RV Travel and RV Living, The Difference You Need To Know

So you’ve been thinking that you want to make the jump. You want to go from weekend RVing to being a part of the RVLifestyle. We did it! A lot of people have done it! Is there a difference between RV Travel and RV Living though? Before Doug and I made the jump, we thought it was going to be a simple lifestyle change. After almost a decade of talking about it, we had a plan in motion and we were making the change. Easy peasy! We’d been roadtripping for years. And we’d done the weekend warrior thing. Figured we had this in the bag!

Both Doug and I have touched on the subject in our articles. But this time, I want to dive deeper. Lets review the intricacies of the two and do an honest comparison. Because I can tell you from the start, they are NOT the same.

rv hangers

RV Travel

Without getting into the several different types of RV Travelers, let’s just group everyone who still owns a house into one big category. People here utilize their RV for vacations. Sometimes those vacations are for a quick weekend getaway. Other times, that vacation could be for a month or two. Either way, they go out and travel or vacation in their RV.

Your mind set when traveling is quite relaxed. I mean, you’re going on vacation, right?! You may have a little stress while packing everything, worried you may forget something. But overall, going away is looked at as a fun thing. When traveling in your RV, you don’t have to worry about whether your checked bag is overweight. There is a lot more freedom in RV’ing than flying somewhere.

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As RV Travelers, we would use our RV for checking off states on our map. With the goal of getting Jayden to the Continental 48 before High School graduation, the RV was great. We never needed to worry about where the next hotel was. We had a bed for each of us to sleep in. Plus a kitchen where I could cook instead of going out to eat all of the time. We also used the RV for long weekend getaways with friends.

Group Camping with Friends as RV Travelers

In both of those cases though, we packed what we needed for the trip. Everyone had about 1 weeks worth of clothes. The shoes we thought we may need. Even the kitchen was stocked more for a vacation mindset than one for daily living. We would have extra snacks in the cabinets. Treats we rarely ate but really loved. Drinks too. We may not drink soda everyday, but we had it on the ready for vacation! You have some great family time where you create new memories.

When you go away on vacation you’ve likely established a budget. And if we’re being honest with ourselves, that budget is likely excessive. Let’s face it here, you may be willing to drop a few thousand bucks on a 2 week vacation. But you wouldn’t even think of spending that much money if you were staying home those same 2 weeks. Before you head out the door, you know that you’re going to be doing things you don’t usually get to do. And you’re gonna wanna do them! After all, you’re looking to check off experiences here!

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RV Living

Living in your RV is when you no longer own, or rent, another home. Your only residence is the RV. Sounds fantastic and amazing and like a permanent vacation! Ok… maybe it sounds a little reckless too. But to each their own, right? RV Living is just as diverse a category as RV Travelers. Some people don’t stay in any one location very long and just roam. Others may choose one location and stay there for an indefinite amount of time.

Those that live in their RV are as relaxed as those who own a home. Catch the sarcasm there? I say it like that on purpose though. This is their home. This isn’t a permanent vacation. We’ve met fellow full timers that are members of our Armed Forces. Instead of staying on base or in the barracks, they’ve chosen to stay off base in their RV and have made it their house. Some people work remotely from their RV and do the same thing. The RV is now their house – On wheels.

Now imagine having all of your possessions packed into that same RV that you just loaded up with the things that you needed for vacation. Think about that for a minute. You used all of the space your RV could provide for the things you wanted to take with you for a weekend. Suddenly, ALL of that space turns into VERY LITTLE space.

Trying to Work as RV Full Timers

You’re no longer just packing a weeks worth of clothes, your entire wardrobe has to fit in there. Plus all of the shoes. Food is no longer the extra vacation snacks that you love to roadtrip with. Instead it’s your daily meal plan. Everything you own needs to have a specific place in an RV. You can’t just leave stuff on your kitchen counter. That space is precious kitchen prep space. Like, where do you keep the vacuum? Living in your RV means learning to be a super organized minimalist.

That few grand you were willing to drop on a 2 week vacation changes too. Your budget needs to be closer to that of your daily living expense. For the full timer that roams, that means they aren’t necessarily having the same experiences in a location as the traveler to the same place. Obviously, everyone’s budget is different, but you get what I’m saying.

RV Travel and RV Living, the Difference

RV Travel and RV Living are 2 completely different things. Just because you have an RV and have used it for traveling doesn’t mean that making the switch to living in it is easy. There are adjustments in your lifestyle that you need to make. But that doesn’t mean don’t do it! If it’s your dream to take the jump, I say, Go For It! We did! And still don’t have any regrets.

Somedays are harder than others. When we’re sitting here working or trying to get things accomplished, we need to keep in mind that our neighbors may be on vacation. Instead of getting frustrated that their music is too loud, or that they keep coming over to chat, we need to take the deep breath and remind ourselves that we’re living our dream.

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