The Pros and Cons of Retiring in an RV

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When you think about RV travel after retiring, there are many pros and cons that might cross your mind. What is the best RV for full time RV living? What if I sell my house to retire in an RV and I don’t like it? There are many more questions you might ask yourself because there are many pros and cons of retiring in an RV.

You aren’t alone in trying to weigh the pros and cons of living in an RV after you retire. I myself have used the Ben Franklin method to evaluate the pros and cons of full time RV living after retirement. To help you begin your lists of pros and cons we have listed 5 of each for you to consider.

5 Pros of Retiring in an RV

After retiring, having the freedom of the open road may be appealing, and for good reasons. When you are on the road in your RV you will have nothing tying you down to one location. You can go wherever you want, meet new people, and do things you never thought of while you were working. Living in an RV in retirement can be a breath of fresh air. Here is a look at some of the pros of retiring in an RV. 

1. It Can be Cheaper than Living in a House

When you live in a regular house, expenses seem to keep on piling up. You have to pay your rent or mortgage, utilities, and property tax if you own a house. On top of that, you need to might need to pay for lawn care and other maintenance items to make your life more comfortable. As a result, a place that should be a sanctuary is what takes a bunch of your money.

However, if you purchase or rent an RV, you can do away with many of those expenses. That is not to say that you will have no expenses when you live in an RV. There are still many things you will need to pay for, and some of those things are new expenses that do not exist in a house.

For example, you need to pay for campgrounds, and the amount you spend on gas will go up. However, your overall expenses could be cheaper than they are living in a house. Rent can be as low as a few hundred dollars a month. If you decide to purchase an RV, it is much cheaper than living in a house. 

Additionally, since you will be living in a smaller area, you will not need to pay for as many things in your RV. You do not need as much furniture in an RV as you do in a house, so you can sell a significant portion of your household furniture when you make the transition to RV living. 

When adding and subtracting all your expenses, you can expect to pay somewhere between $1400 and $3000 a month less when living in an RV. So, it is no shock to hear that retiring in an RV is appealing to many people. 

To learn more about the costs of living in an RV please see our article called Cheap Retirement – Living in an RV.

2. You Get to Travel Wherever You Want

Ok, you cannot technically travel wherever you want. You obviously cannot drive your RV across the ocean and explore Africa. However, you can bring your RV wherever you can drive it. You can bring your RV anywhere from Alaska to Florida. If you want to explore Canada you can do that as well. 

When you are in the workforce you do not have as many opportunities to travel as you do after retiring. You simply do not have as much free time. A big regret of many people at the end of their lives is that they did not travel enough. You can avoid this regret by purchasing an RV after retiring. 

When you travel you have the opportunity to do so many things you would never think of doing. That is especially true when you are living in an RV. You will get to see beautiful places that you had never heard of before.

There are so many places in the United States and Canada that are unknown among the general population. However, since you need to stop in remote places when traveling the country, you get to see some of these places when you are RVing. 

3. You Can Spend More Time in Nature and Less Time In Front of the TV

There is nothing wrong with watching TV, movies, or spending time on the internet. Everyone has different preferences, and many people do not enjoy being out in nature. However, there is no denying that it is more healthy to spend some quality time outdoors. Exposure to the sun and unplugging for a little while is good for your physical and mental health. 

If you are thinking about retiring in an RV, one of the biggest pros is that you get to spend lots of time out in nature. It will not be boring either because you get to explore many different areas. A big complaint people that do not enjoy the outdoors have is that they get bored easily. However, when you are RVing you will almost always have activities keeping you busy. As a result, you will never feel bored like you might when going for a walk down the street. 

If you are worried about not having access to modern amenities when you are on the road, you do not need to worry. You can set your RV up with a TV, and you can even bring your computer with you if you want. Most campgrounds have internet access, and they provide water, sewer, and electric hookups for guests. So, you will have everything you need for modern life while enjoying as much nature as you want. 

4. You Get to Meet New People

Not everyone is a social butterfly, but it is still nice to make new friends and meet new people. When you are working every day and going through your regular life, it is easy to get stuck in your social bubble. You have your friends and you have your family, but outside of that you probably do not interact with many people. While there is nothing inherently wrong with that, you could be doing yourself a disservice by not exposing yourself to different types of people. 

Fortunately, when you retire in an RV you will be able to meet all kinds of people. The United States is such a large country that the culture in different portions of the country is incredibly different. It is amazing to us that there are so many different accents in different parts of our country.

People from the south and people from California do not have the same life experiences. The same can be said for people from New York and people from Texas. However, when you are planning on retiring in an RV, you will get to meet people from all of those places and everywhere in between. 

Meeting new people lets you get a different perspective on things. You can see new viewpoints and understand why different people have different opinions than you. It might not always be fun to be challenged in this way, but it is good for your overall growth as a person. 

5. You Can Experience Personal Growth Living in an RV After Retirement

When you leave your home after retiring and you start your life on the road, you will be giving up several luxuries that you may have become dependent on. You will not have access to all the products and services that were available in your home town. Instead, you will be forced to live with what you have and the minimal services available at your campground. However, by doing this you might experience a feeling of freedom from all the material items that accumulated over the years. 

Furthermore, when you are on the road after retiring, there is a chance that something will break down or become damaged. When this happens, you will need to find ways to get them fixed. Depending on where you are, you might not have access to roadside repair services. As a result, you may need to find clever solutions to certain issues. This might not sound appealing, but we have learned that improving our critical thinking and problem solving skills is incredibly valuable. 

