Have you ever thought about hitting the road in an RV for an extended vacation with the freedom to wake up in a different town at your own schedule and see what lies beyond the norm? These are some of my thoughts during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I decided to do just that. Here’s how I made the transition, and perhaps it may help you make a life-changing decision.
Taking Your Retirement On the Road
Melody Pittman and her husband take their retirement on the road, seeing the country, visiting family, and spending time with loved ones. Here's how they made the leap into RV life.
Cost of Living
At the age of early and mid-50s, my husband and I work in an industry that allows us to work remotely. We were ready for a change of scenery. We live in a beautiful town on the East coast of Florida, and I monitored the property value’s as they continued to climb. It got to the point where it made financial sense to capitalize on the housing market boom, sell our rental property, and take a journey across America in an RV. Until this conversation, we hadn’t given it much thought, and it was never our dream to try RV vacations for more than a few days, at best.
We also started doing the math on how much we were paying to maintain our primary residence and our rental property. We were homeowners with no mortgage but still spent around $2,000 on monthly utility bills, taxes, and insurance. This did not include our cell phones, internet, groceries, and such because we will have those expenses no matter where we are. Until we started looking at our costs, we had no idea the actual price to just live in our residence.
Opportunity to Explore the Country (Safely)
Eddie and I had no knowledge about RV life. Besides two short RV trips for my job, our only camping experience was tent camping and the nights spent on our cabin cruiser (boat) a few times throughout our 30 years together. We didn’t ever think, “can we really do this?” The excitement of being able to visit all of these fantastic places that we’d talked about but never had time to see made us say, “let’s go for it.”
More Time Visiting Family
We have a daughter in Vero Beach, where we previously resided, and another daughter, son-in-law, and our only granddaughter, Scarlett, in Mississippi. Not only can we travel to visit them more frequently with our newfound flexibility. Our Mississippi family can also come with us for mini-vacations as our RV will sleep six.
In my eyes, another benefit in purchasing our first RV gives us months or maybe years of fun and excitement with Scarlett and a unique way to make family memories and truly see America.
Since I am a travel writer, there could be no better fit than RV life to gather content and photos and soak up the scenery for future writings. Working from the road would make it easier to gather content for my website and offer more professional recommendations.
We decided to take additional advantage of the hot real estate market and sold a rental house which provided the funds to purchase the RV. Eddie had researched several models online, and we learned RVs have multiple floorplans. Whether you are looking for an RV that is easy to drive or tow, can accommodate taking a golf cart or motorcycle along, and you need two baths or multiple areas to sleep, the options are surprisingly endless.
Eddie and I looked at numerous models at several dealerships. We decided that a Cedar Creek 5th wheel would best meet our needs by offering the comforts of home: a nice size bedroom, closet space for a washer and dryer, eight-foot ceilings, comfortable recliners, sleeper sofa, fireplace, flat-screen tv, and kitchen island. Best of all, it fits within our budget. I would like to add that the bedroom is large enough that we brought our Sleep Number bed and we have ample storage, which is essential when traveling for an extended time and through different seasons.
We had not planned for the huge demand for larger pickup trucks needed to tow a fifth wheel, which we did not have. Doing our due diligence, we found that new trucks were just a few thousand dollars more than those with 40,000 miles or five years old. Knowing we would be putting miles on the truck and towing a fifth-wheel made financial sense and gave us peace of mind to pay an extra for the new truck.
So for now, Eddie and I have hit the road and are seeing the country, one state at a time. When we started, the first RV resort we booked was 30 minutes from our home, then we moved two hours north, then three hours north.
A friend recently shared their rule of thumb, and it makes sense to us now that we are on the road and have had some long days. When she travels, she uses the 2-2-2 rule. The rule is to drive two hours, two hundred miles, or be at the RV park or campsite by 2 PM. We have been abiding by this rule and found that it’s less overwhelming to start using this as a guide.
If you have thought of simplifying daily life, an urge to explore America, or are ready to move somewhere new, it can be done.