RV Living Verses Apartment Living

June 30, 2022 0 Comments

A couple of years ago, my wife and I decided that we were going to travel to the US in a semi-retired state. We kicked out the kids (all over 21), sold our house, and bought an RV. Well, live situations change and we don’t hit the road, at least not yet. We ended up staying in the area and taking full time jobs. But we decided at that point to stay in the RV as full-time workers.

The purpose of the article is to give an idea of ​​the possibilities of using RVs instead of apartments and the advantages of Rving. First, a little information for those who are not familiar with recreational vehicle (RV) terms. Recreational vehicles fall into several different categories.

Class A are the bus type vehicles you see traveling down the road. These are also called motorhomes and for good reason. Class A’s are the cream of the crop, so to speak. They are the most expensive in terms of cost, but have the most storage and amenities. I’ve seen some really nice A-Classes and when it’s time to upgrade or trade in our current RV, we’ll consider the A-Class again. However, my likes start in the $250,000 range, which is a little hard for me to justify.

The following are Class B, these are mini motorhomes. They are built on a light to medium truck chassis and can be identified by the appearance of the vehicle’s cab. In my opinion these will not be suitable for full time use unless you really like small places. Some newer Class Bs include what are called slides, which are sections of the RV that ‘slide out’ of the body giving you more room to live inside. Living space is what you will be looking for long term.

After Class B comes Fifth Wheels. Fifth wheels are trailers pulled by trucks. So to get a fifth wheel, you’ll also need a properly sized pickup truck. I would figure at least a ¾ ton truck. Fifth wheels offer an advantage over Class A and Class B in that once you have the fifth wheel installed at a campsite, the truck detaches and can be used for transportation. With Class A and B RVs, you will need to tow or bring another vehicle to get around. Fifth wheels come close to the Class A RV in amenities and in some cases have more room. Dollar for dollar you will get more living space in a fifth wheel than in a Class A.

However, you need an expensive tow vehicle (truck) which should be considered as part of the purchase. The fifth wheel is also part of a class considered to be ‘Towables’. The next ‘towable’ is the travel trailer (TT). They are similar to the fifth wheel except for the connections to the tow vehicle. With TT you connect to a hitch that is located near the bumper of the vehicle. So just about any vehicle has the ability to tow a TT based on size and weight of course. Class A, fifth wheels, and travel trailers are the top 3 RVs you’ll find people living in full time. After the TT comes the camper class. These are light RVs that really aren’t suitable for full time, however I have known people who work full time in pop ups, vans and even tents. The top of the line for the RV class is probably the truck RVs.

These are units that slide into the bed of a truck. In general, the maximum length does not exceed 12 feet from front to back and maybe 10 feet from side to side. They are very compact. These offer the ultimate in freedom as they are quick to set up and take down so you can quickly move from one location to another. However, just like Class A and B, your home is also your means of transportation, unless you bring another vehicle with you. The last group of trailers are pop-up or tent trailers. These have a studio box frame and, as the name implies, they open or lift to raise the roof over the frame. This class of motorhomes usually have soft sides made of fabric. I have used popups for years as an alternative to hotels while on assignments across the country. Even camped in the dead of winter with snow on the ground in a popup. Needless to say, a heater was required and it worked all day and night. At night I couldn’t stand the cold, so in the morning it was kind of fun to get out of bed. It was 20 degrees outside and about 50 inside.

That’s a basic overview of the types of RVs available. As mentioned above, Class A, Fifth Wheel and Travel Trailers are the units that most people will find suitable for full-time living.

Our experiences of living full time in an RV.

We currently have a fifth wheel. Ours is from Jayco and is 38 feet long with 3 slides. One slide is in the bedroom, the other two slides are in the living room, one on each side of the trailer. After almost 3 years in the RV as full time workers, we both love it. My wife likes to say that it takes less than an hour to clean front to back, floor to ceiling.

Let’s start with the financial aspect of living in an RV. You have the cost of the RV. These should be treated like cars. If you buy new, you’ll take a beating in depreciation. However, like a house, the interest is tax deductible. So the best deal seems to be a unit that is a year or two old and financed. If you want to buy a new one, calculate a discount of around 25-30% from the list price. Our unit was a 2003 still on the lot in 2005 with the 2006 units being delivered. The tag price was over $65,000. We paid $40,000 saving about 38 percent. Now, at the time we didn’t have a towing vehicle, so the dealer delivered the fifth wheel to a nearby campground.

Oak Grove in Hatfield, PA is a year-round camp. This is important. You want to find a campground that offers year-round operations. You don’t want to have to move in the winter. Many campgrounds are closed from November through March or early April. When we started there, our rent was $375 a month and that included water and electricity. Our only other expense was propane for heat and hot water. Oak Grove supplied 2 100 pound propane tanks and automatically changed tanks for us. This is really cool, kind of like automatic oil delivery when you own a house. During the warmer months we barely use propane, maybe a bottle every other month if that. However, in winter we will use 3-4 bottles a month due to the heater. Propane currently costs about $50 a bottle. So, from the point of view of renting an apartment to living in an RV, the expenses are usually cheaper. My daughter pays $750 a month for an apartment near us and we pay an average of $425-450.

Other benefits of living in an RV: people! The people you meet camping are the most wonderful people you have ever met. They are friendly, helpful, young at heart and just nice to be around. We have been avid campers since before we got married. I used to sneak out to DE where my wife (girlfriend at the time) and her family would camp and pitch a tent, then I would become part of the family. In the nearly 40 years we have been together and camping, we have never met anyone who was rude, a thief, or unwilling to lend a hand if asked. In fact, we’ve received more offers of help without asking than at any time we live in a house or apartment.

It’s funny, but when I traveled and stayed in hotels, you almost felt like a ghost or a leopard or something. God forbid if he said ‘hello’ to someone in the elevator or hallway. But when you camp, everyone waves as you pass, some offering you drinks or making you sit by the fire and chat for hours. It’s like we’re all family.

Speaking of fires, what’s in a campfire? Sitting around a good fire at night is very relaxing. No need to say anything, just look at the flames and all the stress seems to float away. But campfires have another benefit, food. Nothing tastes better than food cooked over an open fire. Try doing that in an apartment.

Rving has another benefit, vacations. If you live in an apartment, your vacation consists of going to a destination, finding a hotel/motel, going out to eat every meal and taking enough clothes with you during the vacation. When you live in an RV, your home goes with you. 30-40 minutes to pack up the RV, turn off the utilities and hook up to the truck and you’re on the road. When you arrive at your vacation destination, another 30-40 minutes and you’ll be ready to enjoy the sites. Meals are not a problem, you have a full kitchen already stocked just like home as it is home. Do we have a special diet? No problem, your normal routine is uninterrupted. Clothes get dirty, many RVs come with washers and dryers, so you can do laundry while relaxing in the evenings or before starting your day. Rving is usually cheaper too. When you compare costs, you will find that motorhome travel is much cheaper than hotel/restaurant travel.

These are just a few of the things to consider when considering apartment living vs. RV living. I hope you have found the information useful.

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