Answers to the Top Questions About RVing
Answers to the Top Questions About RVing
Experienced full-time RVers go over the most-asked questions about RV life.
By: Kenny & Sabrina Phillips
Before we get started into the questions, I thought it would be best to share a little bit of backstory from where these questions came from. Sabrina and I have been RVing full time for the last four years and from the very beginning we’ve had a YouTube channel (Moving Forward Adventures) to document and share our travels. Because of that, we receive more than 300 comments a month and many of them are questions, so I went back through our videos and selected some of the most common questions asked of us.
I also thought it would be fun to collaborate with some other GoLife contributors, so I asked our friends, Jon & Nadia Bajuelo, Ann & Lin Bishop, and Amy Burkert to join me in answering some of their top questions as well.
1. How much does it cost to RV?
This is by far the most-asked question and the answer really varies among RVers based on their individual traveling styles.
The more you move, the more expensive it will be.
One obvious reason is because of fuel, but another is that by staying at one campground longer you can get good deals on weekly or even monthly rates. A monthly rate can save you more than 50% of a standard nightly rate. There are also several membership programs out there where you purchase a membership to receive discounts at campgrounds (for example, Passport America). There are also other memberships that offer discounts on RV-related items, like the Winnebago WIT Club. Sabrina and I saved thousand on a new set of tires for our motorhome by using that membership.
Our Personal RVing Costs
And now for the big reveal … it costs Sabrina and I $2,846 a month to RV full time. This number only includes RV related finances, so it does not include things like food and entertainment. I know that sounds like a lot, but keep in mind we move often for Sabrina’s work. It is rare for us to be in one location for more than one week and we travel over 20,000 miles a year. Believe me, there are plenty of people out there that RV for much less than us, but we do know a few that travel for more, so it really goes back to how you will choose to travel.
A Popular Way to Save Big
Don’t let what we spend scare you because there is one other tip to keep costs down that we didn’t mention yet - especially if you are the type of traveler that doesn’t need all of the amenities that a campground has to offer. You can boondock or dry camp which is often free of charge and the money saved can go toward additional traveling or experiences.
2. How do you find boondocking spots?
Jon & Nadia boondocking outside their Winnebago Trend.
If we're looking to boondock surrounded by nature, we use the USFS (United States Forest Service) or pop in to ask a Ranger. We also heavily rely on Google Satellite View. When looking for either nature-focused or a quick overnight parking spot, we use Campendium and iOverlander.
For some more boondocking tips, check out our GoLife articles: how we find propane on the road and how we extend boondock stays with a "boondock reset.”
3. Is RVing safe?
I’ll start out with a very quick YES, RVing is safe. In our four years and over 80,000 miles, Sabrina and I have never encountered a hostile situation or any type of theft. I do, however, believe it is still important to be aware of your surroundings.
Be Aware & Follow Your Gut
One time when we were going to stay at a Walmart for the night, we started to pay a little more attention to what was going on in the lot – we saw several people pulling in, meeting up with people, then exchanging items and quickly leaving. After some thought, we decided it was best to move on just to be safe.
I would say our best advice to everyone is trust your gut. Nothing bad actually happened to us in this story, but we certainly started to get a bad feeling about the area.
Always Lock Up
Another example is a time we stopped at a Walgreens, Sabrina went in to pick something up and I decided to adjust our headlight on our RV. As I was under the front hood of the RV, Belle (our small dog) started to bark – this is not uncommon as she barks often, but she sounded more aggressive than usual. As I turned the corner to see what she was going on about, I saw someone standing on our steps attempting to enter our RV. I asked the gentleman to kindly move away from our RV and he said, “I just wanted to see the puppy.” To which I replied, “the puppy doesn’t want to see you and neither do I.”
He left and I think the moral of this story is to always lock your doors even if you are just going outside for a short moment. And again, just be aware of your surroundings.
4. Are there areas of the country that are more pet friendly than others?
Speaking of Belle, we get asked about traveling with a pet often and I can’t think of anyone better than our friend Amy Burkert of GoPetFriendly (@GoPetFriendly) to discuss RVing with pets.
Here is her answer to this top question she gets asked:
Absolutely. Some places we visit are fantastic – meaning most of the things we want to do or see allow pets. The Grand Canyon and Acadia National Parks, and cities like Austin, Milwaukee, and Washington, D.C. are some of our favorites. That’s why we share our pet-friendly destination guides on GoPetFriendly.com. We’re out here doing the "paws on the ground," research so people know what to expect when they plan their next pet-friendly vacation!
5. How do you get your mail, packages, and prescriptions?
This is a question Sabrina and I get asked more times than you may think. It comes to us in comments, email, and even in person.
