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Expert Advice

9 Struggles of Living on the Road

RVing gives you the flexibility to explore the U.S. and it’s easy to romanticize the idea of RVing full time. While full-timing is an exciting endeavor, the reality is that there are struggles and sacrifices for this lifestyle to thoughtfully consider before diving in. Below are 9 struggles we realized as we lived on the road and how we learned to handle them.

Limited Storage Space

No matter how minimal you live, moving your life into an RV will challenge that! You have limited closet and storage space, and even your fridge can only hold so much food. Leading up to our time in the Airstream, we had already started living more minimally. Each year we would purge belongings we no longer used and tried not to hold onto stuff just because we had the space for it. It’s a great way to live whether you’re in an RV or not, and we’ve realized how many things we have that we really don’t need.

Tight Quarters

What is more difficult than limited storage space, is limited living space! When you are in each other’s personal space all the time, it’s impossible to avoid conflict. You don’t realize how precious alone time is until it’s taken away. We found that the best solutions were going for walks/hikes, or setting up a comfortable outdoor space so that someone can hang out under the awning when alone time is needed.

Ever-changing Community

You meet a lot of interesting people when you spend some time outside your RV. We had amazing conversations and were fascinated to hear how everyone ended up in this lifestyle. But since everyone is so mobile, you no longer have a consistent community of friends. We never really found a great solution for this, but have heard of people who found other full-timers to caravan with. This would hopefully be the goal if we decided to ever full-time!

Internet Speeds

Since we work online, this was easily the hardest adjustment! We went from an average of 40-50 mbps to 0-3 mbps on the road (it took me over 18 hours to upload a video at one point!). We eventually got ourselves a hotspot (http://localadventurer.com/how-to-get-internet-while-traveling/), which made it a bit easier, but nothing compares to what you have when you’re grounded. We had to learn to work efficiently when we had a good internet connection, and how to work offline otherwise.

Unexpected Changes

No matter how much you plan your trip, the unexpected can still happen on the road. Flat tires, repairs, bad weather, and more can totally change up what you were hoping to do. We had times where we ran into unexpected snow and had to divert our route, but living on the road means you need to learn to roll with the punches. On the plus side, when you find a place you love, you can stay as long as you want!

Maneuvering Tight Spaces

You are more mobile, as after all, you are driving your home everywhere! But with that, you also give up some maneuverability. Being in such a big vehicle means that you need to think before turning into a parking lot or onto a road. Otherwise, you might find yourself stuck and have to deal with backing out. Also, depending on the size of RV you’re living in, you may have more limited options for camping and where to park. All of this just means you need to plan a bit more and be aware of where you are.

Water & Power Limits

When you’re fully hooked up, you have all the comforts of being grounded. You can take longer showers, charge everything up, and not have to worry about your grey tank limitations. But if you’re hoping to do more boondocking or dry camping, you are limited by water and power. We weren’t great at dry camping, but we know a lot of people who are. We could go 2-3 nights, whereas other people go for weeks at a time! You simply have to learn to be more conservative with your water and power, and it helps to upgrade your battery and solar set ups. We typically just chose to stay in RV parks so we could still hook up and plug in. ;D

You Flush Your Sewage, then Flush it Again

This was something we were dreading from the beginning. We love that RVing gives you the option to have your own bathroom, but eventually that tank fills up and you have to empty it. I’m happy to say that unless something goes horribly wrong, it was a much smoother process than I thought. It made each subsequent dump much less daunting.

In the end, we lived in our Airstream for 3 months and decided that full timing is not for us personally. The biggest deal breakers for us were the internet speeds and lack of consistent community. But with all that said, we still love the lifestyle and plan to hit the road for 3 months at a time. We love being able to explore the US while bringing along our home and 2 cats.

woman and man with color

Local Adventurer

Esther & Jacob of LocalAdventurer.com are photographers, videographers, and bloggers. They believe that adventure can be found anywhere, and their blog focuses on finding adventures both near and far. They are ATLiens who have been on the move in their RV, trying to discover the world one new city at a time: LA in 2013, Las Vegas in 2014, San Diego in 2015. Most recently, they spent three months living on the road in an Airstream.