full Time Stationary Some people choose not to travel at all - is it cheaper for them? Well, that depends on their individual previous situation, doesnt it? If you were renting a 2-bedroom apartment at $1500/month and now you are paying $800/month for lot rent - arent you saving $700/month? Consider the total picture when trying to figure this out - your lot rent is cheaper, but now instead of calling the landlord when something goes wrong - all of the maintenance & repairs come out of your budget. You must also consider the payment on your RV if you didnt pay cash for it. Most of the rest of your expenses will be pretty similar to apartment living. What about the scenario where someone sold their house? They were already used to paying for repairs and maintenance - it has to be cheaper in this scenario, doesnt it? Well, again it depends on YOUR desires and expectations. Some luxury Class A diesel pushers can cost the same as a house or more. If you already have an RV, that is a big plus in savings and one less thing on your checklist to take care of. If you have already paid off your RV, you will likely be in a scenario where stationary full-time RV living is cheaper. Full Time Mobile One of the biggest reasons we wanted to "convert" to full time RV living is the opportunity to travel the country to live and learn about different areas, visit 'bucket list' attractions, and chase the sun. It would be difficult to find many scenarios where full-time travel is abundantly cheaper than the 'brick & mortar' choice. You can certainly make it cheaper - and many travel bloggers have done this! We will share some of our favorites for each topic later in this article. There are many considerations in budgeting for full time travel, the most costly being: The cost of your RV 'home'. If you will have a monthly payment, this will likely be your biggest expense. Fuel. This is an expense that is controllable based on how often you move, how many miles you cover and of course how carefully you plan your logistics. Sometimes you will be tempted to not use a linear route because you want to attend events that occur at different times of the year in different states, but be sure that you account for the additional travel expenses (fuel, wear & tear/maintenance) in your monthly budget. If you budget for about $1/mile you should be able to stay within your budget easily, and its an easy number to use for general budgeting. Camping Fees. Camping fees are usually MUCH cheaper by the month or week than by the day. There are many places we've seen that charge $50/night, but only $250/week or $800/month. The savings in this scenario can be as much as $8,650 per year! You can also save quite a bit by using a membership like Thousand Trails (links below). Insurance. You will need insurance on BOTH the RV and the tow vehicle, regardless of which is towing which. If you are RVing in a van or motorhome and do not tow a separate drive vehicle, you alleviate one insurance policy but you also limit mobility at each stop. The cost of insurance will depend on the type of vehicle & RV, the state they are registered in, and your personal record. Non-Financial Considerations Now that we have busted the myth of RV living being cheaper than brick & mortar, lets circle back to your desires and expectations. Assuming you can actually afford to live the adventure and travel life the way you want to, the financial part of it is not as important as your desires and expectations. Expectations RV living is NOT equivalent to a luxury vacation, regardless of where you stay. Even at the most expensive RV resorts, you still have to dump your own poo & take out the trash (with very few exceptions) as well as troubleshooting the myriad of things that can go wrong with an RV that dont happen in houses. Do not expect that you will not need to be self-sufficient! If you have always had the luxury of calling the landlord for every issue and maintenance, RV living will be culture shock. An RV is NOT a house or apartment. RVs are simply not built to be lived in every day or driven/towed every week into perpetuity. If the average life of an RV is 10 years with the expectation you will use it for weekend or monthly travel, you can bring that down to 5-7 years with daily use if you do not maintain every part of it impeccably. This includes regularly checking and lubricating slides, checking seams, tires, batteries, plumbing and interior furniture (and sooo much more). If youve never disassembled a built-in seating area in an RV, you would be amazed at how little is holding it together. Remember, RVs are built to be light and transportable, not to be lived in like a house. Desires If you are not surprised by the above two bullet points, you may have realistic expectations of RV living. That is a good start. Now you have to think about WHY you want to do it, and what that is worth to YOU. Unfortunately, there is no formula for that, though it wouldnt hurt to sit down with the people you are taking with you to discuss and document each persons expectations and desires. The first few steps Planning We actually put together a spreadsheet where we listed all of the places we wanted to visit, the budget for each, and what we wanted to get from the experience (sometimes that answer is just curiosity, and sometimes there is a deeper rooted reason). Scheduling As we scheduled each leg of the first trip we left some space in case we found an opportunity we didn't want to pass up. This can be a tiny bit risky, as you could end up without somewhere to stay for a few days, but you can usually find a Harvest Host (link below) spot for a day or two each, and depending on the time of year and local events, its usually not too difficult to add a few days to your stay if needed. You do not NEED an app to help you with scheduling, but we really love the RV Life Trip Wizard (link below) because they have information on almost every campground, and if they dont have one, you can add it!. As you can see, there is no single answer to whether full time RV living is "worth it". The answer to that question is in your hands - its what you make of it. The one piece of advice we will give is to think deeply and discuss with everyone you are taking with you what you want out of the adventure, how long you expect or desire to travel, and have a back-up plan in case you find out it is not for you. Finally, the LINKS ! Here are links to some resources we have found very helpful. At the time of this writing, we are not receiving payment or credit for any of these links - this is purely what we have found helpful for our adventure. Tools : RV Life Trip Wizard: - For scheduling your trip Harvest Hosts: Small businesses or individuals (farms, ranches, breweries, wineries, etc) will let you park free overnight for patronizing their business. There is usually no minimum purchase, and usually no hookups. Escapees: - Mail Service for life on the road that will also help you establish residency without having to own a home. Thousand Trails: - Subscription camping passes by region Blogs: Cheap RV Living: - Hints and tips for full time RV living on a budget A Million Miles of Memories: - A funny and entertaining blog on full time RV life with kids.

