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The RV Life, where do I begin?

The interest in living full time in a recreational vehicle is growing in popularity with leaps and bounds. The full-time RV life is simple, we sleep every night in our RV, it is our home. A stress-free home with a truly calming effect that is very relaxing. Every day is a new adventure. Now more than ever the future full-timers are looking for substantial information on how they can make this transition a dream come true. This article is for those who want to take a trip across the country in their RVs but do not know where to start. If you are in this category you have come to the right place as we will address this and what you need to know about getting started spending time on the road. Some of the most common questions that people ask are: 
  • Where do I get my mail?
  • What insurance is required?
  • Are there RV parks and camps for extended stays?
If you have one or more of these questions, read on, here are some answers.

Getting Started “I go where I’m towed too!”

So who are those who want to live full time on the move heading down the open road in a recreational vehicle?  Are they the millennial’s, generation X, or mostly baby boomers?  We find that there is no specific demographic because anyone who has an adventurous spirit can live in an RV.
Are you as adventurous, ambitious and tech-savvy as the millennials?
These qualities can go a long way while on the road.
Generation X is right at the tipping point of wanting change. Are they still thrilled about the everlasting nine to five job and their existing “sticks and bricks” humble abode?
Baby boomers find this kind of a lifestyle alluring since they do not have many day to day responsibilities.
Additionally, they have money so they can afford to live on the move without worrying about where their next meal will come from. As mentioned earlier, there are people from all walks of life jumping on this bandwagon. They have the dream of creating a new residence, one where they can relax, rest and retreat.

How do you receive mail on the road?

The first question that will arise when you decide to take on the RV life is how you will receive your mail since you no longer have a permanent address. Secondly, which state will you mark as “home” when filing for your taxes. As tedious a task as you may think this is, the answer is pretty simple. You must have a permanent address. This information is also required to stay in most RV Parks. The good news is, there are different options.
People who live in RV’s live on wheels, so how do we establish an address?
The answer is simple. Establish your Domicile,
“the state that a person treats as their permanent home, or lives in and has a substantial connection with”. This can be the city you just left, or the area you frequent often, it can even be the state you plan to see, visit and enjoy.
There are three RV friendly states that make this process a whole lot easier:
  1. Texas,
  2. Florida and
  3. South Dakota.

If you just left one of these states it is even easier. If not you need your story, the connection you have with your home state.

If pulled over by the state police with an out of state drivers license you will need to tell your story.

We have an aunt in South Dakota, we spend the winter in Florida or we frequent Texas for sporting events, anything that ties you to that state.

Once you have your story or “connection” you are ready to set up your address.

To make the whole process easier take a look at these three options:
  1. Escapes RV Club – one of the oldest RV clubs with Mail forwarding services
  2. St Brendans Isle – mail forwarding services and establishing residency
  3. My Dakota Address -mail forwarding, mail receiving, with a South Dakota residency.
Using one of these services will save you a lot of time and money compared to doing this yourself.

Remember, you need a permanent address for several reasons:

==>Filing your State Taxes
==>RV Registration, Inspection
==>Your new Drivers License
==>Receiving Mail
==>Changing your address (for everything)

 How do I find RV Insurance?

One of the first steps in becoming a full-timer is purchasing the right insurance for your new Coach. Most insurance companies do not offer insurance for full-time RV living, however, this must be revealed. You don’t want a claim denied because this was discovered later.
Spending more than six months of the year in your RV is considered full time by most providers. Insurance companies that do offer this coverage provide different insurance packages covering your RV, personal belongings, and other valuables.
Goodsam.com is a great place to start because they offer both insurance and a roadside assistance program with different providers.  The process for newbies is made easier by looking at multiple companies that give you more options. Each company has different coverages and it is imperative to understand the fine print details of the policy. Doing your due diligence ensures that you are fully covered to avoid unforeseen challenges in the event that you go to file a claim.
An additional option to consider is where to sleep in the event your coach is in the shop being repaired for several days. Though some good mechanics will allow you to stay on the property overnight, many full-time plans will offer coverage for hotel stays during this period. This is can be done quickly through a reimbursement program by submitting your receipts to the insurance company.
Take your time during this process. Contact at least three companies before making your decision. You might also seek advice from those already involved in full-time life by listening to the voice of experience.

How do I purchase Medical Insurance?

