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RV Living Verses Apartment Living
Two years ago, my husband and I decided to go to the United States as a retired state. We kicked out the kids (over 21), sold our house and bought an RV. Circumstances change and we are not on the road, at least not yet. We stayed in the area and worked full time. But we decided at that time to stay in the RV as full-time employees.
The purpose of the article is to provide insight into the potential uses of RVs instead of residential homes and the benefits of RVing. First, a little background for those unfamiliar with the term Recreational Vehicle (RV). RVs are classified into different categories.
Class A is the bus like the car you see driving on the road. These are also called Motorhomes and for good reason. Grade A is the cream of the crop so to speak. They are the most expensive but have the most storage and features. I have found a very nice Class A and when it comes time to upgrade or sell our current RV we will look at the Class A again. However, my taste starts at $250,000, which is a bit difficult for me to justify.
Next to Class B, these are mini-motorcycles. They are based on a light to medium truck chassis and can be identified by the shape of the car’s cab. In my opinion, these are not suitable for full-time use unless you really want a small space. Some new Class B’s include so called slides which are parts of the RV that ‘slide’ away from the body giving you more space inside. Living space is what you will want in the long run.
After Class B comes Fifth Wheels. Fifth Wheels is a trailer that is pulled by a pickup truck. So to get five wheels, you need a pickup truck of the right size. I think it will take at least ¾ ton. The fifth wheel offers an advantage over the Class A and Class B because when the fifth wheel is installed on the campsite, the truck is detached and can be used as a means of transportation. With Class A & B RVs you need to tow or bring another vehicle with you to get around. Fifth wheels approach Class A RVs in equipment and in some cases have more space. Dollar for dollar you’ll get more room for a fifth wheel than a Class A.
However, you need an expensive bus (truck) that must be considered as part of the purchase. Fifth wheels belong to the class considered ‘Towables’. The next ‘towable’ is the transport vehicle (TT). These are similar to fifth wheels except for the bus connection. With the TT you connect to the block that sits next to the bumper of the car. So, almost any car can tow a TT depending on size and weight of course. Class A, Fifth Wheels and Travel Trailers are the 3 main RVs that you will see people living in full time. After TT comes the camp class. These are very light RV’s that are not suitable for full time, however, I have met full time people in pop-ups, truck campers and even tents. The top of the range for the camper class is probably the truck campers.
These are components that slide into the bed of a pickup truck. In general, the maximum length is not more than 12 meters from front to back and maybe 10 meters on each side. They are very consistent. These offer the ultimate in flexibility, as they are quick to set up and take down so you can quickly move from one place to another. However, like Class A & B, your home is also your transportation, unless you drive another vehicle. The last group of towables is the popup or tent trailer. They have a study box frame and as the name implies, they pop up or up to raise the roof above the frame. This class of camping usually has a soft side made of fabric. I’ve been using popups for years as a hotel substitute for assignments around the country. Even camping in the middle of winter with snow on the ground in the popup. Needless to say, the heater is needed and runs all day and all night. The night didn’t keep up with the cold so it was a little fun to get out of bed in the morning. It was 20 degrees outside and about 50 inside.
This is a basic overview of the types of RVs available. As mentioned earlier, Class A, Fifth Wheel and Travel Trailers are the units that most people find suitable for full time living.
Our full time RV living experience.
We currently have a fifth wheel. Ours is from Jayco and is 38 feet long and has 3 slides. One slide is in the bedroom, the other two are in the living room on each side of the trailer. . After almost 3 years in the RV as full time campers we both love it. My wife likes to say that it takes less than an hour to clean from front to back, floor to ceiling.
Let’s start with the financial side of living in an RV. You have the cost of the RV. They should be treated like cars. If you buy new, the discount will be worse. However, like a home, the interest is tax deductible. Therefore, the best deal seems to be a group of one or two years and finance. If you want to buy new, get a discount of 25-30% off the list price. In 2003, our group was still in the area in 2005 and in 2006 it was delivered. The sticker price is over $65,000. We paid $40,000 and saved 38 percent. At this point we didn’t have a bus so the seller delivered the fifth wheel to a nearby camp.
Oak Grove in Hatfield, PA is a year-round campground. This is important. You want to find a campground that offers year-round activities. You don’t have to leave for the winter. Many camps close from November to March or early April. When we started there, our rent was $375 a month and included water and electricity. The only other expenses are propane for heating and hot water. Oak Grove provided a 2-100 lb propane tank and modified the tank for us. It’s great, like automatic oil delivery when you own a home. In the warmer months we rarely use propane, maybe a bottle a month if that. However, the winter will use 3-4 bottles per month because of the heater. Currently, propane is going for about $50 per bottle. So from the point of view of renting a house to live in RV expenses are easier. My daughter pays $750 a month for a house near us and we pay about $425-450.
Another perk of living in an RV – people! The people you meet camping are the nicest people you will ever meet. They are friendly, helpful, young at heart and fun to be around. We have been avid campers since we got married. I used to sneak into DE where my wife (girlfriend at the time) and her family lived and set up a tent, I became part of the family. In our almost 40 years of camping together, we have never seen a person who was rude, a thief, or unwilling to lend a hand when asked. In fact, we received no-questions-asked help for the time we stayed in the apartment or house.
It’s funny that when I was walking around and staying at the hotel I almost felt like a ghost or a leopard or something. Heaven forbid you say ‘hi’ to someone in an elevator or hallway. But when camping, everyone waves as you pass, some will offer you a drink or sit by the fire and talk for hours. We are all like family.
Speaking of fire, what is a campfire? Sitting at night around a nice campfire is very relaxing. Nothing needs to be said, just look at the flames and all the stress seems to just float away. But fire has another benefit, namely food. Nothing tastes better than food cooked over an open fire. Try doing it in a house.
Rving has another benefit, relaxation. If you live in an apartment, your vacation consists of going somewhere, finding a hotel/motel, eating all the food, and bringing enough clothes for you during the vacation. When you live in an RV, your home travels with you. 30-40 minutes to load the RV, disconnect the accessories and load it into the truck and you’re on your way. When you arrive at your vacation spot, another 30-40 minutes and you are ready to enjoy the sites. Food is not a problem, you have a fully equipped kitchen just like at home, because it’s at home. On a special diet? No problem, your routine is not interrupted. Clothes get dirty, many RVs come with washers and dryers, so you can wash your clothes while relaxing in the evening or before you start your day. Rving is also easier. If you compare the costs, you will find that an RV trip is cheaper than a hotel/restaurant trip.
These are just a few of the things to consider when you look at life in a verse living in an RV. I hope the information was useful to you.
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