Three “Issues” Full-time RV’ers Face
Let’s address three of the RV “issues” experienced by full-timers. They are not necessarily good issues or bad issues. Just “different” issues. If you have been accustomed to living in a stick built house then there are a few things that will be handled differently once you start your life as a full-time RV’er. Today I’m only going to address three of these issues.
First issue is mail.
There are several different options available for full-timers to get mail. One option is to have your mail forwarded to you through a mail forwarding service. We signed up for such a service through our Good Sam Club membership our first year as full-timers. We established an account with them and were given an “address.” We provided that “address” to all our contacts. The address was some location in Crestview, FL. (That address created many questions from friends as they thought we were physically in FL).
As soon as our mail reached the Florida address we were notified by email. The email notification told us who the mail was from, what type it was (i.e., letter, package, etc) and gave us some options. Options included (a) having it shipped to us, (b) having it shredded, or (c) having it opened, scanned and sent to us via email. Each option had a corresponding price.
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A credit balance needed to be maintained on our account at all times. We were able to check our remaining balance and manage this account online. To keep the costs down somewhat, we checked our mail online daily but typically only had it forwarded to us once a week. One larger package of mail was more affordable than multiple smaller packages. If this is the route you choose, be aware there are several mail services available. Our choice was Good Sam because we already had a membership through them.
After Year One We Dropped The Forwarding Service
After our first year as full-timers we dropped the mail forwarding service. Because we base out of a location for 3-5 months at a time, we opted to get a post office box at our current location. In addition to a local box, you may want to have a family member in your home state receive and forward mail to you. Or you may just have the family member be your exclusive mail drop and forwarding agent. Keeping a consistent address as much as possible alleviates the problem of not being able to remember what zip code your credit card is registered in. Or what address your medical information is sent to?
Second issue is pets.
We don’t have any pets and didn’t have any at the time we became full-timers. However, we have noticed that a large percentage of RV’ers travel with their pets. Some parks have specific areas where pets can be walked and/or a fully fenced pet area. Park rules regarding pets vary widely. When on a leash some parks allow pets to be walked anywhere within the confines of the park. Other parks only allow them in the designated “pet areas.”
Most parks leave it to the owner’s discretion if the pet will be left alone in the RV while owners are gone. However, we stayed in one park where the owner threatened to evict anyone if they left their pet alone in the RV even if it was only a short period of time.
There are some amazing add-ons available to make travel with your pet a bit easier. We’ve seen dog crates from the very tiny to the incredibly large; portable fencing which is stowed during travel and set up anew at each new location; cat condos that must have taken an engineer to assemble each time they moved.
My best advise if you have a pet and you plan to travel with them is to research in advance each new place you plan to visit. Know before you go what the rules are for your pets. You may decide that the resort that looked perfect for you isn’t so perfect after all if they aren’t very pet friendly.
Third issue is missing those kids and grandkids
This seems to be more problematic for the women full-timers. The men don’t seem to have as strong of a pull to see kids/grandkids, or if they do, they’re keeping it well disguised. Personally, I think this is the worst part of full-time RV’ing. I have a great family and I love being a part of their lives! These are the years to build close relationships with the grandkids. So many changes take place so fast and I don’t want to miss them.
Technology helps. Luckily we became full-timers after the invention of FaceTime! Between text messages, email and FaceTime, I manage to still feel fairly connected to the family at home. For about 5-6 weeks. Then I’m ready for a kid/grandkid fix in person. We plan in advance to fly home for Christmas each year because it just wouldn’t be Christmas without the family. This year we also made it home in time for Easter.
My best advise to anyone planning to full-time is to take full advantage of every bit of technology. FaceTime, email, texting! And when you are figuring your budget, factor in a few flights home to get your kid/grandkid fix. It’s pretty hard to have a good time exploring new locations when you are missing everyone at home too much to enjoy your RV lifestyle.
We’d love to hear what “issues” you deal with. Feel free to tell us your experiences in the comments section below.