9 Key Lessons Learned After 9 Years of RV Life and Travels

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After nine years of RVing, logging over 100,000 miles, and experiencing more adventures than we can count, we’ve learned a thing or two about life on the open road. Here, we share our insights and tips for making the most of your RV life and travels. Buckle up and join us on this journey through nine key lessons we’ve gathered over nine years of RVing.

3 men pushing in rv slide

1. Adaptability is Key

RVing is a constant lesson in flexibility. You just never know when your RV might break down, an unexpected detour pops up, or when Mother Nature decides to derail your plans for a relaxing day on the beach. RV life has taught us that the ability to roll with the punches – while keeping a sense of humor – builds confidence, creates a greater sense of independence, and makes the journey much smoother.

Learning to make adjustments – like when a slide won’t come in, dealing with GPS fails or hurricanes, or finding creative new ways to save money on fuel or spend less on campgrounds so you can afford to keep traveling – all become fun (mostly) challenges to be solved. Plus, those inevitable black tank debacles and frustrating RV breakdowns will inevitably make great campfire stories.

marc julie relax on couch in country coach

2. Embrace Minimalism

Living in a small space has revealed to us the beauty and freedom of owning less. RV living isn’t about bringing all the comforts of a traditional home, but rather about experiencing life more fully with what you truly need. Minimalism isn’t just a trend – it’s a deeply rewarding lifestyle that has made our RV journey (and our home life) richer and more fulfilling.

Learning to let go of the ‘stuff’ you don’t really need brings a freeing sense of lightness and joy. Of course, learning to live with less will also save you money. And because every RVer should know it’s important to stay within the safe weight limit for your rig, tires, and safety, your RV will thank you too.

camping in the quartzsite desert with friends

3. Community is Everywhere

Despite initial concerns that road life might be lonely, one of the most surprising and rewarding parts of RVing has been the diverse, welcoming community we’ve found along the way. RVers comes from all walks of life, but there’s a shared bond – especially among full-timers and extended travelers –  in our love for travel, freedom, and adventure.

We’ve made lifelong friendships with kind, friendly, and fascinating people all around the country. In campgrounds, and even while out boondocking in the middle of the Arizona desert. And help is often just a campsite – or even a social media post – away.

applying roof sealant on navion after antenna installation

4. Maintenance Matters

Just like with a sticks and bricks house, regular upkeep of your home on wheels is essential in RV life. This isn’t just about keeping your rig clean and in tip-top shape inside and out. It’s about safety, longevity, and peace of mind. We’ve learned it pays to stay on top of RV maintenance tasks instead of waiting for potential issues to become costly RV repairs.

Regular maintenance can also improve your RV’s performance and efficiency and result in a more relaxing and enjoyable experience. Plus, if you maintain your RV properly, it will protect your investment, making it easier to sell, and bringing a higher resale value when it’s time for a change.

navigation planning outside in quartzsite

5. Plan, But Stay Open

Planning your route takes time, and is an essential part of the journey, but so is being open to spontaneous adventures. We’ve discovered some of the best camping spots and adventures by talking to locals or fellow campers along the way. And we’ve had unforgettable experiences by taking that random left turn.

So carefully plan your route to reduce risks and potential issues, especially if you have a big rig. But remember to schedule room for spontaneity, too. It’s all about striking a balance between preparation and serendipity.

couple stands at edge of grand canyon

6. Balance Connectivity and Disconnect

One of the big challenges of the RV life is maintaining connectivity, both for practical reasons (like work and communication) and to keep up with the world at large. After all, being able to connect to the internet, and work as we travel, is what makes this lifestyle possible.

But it’s just as important to cherish those moments of disconnection – to enjoy the peace of a dark starry night, the stillness of a forest, or the majesty of a mountain range. Traveling by RV makes all this possible, we also need to remind ourselves to switch off, be present with our loved ones, and really take it all in.

standingn with man who cleans Prada marfa art installation

7. Embrace Local Cultures

From tasting local cuisines to learning about regional history, immersing ourselves in the local cultures of the places we visit has made our travels much more enriching. We’ve learned that the beauty of RV life is not just about the journey or the destination but about the unique people and cultures we encounter along the way. 

