So how does one afford to full-time?! - Fiberglass RV

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Old 06-19-2012, 08:11 AM   #1
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Name: Cyndi
Trailer: 1984 FiberStream
Posts: 148
So how does one afford to full-time?!

Ive been poking my head around this FGRV forum for about 2 years. I especially love my late night reads of a select few who own a FGRV and have chosen to travel and live in their trailer full-time, and write on a daily blog of their experiences. I have owned a trillium, and now have a 84 FiberStream. Honestly, Ive only taken my trailer to weekend festivals, and have never traveled for much considered a length of time in it. While the thought is desirable, doing it alone sounds a bit lonely- although theres a spirit in me that just wants to go! Seems to me campsites are at a premium: $35-$65 (that was a recent post here by someone for a rally stay) a night. My questions are, is it JUST the State and National parks that offer sites for a bargain of $6 a night? With that price, is electric and water included? Is there an app or website people here frequent to find such reasonable campsite prices? It seems if Im traveling with no real destination in mind, except for the weather and sites to see, Id be spending sometime on the Internet or sticking to Rally's map looking for a camping symbol. Any enlightment on the topic would be appreciated.

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Old 06-19-2012, 08:49 AM   #2
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Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
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There's lots of ways to save money while traveling. One of the best things going is National Senior Pass for those of us over 62 and US citizen. It's one time $10.00 and good for the rest of your life. Entry into National Parks free, 1/2 normal camping fee at all federal campgrounds. That includes National Parks, National Forests, BLM, Corps of Engineers, TVA camping areas. There are some free areas in BLM lands, and Corps of Engineers and National Forests. While traveling you can also stay in many Wal-Mart parking lots, rest areas, and truck stops (I'm sure there's others).

The vast majority of these places don't have electricity or water.

Rand Mcnally Road maps are good for road maps, but there's better resources for camping. Most federal campgrounds are on the internet. National forest, National Parks, etc.

One of the great sources is other people. We simifulltime about 3 months at a time and average less than $7.50 per night. Often in National Parks where we meet other people that have been to a lot of places will gladly share the good and bad.

As for the internet, most McDonalds now have free wifi internet. Most libraries also have free wifi. So getting on the internet isn't that difficult.

You'll find you'll learn a lot as you go and the more you travel the more you learn about places and how to live in your trailer. Some stuff you thought you had to have you'll not use other stuff you find you'll want. Be prepared to adjust as you go and enjoy the trip.

One more thought. A couple one month trips might be a good way to start before committing to full timing.

Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:01 AM   #3
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Name: Norm and Ginny
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We're not fulltimers but are on the road for 11 months this year and have averaged 7 months a year for the last 11 years.

As far as I can determine there is no way to live that is less expensive than being continuously on the road. We have kept detailed financial records of every month on the road. A typical month of camping fees, and we usually stay in hook up campgrounds, is less than our monthly property tax bill.

It is definitely less than our monthly property tax bill, plus the cost of electricity, water and insurance. If you add home maintenance and possibly a mortgage, it's even way less to spend time in campgrounds.

As Byron suggests, there are ways to further reduce the campground fees. As one moves forward, makes a few rig modifications, it is easy to camp comfortably in our little rigs without hookups.

I have only spent $35 for campsites a few times and then only under exceptional circumstances.

Our monthly expenses have four items that dominate our budget - food, camping fees, insurance and fuel. We have some control over all of these.

In general we rarely eat out and surprisingly to us we eat a lot less when traveling and this has gone a long way to a healthier life.

Camping fees is an area where choices can make a difference. There are numerous ways to keep fees lower. It is definitely possible to camp with hookups for less than $20 a night. If one configures their life appropriately it is also possible to pay less than $10 a night without hookups without spending time at Walmarts.

Insurance is what it is. Our biggest outlay is for medical insurance and I see no way to escape that. As full timers some insurances disappear like home insurance.

Fuel is also inescapeable. We minimize it, though not without controversy, by towing with a fuel efficient vehicle. As well we don't race around the country, we drive slower paced roads at a reasonable rate.

We take long trips that spread the cost of fuel versus short destination trips where one drives 500 one way for a week or month and returns to the home base. We do not tow every day, typically spending 3-7 days in a place. This year we're covering some 11-14,000 miles over 330 days while making a loop of the entire country. We rarely drive more than 150 miles in a day.

Some people think becoming a full timer is continuing your normal life with the only change being to do it in a trailer.

For some, Fulltimers means accomodating their pets and hobbies in a small trailer. For us this is not the case. Recently we met a couple in a small Airstream with a parrot, a large dog and a small dog; they were all bound up in tight quarters by their pets. Their lives had become dominated by their pets. We have also met people who had been quilters and intended to keep up that hobby on the road.

Part of being a full timer is adapting to new opportinities. We love our life on the road. It offers the chance to be stimulated in new ways. It is the best of life in our mind(s) - I really mean mind because we are Ginny and I are one on the joys of RVing.

This month we are spending a month camping in our Bothell, WA family's driveway which we have done many times over the years, an opportunity to closely enjoy their and the grand kids growth.

