Ever daydreamed what it would be like to buy an RV and travel the country? The freedom of the open road and the money to do it sounds like a dream. Not everyone has enough money, time or investments to be able to do that, but it is possible. If the thought has ever crossed your mind, you’ll want to make sure to have these five things in place before you set off.
1. A Solid Budget
The goal of living as a nomad or minimalist is to have fewer bills and stress. Map out a budget for expenses on the road. Bills may be less than living in your home, but there are other things that can arise, bumping the budget out of whack. Build a savings account and be sure there is money set aside to pay unforeseen expenses.
2. An Ongoing Steady Income
Living as a nomad in an RV means likely cutting ties to your day-to-day job. If you are just starting retirement, this may not be a huge issue. But if you are contemplating traveling and boondocking across the US, you’ll need money to support the lifestyle. One option is to choose a side gig to supplement your income on the road or have a remote job that supports you completely. Some examples include:
- Freelance writer or editor
- Sell a product or service remotely through Etsy or Amazon
- Offer miscellaneous freelance services through sites like Upwork or Fiverr
- Ask to work remotely from your brick-and-mortar job
- Profit from your photos and designs by selling from your own website
- Start a blog
Whatever you choose, make sure the income you’ll make on the road can sustain your lifestyle and fit your budget needs.
3. Paid off Debt
Before hitting the open road, be sure to address your finances. Whether you are retiring early or have a few years to go, get a plan in place that will ensure your current debt is paid down. There can be unforeseen expenses on the road, even those not included in your budget. Those emergencies such as RV repairs or medical bills can pile up. Having debt under control before venturing out can prevent your monthly budget from getting out of control.
4. A Purchased RV
RVs and larger motorhomes can be pricey. Now is the time to take a hard look at purchasing what you’ll be living in as you travel. Look at your current budget. Can you afford a used model? Or if you’re planning on being on the road long-term, you might want to purchase a newer model. Having the RV paid for takes away that burden of monthly expenses as you travel. If you must finance, try to get a short-term loan with the best finance terms.
5. A Test Run
While visiting the Smoky Mountains or heading out west has been a dream for years, actually doing it is another story. Be sure to give it a test run first before buying an RV. Have a friend that lives on the road? Try a short trip with them. See if living the nomad life is for you. There are struggles to address such as:
- RV breakdowns. Are you mechanically inclined enough to troubleshoot issues on the road?
- Campgrounds are pricey. Do you know how to find free or low-cost places to stay?
- Nomad living is remote. Can you handle camping in the woods with no electricity?
- RV life on the road is lonely. If traveling alone, can you go days being by yourself with no one to keep you company?
Those are just a few questions to ask yourself before making this major life decision. Utilizing things like RV roadside insurance, solar panels and connecting with others can make RV nomad living a reality.
Whether you’re keeping your home or selling it for an RV, be sure to weigh out the pros and cons first. It’s a huge life change and all angles need to be addressed. If you think it’s the right move for you, the next best thing is planning the road trip and seeing where life takes you next.
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