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17 Beginner Full-Time RV Mistakes You Can Avoid

Making the decision to live in an RV full-time is an exciting one! The prospect of following the warm weather, downsizing to a simpler, minimalist lifestyle, and finally visiting all the places on your bucket list is a fantasy for many. Unfortunately, when you first hit the road you don’t know what you don’t know, and you’re liable to make some common beginner full-time RV mistakes.

We’ve been there and have made many of these mistakes ourselves! So, in this article, we’re going to help you identify and avoid some of these pitfalls.

What Is Full-Time RVing?

While many people choose to only spend weekends or holidays RVing, others make it a lifestyle. Full-time RVing is when your primary home is an RV. Some people park their RV on their own property or rent a long-term spot at an RV park. Others travel full-time and work remotely from the road.

The Best & Worst of Fulltime RV Living - 1 Year on the Road Highlights

Avoid These Beginner Full-Time RV Mistakes

If you’re just getting started living in your RV full-time, you will make mistakes. It’s just par for the course. However, we want to help you avoid the most common ones, so you can start out on the right foot.

1. Bringing Too Much Stuff (RV Overweight)

The very first mistake new full-time RVers make is overloading their RV by packing too much stuff. This was one of our first downfalls. It happened because we didn’t understand the importance of RV and tow vehicle weight ratings. We also felt like we needed to bring as much stuff as possible since the RV was going to be our full-time home.

Downsizing is a hard and critical part of going full-time RV. It’s an emotionally and mentally draining process where you have to decide whether every little thing you own in your sticks-and-bricks home comes or goes. Most things must go.

overweight rv
This was our first RV, which we managed to overload with way too much stuff.

2. Not Making a Realistic Full-Time RV Budget

Getting your finances in order before hitting the road is really important. We recommend sitting down and tallying up all your existing costs, then extrapolating that into RV life. RVing can be a way to reduce your expenses, but it can also be expensive if you’re paying $50+ per night to stay at luxury RV resorts

Everyone is going to have different expenses, so you’ll need to make a budget for your specific situation. You may also plan to make some money on the road, but be realistic about what you can make. Options like Amazon Camperforce can offer pretty solid numbers for potential income.

Pro Tip: Not sure where to start? Learn how we built our full-time RV budget and find out How Much Does It Cost to Full-Time RV?

3. Traveling Too Fast

Once you’re out on the road, it is SO tempting to try to see and do everything as fast as possible. We definitely fell into this trap, and after the first 6 months of travel, we were absolutely exhausted! 

Every full-time RVer eventually learns to slow down the pace, and many adopt a 2-2 or 3-3 rule This means only driving for 2-3 hours on travel days, then staying at least 2-3 days in one location.  

Tom learning how to drive Class A RV
Whenever possible, try to only drive 2-3 hours at a time.

4. Booking Your Whole Year in Advance

This can sometimes be the source behind mistake #3 above. If you book yourself up and have to keep moving to hit your next reservation, you might become exhausted. This pace is sustainable for a two-week vacation, but when it’s your full-time life, it’s hard to keep up! 

Booking out your whole year also reduces your flexibility. One of the awesome things about full-time RV living is that you discover places you didn’t know existed. Some of the coolest experiences you’ll have while RVing are going to be things you can’t find in a tourist’s travel guide. 

5. Getting in Fights With Your Partner When Parking the RV

It might be OK to argue with your partner every time you park the camper if you’re only camping once in a while. However, full-time RVers need radios for easy communications. Not only to save your relationship, but it’ll be a faster and more pleasant experience for everyone—including your new campsite neighbors. You’ll also be far less likely to hit something accidentally.

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6. Spending Too Much Money on Eating Out

One of the best things about vacationing in new places is trying out the local cuisine, right? Yes, but remember you aren’t on vacation! While this is a great way to enjoy new places, eating out all the time is a great way to burn through your RV budget. 

We recommend setting a strict budget for dining out and sticking to it. Also, you’re RV has a fully equipped kitchen, so go ahead and learn how to use it! We’ve found that we are able to make all the same meals in our RV that we would have made in our sticks-and-bricks house. If you haven’t already, definitely invest in an Instant Pot to make meal prep at home even easier!

Cooking in an RV kitchen
We love cooking in our RV and generally prefer it over eating out.

7. Spending Too Much Money on “Vacation” Activities

Along a similar vein, things you may have splurged on while vacationing aren’t going to translate over to full-time RV life. You’re going to have to be picky about which activities you take advantage of in your travels. Remember, if you’re planning to travel full-time for a few years or more, you can always come back and do it another time!

Again, we recommend factoring unique experiences into your RVing budget to help you be more thoughtful about which activities take priority and how to spread them out in your schedule.

8. Spending Too Much Money on Campgrounds

You learn really quickly in full-time RV life that campground costs add up fast. Really fast!

RV resorts can easily cost over $50/night, and even state and national park campgrounds can be $30+/night. That’s like paying $900-1500/month on rent!

Fortunately, there are some great camping memberships and clubs out there that offer affordable camping solutions and discounts on campsites. 

