My 8 Full Time Living In Our RV Regrets
We’ve been full-time RVing for a little over ten years and have gone through a lot in that period, including several RV changes, a new baby, COVID-19, and some silly mishaps here and there.
Generally, the experience has been awesome, and we did lots of things right when we got into RVing, albeit we weren’t so knowledgeable.
In that time, however, there were also some stuff we realized we wish we had known better before we started. We’re still discovering things we wish we had known sooner; these are our full-time RV regrets.
In this article, I’ll focus on all our RV regrets and take my time to share the mistakes and wrongs we did, and hopefully, this should help you avoid such mistakes.
1) Not Getting into RVing Sooner
One of the regrets we have is waiting for so long before we could get an RV. I always knew I wanted to wanderlust and explore new places, but I thought I needed to wait for my kids to grow to teenagerhood before I could splurge on an RV.
I was worried much about the finances and everything, but when you think of it, RV financing is stupidly cheap. See, I rarely buy anything on credit, but the financing rates for my first RV were irresistible.
Today, I pay like $200 per month and consider the payment a sunk cost of recreation. Had I known how “cheap” getting an RV is, I would have purchased a travel trailer years earlier and enjoyed it before my kids grew up.
So, if you’re feeling like your finances are lined up, and your desire for an RV is slowly turning into a “need,” go for it, and you’ll have everything to thank me for.
RVing is a nice experience; you explore new locations, meet new people, and learn new things daily. I wish I had known earlier.
2) Going All-In (Buying a New RV)
The other regret we have is going all in on our first RV purchase. We bought a new RV at an inflated price, and it was an expensive lesson.
See, there’s usually a huge price drop when an RV goes from new to used. Use that to your advantage to get something used, so you don’t take the depreciation hit. And later, when/if you’re flush, you could trade with something fancier.
Even then, I would still go for a used RV, even if it was my last RV. The good thing with used RVs is they’re generally inexpensive and don’t depreciate as much as the new options.
It’s also easy to assume the old RVs aren’t in good condition or anything, but that’s false. Most used RVs usually have the kinks worked out. Of course, you’ll need to do some repairs and the typical maintenance, but if you get a well-maintained and decently-used RV, you won’t regret it.
For our second RV purchase, we got a used Airstream. A couple had lived in it full-time after retiring, but they found out RVing wasn’t for them and disposed of it. Everything had been worked out already, and it was good as new. We’re still using it.
3) Not Considering our RVing Needs
Our RV needs might be very different from yours, but one regret we’ve about our rig is it wasn’t suited for our needs.
And I see many RVers make the same mistake we did when getting our first RV. It is typically the result of not knowing what you want from an RV or how you plan to use it.
For our first purchase, we looked at many RVs and chose our Winnebago Van, based on the layout; more than anything, it had a rear bed and mid-bath with a kitchen spanning the front. It had lots of counter space, which was a plus, considering I love cooking and everything.
However, with time, I did wish it had a built-in dinette for storage rather than the free table and chair setup.
That wasn’t the only regret. We also planned to go places and didn’t account for the towing capability. Buying a bigger truck once and then upgrading to a much bigger camper down the road is much better than buying a new truck again.
Furthermore, the coach had an incredibly low cargo carrying capacity, and it meant we had to be careful about the upgrades we did. I had to purge items to keep the weight down constantly.
Years later, however, we know exactly what we would look for in our next RV purchase. We know what we like and the features that aren’t worth the extra money.
Always remember there’s no one-size-fits-all RV, so you need to be diligent when selecting an RV for your needs. Don’t make the mistake of investing your time and researching the available option. Walk through different RVs, and don’t be shy to ask questions.
My suggestion would be that you first rent an RV to understand how everything works, especially if you plan to go RVing full-time. You might be surprised to discover that what you want in an RV isn’t actually what you need.
4) Not Considering the Maintenance Records and Everything
The other biggest regret was not ensuring there were no water leaks in the RV. We didn’t do the due diligence of walking over and inspecting every nook and cranny of our RV while it was plugged in.
We didn’t know what we were getting into, and the whole front had so much water that I had to get creative fixing it, and I did wound up replacing the entire roof ceiling. Frustrating!
Water damage, in particular, is like cancer. It spreads, and you can expect the damage in places you can’t see or think of.
So, before you get an RV, ensure you’ve all the maintenance records and ensure everything checks out well.
When buying a used rig, it’s always a good idea to assume that the previous owner was careless and didn’t do all the maintenance. Be ready and prepared to inspect and replace everything so that you don’t get disappointed in the long run.
5) Falling Victim to the Extended Warranty
The other regret we made when we bought our RV is we fell victim to the extended warranty. The thing is, we were completely green, and neither of us had been on an RV for any amount of time growing up.
Now, I’m very sure there’re instances where you’re grateful you’ve your extended warranty. But, if you ask me now, you probably don’t need an extended warranty.
Having insurance with the assurance that if something goes wrong, it’s covered is a good thing. But if you consider the amount of money you’re paying for the warranty and how much stuff costs to replace, you see it doesn’t make any financial sense.
And note, I’m not saying you shouldn’t get the extended RV warranty. While most of the extended RV warranties are garbage, there’re, at the same time, some that are excellent.
Like anything else, you must always research, weigh the pros/cons and pick the right package based on your needs.
For example, you could start by checking out your insurance policy before opting for an extended warranty. You might be surprised to find it covers more than you expect.
6) Not Making our RV our Home
The other big regret is that we didn’t make our RV our home soon enough. We wish we could have individualized our space sooner and made that space our own.
We kept everything kinda the way it was and were afraid to do anything to the camper. Remember, we bought our first camper as new, so it was pristine, and we didn’t want to make holes, fixes, or any damages in it.
But the thing is, the RV is your home, it’s your camper, and you can do with it whatever you want. Make the space more livable to your liking, and you’ll surely find the RVing experience more exciting.
7) Not Getting into the RVing Community, Much Earlier
While we eventually got into the RV community, we kept to ourselves for a long time. In fact, we saw an RV as simply a way to get from point A to B, so we had all our stuff together.
But it’s more than that.
There’s a whole family out there. Joining the RV community is a great way to meet new people, share new RVing ideas, and share new RVing locations & experiences.
There’re things like RV rallies, for example, where the RV community gathers and shares ideas. In my mind, I wish that, in a lot of ways, we had done that sooner.
8) Not Learning to Drive an RV Competently
When we go into RVing, and as many couples do, we choose one of us to be the designated driver.
While I was mostly in my element behind the wheel, I must admit there were times when I needed my partners to step in and take over.
The problem is my wife was so competent at driving an RV, and sometimes, when I was unavailable, she would have to hire someone to drive the rig.
So, yes, it’s important that everyone knows how to drive the RV if you’re planning to purchase a rig as a couple.
There you’ve it- our top eight regrets of full-time RVing. Whatever you do, go for it. Regrets should not stop you from purchasing an RV or joining RVing.
In my opinion, you can only go wrong on RVing if you hate the outdoors or aren’t self-sufficient.