  • Our 5 Favorite (budget-friendly!) Jeep Accessories

    Our first ever Jeep was both a big decision and a no-brainer. Based on our research, towing a manual transmission Jeep Wrangler is the easiest option (thats another article we havent posted yet!) but after trading in our 2016 Polaris SlingShot for a pretty basic-looking Jeep, Steph dove into retail therapy in the form of Jeep accessories. Here are some of our favorites that fit our 2014 Wrangler JK Unlimited - most are pretty universal and will fit many years and models. This article contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but that does not increase the cost to you. 1. Rollbar Storage Bags These bags are an absolute MUST-HAVE even if you dont take off the rear roof. We store the sunshade (below) in the zipper compartment on one side and the towbar chains for the BlueOx tow system in the other - its held up without a rip, tear or mark for over a year so we cant emphasize enough how durable these bags are. No fading either in over a year of driving through Florida, Texas and Arizona sun. Outside of the zippered compartments there are several zippered and open pockets, slots for tools or pens, and straps to carry just about anything you can think of. We keep the "Door-off" mirrors (see below), a few tools and portable stools in/on the bags and there is STILL space we havent used. NOTE: These only fit a 1997-2020 4-door Jeep, they do not work with a 2-door model. 2. "Door-Off" Quick Release Mirrors If you plan to take your doors off (and why wouldnt you?) you will need an extra set of side-view mirrors - but dont worry- they are very reasonably priced! Once you set up the quick-release part on the Jeep, you can install and uninstall these mirrors in a few minutes. The first time you try it may take a little longer, but once you get used to how to do it and the quick-release knob is used a few times, its super-quick. The arms on the mirrors are pretty long, giving you high visibility, and the mirrors themselves are easily fully adjustable. As stated above, we store the mirrors right in the rollbar bags so they never get lost, trampled or broken. 3. Under-Seat Storage Bag We were a bit skeptical upon ordering this bag that it would fit under the seat, but the fit is perfect. This bag, like the rollbar bags above, is super durable. After a year of use, the heavy canvas-like fabric and zippers have held up without a scratch or tear. The bag comes with a shoulder carry-strap in case you want to pack it with things to take with you, such as snacks, phones or a small tablet. Its durable enough to keep electronics safe, and has separate zippered pockets on each side that would fit a couple of phones or a wallet. There is a sturdy handle on top which you will use to pull it out from under the seat. We keep a first aid kit, a car-laptop charger, some tie-down accessories for the back of the Jeep and some other random stuff in ours and there is room for more. 4. Front Door Storage Pockets You may notice in your Jeep that the net-pockets on the front and back doors eventually become essentially useless. They flop around and get caught in the doors, so if you put anything in them its just a nuisance. These storage pockets provide an additional two cup/ water bottle holders and a bit of storage next to it. They install easily and securely and withstand the opening and closing of the door without cracking or scratching. The only caveat with this product is that the one on the driver side does feel like its in the way, particularly if you have a manual transmission and use a clutch. This is likely more noticeable with a larger person. We are both shorter than average height and it occasionally feels like its in the way when shifting gears. 5. Shade Idea Sun Shade We only use the front portion that goes across where the freedom panels come off because we do not have a place to store the hard top so we havent taken it off yet. Besides the beautiful deep purple color, this shade provides the shade you need without losing the freedom of the wind (but not too much) in your hair. The other cool thing is with this model, you can actually use it as a hammock. You'll have to click the link to see the details, but its very handy if you are parked at an event, a drive-in movie and need to see above the crowd... or just chillin' on the beach. Heading #1: Your First Impressions Heading #3: Pros and Cons

  • Four Things We've Learned Since Becoming Full-Time RV Lifers...

