What kind of RV lifestyle best fits you? There are several categories that RVers fall into and I will touch on many types throughout this article. Afterall, everyone has a different reason and/or story for RVing. If you’re not already enjoying recreational vehicles, I hope this helps you understand the various commitment levels to RV life and possibly encourage you to explore your options.
Before I get into the various types of RVers, I’ve noticed poor wording being used on social media when asking questions and/or commenting on things they see other RVers doing/posting. Most of the time, I don’t think any harm is meant but things tend to get lost in translation through text, resulting in a bit of backlash.
For example, “why would anyone be stationary?,” “Full-Time RV travel isn’t affordable,” “why would anyone want to go to a fancy RV resort?…that isn’t “camping.” The list goes on and on.
My suggestion is to be kind when asking/commenting on these topics. Removing personal judgements from questions and being direct and open to hearing a different perspective, can result in more insight and understanding.
There’s enough division in this country as it stands so let’s embrace our RV community and the people in it that come from so many different walks of life. We all might just learn something! And we might be able to help someone else through our own experiences.
Below, I have broken down the various types of RVers, what they typically like to have while camping (park perks) as well as some of the reasons people choose to live FT in an RV.
But first, here are a few resources and memberships for all your camping needs:
Individual/Family Owned Campgrounds
RV Specific areas i.e. beaches, lakes, mountains, etc.
Boondocking i.e. Truck Stops, Cracker Barrel, Walmart, etc.
Mobile Business RVers:
1. There are many options for mobile businesses. Some are strictly used for business and events while others have living quarters for the business owner. These can vary from a typical tiny home on wheels for a remote worker/travel nurse to a pop-up boutique owner who lives and travels in their shop. My question is why wouldn’t you want your business to be mobile? With the cost of overhead these days, this is a much more affordable option that allows you to go to your clientele and/or events that will increase sales. I mean, what consumer doesn’t appreciate a little convenience? We’ve seen it for years with food trucks as well as mobile medical screenings. Now this has become a great option for hair stylists, dog groomers, tattoo artists and so many other occupations. Stay tuned for a more in depth look into the benefits of mobile businesses!
1. Families that love camping and spending time together outdoors for fun and to build core memories.
Park Perks: family areas, very few “quiet time” hours, games and activities, playground, pool, campfires, pet parks, rentals i.e. bikes, kayaks, mini golf, etc.
2. Retired folks who worked their whole lives and are ready to relax and/or have fun exploring.
Park Perks: adult/kid-free areas i.e. pool, hot tub and clubhouse, quiet time, pet parks, bar/restaurant, fitness center, etc.
3. Single (child-free or childless) people of all ages that are either starting out or starting over for a variety of reasons. These people are either looking for their next adventure or healing for the next chapter of their life.
Park Perks: adult/kid-free areas i.e. pool, hot tub, and clubhouse, bar/restaurant, fitness center, activities i.e. hiking, cornhole, fishing, etc.
4. People who have RVs as vacation homes or getaways. There are actually 2 categories for these folks. a). People that have annual sites inside of a campground. b). People that have their RVs parked on a plot of land like at a lake, beach or in the mountains.
Park Perks for those inside a campground: family oriented-same as #1 or empty nesters-same as #2
Perks for those on land: a nice deck and a view.
5. Weekenders: Folks that escape their everyday life on the weekends to stay in the campground. These people typically have friends that have the same setup within the campground and they enjoy meeting up on the weekends to kick back, drink a few beers and “shoot the shit.”
Park Perks: family oriented…same as #1 or empty nesters-same as #2 or a mix of both depending on their friends.
6. Last but not least, the ½ FT and ½ sticks and bricks. Technically, it might not be exactly half and half but this applies to anyone who lives an extended period of time in an RV during the year and resides in a brick and mortar home for the other part. I consider these folks “part-time full-timers”. It may seem redundant, but I imagine 2 types of RVers fall into this category:
a). Snowbirds/Retirees that spend their winters somewhere warm in an RV and return to their “sticks and bricks” during the warmer months. b). People that travel for work part of the year.
Park Perks for snowbirds: same as #2
Park Perks for PT work travelers: these folks need quiet, kid/pet friendly and semi-permanent areas/sites.
