Are you thinking of switching to full-time RV living? There are many great reasons why you should make the change. You enjoy a lower cost of living, sense of freedom, and it can be a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
We’ve been living in a 200-square-feet renovated vintage Airstream for the past 6 years. Although we love living full-time in our RV – I’m writing this from inside our Airstream right now – the RV lifestyle isn’t always glamorous.
There are several things we dislike – and even hate – about the lifestyle. If you’re thinking about downsizing, here are 20 reasons why you shouldn’t live in an RV.
Here are 20 reasons why full-time RV living is not for everyone:
20. Lack of Privacy
Unless you’re living the RV lifestyle alone, finding personal space can become an issue. With such a small living area and no walls to divide rooms, it’s hard to find privacy.
Since you live in a super-cool home, people will want to come and stay with you to get a taste of your RV lifestyle. Who can blame them? Having people over can be fun. It can also reach a point where you’re getting a lot of visitors on a regular basis. If you’re living in an RV with a partner, not much is gonna happen…if you know what I mean.
19. Can You Fix It?
When you live in a tiny home on wheels, things tend to break often because you’re moving around a lot from location to location. Expect to learn some basic woodworking, electrical, plumbing and mechanical skills. If this is something you’re not up for, then you may want to reconsider full-time RV living.
18. Living in a Confined Space Tests Your Patience
Living in a small space with someone else means you’re living in a small space with someone else! With not much room to move about, it can get a little annoying because you’re constantly bumping into each other. You also have to see each other all.of.the.time, which can create more conflict.
17. You Need to Pay Attention to Your Utilities
If your RV uses propane to cook or heat water, you’re going to want to keep track with how much propane you’re using. This is especially important if you’re planning on setting up camp far from a propane filling station. As well, if you’re planning on boondocking and relying on solar to power your RV and holding tanks to store all your water, then being mindful and keeping track of your usage is essential.
16. Wear and Tear on Your Car
If you want to live the RV lifestyle, know that you’re going to be putting a lot more wear and tear on your vehicle. When you’re towing an RV that weighs thousands of pounds, you have to inevitably change the oil and tires more frequently. You’ll also be putting on more miles than the average car owner. This means more repairs more frequently.
15. Tidy Up Time is All the Time
Small spaces get dirtier quicker as there’s less room for dirt and dust to move around. Since you don’t want to live in that filth, you’re constantly cleaning. Moreover, an untidy RV just looks cluttered.
14. Finding RV Experts is Tricky
When you’re on the road, finding experts who specialize in RV repairs can be challenging. One time we needed to get our propane lines checked. After calling around, only one guy out of twenty was willing to do it because he was certified to operate on RVs.
13. Prep Your RV for Winter
If you plan on living full-time in your RV in cooler climates, then you’re going to have to ‘winterize’ your RV. If you don’t, your pipes will freeze and burst. Not fun.
12. Breakages are Normal
Towing an RV or Airstream has the potential to create damage to your home. Every time you drive, it puts your tiny home through a magnitude 7.0 earthquake with all the swaying, shifting and bumping. Be prepared to fix things often. Over the past 6 years, we’ve had to replace tires and repair cracks in our ceiling, countertops, and cabinets.
11. Humidity Issues
Mould and mildew are not uncommon issues to encounter with an RV or Airstream. We often check our hygrometer and run our dehumidifier or Dometic air conditioner to dry out the inside of our Airstream. Even so, our humidity can still spike, especially if we’re cooking or taking a hot shower.
10. Driving Can Be Scary
Depending on your driving skills and comfort level, towing an RV or Airstream can be a stressful experience. You can definitely feel the sway, especially on windy days! Don’t even get me started on driving downhill… This is coming from me, Kristen. Siya on the other hand doesn’t get nervous at all.
9. Tiny House Means Tiny Kitchen
Depending on the size of your RV, kitchen space can be minimal. Our stovetop only has two burners, and we go grocery shopping often because our fridge doesn’t store much. We only have room for one pot and one frying pan – and our pantry is about the size of a medium-sized shoe rack.
8. Dumping Stinks!
Dumping poop, pee, and water from the shower is the least glamorous thing about the RV lifestyle. It’s grimy and slimy and stinks on all levels! No one enjoys doing it. We recently built a urine diverter for our compost toilet, but we still need to physically dump our poop every 2-3 weeks.
7. Expensive Parking Fees
If you’re not boondocking or have free places to park, parking fees can add up and get expensive. This is especially true if you’re traveling during the high season or staying for less than a week in the same place. The only time you find real deals at RV resorts or campgrounds is if you commit to spending the entire season there.
6. Exhausting Setups
When you’re living full-time in an RV and constantly on the move, you have to regularly set up and tear down. Add in a toddler and a dog to the mix, and it can get very exhausting. Especially, when you’re doing it every day or two.
5. Limited Parking Permits
Some RV parks only let you stay for a month at a time, and then you can’t come back for a month or two. That means, looking for new places to park will become part of your regular routine.
4. You Have to Be a Minimalist
If you like to have a lot of stuff, full-time RV living isn’t for you. When you live in a small space, downsizing your life is a must. If you have too much, your space will become cluttered. The last thing you want is to end up on an episode of Hoarders.
3. No Community
When you’re constantly moving around, you don’t get to really know your neighbours. The lack of regular community can feel lonely at times.
2. Know Your Water Usage
When you are living the RV lifestyle, you have to be aware of your water usage, especially if you’re not connected to a hose and are just using your water tank. When you’re not used to tracking how much water you’re using, it’s easy to run out quickly.
1. Having Friends Over Can Cramp Your Lifestyle
If you have friends or family wanting to spend the night, space will get tight…fast! We can have two, maybe three, other people stay with us in our Airstream. Recently, my mom stayed with us in our Airstream for three months. THREE MONTHS! We’ve come to understand that hosting for longer than a few days starts to feel a bit overwhelming.
Every kind of lifestyle comes with ups and downs. Social media makes it easy to glamorise living in an RV, Airstream or van. But we will be real with you. It’s not always easy living this way. It’s important to know all of the struggles you may face before jumping in. We must say though, even with all the struggles, we love this lifestyle and are so happy we chose to live this way.
We hope our honest insights into full-time RV living gives you a realistic perspective of what it’s really like to live in a small space.