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Low Cost RV Travel
Old 05-13-2014, 02:30 PM   #1
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Low Cost RV Travel

We would like to slowly travel the USA and Canada via RV. Maybe something like 1 state per month on average.

Live very simply and cheaply while spending a lot of time on foot hiking where the RV will not go.

While doing this we would convert our tax deferred money into Roth accounts. After 3-5 years doing this we should have a good mix of tax free and taxable. Also should be in excellent physical shape with all the exercise.

Seem like a plan? Others done something along those lines?
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:47 PM   #2
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There are dozens of blogs by full time RV folks. Start with RV Sue and her Canine Crew, one of my favorites. A blog with gorgeous pictures, a lot of boondocking stories, and a comprehensive blog roll is Travel with the Bayfield Bunch. Keep clicking through the various blog rolls and you will find people that have similar interests and goals.
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:52 PM   #3
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While I like RV travel, I do not think I can sell my homes and get rid of everything to stay on the road. I still like my "stuff", and additionally, my wife certainly will not agree to that.

There are plenty of people who have done that. On this forum, there's at least a member with the screeenname of Heyduke who started out 3 or 4 years ago with his wife. He has a blog, and from it I learned that they spent around $110/day or $40K/yr. Search for "zeetraveler" to find his blog.

There are others who spend much less, while also maintaining a very active lifestyle with outdoor exercises such as hiking, biking, etc... They also avoid camping fees by "boondocking" or staying in low-fee state campgrounds or National Forest. A long-time and well-known RV'er named Diana Tolerico has been doing it for 15 years. She spent something like $26K/yr, and half of that was for medical and dental expenses and insurance. Search for "Diana Tolerico blog RV expenses".

Again, this life is not for me, but I like to read people's blogs to live vicariously, and to learn of interesting spots that they visit and stay in, particularly the "boondockers".
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Old 05-13-2014, 03:04 PM   #4
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The key is to stay in national parks or state lands that have no or very low fees. Staying in official RV camping sites or campgrounds can add up quick. Boondocking means staying with self-contained, no hook-ups. Most Wal-Marts and many truck stops allow overnight stays for free as well as the park lands. Army Corps of Engineers run a lot of camping grounds and can be low cost as an option for RV sites with hookups that are not so much cost.

Look at the associated forum to this one for RV'ing: iRV2 Forum | - RV Forum Community and RV News and there is a full timers section. As well as a lot of advice on places to stay and things to to see.

I have a motorhome and intend to do a lot more RV'ing once retired, but will always have my regular house.
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Old 05-13-2014, 03:06 PM   #5
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Another part of my logic for doing this would be if I had a retirement budget of say 60k and I did this for 30k for a few years I could retire earlier or alternatively spend 90k "living it up" afterwards.
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Old 05-13-2014, 03:08 PM   #6
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We full timed for 5 years. Enjoyed it. It was low cost if you didn't count the price of the RV. Getting rid of the house, sailboat and a bunch of stuff was a good experience. We're in a smaller house now, but after living in the RV for 5 years it feels like a palace. I think we got it out of our system, because we don't RV much anymore and prefer other, faster modes of travel.
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Old 05-13-2014, 03:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by RetireAge50 View Post
While doing this we would convert our tax deferred money into Roth accounts. After 3-5 years doing this we should have a good mix of tax free and taxable. Also should be in excellent physical shape with all the exercise.

Seem like a plan? Others done something along those lines?
Everyone is different, but I don't know if living in an RV would be appreciably cheaper than living in a house--unless housing costs were very high. I'd still need to eat, pay for medical insurance/care. I guess I'd be tempted buy less "stuff" (since there's nowhere to put it/send it to), but that's just a matter of self-discipline.

There's no way we could sell all our stuff. I suppose we could rent out our home furnished to somebody we trusted for a few years (good luck finding such a person!), with 1/2 of the garage filled with photo albums, tools, etc. When the RV'ing got old, we'd return and move back into the house or sell it.
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Old 05-13-2014, 05:46 PM   #8
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RetireAge50 You have hit on the exact plan we are doing. In 2015 we are selling our house and hitting the road in a custom RV we designed and constructed ourselves. Just this past weekend I installed the solid walnut kitchen countertop and maple cabinets. We are going to have 200 gallons of water, 1100 watts of solar panels, 300AH of batteries in a 24 volt system (eventually lithium ion but for now I went with Lifeline AGM) and a 2000 watt Honda generator for when it is overcast for many days. Our RV also has room to carry two dual sport motorcycles plus 4000 pounds of gear (and my MIG welder and 75/25 gas cylinder).

RVSue has it down. Her budget is about $1000 a month and she stays in some of the most beautiful areas. You should check her blog and also stop by rv.net when you are shopping around (unless you have a screw loose and are going to build your own like we have).
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:30 PM   #9
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Thanks for the references to RV blogs in this thread. I am checking out RVSue's blog right now. A few years ago, I was dead set on living full-time in an RV. I'm still very interested but am not sure at this point if I still want to do it, or experience it vicariously over the internet from the comfort of my own home
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:57 PM   #10
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Yes thanks for links! I'll check em out. Sounds like cool setup Fermion, especially room for the dual sport motorcycles and solar panels. We have a pair of Honda CRF 250 dual sport motorcycles we would like to bring along.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:06 PM   #11
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Check maximum size limit at National Parks...
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:31 PM   #12
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No experience with RVs, but I'm going to guess it's similar to boats (which I do know somewhat) in that costs go ~L^2. Big rigs have complex systems that either cost a ton new or are a royal PITA to maintain used.