Full-Time (FT) RVers:
1. Stationary: There are a lot of people who live in an RV FT that are completely stationary. Here are a few types of stationary RVers and reasons why they may stay stationary.
Can’t afford housing mortgage/rent. This could also mean they can’t afford a tow vehicle or to travel. Sometimes RV life isn’t a choice, it’s the only option… so, be kind.
Own a plot of land or are staying on friends/family land and either can’t afford to build, are saving to build, or choose to live in an RV over a sticks and bricks.
Downsized and want to stay close to friends and family.
Want a simpler and quiet life away from the everyday hustle and bustle.
Have no interest in traveling and are most likely doing it for financial reasons or for a minimalist lifestyle.
Campground dwellers. Need/want cheap living and the option to dress up their campsite i.e. build a deck, gazebo, shed for storage/toys and make it a permanent home. There are perks to this style of stationary living such as having neighbors/friends nearby, campground amenities (pools, activities, etc.), and are likely close in proximity to towns/cities/civilization.
2. Remote Workers: Within the last decade or so, technology has allowed people to have the option of working remotely. These folks need quiet, kid/pet friendly and semi-permanent sites.
Many folks are specifically choosing jobs that allow remote work so they can explore this beautiful planet in their free time. Such jobs include: travel nursing, blogging, marketing, etc.
I have seen and heard from a lot of the younger generation that have chosen remote work for the following reasons. a) They don’t want to be tied down to a “sticks and bricks.” b) They don’t want the responsibility of home ownership i.e. upkeep and HOAs. c) They want to see the world while they’re young and agile.
3. Travelers: What we see and hear about the most are the RVers who travel FT. It can seem like a dream but it takes a lot of research and planning. These folks need a little bit of everything depending on where they are in life.
The “camping-in-style” travelers aka glampers. These folks stay in beautiful RV resorts with lots of amenities.
The “get-back-to-nature” travelers. These folks stay in standard campgrounds, national/state parks, BLM (Bureau of Land Management) or boondock.
The “either/or travelers”. These folks stay in resorts occasionally but also like national parks, boondocking and standard campgrounds.
The destination travelers. These folks are most likely traveling to bucket list destinations such as big cities, beaches, parks, festivals, etc. looking for campsites close to their destination.
The journey/wanderlust travelers. These folks have a strong desire to explore the world and they’re probably more flexible when it comes to their travels. Meaning, it’s just as much about the journey as it is the destination, if not more. Therefore, they most likely camp wherever they can along the way.
4. In-betweeners: Yes, I made this term up but I have a feeling there’s a lot more people out there that live this way, FT in their RV. Not everyone who lives in an RV has the ability or skills to work remotely, but that doesn’t mean you have to be completely stationary. My partner and I fall into this FT RVer category and this group of RVing isn’t talked about much.
People that are stationary for the majority or a portion of the year but still travel.
For example, we have a physical address for our businesses which means we are stationary for the majority of the year. My partner and I have a large workshop full of tools for my RV Renovation company and his Custom Hot Rod shop.
When we made the choice to become FT RVers, our plan was to work 3 weeks and take a week to travel. Or, work 6 weeks and spend 2 weeks traveling. However, when I launched my business in the spring of 2021, it grew so rapidly I wasn’t able to take much time away. At the same time, my partner’s business also picked up speed. Both were great things and nothing to complain about but it did change our plans.
We still manage to take off 8 weeks a year to travel in our RV. We also try to take at least one big trip a year via plane. Another (planned) benefit of saving on our cost of living in order to take other types of trips that you can’t get to in an RV.
We understand that not everyone can afford to travel, much less numerous times a year. We consider ourselves fortunate, but this is why we made the decision to live full-time in an RV and save money for what is important to us and what makes us happy. Everyone has different priorities, but this lifestyle has helped us afford to prioritize what’s important to us.
You only get one life. If you have dreams, there’s always a way to make them come true. You just have to take that first step and make a plan. Anything worth doing, takes time and is worth doing well. Don’t let others hold you back, be it with their opinions or the mold you think you have to fit. Break the “rules,” take chances, live your life, make mistakes and learn along the way. That’s the only way to better yourself and find true happiness.
I hope those of you who are reading this article can relate to my experience in some way and/or I’ve been able to open your eyes to different ways of RVing. You get to write your own story, so don’t wait. Get out and live!
Writer and Owner of rain2shine ventures