    One day we just decided it was a good time to run away. We soon discovered that running away as adults is very different than when you were five years old and threatened to run away because you were denied dessert for not eating your green beans at dinner. In the latter scenario you simply grab your best toys and run out the back door while your mom watches closely; it is a whole different scenario when you own a home and have a lot of stuff. One - Have a Plan (Maybe crunch some numbers) The first thing we learned is that having a plan - or at least a checklist - is everything. Too many tasks with too many dependencies and time constraints meant a spreadsheet was in order! When we decided to put our house on the market, it was a little late in the real estate season, but the market was hot so we couldnt wait. Getting the house ready was far more work than we had ever imagined. What our adult children didnt want, we gave to the community. We didnt have time to sell very much, and we carefully considered what we were willing to pay to put in storage - we have a 10x15 storage unit and had a 3300 sq ft house. We also had to line up the purchase of the motorhome and the Jeep before our departure so we had a place to live! If we had not had that spreadsheet, we would never have gotten everything done. The bonus is, we listed out all tax-deductible expenses there as well, which will come in handy soon! Two - How do we "adult" on the road? There are A LOT of things to consider and take care of when you do not have a legal address... like obtaining a legal address. We had tons of questions: Where will we get our mail? We ordered 70% of our purchases online - what now? Where will we hold drivers licenses, insurance, car registrations? What does it mean to have residency vs. domicile? What we found is that there is a company called Escapees that offers mail service and domicile support, among many other services for RV Lifers. You will have to make some decisions, but you do have choices. Florida, Texas and South Dakota are popular choices for RV Lifers for various reasons, but you will have to research which works best for your specific situation (start with the Escapees website). As far as package delivery goes, check with the places you will be staying ahead of time to see if you can have deliveries straight to your site. Many places do offer it, some charge a small fee. Then - you have to plan ahead depending on how long you will be staying to ensure you will still be around when your packages come. You can also opt for locker deliveries - Amazon, Lowes, FedEx and UPS are among the growing number of companies who offer this option- but you still have to know where you will be. Also - if you are short - you can check the handicapped box on your Amazon delivery and they will not deliver to the lockboxes that are seven feet high... Three - You REALLY dont need it all You will only need a fraction of what you think you will. We packed way more than we needed and in the first 3 months realized that some of the things we packed we will never use. You really dont need much more to live comfortably than what you can fit in a large RV (maybe even a small van for some people) You may think you do, but really you dont. I started thinking about what we packed in storage. Even though that space is less than 10% of the size of our house, Im still wondering why we thought we needed to keep all of that stuff. Then I realized most of what we kept was for emotional reasons, not for necessity. Consider each item you pack and whether you will really use it, or you just want it to be with you. Its ok to have some things that fall into the latter category of course, but not half of what you take with you. Four - Book Intelligently (Yes, more planning) Plan with the weather, location and events in mind, especially if you are "bucket listing". One of the tabs on our spreadsheet is a list of places and events we want to experience. Why wait? Well, as much as it may seem like a good idea to hit as much as possible all at once... sigh... there is more planning and foresight involved in ensuring you will have a great experience. If you have to, pin your adventures out on a map and then write the dates of the events in each location. Generally big events are held in good weather months, but you also have to think about the stops in between. While you could Harvest Host your way across the country to get to your goal, you can check more boxes if you plan the time in between. All of that said, be sure you contingency plan some unplanned time. I know its the opposite of what I just stated, but you WILL meet some fabulous people along the way who WILL have fabulous recommendations for some fabulous stops you didnt plan for.

  • Let S&S Help You Plan your Adventure

    Welcome to S&S RV Adventures ! We are here to share with you our expeditions as we begin our journey of living full-time in a 45ft motorhome, traveling the country, meeting amazing people and learning new things. We will write reviews in several categories - but we need your input to make sure we are providing the content you need. So please be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our You Tube channel that is currently an in-progress venture. In addition to the reviews, we will document our experiences whenever possible so you can have the information to form your own opinion. Please let us know if there is information you'd like to see by messaging us on Facebook or commenting on a video or post. We will explore resorts, overnight stops, attractions and restaurants. We realize that opinions are just that - but we will try to be objective and explain each rating and state when it may be a personal preference driving the rating.

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