7 Big Downsides of RV Living (Part-Time and Full-Time)

The RV lifestyle is the dream of so many people, but there are some serious downsides to living in VR. It’s important to understand the negatives of living in a motorhome before fully committing to it…

During the pandemic, many people have taken the opportunity to leave their desks and hit the road in VR. With house prices at an all-time high, some have even cashed in and moved into a full-time RV.

Unfortunately, many people had a rude awakening. The hard truths of RV life have fallen upon them, and it’s not the life they expected.

Jennifer and I have been in VR for over a decade now. We’re not quite full time, but we spend about ¾ of our year in VR.

In fact, the following disadvantages of RV life play a significant role in the remaining quarter of the year spent at home.

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7 main disadvantages of living in a motorhome

7 big downsides of living in VR

Before I start outlining the downsides, I think I should point out that we’re still doing VR ¾ of the year! While we clearly understand these downsides (and deal with them regularly), we still absolutely love life in VR.

So this list of cons is not meant to put you off VR. It is meant to better prepare you for what you can expect.

1. RVing is expensive

Despite what the tiny house movement would have you believe, RVs are expensive. This is especially true since the pandemic has driven up prices across the board.

The cost of RVs, camping fees and fuel jumped, jumped and jumped Olympics worthy of a long jump. (RV prices have jumped over 40%!)

But guess what? RV wasn’t cheap before the pandemic either. Selling prices, maintenance costs, repairs and fuel are always more expensive than many people expect.

So I want it to be clear. VR can be more affordable than living in a house. However, it is not given!

You have to carefully research, plan, and budget if you want to call RVing a “cheaper lifestyle.”

2. Campgrounds are crowded and reservations are hard to come by

I am a fan of unusual trips. I love getting behind the wheel and hitting the road with only a loose travel plan.

However, this is becoming increasingly difficult to do, especially since the pandemic.

We all know that the number of caravanners has increased considerably during the pandemic. Thus, the competition for campsites has increased significantly.

However, this is not the only factor that makes finding campsites difficult. The other reason hits boondockers, like Jennifer and me, the hardest.

This reason is that more and more boondocking spots are closed. Less boondocking means even more people forced to stay in campgrounds than ever before.

7 big downsides of RV living (part-time and full-time) 1
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3. Decision Fatigue

At home, you take for granted all the little things that are just “given.” You don’t realize you’re following a routine more than you think, even though you consider yourself a spontaneous person.

When you start having to make hundreds of decisions every day that you don’t normally have to make, it becomes exhausting. But VR demands that of you.

Unless, of course, you carefully plan your car trips in advance. However, you also have to make all these decisions during this process.

Decision fatigue is one of the downsides of living in VR that I didn’t expect. This particularly struck me as it only increased further with my incidental travel style.

4. Managing your health care on the road is tricky (and expensive)

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Even if you don’t overdo it and make yourself more unhealthy, managing your health care is still tricky down the road.

Filling your prescriptions, getting regular health checkups, and even dealing with travel emergencies is a challenge.

As you can see in the video above, emergencies in VR can not only be a nightmare to experience, but financially difficult to overcome.

You need to have a plan to manage your health care and emergencies before you start living the RV life. Here are some resources to help you:

4. Friends and family laugh at you (and question your sanity)

This is another downside I didn’t expect when we announced to our family and friends that we were going to live the RV lifestyle.

I was surprised by the number of people who rained during our parade. They questioned our decisions and even our sanity.

Over time this will improve as you “prove them wrong”, but it was discouraging when we first started. That’s why I recommend reading How to Tell Your Family and Friends You’re Becoming a Full-Time RVer. if you plan to RV for long periods of time.

7 big downsides of living in VR

5. It’s easy to overindulge

When people think of camping, we automatically associate it with vacations. That means pairing it with our favorite snacks, gourmet meals, sodas, and (for some) alcohol.

This association becomes a big problem when you spend a lot of time in VR, whether part-time or full-time. It may even be too much for RV weekends if you camp more weekends than not.

Temptation, along with the prolonged sitting that accompanies long-distance driving, can be a recipe for disaster. (Sitting sickness is a real health risk for caravanners!)

You need to be prepared to proactively stay active! Which, by the way, is much easier if you’re traveling with a dog. This is one of the best advantages of traveling with a dog.

7. RV maintenance and repairs are labor intensive

I am not and have never been a handyman. However, out of necessity, I’m more of a handyman than I’ve ever been since owning an RV.

I had to learn how to be hands-on with basic RV maintenance and repairs. I used to think that a new motorhome wouldn’t take a lot of work to maintain. And I thought all the repairs could be easily done by a professional.

I was wrong! On the one hand, there is a great shortage of RV mechanics and the waiting lists are long! As a couple, you have to be able to do things yourself when camping in isolated places.

I had to learn the hard way as I went. But, luckily, there are now online courses you can take to teach you the basics of RV maintenance and repairs…

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