What It’s Like to Live In An RV As A Digital Nomad

by | Mar 2, 2019 | Digital Nomadism | 1 comment

GUEST POST BY BILL WIDMER FROM THE WANDERING RV

So you’re interested in living in an RV and becoming a digital nomad?

Awesome! It’s an incredible lifestyle. You get to travel anywhere you want, have amazing backyards (beaches, mountains, deserts, you name it!), and work anywhere with an internet connection.

But it definitely has its cons and it isn’t for everyone.

This article will share mine and Kayla’s experience living and working as RVing digital nomads, the pros and cons, and how you can test this lifestyle for yourself without buying an RV and committing. Let’s dive in!

What Is The RV Lifestyle Like?

Living in an RV is awesome. Don’t like where you’re living? Pick up and move!

There’s always something to new to see and a new adventure to be had. But it can also be highly stressful, and it definitely isn’t for everyone.

We lived in an RV for 6 months, working from our laptops. We even tried our hand at work-camping, where we worked for the RV park owners in exchange for a free stay on their campground.

What We Liked

We really enjoyed the freedom. Every move was a new chance for a fun adventure. Seeing new sights was exhilarating, and it brought us closer as a couple.

My personal favorite parts where kayaking in far-away rivers and visiting national parks like Acadia, where I actually proposed to Kayla.

We also saved a good chunk of money. Your only required expenses are campground fees, the RV cost, and the usual costs like our phones, insurance, and food. Most campgrounds don’t make you pay for utilities like internet, TV, water, etc.

You can save even more money by buying your RV outright (no interest payments every month) and by boondocking (staying on public land out in the woods or mountains instead of on a campground). How would you like to stay here?

What We Didn’t Like

Of course, there’s also the bad side of RVing.

While the experience truly helped us grow, both individually and together, at times it felt like a nightmare. For example, our scooter once broke down over 50 miles from our campground, and we needed to have some people we just met on the campground come pick us up. Thank God they did!

There were unexpected maintenance problems (you should ALWAYS budget for unexpected maintenance) and setting up and taking down your RV every time you move can be very tiring. It’s a lot of work.

The limited space is also an issue. Especially the kitchen (Kayla loves to cook and even has a food blog called The Fantasy Kitchen). The small space is easy to clutter, and you REALLY have to think about what you want to keep vs what you want to get rid of.

But that’s probably easy for someone like you who has an interest in being a nomad, right?

The last thing I want to mention is that the hardest part of this lifestyle is actually funding it. We were lucky in that we had some passive income coming from our travel blog, and we had clients we could work with from anywhere. But getting started wasn’t easy!

Here’s a recap on our opinion of the pros and cons:

Pros of Living In An RV:

  • Adventure! There’s always new things to see.
  • Travel. If you love moving around, you’ll probably love RVing.
  • If you don’t like where you’re staying, you can just pack up and leave.
  • You can travel the country with your belongings and even your pets!
  • Possible to save money compared to living in a house.

Us taking our adventure cat Luna for a walk!

Cons of Living In An RV:

  • Can be stressful at times. You can and probably will be tested.
  • Things break. Your house experiences an earthquake every time you go on the highway!
  • Wi-fi is a real issue at campgrounds. This is getting easier with the unlimited data plans, but it’s still an issue. Campground wi-fi often sucks.
  • You’re at mercy to the weather. If it’s cold outside, it will probably be cold inside. Same thing with heat. A/C and heaters help, but RVs don’t have the best insulation.
  • Your space is limited. You probably won’t be able to bring all of your possessions.

Overall, we enjoyed it but it also tested our patience and forced us to grow. We do plan on doing it again for a few months while our home is being built later this year, so we definitely don’t think it’s a terrible lifestyle!

So now you’re probably wondering…

How Much Does It Cost?

We ran some numbers for how much it costs to live in an RV. We compared our own personal expenses to some other popular full-time RVers who also blog about living in an RV.

What did we find?

It costs between $1,400 to $3,000 per month to live in an RV, depending on the RV you buy, where you stay, your food budget, etc..

How Can You Test The RV Lifestyle Without Buying An RV?

Are you interested in living in an RV but don’t want to spend $10,000+ on a new camper?

I TOTALLY understand. It’s a huge commitment, and jumping in to it like Kayla and I did can lead to regret. Particularly if you don’t like the type of RV you bought or if you find out you just plain don’t like it.

But there’s an easy way to test the RV lifestyle to see if you like it before you fully commit. We highly recommend getting a long-term RV rental in the model you’re thinking about buying. That way, you can spend a month or more in an RV to get a taste and test different types and models of RVs before you buy!

You can get a month-long RV rental for as little as $50 per night, depending on the model, location, and time of year. So the test would cost you between $1,500 to $3,000 for the rental, plus another $400 to $1,000 for the campground (if you stay in one spot).

You can often negotiate deals with both RV rentals and campgrounds for a lower rate when you stay for a long time, since it helps them guarantee the spot will be filled.

Our preferred way to rent an RV is through a peer-to-peer rental company like Outdoorsy or RVshare. They have RVs for rent by other RV owners, rather than having their own fleet of RVs. They’re cheaper, more reliable, and easier to use than going through an RV dealership.

We compared the best RV rental companies and found Outdoorsy to be the best. They’re the only rental company we found with an A+ rating on the Better Business Buraeu site and they have perks like free roadside assistance and insurance.

So what do you think? Will you try the RV lifestyle as a digital nomad? Let us know in the comments! And feel free to ask us any questions you have, too! :)

About the Author

Bill Widmer is a former full-time RVer and blogs about RV travels with his fiance Kayla at The Wandering RV. He’s also an avid gamer, ukulelist, and general lover of being outside. 

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