On the road life has been great.....
Norm and Ginny

2014 Honda Odyssey
1991 Scamp 16
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:08 AM   #4
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Note... The cost per night is an average. Our goal is generally to average under $10.00 per night. Here's an example:
4 nights in a LA state campground near New Orleans $20.00 per night = $80
next 4 nights in a National Forest Service campground at $2.50 per night = $10
next 2 nights in rest areas = $0
Total for 10 night is $90 for an average of $9 per night.

Long term camping/traveling is mostly a life style which requires a relaxed mind set. If you're open to it good things happen, if you're uptight about it it's hard to enjoy. We've found (Anne and myself) that there's several good things that happen. Just the traveling, the driving down the road, is great. The people you meet along the way are special. We've found some pretty neat museums. As Norm says we eat less, and don't eat out very often.

It a good idea to embrace the unknown. Look at as an adventure.

OK, We're home at the moment and this all getting my feet very itchy.
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:40 AM   #5
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Name: Daniel A.
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British Columbia
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On our side of the boarder I've had my trailer parked for the last two months in a great RV park paved roads, hydro, water, great showers, internet included 500.00 per month half hour walk to the main town area.

BC has had a tough spring for weather so I took the trailer to the sunny area of the province, great tan plenty of reading.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:56 AM   #6
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We just returned home after a week of bumming around Pennsylvania. One of those nights away from home cost us $40 for a full hookup site. That's the most we've EVER paid. The other nights were around $26 with one night $20. If we'd have stayed in a forest service we'd have spent $10 or less with our "geezer pass" but didn't come across those campgrounds in the areas where we were at stopping time. There is a book available about free or inexpensive campgrounds. Can't remember the name but go to the rv travel website and you should be able to find out.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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Free Camping | RV Camping, Car Camping, Tent Camping | Campsites, Campgrounds
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:02 PM   #8
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Trailer: '99 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe
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Right now I'm living in my Casita in a private campground that has monthly pricing, it's $350 a month including electricity and water which works out to under $12 a day for full hookups. Traveling slower saves a lot of money on the road, both in campground fees in places like this that offer weekly and monthly rates, and in gas prices as well.

Also at some point I'm going to be outfitting my egg with solar power, that way I'll be able to boondock and stay in cheaper primitive sites and still get electricity. It does cost some money up front, but you earn in back over time.

I'm not retirement age so to afford full-timing I'm going to be working as I go, taking temporary and seasonal jobs when necessary and earning money online. It definitely is possible to full-time without being rich and in a fiberglass trailer. If it's something you want to do I say go for it! Best of luck and happy trails.
Life's too short not to spend it doing something you love.
Lessons on the full-time RVing journey (my blog): Interstellar Orchard
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:35 AM   #9
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I am a wannabe snowbirder. Practicing my boondocking skills and installing solar power. Found the following sites to be very helpful in figuring out how to full time on a budget.

Affordable RV Adventure Travel
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:00 AM   #10
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Trailer: Trillium
Newfoundland & Labrador
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Westy to fg

We had planned on hitting the road for the winter in 2009-2010 with the Wesfalia. It didn't happen. The Westy is sold now.
Now I'm thinking of doing the same in my 13ft. Trillium and all this chatter has my head gears turning and churning. She said our plans will be your plans now.
Keep talking guys. You may just give me the nudge I need.....
Thanks. Scouter Dave
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:15 AM   #11
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Check out Sue's blog for a good day-by-day account of fulltiming...
rvsue and her canine crew | Living on less and enjoying life more
It's not the size.....
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:34 AM   #12
Name: Ollie
Trailer: 1991 Scamp 13'
Posts: 84
I don't have any familiarity with this other than meeting a few full-timers who did it, but it seems like a viable option- trading maintenance around campgrounds, etc. for free camp-sites. I'm not sure how much work-camping differs from being a camp host?

Work Camping, Work Camper and Work Camping
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:12 PM   #13
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well,,,first off you have to have income so retire,,or have a portable source of income. one lady i have heard about is a writer, another an artist. something where you can basicly work from where ever you are.

then get rid of any expenses you can,,,home, credit cards, debt of any kind.
i imagine it would help too if your divorced and your kids hate you,,,,,lol
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:08 PM   #14
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
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On the Road

John, I know you were just kidding....

One aspect of the being On the Road, is that it CAN bring couples closer together. You almost can't help it in a 44" wide bed. I do admit that Ginny and I have always been close, but not were close like best buddies, doing every thing together, every day all year. Ginny is a marvelously considerate person, I hope over the last 11 years I have become more like her.

We've reached the age where we sometimes wonder what it would be like to be alone. I doubt I would remarry but I definitely would have a traveling campanion, someone to laugh and enjoy the travels with. Ginny and I always joke that I have on my speed dial, not a sign that I'm unhappy in any way but rather that I am happy and would want to share the happiness.

RVing does provide the opportunity to see your children, whether they love you or not, and to do it on a more relaxed schedule, yours.

On our first visits to our children's home we would always parked in a nearby campground providing us both with separation. It turned out that our son stopped by every day so after a number of years we've camped in his yard when visiting, still providing a measure of separation... and saving us about $400 a month.

One benefit of RVing is that we've had the opportunity to see a lot of the grand kids as they grew up as well the chance to take them with us to Alaska and the like.

We love the wonder we've found, in each other and the experience of new places...

Norm and Ginny

2014 Honda Odyssey
1991 Scamp 16
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