We get asked questions about our lifestyle ALL the time! Here we try to answer some of the most common. If you have a question you’d like us to answer, please feel free to send it in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Why would you choose to live in your RV?
Check out this post: Why We Choose To Live In Our RV
What is your rig setup?
We currently have a 35′ motorhome, a minivan, and a tow dolly. We also have another vehicle, but it is in storage because it is not currently running. We’re undecided about if we will take it on the road with us once it’s fixed. Most of the time, having only one car is a slight inconvenience, but not a problem we can’t work around without communication.
Do you both drive the motorhome? How did you learn to drive it?
We are both comfortable driving the motorhome and have both driven it long distances. When we made our trip out of California, Cat drove the motorhome while towing the van on the dolly, and Travis drove the Penske truck towing our other vehicle. This was really our only option as we needed to move 4 vehicles and only had 2 drivers. Cat’s dad took us out on our first drive, as he is an experienced school bus driver. His inputs were so helpful and gave us a lot of confidence.
Do the kids ride in the motorhome?
Generally, no. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding this topic and I’m very aware of car seat safety, the dangers of riding in a vehicle with unsecured objects and the fact that RV’s are not generally as well tested or as well built as standard motor vehicles. This is something that families have to weigh and decide for themselves. We have done it a few times, but it is not something we are comfortable with long-term as part of our permanent setup so whenever possible we will drive separate. It does add to the cost, but we factor it into our budget and when you also calculate the better gas mileage from not towing with the RV we probably come close to breaking even on the financial standpoint.
What do you do for income?
Travis is currently working for BNSF Railway which is our main source of income. Other streams of income include: Cat’s photography, VA compensation and monetizing the blog. In addition Cat is currently building a side business through helping others discover how they can improve their lives and their health with natural products, and introducing children to the world through fantastic books.
What do you do for health insurance?
Our health insurance is provided through Travis’ job and we are covered nationwide. We are so thankful for this option, however if you are hitting the road as an independent contractor there are several cost-sharing options that meet federal requirements.
How much does it cost to live in your RV on the road as a full-time family?
This is really variable. Just like in a house on dirt, you can live as cheaply or extravagantly as your budget allows. We choose a happy medium, but we’ve also made it work with very little. Generally speaking, our monthly RV park costs are lower than our rental houses ever were and they include electric, water, and sewer. Our gas costs are about the same as when we lived in California and had to commute an hour for everything – this is the most flexible because obviously if we are heading to the opposite side of the country, the cost is going to go up. Our food costs are about the same as well. We eat healthier by choice so depending on the region the cost can go up a little, but we also eat out less. We hope to post an RV life budget in the future so be sure to check back!
What did you do with all your stuff from your house?
We sold a lot of things before we moved out, and the rest was put in storage. We had two weeks to be out of our last house in CA – and I was gone with the kids for those two weeks, so Travis packed the whole house himself. We currently have two storage units in AZ but are actively downsizing those. We are trying to sell whatever we can to bring in funds to pay down on debt as we are really focused on getting debt free before we do anything else. Eventually, we will have just one smaller storage unit where we will keep heirlooms, some kid stuff storage (cloth diapers, baby gadgets, maternity items, and some clothing), tools, and a few household items we aren’t ready to part with. We will eventually buy a house that will be our “home base” so it makes sense for us to keep a few things, but most things we will sell or donate.
What kitchen appliances and gadgets do you keep in your RV?
This is an area I’m still experimenting with! We currently have: Keurig, George Foreman Grill, Kitchen Aid (with attachments), Egg cooker, Griddle, Crock Pot, and about 3 pots/pans. I really am missing my cookie scoop, pizza cutter and my panini press. We just purchased an outside grill so we’ll see how that changes our daily kitchen appliance needs.
How do you wash your clothes?
We currently use laundromats. Usually in the city but I prefer to do it on site if the campground has clean facilities. We are still debating about installing a washer/dryer in our motorhome. We do not have hookups, however we have come up with a renovation plan that allows them to be somewhat easily installed. Weight is not a large concern for us and we have the wiggle room. The only thing holding us back from doing it is the cost. We priced the install and purchase of the washer/dryer combo unit at approximately $2500 if done by Camping World. We would love to get a quote elsewhere but so far haven’t pursued it. We’ll continue to evaluate whether or not we get this done over the next few months. Laundry costs us approximately $10/week, but can vary if a laundromat is on the higher end.
How do you get your mail?
Although we initially setup a mail forwarding service with My Dakota Address when we intended to establish our residency in South Dakota, our plans changed drastically. For now, we use a family members address and they collect and sort our mail. If it looks important they’ll let us know and open it and scan/email/mail it to us if needed. If we need to get something right away, most campgrounds will allow us to use their address or we can use a general delivery to the local post office.
What do you do about internet?
We are fortunate to have been grandfathered into unlimited data with Verizon. We purchased a jetpack and use this line as our internet. We use a lot of data for work, school and entertainment purposes so this is perfect for us. This line does add a little bit to our cell phone plans but it is the most cost effective solution for us. Although we plan to upgrade our jetpack in the near future due to known issues with our current one, it has served us well. Travis has been able to setup a network for us and we have no trouble with us all using the internet at the same time. As long as we have good Verizon service we have good internet!
Will you stop full-timing when your kids are school age?
We don’t plan to. Our plan has always been to homeschool our kids, and we feel that doing this on the road will only enhance their education. We believe that our kids learn best by doing and experiencing, however we will still have a curriculum and a routine for getting schoolwork done because its important to us to instill good learning habits as well as a love for learning.
Do they have to miss out on being a part of sports teams and other activities?
Yes and No… If there is a desire to participate in a sport or activity we will do our very best to make this possible for our kids for wherever we are. As long as the job allows, we are willing to spend extra time in one location should they want to pursue an interest in depth.
Do you have any friends? What about the kids?
We all have lots of friends, and we make more new friends at each place we go! As a former military family, our concept of friendship knows no distances! Some of my very best friends have lived across the country from me our whole friendship, and we’ve still managed to get together several times and we keep in touch daily! Our kids are learning that friends are everywhere we go, and they love to meet new people. We often exchange contact information to keep in touch with friends we’ve meet around the country.
How do you manage to go on dates as a couple?
Sometimes you have to be creative! This is not a new struggle for us, as we have moved around quite a bit since having kids. Finding trustworthy babysitters is not always the easiest and we have high standards for who we allow our children to stay with. For now, we choose to go on dates alone only when we have family or long-time friends who can watch our kids. We also get creative and make time for at home dates after the kids go to bed – whether its playing board games, watching a movie, sitting outside and talking under the stars… our marriage is better than ever and we have grown closer through our journey.
Have more questions? Send us an email so we can answer it!