Get off the interstate and drive scenic back roads instead (assuming they’re suitable for your RV). Eat at local cafes and restaurants instead of the chains. Support local businesses and discover unique treasures by shopping on Main Streets instead of big box stores. We’ve found that striking up a conversation with locals can lead to some of the best conversations, tips, and experiences.

woman sitting of edge of canyon in colorado national monument

8. Avoid the Crowds: Discover Hidden Gems

Major attractions and popular destinations like national parks may be on your bucket list, but they can also get crowded and busy, especially during peak seasons. Instead of fighting the crowds, consider exploring lesser-known locations instead.

We love finding hidden gems (like Colorado National Monument above) that offer unique experiences without the stress of dealing with traffic and large crowds. Plan your trips to the most popular destinations and attractions during the shoulder seasons (just before or after peak times) – or even off-peak – for a more relaxed, enjoyable time. You may even find it less expensive.

couple stands at cruise ship rail in glacier bay alaska

9. Variety is the Spice of RV Life: Mix Up Your Camping Styles and Seasons

Keep an open mind about when, where, and how you camp. Even if you’re used to RV resorts, try boondocking or vice versa. Stay in national, state, or city parks. Seek out an RV rally, or camp at a festivalRV overnight at a winery, farm, or golf club. We’ve even had great experiences staying in parking lots at Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Bass Pro Shops, and Overnight Rest Areas (where allowed). If you want to save money, consider looking into camping memberships.

We’ve also found that taking a break from RV life can be healthy and refreshing. Grab a cheap cruise deal, stay at an Airbnb or hotel, try a unique glamping experience, book a flight for a vacation or family visit. If you’re a full-time RVer, maybe you’re ready to slow down a while (as we did) and switch to seasonal or part-time travel.

Diversifying your travel styles can enrich your experiences and even help you appreciate RV life more, especially in the changing seasons of life. You may end up RVing for reason, a season, or a lifetime, and it’s okay if it evolves.

Finally, Enjoy the Ride!

This might seem cliché, but it’s a core part of the RVing ethos. Don’t rush from point A to point B – savor the moments in between. Whether it’s a scenic detour, a surprise wildlife sighting, or pulling over to enjoy dinner and sunset at a roadside stop. More often than not, we’ve found the magic really does lie in the journey, not just the destination. 

So there you have it – nine years of RV life distilled into nine lessons. We hope these reminders and experiences inspire and guide you on your adventures. Remember, the beauty of RVing lies in its unpredictability and variety, if you choose to embrace it! Keep on exploring and safe travels, RV lovers. Here’s to the next 9 years and beyond!

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Picture of Author Bio: Julie Bennett

Author Bio: Julie Bennett

A native Aussie living in the USA, Julie has RV road-tripped to all 50 states and Canada. She is co-author of two bestselling books with her husband Marc: "RV Hacks: 400+ Ways to Make Life on the Road Easier, Safer, and More Fun!" and "Living the RV Life: Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road". In RV life, Julie takes care of the fun jobs – travel planning, decorating, and finding new places to eat!


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8 thoughts on “9 Key Lessons Learned After 9 Years of RV Life and Travels”

  1. Congratulations on 9 incredible years of RV life and travel! Your journey is not just inspiring but a valuable source of wisdom for fellow travelers like me. These 9 key lessons encapsulate a wealth of experience and knowledge. Here’s to many more adventurous years on the road!

  2. Thank you for this article on “9 Key Lessons Learned”. It was a very good read and pointed out what many people miss when traveling.

  3. I agree with you and to me flexibility is number one in my book. Flexibility plays a roll in pretty much everything related to RV life and if you are not a flexible person then RV life is not for you.

    • 100% – RV life is not so great for control freaks, as so many things can happen that are out of one’s control. But being flexible and learning to roll with things (literally) make the journey so much more enjoyable. Safe travels to you!


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