Hello RV Lover!
We created these bonuses exclusively for you, as one of our “Living the RV Life” readers. First up, congratulations on taking a big leap into getting properly educated about the RV life. Living the RV Life – no matter how you choose to do it – is a journey and we’re here to make it as easy and painless as possible, and save you a ton of time and money along the way.
We have organized the info by featuring the most popular near the top, followed by links and extra info related to the chapters in the book. We hope these resources are a huge help to you before, during, and after your journey to hitting the road in your RV! Hope to see you out there!
Best of LIFE
Marc and Julie
PS. Haven’t purchased the book yet? You can get your copy here in either print or Kindle. It’s coming out in audio soon, too!
Savings and Gear
Click each of the 3 tabs below to get more info, links, resources and discount codes for our most requested info and gear.
- Thousand Trailsis where we stay most of the time. Our membership saves us thousands of dollars each year. Learn how we do it, understand the different types of memberships, and what they cost:
- Passport America – gives you up to 50% off at over 1,800 campgrounds across the country.
- Harvest Hosts – members stay at wineries, farms and golf resorts for free. Use this link when joining to get the current best deal available.
Finding Places to Park for Free
- Frugal Shunpiker Guides – these e-books are jam packed with detailed information for finding great off-grid, accessible camping spots for your RV and to help with route planning. Buy the guides individually or as a bundle (best value)
- Boondockers Welcome – great resource for finding others who welcome RVers to stay on their private property.
- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – for finding publicly owned lands where you can stay for free.
Other Great Route Planning and Campground Research/Review Sites
- RV Trip Wizard – The best and most comprehensive route planning program integrating Campground Reviews and GPS.
- RVLIFE App – get the free version or access premium version features for free if you already have RV Trip Wizard.
- AllStays.com – for route planning and finding useful services.
- Campendium.com – find and read reviews on campgrounds, RV parks, national/state parks and boondocking locations
- CampgroundViews.com – look where you’re going with video views of campgrounds and RV parks
- CampgroundReviews.com – over 20,000 campgrounds and hundreds of thousands of reviews (view in the RVLIFE app)
Save Money on Fuel
Chapter 1 – Life on the Open Road
Quiz: Is the RV Life Right For You?
Don’t want to write in your book? Download the Living the RV Life – Quiz, as seen on page 30 so you can print and write your answers to determine if the RV life is right for you. This is a great option if you have more than one person doing the quiz, so you can each complete the exercise then compare notes.
Chapter 2 – Setting Yourself up for Success
What’s Your Why?
Knowing your “why” will drive so many decisions in your RV life. Whether it’s working out what kind of an RVer you want to be, what kind of RV to buy, or where to travel, getting clear on your ‘why’ is the first key to your success. We recommend everyone who traveling in the RV does this exercise. Compare answers so you are all on the same page before proceeding. Don’t skip this exercise! We refer to it multiple times throughout the book and you will too.
Click here to download the “What’s Your Why?” Exercise PDF, from pages 46–49 in the book.
Chapter 3 – Finding Your Home on Wheels
Choosing the Right RV
- Explore the courses we offer at our RV Success School, in particular Choosing the Right RV for You
- Watch video interviews with other full-time RVers who share in-depth insights, tips and information on what they they bought and why, their planning and research process, and how they make the lifestyle work for them in our RV Success Series – there are 6 interviews in each series of approx one hour each. Excellent learning in here.
- RV Reviews – get an in-depth, well-researched report that compares the many different RV brands and rates them. Reports are available for motorhomes and towables/trailers. Well worth the investment.
- Search a large variety of floor plans with RVingPlanet.com
Click here to download our RV Shopping Checklist PDF – from page 70 in the book
Be Confident in Your RV Purchasing Decision
Before you buy, consider having a professional RV Inspection done first to ensure you aren’t buying a lemon.
Protect your investment and get peace of mind around costly repairs with an Extended Service contract – we recommend doing your homework and getting an extended service contract quote on the RVs you are interested in advance. Check out this detailed article to help you decide if an RV extended warranty is right for you. If so, we recommend Wholesale Warranties for best price and service.
