Our Great RV Adventure
It’s 2018 and Mike and I have wanderlust again. For those of you that are new to our story, we’re a Baby Boomer couple that loves adventure and we’re not going to let life pass us by. You only live once and we are making the most of it!
To catch you up on us and some of our major life changes, let me reintroduce us. We were married in 1986 in Homestead, Florida, and promised each other that life wouldn’t be boring or ordinary… I think we referred to it as sharing life’s great roller coaster ride!
I’m very happy to say we certainly didn’t break that promise to each other, although our first big change really wasn’t our decision, it certainly puts things in perspective for our future life to come. There’s lots of detail on how our adventure began, but let me fast forward this for you so we can get to our newest adventure…
- Lost all of our belongings (including our first house) in Hurricane Andrew in 1992
- Realized material things are not important and moved to the Florida Keys, to live the island life
- Realized corporate careers were sucking the life out of us and quit to start our own business in the islands
- Tired of island life, yes there is such a thing! Sold everything and bought a boat
- Cruised the Caribbean and Eastern USA for a few years racking up over 14,000 miles of boat travel
- Answered the corporate worlds call again (what were we thinking?!) and accepted jobs in Charleston, South Carolina
- Bought another bigger boat and made our home base Charleston
- Traveled extensively (this time on airplanes) looking for adventure
- Realized it was time for another life change, and finally…
- Decided to sell the boat, buy an RV, and live in it full-time while traveling the country!
Ok, that should do it- on to our next big adventure! We hope you enjoy and follow our journey!
Deciding to Go RVing
Now let me say that we had absolutely no experience in a Motorhome or the RV life, I know crazy right?!? But you have to make life fun and always look out for your next adventure! Hey, what can go wrong living in an RV?!?!
We’re planning on sharing all the things that we’re learning during our RVer adventure including what motorhome we bought and how we chose it and all the things we wish we would have known BEFORE we purchased. We’ll also share our newly acquired full-time RV living tips, tricks, and what things did and did not work out for us. Here are some things we’ll share about:
- How we picked what we thought would be the best RV to live in full time
- Steps to buying an RV including RV insurance and the cost of RV living
- What are the first things that made our Top 12 Must-Have RV Accessories list
- What’s it like living in a motorhome
- Health insurance for full-time RVers
- RV living tips like how do we handle everyday issues like getting mail as full-time RVers
We’re also excited to learn from those with experience in the RV life. There are lots of great RV travel blogs out there. Do you have any RV blogs you follow? Please tell us which ones you follow. We welcome your comments, questions, or just good advice below, and please feel free to share our site. Thanks for following us, and let’s get started on Curious Gypsies Next Major Life Adventure!!!
Let’s get started on our RV Adventures….
6 Questions to Answer When Buying an RV to Live In
I’ll do a detailed post later with more information and the pros and cons of each type of RV, but for now here are the highlights of what to consider when buying an RV to live in. The answers will help you narrow down the many choices available and help you pick the right RV for your adventures. I’ll also give you our answers and reasons for them.
Question 1– How long are you planning on living in the RV? Are you planning on full-time RV living, part-time RV living, or just RVing on the weekends?
The answer to this question can make question 2 a little easier since it will help you decide what size RV you need.
What was our Answer to question 1? We’ll be full-time RVers with a plan to travel across the US!
Question 2– What type of RV do you want and how big do you need it to be?
Types of RVs
There are lots of choices to make when it comes to recreational vehicles, but one of the very first things to decide on is whether you want to drive your RV or tow it.
While they are all still classified as recreational vehicles, the major difference is whether or not they have their own motor or if you will be towing them with another vehicle.
If they have their own motor, they are referred to as Motorhomes.
RVs without their own motors are called Towables and require that you have a vehicle strong enough to pull (or tow) them to your destination.
Motorhomes and Towables can be broken down into their own subgroups or classes. Here’s an overview of each.
Motorhomes – So Many Choices Class A, Class B, Class B+, Class C, and Class Super C
Within the motorhome segment, there are 5 different classes of RVs. Class A motorhomes can be easily recognized by their size and shape. They are rectangular in shape and kind of resemble a city bus, with a flat front and a large front windshield. Sometimes referred to as a motor coach, the Class A RV is the largest of this group (up to 50 feet in length) and offers the most amenities. They also offer the option of slide-outs on either (or both) sides that, when the RV is parked, can be opened up to increase the interior space. There are many options to choose from depending on the brand, size, and floor plan.
Class B motorhomes are the smallest motorhomes and resemble a large passenger van. Sometimes referred to as a camper van, these are no longer than around 20 feet and don’t have the room for as many amenities as the Class A RVs do. They are generally easier to maneuver than the Class A due to their smaller size.
