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Free Wheeling

RV (recreational vehicle) and camper living are on the rise, not only among retirees and people who enjoy travel, but also with debt-ridden Millennials who desire home ownership.

“There is so much to experience that it becomes overwhelming . . . no one is ever bored in this lifestyle.”  And, “All you have to do to find a new friend is step outside your rig.”  Words straight from seasoned experts on the subject.

According to RV Lifestyle Experts, RV parks offer information on local events and tourist attractions, including museums, gyms with no membership fees, art galleries, local live theater, golf, swimming pools, nature hikes, canoeing, casinos, and more.  And if the weather doesn’t cooperate, just take your home on down the road.

SavingAdvice.com estimates the average monthly cost of camper living at $3,490, or $41,880 per year.*  This figure includes RV park or state park rent with utilities, RV payments (up to $1,000), fuel, food, propane, laundry and recreation, plus possible RV maintenance.

Compare that to monthly house payments in the United States between $1,060 and $12,700—not including utilities and other lifestyle expenditures.  The average cost of a home in this country is about $220,000, while a nice camper or RV can be purchased for one-fourth of that, and without an additional 20 years of mortgage interest.

One drawback however is that unless you’re making payments on the RV, it won’t help your credit and you won’t get escrow on your purchase.  It will also be necessary to budget for camp ground fees, fuel and maintenance.

The price of a motorhome can run from $43,000 to $200,000 or more.  Motorhomes are self-contained but harder to move once camped.  While they can be set up quickly, they’re inconvenient for a trip to the grocery.  Plan on bringing bikes or light-weight motorcycles for such occasions.  Towing a small car involves greater expense and requires maintaining two vehicles.

Should you buy a gas or a diesel engine?  Diesel engines get more miles per gallon, have more power, greater load capacity, last longer and have better resale value.  However, they are more expensive and have higher maintenance costs.

A gas engine RV costs less foot for foot and is less expensive to maintain. It’s also easier to locate a mechanic for a gas engine.

The Internet is full of websites to help you get started.  Here are just a few:  newrver.com or,  https://www.your-rv-lifestyle.com/ or, http://www.rvlifestyleexperts.com/getting-started/Activities-home.htm.  You’ll also find other RV-ers willing to share helpful tips and experiences.

When you’ve decided on your destination (or destinations), it’s helpful to spend three or four weeks in each location before settling down.

Is camper living a good fit for you?  Which direction beckons you—the beach, the mountains, north, west, the Heartland prairies?  Live wherever you choose or just enjoy the nomadic life.  And should you weary of it, well, it’s easier to sell a camper than a house.

*According to 2017 figures


Constance Watkins