If you are planning to go on an epic adventure in a travel trailer, there are lots of questions that you have to answer. One of them will be about the costs of traveling full time, which can be tricky because every family is different. Propane is one of the items that I had a hard time pinning down while researching for our adventure. It is one of those it depends on your usage items that is impossible to figure out exact costs beforehand. Here is our break down for the last year to help you get an idea what it might cost your family on your adventure. (We are a family of five in a travel trailer)
How much will it cost? This might be the question most asked by anyone thinking of living full time in a RV. We did a ton of research before we made the transition from stationary living to full time traveling and finding an answer to this question was elusive. It’s something everyone wants to know, but no one can answer. After making the transition I have a better understanding of why this is.
Something to be considered for people wanting to take their life on the road, especially those of us with young children, is how will the holidays be celebrated. We are not a very religious family, but we do celebrate many traditional American holidays. In our decision to take our life on the road we still wanted to provide our children with the fun and excitement of celebrating holidays along with their birthdays. Although where we celebrate them and the ways in which we celebrate them will vary, it is great that we are still able to participate in them no matter where we happen to be. We planned on being with grandparents for Christmas, but hadn’t really considered where we would be or how we would celebrate other holidays. Birthdays on the road were also not something we had taken into consideration when planning this adventure. It is hard to plan for everything, however; birthdays are not too difficult. We just let the kids pick something unique, fun, and kid friendly in the area we plan to be for their birthday. I still make them a cake or special treat and we get them a small gift, something useful or something they need, but mainly it’s about the experience. Other holidays have taken a little more planning, but we always figure it out and so far it has always been fun and a new experience. So with a little planning and a big sense of adventure holidays on the road have been fun and exciting!
Time does not stand still for us. Things keep happening and life continues to move forward. As we travel through this amazing country we find so many new and interesting things to experience, but we still have to manage to fit in everyday things. Our refrigerator does not fill itself, the dishes don’t wash themselves, and no one comes to take out our trash while we explore a new city. There is still an endless amount of chores that need to be done on a daily basis and honestly it can be challenging to find time to fit things in when we are so busy discovering new places. It is also important to us that the kids pitch in to help with some of these tasks, but they are still learning and it takes time to teach them how to do these things right. Life is a balancing act whether stationary or on the road.
We move frequently, by frequently I mean on average about every four days. This means we spend quite a bit of time looking for a new home (aka campsites). Before we started this adventure we did a lot of research about many aspects of traveling full time in an RV. We even did a mock up of what a month of travel might look like to give us an idea of the cost. Not having traveled in an RV before, however; we didn’t really know what to look for in a campsite (price was our main concern during research phase). When you find yourself constantly in unfamiliar territory it is difficult to know what an area will be like. After having stayed in many different campsites in many different states we have a much better idea of what to look for and how to find a site that suits our needs.
Traveling across the country a couple of times gives you perspective. America is made up of individual states and each state has it’s own style and idiosyncrasies. Although there are tons of similarities and people are basically the same whether you are in Washington of Florida, there are lots of differences. As we travel around this big country we have noticed these five things are drastically and can be hard for a full time traveler to deal with. If you are thinking of full timing and want to know what you might encounter, then this blog might help you. Just remember there are tons of things that stay the same (we will go over some of those on another blog post).
I think sometimes people wonder what we do for entertainment since we don’t watch television. We do watch some television shows and have several DVD sets that we put on and watch every few nights. Both Sarah and I are big movie buffs and have watched many a movie over the years, though now we only have a few movies with us. I don’t mind watching t.v. shows on DVD though since there are no commercials.
Being a gamer made me think the game situation was critical to our plans to go on an adventure. We brought along board games that replay over and over well. Plus I brought along some of my card games, which we play pretty often. I went ahead and brought two of the board games that we developed (Zoning and Ancient Tactics) and I still get a kick out of playing them even though we have played them hundreds of times. The kids have brought along several kids games too and we occasionally have a family game night. I think it is good for math and social skills for kids to play board games. If I couldn’t have brought some games along I don’t think I would have set out on this adventure.
Here is Journey in single take format with no rehearsal giving you a tour of our home.
After spending five days driving across the country we finally arrived in Ohio and were ready to pick up our new home. We were trying to be early to the walk through, but google maps sent us the wrong way. There was a moment of doubt on my part when we pulled up in front of a house instead of an RV service business. It raced through my mind, did we just get scammed by someone? Then I looked over everything again and realized that google maps had sent us to the north portion of the street instead of the south portion. We turned around and drove to the south side and there was the RV service business where we were to pick up the travel trailer!
The walk through was very thorough, but a lot to take in. We had a check list written down to make sure we had all our questions answered, however; in the excitement of seeing our new trailer we left it in the car. We had been in Rockwood’s before and had seen our unit online, but here we were in our actual travel trailer. Of course everything looks so new and clean, but we know that won’t last. We became acquainted with the travel trailer and then had to set up the hitch.
The hitch we purchased wasn’t too difficult to set up, but it did take a while to set up and it wasn’t what I pictured in my mind. I thought it would be level and I would have the proper tools in hand to make a quick easy job of it, but life doesn’t always work out the way you want. We were on a slight slope, it was raining out, and I didn’t have the proper tools in hand. We were supposed to stop at a store on the way to get the exact tools, but that didn’t happen. The shop guys helped out a little though and we made it work. We hooked up the hitch, bought the necessities to camp for the first night (sewer hose, surge protector, chemicals, toilet paper, water regulator and hose), and then we were off!
We were intending to camp right near where we purchased the travel trailer for the first few nights, but a storm system came in. We decided to head north a few hours to get out of its way, which gave me a chance to tow for the first time. When you get your new travel trailer, no one tells you a single thing about towing. Luckily I had researched online and already knew a little about it. The biggest problem I had with my first tow was my own fault, I didn’t mount the electronic brake controller for some strange reason and it had to sit on my knee. It made it much more difficult to tow, but we made it work. Towing a 29’ travel trailer is tricky, but the Armada did a good job of it. It is a little scary when you cross a bridge and the cross winds hit the trailer and there is a moment when it seems like disaster. But then you just squeeze the electronic brake a smidge and everything settles down and becomes manageable again. I wasn’t looking forward to backing into the first camp site, but I lucked out, and the first one was a pull through.
After spending several nights’ tent camping, the first time setting up camp with the travel trailer was a breeze! The site was almost all the way level, the connections were conveniently placed and everything on the travel trailer is electric making it super easy. Then we had to move into the travel trailer and unload the car. Everyone was happy to have a little space and now when we take the car somewhere stuff doesn’t fall out when you open the doors! Now where to next!?