There are many options other than the big RV rental chains that typically rent RVs to vacationers. Many RV dealerships rent RVs, and if you want to rent from owners – and try different kinds of RVs – try some of these options below.
- RVShare (largest RV rental marketplace)
- You can even search https://www.airbnb.com for RV rental opportunities
- RV Swap Worldwide https://www.rvworldwide.com
- Weather safety www.noaa.gov/weather
- Get our RV Safety Checklist – click here to download
Other Recommended Gear
You don’t need to buy EVERYTHING you think you need for your RV life right away, but you do need some essentials to get started.
- Here’s our RV Essentials gear: https://rvlove.com/rv-essentials
Here are some of the tools we use to maintain our RV:
- RV Maintenance https://rvlove.com/fixit-gear
If you plan on driving a diesel powered truck or RV, check out this blog post and related video to learn about the program we use to save a bundle of money on diesel fuel.
Batteries / Inverter – If you’re looking for off-grid capability, you can find our battery/inverter/solar charge controller setup here: https://rvlove.com/bbbvictronsetup – You can also call and talk through your needs and the team at Battle Born can help you determine what’s best for you. Their products are excellent and their service is amazing.
Solar – There are many different solar panel manufacturers out there and we can only speak from personal experience on the products we have personally used and been happy with. These are:
Portable Solar Panel – This is the solar panel we used to charge our batteries, with our first RV and was a great way to get started with solar, without having to make a large investment.
Roof Mounted Solar Kits – When we changed our RV, we installed 6 x 170 watt panels on the roof of our RV, giving us 1,020 watts of solar, to keep our batteries charged. This makes living off the grid much more comfortable for us.
Chapter 5 – Staying Connected With People On and Off the Road
In this chapter, we shared a number of online social networks and groups to help you stay connected with people on and off the road. Here’s a handy roundup with links.
RV Membership Clubs with social offerings (page 131)
- Escapees (there’s a fee to join) and sister club Xscapers (no additional fee for Escapees members) – When joining they will ask who referred you: Marc & Julie Bennett, SKP #121165
- FMCA – When joining they will ask who referred you: Marc & Julie Bennett, FMCA Member #464400
- Good Sam Club – for 10% discounts on Good Sam campgrounds and at Camping World stores
- RVillage – it’s free to join, create a profile and meet other RVers.
Specific Communities (page 136)
- RVing Women – self-explanatory, RVing ladies unite!
- Loners on Wheels – solo RVers
- RV Singles – solo RVers
- Fulltime Families – support network for traveling families
- Cheap RV Living and RTR events – community and popular annual event for frugal RVers
Volunteering Opportunities (page 142)
Chapter 6 – Living Fit and Healthy on the Road
Health Insurance and Health Care
- Health insurance brokers https://www.rverinsurance.com
- Teladoc – https://www.teladoc.com
- RVHealth – Talk to a Primary Care Physician anytime, anywhere… saving you time and money. It’s a virtual clinic that travels with you. Save 20% on your monthly membership with coupon code “RVSUCCESS20” at https://rvhealth.com
- Doctor on Demand – http://www.doctorondemand.com
- ACA exchange https://www.healthcare.gov
- HealthSherpa https://www.healthsherpa.com
Alternative Health Share Options
- Samaritan Ministries https://samaritanministries.org
- Liberty Health Share http://www.libertyhealthshare.org (in the book we said we had Liberty Health Share, but we no longer do)
- Christian Healthcare Ministries http://www.chministries.org
- MediShare https://www.medishare.org
Other Resources for Preventative Health and Self Care from page 153
- Webmd.com – useful online database of health information, symptoms checker and more
- Earthclinic.com – natural remedies using many ingredients you probably already have at home
- The Joint – chiropractic care national network of locations that we use often and find very convenient
Cooking and our RV Kitchen
Chapter 7 – Working from the Road
Whether you are just checking email, or have much higher needs for internet connectivity. It is easier than you might imagine with the right resources and equipment. Here are links to the references we shared in Chapter 7 to help you stay mobile and connected.
- Chris and Cherie of Technomadia (their RVer profile is on page 185) wrote the Mobile Internet Handbook and created the Mobile Internet Resource Center– two of the top resources we recommend. If you join MIRC annual membership, their book is included.
