Survive as Full-time RVers

(Gene asks....)

Can we survive as full-time RVers? I am a 48 year old painter and carpenter. I am tired of struggling to makes ends meet because of mortgage and the rest of what goes with it. I am looking to make enough money to pay for my essentials, along with gas and camping fees while traveling the country.


I guess I want to become a gypsy. I will have my wife with me, as well. We are looking to get out of the rat race and be free.

I am also a decent solo guitarist and singer, which I make a living at right now, as well.

We can survive as minimalist, but is it realistic?

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Instead of "Survive," Go for "Thrive" as Full-time RVers

Hi Gene,

Setting your sites to survive as full-time RVers isn't setting yourself up very well. Instead, I think you should be looking to THRIVE as full-time RVers.

Full-time RVing can be an extremely economical way to live. So, you have that benefit right up front. Unless there are circumstances you didn't mention, there's no reason you need a new or special RV.

With your skills, you should be able to work off your campground expenses with just a few hours of work a week. Many campground owners would jump at the chance to trade out an RV site for some painting and carpentry work. There are also many who would gladly give you a place to park in exchange for you providing some entertainment for the other guests.

Being mobile, you put yourself in a position to accept short-term jobs. If you are a union carpenter or painter, your union should be able to help you. If not, signing up to work with a day labor staffing service may help. Or, simply contact construction firms in the areas where you want to work. Finding part-time and short-term jobs is different than searching for full-time, permanent positions.

And, if it comes down to just needing to survive as a full-time RVer, there are numerous things you can do to get by for while. Washing dishes at a restaurant or working as unskilled day labor are a couple that come to mind.

Survive as Workcamper

Hello! I have been a workcamper for about 7 years and it has been the best times of my life.

Opportunities are only limited by your imagination. Jack-of-all-trades is one of the easiest jobs to find, and when you start networking within the campers you will find that the free site plus wages is more the norm.

Survive as Workcamper

Myself, if I had that kind of talent, I'd look for larger RV parks. Do your 4 hour a day for rent and set up camp fire sing-a-longs with posters and talking with guests as they check-in. Remember the park wants them to have a great time (tip jar). Be sure to ok plans with park before you start.


Remember you will be living in a camper. You take what you can use. Conservation is the best going green on the planet.

I only drive about 5,000 miles a year. I maintain my own equipment.

Just remember the parks don't want a piece of junk setting in their park. But something clean and maintained will pass.

If you follow the weather, cut offs and tee shirts take a lot less room.

Have fun out there.

Surviving as Fulltime RV'ers

There are many things that will not change in your budget, just because you are living in your RV.

If you have an RV payment, plus payment for an RV site, that budget item could easily be as much as you are paying for your mortgage.

Personal maintenance budget does not change much either. . .you still need to eat, and buy deodorant, shampoo, laundry supplies, etc.

However, if you are debt free, and can live frugally, I would say yes, you can survive.

My suggestion would be to go ahead and get yourself set up in the RV in your current situation, sell the house, and whatever else you would divest yourself of to live on the road. . .and try it out for a few months. That way, you are not changing everything at once. . .you are still reporting to the same J.O.B every day.

You just wouldn't have the mortgage payment, and various and sundry expenses that go with the sticks and bricks lifestyle. I think that would answer a few of the questions.

We sold the house and lived in our RV for five years before retiring and going on the road fulltime.

Best of luck,

Painting Carpentry Work is Available

While workkamping for a private RV park in Texas last winter, my husband made a reasonable income doing odd jobs for other tenants. This is a combined RV/mobile home park and there are several in the area like this.

He had to leave some jobs undone when we left simply because we had other obligations and could not stay. One tenant needed the outside of his mobile home repainted and would gladly pay to have it done. Others were doing remodeling or updating in their mobile homes/RVs and needed help.

I am sure you would have no problem getting work of this type in these parks if you do good work for a reasonable wage. Many parks will also exchange this type of work for campsite fees and an additional wage.

Good luck.

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