RV Information for Kampgrounds of America, Inc.

A Learning Rig

Joe and Vicki Kieva

Joe: “Is full-timing as good as it sounds?” We get a lot of inquiries from gonna-be RVers about full-timing. These folks are dreaming about retiring, selling their home, buying an RV, and hitting the road. But as the time for action gets close they begin having second thoughts. They are not sure they want to give up their conventional dwellings and leave their friends and family.

There are thousands of full-time RVers. Most of them will tell you it is the best decision they ever made for themselves. Of course, we do not hear from the folks who are not happy with their decision.

Vicki and I thought we would have evolved into being full-timers by now. That was our original game plan. But we have an emotional connection to our house. Most of our kids and grandkids live in our hometown . Our big house becomes the family gathering place during the holidays. Vicki has closets full of clothes and I have a garage full of junk.

We came to the conclusion that, while we thoroughly enjoy traveling in an RV, we prefer living in a house. So we decided to do both. We are extended RV travelers. We go out on the road for two to three months at a time, return to our house for a couple of months and then go out on the road again. We spend seven to eight months of the year traveling around the country in our motorhome but it always feels good to get back home. Life is good.

Vicki: If you are among those considering full-timing but you have no previous RVing experience, you might consider buying an inexpensive, used “learning” RV. Buy it now, before you sell your house. This will give you and your spouse the opportunity to learn more about RVs, RVing and the various RVing lifestyles.

You could start with weekend camping trips. Then gradually extend the duration of time you spend on the road until you feel you are ready to make the plunge into full-timing.

The learning rig will give you the opportunity to learn how to RV. How to equip, pack drive, back, level, use hookups, camp self-contained, live, and travel in an RV. You will also discover what type and size RV best complements your interests; what features, accessories and capacities you need. It will give you the opportunity to experience extended time on the road and decide if full-timing is really what you want to do.

While you are traveling and camping in your learning RV, you can find out how others use their rigs. Make a point of exploring the different types of overnight facilities available. Camp self-contained in primitive government campgrounds; with full hookups in a commercial RV park; and with the amenities of luxury RV resorts. Talk with full-timers, snowbirds, extended travelers and other RVers. Ask them what they like best about their RVing lifestyle. Ask what they like best about their RVs and what they would do different the next time. Listen to their observations and heed their advice.

Along the way, be sure to tap into the wealth of information available from reading RVing books, visiting RV dealerships, and attending RV shows and rallies.

When you are ready to buy the “right” RV, the difference between the purchase price of your learning rig and its trade-in allowance will be the cost of your “education”. But it will be money well spent.

Your learning experience will help you make an informed decision. You will be able to choose the RVing lifestyle that makes you happy, and to select an RV that will take you where you want to go and let you do the things you want to do.