- Our friends Erik and Kala of Livinlite.net (their RVer profile is on page 245) run MobileMustHave ≠ a dedicated technology gear store where they can get you hooked up with a true Unlimited Data Plan (not the ones the carriers promote now). While hard to find, they can help you out. Click here to visit their online store and use coupon code RVLOVE for an extra 5% off.
- We also have a Work, Tech & Connectivity store here on Amazon with our fave gear rounded up here (it changes regularly) https://www.amazon.com/shop/rvlove
Chapter 9 – Travel Destinations and Trip Planning
Budget Travel and Travel Hacking with Points and Miles (page 219)
Valuable Trip Planning Tools
- Useful books pg 231 and other resources
- Mountain Directories – East and West editions – available in print and as ebooks: https://www.mountaindirectory.com
- Next Exit book: https://amzn.to/3byPj0Z
- Rand McNally Large Scale Road Atlas: https://amzn.to/2Y21Dmx
- RVLIFE / RV Trip Wizard – The best route planning program, integrating Campground Reviews and RV-Safe GPS.
- RVLIFE App – download free version or if you buy RV Trip Wizard first you can access Premium version features for free
- Where to stay pg 233
- Campendium.com – a great resource for finding campgrounds, national and state parks and free BLM boondocking land
- AllStays.com – for finding services and campgrounds along your route (Well worth the $9.99 cost of the app)
- CampgroundViews.com – find and tour RV parks and campgrounds across the US with videos, photos, 360 VR video tours
- RVParkReviews.com is now known as CampgroundReviews.com
- Big Rigs Best Bets Campground Directory for those traveling with larger RVs
- We also recommend checking www.tripadvisor.com google.com and www.yelp.com for reviews.
- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for publicly owned lands where you can stay for free
- TripAdvisor.com for all kinds of travel information, reviews and attractions (not just for RVs)
- Thousand Trails is where we stay most of the time and has literally saved us thousands of dollars – find all our articles here
- Thousand Trails Zone Pass and New Membership upgrades
- Buy Thousand Trails resale memberships (used)
- Is a Thousand Trails Zone Pass Right For You?
- Thousand Trails Membership Upgrades, Elite, Platinum, VIP ++
- Passport America to get discounts at over 1800 campgrounds across the country
- KOA campground network
- Harvest Hosts to stay at wineries, golf resorts and farms. Use coupon code RVLOVE to save 15%
Finding places to park in open land
- Frugal Shunpiker Guides to find great off-grid camping spots and help with route planning
- Boondockers Welcome for finding others who welcome RVers to stay on their property
- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for publicly owned lands where you can stay for free
Other Great websites and applications
More RVer Stories
Click the arrows to read more RVer stories and learn from their experience.
Dennis and Donna Baril
Age 68, on the road since November 2015
“Experiencing the beauty and people of our country, untethered by schedules and caring for “stuff” thereby allowing us to be free to wander or remain stationary as we choose.”
As we approached “retirement” we asked ourselves “What next?” Traditional retirement lifestyle was not attractive to us. We had vacationed for weeks on our sailboat and knew we enjoyed adventures but sailing had seasonal limitations. So, we decided to continue the adventure by selling everything and move into an RV to see and experience our country. We initially committed to a two-year journey.
Leaving family and community was difficult and still remains a challenge to this day. While we have made wonderful friends on the road we still value and work to maintain our life-long friendships; they have changed but with work we are being successful. Our family (two children and seven grandchildren) have been supportive but we still have times where we wish we were with them. We fly back home for 10-14 days every three months (four times a year) and we are beginning to think that Donna may need to go home a little more frequently.
Once we were on the road we discovered that we really did not need all the stuff we once owned and that the RV Lifestyle was an adventure we could manage and enjoy for years. Remember when you are purchasing your RV for full time living – you are buying the home you will do normal living in – this is not a vacation home – it is a lifestyle. When we upgraded to a Diesel Pusher we extended our commitment to five-years! Today, we talk about if we stopped how would we answer our two biggest questions: “Stop, to do what?” and “Where would we stop?” At this point, we cannot answer either question.
Age: Early 40s with young children. Hit the road October 2015
“The RV lifestyle gives us a broad range of freedom to disconnect, explore, live on our own terms, and breathe in the world around us.”