Thousand Trails offers lifetime camping memberships or annual memberships, granting you access to a network of parks across the country.

Passport America offers great discounts on member parks to its members.

RV resort
RV resorts are nice but can cost a lot if not planned out.

Harvest Hosts allows overnight parking at agritourism businesses like wineries, farms, and museums for a low annual fee.

Boondockers Welcome members get to stay at private member residences overnight for free (or an optional fee for hookups in some cases.) This membership is a part of Harvest Hosts.

These are just some of the programs out there to help you reduce the costs of camping. 

Additionally, many full-time RVers eventually break into boondocking on public land for free. In order to do this, there are some ground rules for dealing with resources off-grid and practicing responsible boondocking to keep our public lands open for continued use by RVers. 

9. Not Joining an RV Community

During our first year on the road, we honestly got lonely. Fortunately, we discovered the Escapees RV Club, which is a support network for all RVers to find community on the road. RVillage, FMCA, and Full-Time Families are some other RV clubs that hold events and provide services, information, and discounts for their members.

This is a great way to find friends on the road that you can caravan or meet up with on your travels!

rv community
Hanging out with fellow Escapees RV Club members Rae & Jason of Getaway Couple!

10. Not Attending a Rally or RV Show

Once you’re a part of an RV community, or if you’re still looking for one, RV rallies and shows are a great way to find people interested in similar things as you. Rallies can be held by your RV manufacturer, an RV club you’re a part of, or maybe even around a non-RV related event, like the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

At RV shows you can find groups of owners of a particular manufacturer, go to seminars on RV topics, or participate in ancillary events as part of the show. 

We also made the mistake of not attending a rally until we headed out to the Xscapers Bash in the Arizona desert (must be an Escapees RV Club Member to attend). Talk about a fun time and an energetic vibe! 

11. Waiting on Mail/Packages

Receiving mail and packages is a unique challenge for full-time RVers. When you’ve got a mailbox at a home, you don’t think twice about it. When your location changes regularly, it takes some skill to coordinate! You don’t want to be stuck in a place waiting on packages to arrive.

Seasoned full-time RVers typically all have Amazon Prime memberships for free 2-day shipping so they rarely have to wait around long for packages. They’ll also coordinate ahead of time for the next place to receive packages until they arrive. We also appreciate friends and family we’re planning to visit acting as mail receivers. 

Pro Tip: Looking for a service that can hold your mail until you’re ready to receive it? Check out The Best RV Mail Forwarding Services Available.

12. Not Keeping Up on Full-Time RV Maintenance

Your RV is your house now. Instead of mowing the lawn and cleaning out the gutters, you now have to maintain caulking along your RV seams, your tires, your slide-outs, and a myriad of other minor things to keep your RV in tip-top shape!

Tom working on RV brakes
Doing maintenance now will save you from expensive repairs later.

If you’re not familiar with RV repairs and maintenance, YouTube is a great resource for learning how to do things yourself. Failure to maintain your RV (and tow or toad vehicle) could result in more major fixes being needed down the road. 

You’ll also want to bring along some tools to help get this maintenance done. Check out what’s in our RV tool kit to get some ideas.

13. Expecting to Have a Campfire Every Night

We used to be those weekend campers who scoffed at the people who’d sit in their RV and watched TV instead of enjoying a campfire outside. Boy, have the tables turned! We get it now.

RV life is, well, life. And sometimes you just want to watch your favorite TV show and hang out indoors. Campfires can be fun, but not every night. 

In fact, many full-time RVers get a propane fire pit to be able to enjoy campfires without the fire building, wood collection, smokey smell clinging to your clothes and hair, and water dousing at the end of the evening. Plus, propane fires are even allowed in many places where wood fires are banned. 

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14. Not Investing in a Reliable Connectivity Setup

When you go full-time RV, you need to have reliable connectivity. You’ll quickly learn that campground WiFi isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, with slow speeds and/or strangling bandwidth. 

To be able to live full-time, you need to invest in some reliable RV internet gear, including cell and data plans, a good router, cell boosters, and maybe even a directional antenna. Your needs will depend on whether you need a connection for a remote job or if it’s just for streaming and checking in with friends and family every once in a while.

Our setup includes a Max Transit Duo Pepwave router, a Mobile Must Have data plan, a weBoost Drive Reach cell booster, and a directional antenna for picking up weak signals in very remote boondocking locations. 

Pro Tip: Get 5% off all your connectivity gear and plans at Mobile Must Have by using code “MOTM5” at checkout! They also have TREMENDOUS customer service!

How We Get Rock Solid RV Internet! - The Best Tech Solutions to Work Full Time From the Road

15. Not Investing in Lithium-Ion Batteries

When using an RV full time you will quickly find out that traditional lead-acid batteries can be a huge headache to keep healthy and not kill them. The benefits of lithium-ion batteries over lead-acid batteries for your RV are plentiful. In actuality, the cost of lithium-ion batteries per watt over their lifetime is less than the cost of lead-acid or AGM batteries!