We use Escapees RV Club mail service. (Since we are full-time RVers, we also used Escapees to set up our domicile.) All of our mail goes to them, they can then scan it and we decide what is needed to be forwarded to where we are or what gets tossed in the trash. I will say it’s very nice not to receive junk mail anymore. Our prescriptions also get mailed to Escapees then get shipped out with our mail.
Packages are a bit of a mix and depends on where we are. Most of the time, Sabrina and I stay at KOA campgrounds and all of them have always let us have packages delivered directly to the office. This makes using Amazon Prime, with their fast and free shipping, very convenient. If we are ordering from anywhere else, we have the packages sent to our Escapees address and then they ship to us when we are stopped for a long enough period of time to receive them. Really, Escapees mail service makes getting mail very easy, we have used them the entire four years of being on the road and highly recommend them.
6. What do you use for internet?
Internet can still be a challenge and our best advice is to have layers. You really can’t rely on campground internet - it has improved over the years, but it is nowhere near what you have come to expect from your home’s highspeed service.
Sabrina and I have two data plans: one with Verizon and one with AT&T, along with a hotspot for each of the services. (For those who don’t know, a hotspot takes a data signal and rebroadcasts it as a WiFi signal). This allows us to connect our laptops and streaming service devices like Roku or a smart TV. By having the two plans, we have found that we are pretty well covered and only occasionally will not have service.
We also use a cell phone booster made by SureCall. It is connected to an antenna that runs outside of our RV. We found the easiest point of attachment to be on our rear ladder. The cell booster helps us increase our data signal which in turns gives us faster internet speeds when using the hotspots for WiFi.
When researching RVing and staying connected, we always recommend Chris and Cherie from Technomadia. They literally wrote the book on mobile internet. Everything we know about staying connected we learned from them.
7. Can you really cook full meals in your RV?
When shopping for an RV, this was an important question for us. I enjoy cooking and making meals at home, so a good kitchen was a must-have for our RV. It became even more important when COVID-19 hit.
Since April of 2020, Sabrina and I have made all three meals here in the RV - never needing to go out once. Our Vista has two ovens: one runs on propane and is great while boondocking and the other is a 1500-watt convection/microwave which is larger than what we had in our apartment before getting on the road. We have a three-burner stovetop and large counter space for meal prepping as well. We also have deep double-bowl sinks, which helps when it comes time for cleaning up.
We have recently purchased an air fryer and I have to say it has been the best kitchen upgrade we have ever made. We use it for fries, veggies, tofu, even small breakfast sausages. Everything comes out perfectly with it and, honestly, I don’t know how we ever cooked without it. Adding the air fryer was originally a way for us to cook a little healthier and use less oil in our foods. Which brings us to our next question …
8. How do you stay fit on the road?
This is the top question we get from RVers, whether they are experienced travelers or new to the lifestyle. Lin and I struggled with staying fit ourselves when we both retired and started full-time RVing. Exploring new cities and towns weekly meant a lack of routine. Not to mention the plethora of new restaurants to try out! But once we realized that that lifestyle was not healthy nor sustainable, we got back on track.
First, we committed to a routine of being active every day. From simply taking brisk walks in the RV park to full-blown workouts with the gear we carry with us, we knew we had (and needed) to stay active. Second, and probably more importantly, we ate out at restaurants less frequently. Eating healthily is just as, if not more important, than exercise!
So, create a routine to stay active and commit to eating healthier and you’ll be on your way to staying fit on the road!
Ann lifting outside their Winnebago.
9. Does it get lonely on the road?
Sabrina and I are often asked if we get lonely without having friends and family near us since we never stay in one place for very long. Gladly, I can say, no – not at all. We have met and developed life-long friends through RVing. You may be surprised by how often you run into travelers that you have already met from past trips.
We once parked next to someone in the Savannah, GA, welcome center for a night and we chatted with them during the stay. We were very surprised to see them parked next to us again one year later in Williamsburg, VA. After speaking with them, we found out that we had both traveled across the country and back, which makes you wonder what the chances are of this!
We have always said that RVers are the kindest, friendliest people we have ever met. You may find yourself making more friends on the road than you ever had before. We are often asked to join campfires or go along on hikes or other activities.
To keep in touch with family while traveling, we use a lot of social media, phone calls, and video chats (which makes it like they are in the room with us).
Well, those were the top questions, but if you have others and you think I can answer them for you please do not hesitate to ask! I am more than happy to try and help or get ahold of one of our friends to answer as well.
Also, if you are brand new to RVing and looking for more RV life basics, this GoLife guide does a great job at introducing the lifestyle.
I want to wish you all safe travels and hope to see you on the road!