There's always a lower cost option. Instead of putting those motorcycle inside an RV, tow them on a HF trailer behind the RV? I'd also consider welding up a lower-able motorcycle carrier rack on the back of an RV. Instead of 2kW of PV, maybe just one panel and low power equipment? 50 gallons of water and navy showers? I think it would be a piece of cake to buy a decent condition 80s Winnebago and have your adventure within budget.

I know people have converted Chevy Astro vans and gone in those and of course VW bus living worked for many. After that, it's all luxury in my opinion. There was a recent Top gear episode (season 19 finale) where they lived in converted $1500 cars while driving around Africa. I don't watch many of those, but the adventure season finales are usually great. It's a good thing I have a family because this sort of thing has too much draw for me.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:07 PM   #13
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This couple has been fulltiming for a few years. They have pretty detailed budgets on their site.

Could RV Living Be Your Dream? Let's Find Out!!

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Old 05-13-2014, 09:16 PM   #14
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I think you might be more on par with full time RV'ers Nina and Paul at Wheelin' It. They do a mix of boondocking, state parks, private parks, and RV park and lighthouse hosting around the US. They do a good amount of hiking, which for the most part RV Sue does not. Here is a link to their site: Wheeling It | Living the Fulltime RV Dream with 12 Paws, 40 Feet and the Open Road

Plus, they're website is full of good, practical information on everything pertaining to RV'ing - technology, maintenance, gadgets, insurance, domiciling, etc.
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:41 AM   #15
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This couple has been fulltiming for a few years. They have pretty detailed budgets on their site.

Could RV Living Be Your Dream? Let's Find Out!!
Thanks for posting the link. The site has an incredible amount of details for those considering a venture.

Quote:
Total "Preparing For The Road" Costs From December 2004 Through July 2005: $141,428
I think a lot of decisions are personal, and you can circumvent a lot of the upfront cost by doing without. For instance, might not need the upscale recliners.

This couple and their journey is very interesting too.
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:59 AM   #16
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The first time I retired, at age twenty , I spent 6 months traveling around the US in a converted Econoline. It was a great adventure, but I got tired of it. I still enjoy RV camping, but have no desire to full time.

So, consider the possibility that you'll tire of life on the road and have a plan B.
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:18 AM   #17
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You might want to check out this blog:
Gone With the Wynns
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:46 PM   #18
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...We are going to have 200 gallons of water, 1100 watts of solar panels, 300AH of batteries in a 24 volt system (eventually lithium ion but for now I went with Lifeline AGM) and a 2000 watt Honda generator for when it is overcast for many days. Our RV also has room to carry two dual sport motorcycles plus 4000 pounds of gear (and my MIG welder and 75/25 gas cylinder)...
There is a fellow who is putting 2.2KW of solar panels on his cargo-trailer conversion. The cargo trailer is super-insulated with the goal of running a window A/C from the solar panels. A window A/C takes perhaps 500-800 watts, so it looks feasible.

His blog is called "Over The Top Cargo Trailer".
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Old 05-14-2014, 02:48 PM   #19
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I am planning on doing a similar adventure when I retire. I will keep my home, and go on 3-6 week adventures that bring me back to home and regroup for 3-6 weeks. I do not plan on selling my home, but may rent out a room just to keep the place occupied. In the winter I may be gone for a longer period.

Not that this is the same, but when I got out of the Service at 22, I went on the 1982 Eastern Beach Tour. It went from 6/21 to ~Labor Day.

Going from Shreveport, LA, to St Paul MN by way of Panama City FL; Englewood Beach, FL; Key West, FL; Daytona Beach, FL; Myrtle Beach, SC; Virginia Beach, VA; Atlantic City, NJ; Cape Cod, MA; Niagara Falls, NY.

I spend only ~$500 a month, living in my truck and tenting it quite a bit. I did a lot of scuba diving. I stayed with friends that I just met for a few days at a time, and some relatives, etc. Never more than a week at a place.

It was a blast. If only I was young and in as great of shape as I was then... (but I can still keep up with the best of them, in my mind)
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Old 05-14-2014, 03:18 PM   #20
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RetireAge50 You have hit on the exact plan we are doing. In 2015 we are selling our house and hitting the road in a custom RV we designed and constructed ourselves. Just this past weekend I installed the solid walnut kitchen countertop and maple cabinets. We are going to have 200 gallons of water, 1100 watts of solar panels, 300AH of batteries in a 24 volt system (eventually lithium ion but for now I went with Lifeline AGM) and a 2000 watt Honda generator for when it is overcast for many days. Our RV also has room to carry two dual sport motorcycles plus 4000 pounds of gear (and my MIG welder and 75/25 gas cylinder).

RVSue has it down. Her budget is about $1000 a month and she stays in some of the most beautiful areas. You should check her blog and also stop by rv.net when you are shopping around (unless you have a screw loose and are going to build your own like we have).
Let's see some pictures!

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