Finding the Perfect RV – Part One – What Kind of Camper Are You?
Are you a Full time, Seasonal, Weekender?
This is part of a series of articles from my Perfect RV series. Each article describes one aspect of finding the perfect RV for you at this time. Your needs will change as you grow into the RV. Overtime you will need more or less sleeping space, your amenities will change, your transportation will change and your desires will change. This is the first article in the series.
Full time stationary
Full timing by a loose definition is considered living in their RV or recreational vehicle as their home. Many people choose to live in recreational vehicles as a cheaper way of living. Their recreational vehicle is stationary and seldom moves.
There are many benefits to living in a RV. Chores around the house are less time consuming, the costs are less, the upkeep is less and the cost of ownership is less. RV owners have the same tax benefits as homeowners or what we call the Stick and Brick owners.
For 12 years we were full time stationary campers. We lived and worked from our RV or held full time jobs in the local community. Daisy was a legal secretary and I was a database administrator for Nokia with responsibilities for a worldwide SQL Server network. You had sold our house and the recreational vehicle became our home. With an income of over $100,000 a year, I don’t think we qualified as trailer trash. In fact we met many people who were professionals that had decided to live this lifestyle including lawyers and doctors.
Full time Traveler
The common thought when people say they are full timers is someone that travels around the country living full time in a recreational vehicle. These folks have all the benefits of the stationary recreational vehicle owners and the freedom to move when and where they want.
There are some added costs to traveling full time and that is the cost of fuel and maintenance. Many full timers that travel also tend to stay in one spot for several weeks or even months before moving on. You are full time travelers now, starting our new journey in June 2014. We spend about 3 weeks per location and then move on to a new campground when our time is up. This last winter we spent in FL moving every couple of weeks. It was the most enjoyable winter I have ever had.
A snow bird is someone who travels to warmer weather in the winter and cooler weather in the summer. They may have a house in both locations, may live in an RV in one and a house in the other, or stay in an RV year round. Many retirees are snow birds traveling to FL in the winter months.
Seasonal campers are usually people that are still working but love the camping lifestyle and have a recreational vehicle placed on a campsite full time, but only use it on weekends or holidays. They may or may not use it for vacations. They are considered seasonal because they pay for the lot for the camping season. The camping season will vary depending on where in the country your are located. In the Northeast it may be from March to the end of October. Some campgrounds might have two or more seasons with different rates being charged. For example Winter and Summer rates, like in FL.
Weekenders are campers who pack up the RV and hit the road, usually on Friday afternoon, head out to a local campground and camp for the weekend. Come Sunday they pack up and head home. These folks are still likely to be working full time and not ready to pack it up and leave the working world for an extended period of time.
Whether you are working full time or retired, finances are going to be an important factor in getting your RV. Financing an RV will be easier if you are working, however, there are places that will work with the retiree as well. But from a basic business standpoint someone with disposable income will have an easier time getting financing than the others.
Other financing considerations will be your budget. Your income to expenses ratio will determine how often you can go camping or if you are looking at traveling how long you can travel and what you will be able to see and do while traveling.
There are many people young and old who travel full time and hold down a job or more as well. You know of couples who would be considered snowbirds now that work year round as campground hosts. You have other friends that run businesses from their RV and still others that trade their campground site fees for a few hours a week of working at the campground (workampers). Earning an income is possible while you are on the road. Earning a comfortable living however, might be another story.
As you can see there is a lot of things you have to consider when looking at an RV. In many ways this is like buying a home. You will be living in it for a period of time and may need the same amenities as in your house or apartment. Understanding how you will be using the RV and what you already have that can help tow it, will help keep your expenses and expectations in line. In the next article I will discuss the different types of recreational vehicles.