Healthcare is ever changing and challenging. It seems that what took years to put together and make “more affordable” is now taking years to tear apart and make even “more affordable”. The biggest challenge is finding an expert, especially when we are looking at a full-time RV life. What you understand today very well could change tomorrow. Therefore, rather than looking at no Healthcare at all we will mention the two options we have found to work for an RVer.
  • RVers Insurance Exchange. This is a great place to start for traditional health insurance. Expect to complete a lot of forms when applying. We have found they offer different plans and options for full-timers. The key factor in this is finding a plan allowing you access to the benefits wherever you happen to be while traveling. Be sure the coverage is Nationwide. Recently the options for telemedicine have been useful in finding a local Doctor.
  • Liberty Healthshare. The Healthshare options have become a favorite of those that live the full-time RV life. Not to be confused with traditional health insurance, Liberty Healthshare is a health care sharing ministry. The costs are shared with the members and paid by the members.  They have plans that start as low as $107 a month and easy access to an agent through the toll-free number. This is a basic explanation from the Liberty Healthshare homepage:
“Take Charge of Your Healthcare”
There is strength in numbers.
Join a community of health-conscious people who practice longstanding Christian principles in sharing healthcare costs. Liberty HealthShare℠ exists for everyone who purchases healthcare for themselves or their family, or who wants to control their own healthcare.
Liberty HealthShare℠ is not insurance. It simply unites like-minded people to share medical costs together.”
By working with a 501(c)3 non-profit you are not involved with an insurance company.
  • You can see where your money goes.
  • You are not tied down to a specific provider.
  • The cost is “more affordable”
  • It meets the requirements of the A.C.A. to avoid paying penalties
As with any decision involving Insurance your own due diligence is the key to a successful plan offering the coverage you deserve.

So Where Do You Park Your RV When Not On The Move?

There are three main areas for parking and staying in your RV.
These options include:
  • Private parks
  • Public parks
  • Campgrounds
You might decide to stay at a private park, sometimes referred to as resorts, off-the-interstate or long-term park, a public park, a campground, or even consider boon-docking with the variation called “mouchdocking” staying in the driveway of a friend.
Private parks are more expensive due to the availability of the amenities offered.  These are similar to hotels that attract a lot of vacationers. During peak seasons it can be frustrating to find an open spot in some of these parks. You can find the location of private RVs parks on the internet, through visitor centers or you can use the very resourceful AllStays App.
Private parks come at different prices ranging from $30 per night to upwards of $200 per night. The more expensive grounds have a beautiful view where you can enjoy your camp life and a huge list of amenities that usually include a clubhouse, swimming pools, sports fields, gyms, and even water parks. The private parks also have the necessary amenities including full hook-ups with water, electricity, Wi-Fi, cable T.V and telephone.
Public RVs parks are more affordable than private parks and have a range from $8 to $55 per night. Public parks normally offer much-needed amenities like water and electricity. They also offer scenic views where you can camp while enjoying the scenery. There is also the option to camp on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and public parking areas provided there is no sign prohibiting overnight parking.
Campgrounds in State and National parks are some of the most enticing places to stay. The main attraction is the park itself. Imagine staying in the Tetons, at Yellowstone or even the Everglades. These parks are a great way to have the luxury of a retreat without having high resort prices. Most are under $100 a night with the majority being under $50. The list of amenities varies from park to park.
*The fourth option, which isn’t even an option is a Trailer park. There is a big difference here, trailer parks are for people who live in their trailer as a permanent structure for the long term. This mobile home, 5th wheel, destination trailer or even “Park Trailer” basically stays put. These parks very rarely accept overnight campers.
The people that live here also commute to work, to school and the grocery store from here. Prepare yourself to address this in the future, as a full-time RVer you will be asked this question often.
Most full-timers are members of RV clubs or have an RV membership. Each has a long list of benefits but all have lists and discounts for places to stay. These can be found in the rather large membership packets they provide or by accessing the app’s they offer.
Some of the largest RV Clubs with the best offerings include:
  • Good Sam
  • Passport America
  • Escapees
  • Thousand Trails
  • Harvest Hosts
These memberships create relationships with the RV park owners, be it a park right off of the highway, nearby campgrounds or a National or State Park.
These memberships help with understanding the differences in parks like help with finding a long-term park, the difference between a standard park and a resort and campgrounds vs campsites and even list US public lands you can camp on for free. You’ll find a list for the amenities of the grounds, directions, locations and even local events that take place in the area.
This can be a great resource when planning your next place in the sun while living the full-time RV life.

Full-Time RVing

Living on the road is a thrilling experience with few downsides. When leaving the comfort and safety of your “sticks and bricks” house, preparation will go a long way in ensuring that your life remains enjoyable. This is a big step and you want it to be an enjoyable one. Putting into place a system to receive your mail, buying reliable and sufficient insurance and having knowledge of the best camping sites and RVs parks will go a long way in ensuring that you have a pleasurable full-time RV life. If you have ever wanted to live life on the road, get started, now is the best time to take action.
Full time RV life, tires