5 Cons of Retiring in an RV

While all the reasons outlined above are great reasons to live in an RV after retiring, there are some downsides to the lifestyle as well. Living in an RV is not as luxurious as living at home. You will need to make sacrifices, and you will not always be as comfortable as you want.

It is important to be aware of these things before you purchase an RV and head out on the road for the first time. Here are a few of the biggest cons of retiring in an RV. 

1. You Will Not Have as Much Space When You Retire in an RV

The thing new RVers struggle to adapt to the most is the amount of space they have. When you first purchase your RV you might not think space will be an issue. However, once you have spent a few weeks in a small area with no walls separating the rooms, you might wish you had a little more personal space. This is especially true if you are traveling with little kids. You might love your grandkids, but everyone needs a break every once in a while. Unfortunately, when you are in an RV, that space is hard to find. 

Space becomes a larger problem when you look at your kitchen. Most RVs come with a decent amount of amenities. You will probably have an oven, stovetop, fridge, and microwave. That sounds great as you have everything you need to prepare an excellent meal.

However, most RVs are severely lacking in counter space. So, when you are making a meal you might have trouble actually preparing your food. A lack of countertop space can make it difficult to prepare more than one thing at a time in most cases. 

Furthermore, kitchen storage may be limited depending on the RV you purchase. You will probably have a fridge that is smaller than your household fridge. If you are lucky you will have a pantry, but it might not be that big. As a result, you need to be picky with what things you bring with you, and what to leave behind. 

2. Mold and Mildew Can Become Problems

Since you are living in a small space that lacks proper ventilation, it is easy for mold and mildew to start to grow in your RV. In particular, you will find mold in areas that you cannot easily see or get to. The places that are at risk the most are areas that are exposed to water and moisture. So, the bathroom is one of the most common spots for mold to start to grow. 

Therefore, you will need to constantly check your RV for mold or mildew growth. If it grows unchecked, it can get out of control. When this happens you will need to hire a professional to have it removed. That is obviously not ideal, so you need to perform the checks. Checking for mold and mildew growth is not a glamorous part of a vacation, but it is a necessary part of life after retiring in an RV. 

3. Things Will Break All the Time

Although you might not think of it in this way, an RV is essentially a house on wheels. Inevitably, you will have delicate things like dishes like plates and glasses in your RV, and every time you get on the road it is like your house is experiencing an earthquake. Like when an earthquake hits, things will shift, and there is a chance that things will fall and break. 

You will need to have a budget for repairs. Not only will some of your possessions break inside your RV, but the RV can become damaged itself. Since you will be spending all your time outside, your RV will constantly be exposed to the elements. So, it is pretty common for RVs to need regular maintenance over time. 

It is good practice to inspect your RV before and after every drive. You do not want to be driving while it is in need of rerpair. Check your seams and corners to ensure that no water is leaking and nothing looks off or out of place. 

4. Temperature Control Can be Challenging

When you are living in an RV you need to remember that you are essentially in an aluminum or fiberglass box with very little insulation. Now, there have been improvements and developments in recent years that have helped improve insulation in RVs.

Most notably, the transition from aluminum to fiberglass shells that many manufacturers have undertaken. However, even the most insulated RV is still less insulated than your average house. As a result, temperature and climate control are still big issues for RVers. 

In the summer it could be difficult to keep cool inside, even when you have the air conditioner running. If you are traveling in the winter, it is going to be cold. You will need to curl up with a bunch of blankets to get warm. Regardless of the time of year, you might struggle to get your RV to the perfect temperature. As a result, you should be mentally prepared for these kinds of issues if you decide retiring in an RV is a good idea. 

5. Driving an RV Can be Stressful

One thing very few people think when they decide to live in an RV is the stress of actually driving one. Retiring in an RV may seem like a great idea, and it does have many perks, but driving an RV can be stressful and challenging.

It is not like driving a regular car. RVs are larger, bulkier, and more unwieldy. Try driving over a bridge on a windy day! It is amazing to me that bus and truck drivers require separate training and licenses to drive those vehicles, yet anyone can drive a huge RV without training or a special license.

While you do not need a special license to drive an RV in the United States, that does not mean that it is easy to drive. There is a learning curve that you will need to overcome to master the skill. The first few weeks of driving one will be challenging, and you will need to be patient. 

Additionally, since RVs are much larger than cars, you will quickly find that there are roads that you cannot drive them on. Some roads are restricted to smaller cars, and there are bridges with weight restrictions. As a result, it can be difficult to get to certain locations. So, you will need to plan your routes with that obstacle in mind. 

For more info about learning to drive an RV please see our article called Is RV Driving School Worth the Money?

Is Retiring in an RV a Good Idea?

After reading, we hope you have the information you need to start building a list of pros and cons to decide whether retiring in an RV is a good idea. We wish we could give you that answer, but as we outlined above, there are many pros and cons to consider.

RVing will provide you with many great experiences, but you need to make sacrifices to have them. You will not be as comfortable as you are at home, and you might be more stressed on the road than you are at home.

The decision to retire in an RV is ultimately up to you. There is no right or wrong decision, you just need to figure out what things are important to you, and what you are willing to overlook. 

If you have never owned an RV before and you are considering transitioning to RV life after you retire we highly recommend you rent an RV before you buy one. try it out first before you jump into the RV lifestyle after retirement with both feet!

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