Class B+ is a modification to the Class B RV to make it bigger, but not as big as the next largest model, the Class C. While the Class B motor home looks like a van, the Class B+ looks like a smaller version of the Class C with a sleeping bunk over the cab where the driver sits.
Class C motorhomes are larger than Class B but not as large as the Class A motorhomes. They are generally taller and wider than the Class B RVs and also have the sleeping bunk over the driver and passenger seats.
Super C Class motorhomes are heavy-duty versions of the regular Class C motorhomes. They are built on a larger truck frame and have bigger engines and more towing capacity. They look like a Class C but the drivers’ cab looks like a semi-truck. If you want the amenities of the Class A or C but need heavy-duty towing capacity, this would be a good choice.
Within the towables category, there are 4 different types, Travel Trailers, 5th wheel trailers, folding trailers, and Toy Haulers. None of these have their own motors, so all must be towed. [one_fourth]
Our answer to question 2 was pretty easy for us. We decided on a Class A motorhome since we would be living in the RV full time and wanted as much room and amenities as possible. We chose a length of 36’ since it’s just the two of us and we didn’t want an RV too big to handle as our first motorhome. Another consideration on size worth mentioning is that some states require a special driver’s license for the very large and heavier rigs.
Question 3– Do you want a new RV or a pre-owned RV? What does an RV Cost?
The prices for motorhomes can be as little as a few thousand dollars to as much as over a million dollars! It all depends on what you want to spend. This can be an easy question to answer by just looking at your RV budget.
One thing to keep in mind is that RVs depreciate faster than other vehicles. Many people feel that buying a new RV will help them avoid the hassles of maintenance issues, but buying a new RV does not guarantee that you won’t have some maintenance issues during the break-in period. Motorhomes have many different systems that power all of their various amenities, so there’s a good chance something may need repairs even on a new RV.
Our answer to this question was to look for a well-cared-for used RV. We contacted dealers and searched the trade publications RV Trader and RVT (our favorite) and found just the RV we were looking for at a significant savings from buying new.
Question 4– Do you want a gas motorhome or a diesel motorhome?
This is a question that generates a lot of debate and I’ll dig into the pros and cons of each in another post. The short answer is diesel engines have more power than gas and are more fuel-efficient. The larger motorhomes greater than about 38 feet generally all come with diesel engines since they weigh more. One major thing to consider is that diesel engine motorhomes cost significantly more than gas motorhomes. When buying new it can cost $100,000 more for the same motorhome with a diesel engine in comparison to a gas engine in the same model!
Quick Tip: No matter what type of RV you choose, signup for GasBuddy and download their app to find the cheapest fuel prices near you! Our answer was since we were buying a smaller motorhome of 36 feet, a gas engine RV was fine for us. Plus, since the price of diesel is more than gas, the cost savings on fuel was minimal.
Question 5– Select your RV Features, are they RV Must Haves or RV Luxury?
Motorhomes come with many different features and options and it can get very confusing when selecting the right RV for you. Here’s what we did to make it simpler. Make a detailed list of all of the RV features that you want and then categorize each of them into 2 groups- are they either RV must-haves or just “nice-to-have”? For example, having a washer and dryer was an RV essential that I was not willing to compromise on and it had to be a stackable unit, not a combo unit. I’ll do a comparison post on them but I have been told they take too long to complete a cycle. For me, having a dishwasher fell into the nice-to-have category… it would be great, but definitely not an RV essential that would become a deal-breaker.
This is a great way to narrow down which RV is right for you from the very beginning. Is a diesel engine a requirement? Do you want one bathroom or do you need more space? Do you want a washer and dryer, or will you just use the ones at the parks, or maybe you’ll just bring your clothes home to wash? You get the idea… Now start your list!
Question 6– What RV brand do you like best?
This is where the fun part of RV research comes in, looking at the floor plans to see which you like best. The more RV research you do, you will begin to find that certain brands start becoming favorites that you keep coming back to. Maybe there are a few that you really like, take your RV feature list, and see how each RV model you have selected compares to your list. You might find that one stands out among the others or maybe there’s a couple that has all the essential features from your RV Must Have list. Either way, it’s an easy method for narrowing down the field from the hundreds of RV models available. Our answer? The Tiffin 34PA Allegro had every RV must have and many of the RV luxury items that were on our list!
Follow our Journeys
As we continue on our adventure of living in an RV full time and traveling across the country, I’ll add detailed posts of what we are learning along the way. Do you have any specific RV questions or topics you would like us to investigate? Please leave them in the comments section below.