While more expensive upfront, these batteries pay for themselves over years of use AND in quality of life. Lithium batteries will last the life of your RV or more in most situations. If you switch RVs, it’s the type of thing you’d want to take with you.

Most importantly, you don’t have to worry about charging them up all the way every time or what voltage they are at when you need your power. Lead-acid batteries are very particular about charge cycles and discharge rates for longevity—and this is virtually eliminated with lithium-ion. 

Having more silent power for longer without running a generator—now that is definitely worth the investment for full-time RV life! Not to mention, you can increase your capacity for off-grid living, which opens up even more places to roam!

installing lithium ion batteries for full-time rving
Installing Battle Born lithium batteries in our RV for our Ultimate Off-Grid Solar System

When planning out your full-time RV travels, it is tempting to look at a map and plot out the big attractions: Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon. It’s also tempting to drive from point A, to B, to C and cram as much in as possible (like we discussed in mistakes #3 & #4).

We’re here to tell you that there is so much more to see than popular tourist destinations!

In between Yellowstone and Yosemite, for instance, are the entire states of Idaho and Nevada. You might not know of tourist destinations in either of those places. Still, Idaho is one of the most surprising states we’ve been to, and it took our breath away with its beauty.

RVing through Idaho
Driving through Idaho

Nevada also gets a bad rap, but it too has gorgeous mountains, tons of public lands, and Great Basin National Park. 

Again, leave room in your schedule to roam and explore. You won’t regret it!

17. Not Having a Full-Time RV Exit Strategy

Finally, one easy thing to do before you hit the road full-time in your RV is to think of an exit strategy. Most people don’t do it forever, so at some point, you’ll probably want to get off the road and settle in somewhere. 

This could be due to a personal choice—maybe you find “the place” in your travels that feels like home, or maybe you get an awesome new job. It could also be due to circumstances beyond your control. We never like planning for accidents or illness, but in these cases, you don’t want to be scrambling for a Plan B. 

Having some money budgeted for getting off the road is a great way to make sure your transition back to sticks-and-bricks life goes smoothly. Knowing someone who has a place you could park for a while is also a great backup plan to have. 

Avoiding These Full-Time RV Mistakes Will Keep You on the Road and Having Fun!

Hopefully, these tips make it so that you avoid mistakes that cause many people to struggle with the full-time RV life. From exhaustion to connectivity to arguments at the campground, you can avoid frustration by knowing what the potential pitfalls are ahead of time. Making small adjustments to your routines and planning now can save you time, money, and headache in the long run!

Have more questions or concerns about hitting the road full-time? Leave them in the comments below!

Morton's overland truck camper

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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Donald Fleming

Thursday 14th of December 2023

I have almost the same rig as you (2007 Dynasty) we have been full time for 3 years love it so far but we are starting to think about a home somewhere. I think if you’re going to live this always keep in mind you will get older and it gets harder to do your chores. I’m looking at your toad setup I used to do all that extra work until Ford came out with a 4 door truck you can flat tow for under $30K Ford Maverick what a difference a place for my dog extra room in the bed and it’s a hybrid so easy to hook up just a little fyi from a fan. Safe travels Don


Tuesday 12th of December 2023

Idaho is at the top of my list to return to. I spent four months there last summer.

Steven Beatty

Monday 24th of April 2023

Can you please send me your best free sites to stay at? National parks? BLM ? Or really anywhere ? …We are now solar and want to do more boondocking off grid and stay away from RV parks …. Thank you

Mortons on the Move

Monday 24th of April 2023

We dont have a list of our favorites, but part of the fun is finding them. Here is a resource to help find them


Wednesday 6th of July 2022

Hey, Great and helpful articles, thanks! We haven’t purchased our RV yet…but SOON! I’m reading and taking notes on everything possible beforehand. So…my question is why you never mentioned the need for a GOOD SAM membership? I was reading one of their articles on their blog and that’s how I found YOUR blog! I can’t wait to get started though, and our plan is to sell our house before Dave retires in Oct, live with my brother in the interim, buy a cheap lake house and a Class C motor home. That way we can travel a few years and have the peace of mind of a home to come back to.

Mortons on the Move

Sunday 28th of August 2022

Sounds like you have a grat plan! We love having a property to come back to. Good Sam offers some great perks. Just looking into their offerings and see if its right for you!


Tuesday 29th of December 2020

#1, so true! We’re three years in and we’re still tossing useless stuff away! I can’t tell you how limiting it is to take too much stuff. I’ve seen rigs with trailers full of kayaks, bikes, motorcycles, surfboards and SUPs. Good lord, slow down and enjoy the company of your partner and use your god given feet for recreation! And connectivity and joining an RV Community? No thanks. After a lifetime of dealing with people’s problems and worrying about the BS news, we go a long way into the boonies to get away from both the drama of people and the drama of the Internet. And we’re better for it.

Mortons on the Move

Tuesday 29th of December 2020

#1 definitely comes with time and experience. The longer you're on the road the more you realize what you actually use/need regularly and what you don't. Thanks for sharing your experience, Will! :)