We are working-age adults, with young children and like most Americans, had a mortgage and bills to pay. The mortgage paid for a wonderful home, comfortable, modern and lusciously landscaped, and above all, conveniently close to family. But we were uneasy. It just didn’t fulfill us. We’d been homeowners for 10 years but we wanted something different.
Our Youtube viewing history, the modern time waster of choice, started to reveal an odd pattern that included RVer’s and Homesteaders. We were wanting to escape, to explore, and we didn’t even know it.
And then one day, we did something entirely out of the norm, and far outside our known comfort zone. We visited an RV dealership, and a seed was sown.
Jessica was able to successfully transition her same job, to working from home, and still does. At the time, I was working in human resources, outside of my industry of choice battling a commute. Just four months after that first visit to an RV dealership, I received a phone call from a friend at a small airline asking if I would be interested in a positioning opening up. It would require relocating but would have a work schedule with 4 days on, 4 days off.
30 days later, we had purchased a travel trailer and a pickup truck and were driving north to our first RV Campground ever and our nascent Youtube channel switched from local finds to RV living.
What do our kids think about it?
What do our kids think about all this? It depends on the day of the week and if they’ve blown their allowance. Roadschooling has been wonderful for their education. Observing the character of our children, we were terribly torn about putting them in public schools. Daniel has extremely strong and deep feelings. He truly feels joys and sorrows, sees and hears everything and learns in a collaborative and experiential fashion rather than by rote.
Nadia, our free spirit is just that. Dancing and singing, painting and playing in rocks and dirt. RVing made the path to unschooling them clear and simple. I’ve had midnight walks with my son looking at the stars discussing astronomy, surface discussions about matter and energy, questions of life. With Nadia we’ve watched the sunset, and looked at rainbows putting science and schooling to the songs she hears cartoon characters sing. We all go on nature hikes and have discovered beaver lodges, tortoise skeletons, diverse animal tracks, mosses, lichens, and fungi. The world is our schoolroom!
After months of battling to teach Daniel to read three years ago, we backed off. Now he’s buying books on his tablet and his reading level is advancing rapidly. Nadia at 6 is learning to write on her own and she asks intelligent questions and asks for help when she needs it. Learning becomes one of exploration where and when they’re ready and interested. My secret joy at the moment is listening to them quiz each other in basic arithmetic. Slow and steady, but they are asking all the right questions.
Longer term plans
Three years into our RV journey, we are still tied to traditional work. But the day is coming when we’ll guide our own destiny. We’re working on our social media channels and remote work, and to that end, we’ve begun exploring non-traditional work camping opportunities. We’ve completed a turn as campground hosts in the Georgia State Park system. This experience has increased our appetite for this type of work to defer living costs, and it has the added benefit of often having beautiful locations. It’s rewarded us in many ways in that it’s simple, honest work serving our fellow campers by providing clean, attractive and welcoming camping experiences. The future is wide open to us and we can’t wait for the journey!
RVing has broadened our thinking and helped us step outside of our comfort zone. Jessica and I have always kept to ourselves. This lifestyle has broadened our horizon and allowed us to consider previously unexplored ways of living our lives! Will we get a Unimog and traverse the wide open spaces of the west? Perhaps move into a houseboat maybe and cruise America’s lakes and rivers? Or maybe homestead in a tiny home living grid on the side of a mountain? Whatever comes, RVing is our conduit to a world that throws off the shackles of the mundane.
Learn more about the Meinhofers at their blog: https://www.exploringthelocallife.com
Shane and Audrey
Age: 34. On the road since August 2017
“The Full-Time RVing movement is one manifestation, among many, of humanity’s desire to shift into a more authentic ‘beingness’ and leave the ‘old’ behind.”
Sometimes you think you are in control of the direction of your life. You think if you do all the right things, you can “get to where you want to be”. In general, we would agree with this sentiment. However, in the case of how we stepped into our “best and highest good” with regard to our full-time RVing lifestyle, we have to admit that we were not the master-planners we thought. All we can take credit for is paying attention to what was presenting itself at the time and saying “yes” even though we couldn’t foresee that it would become the best lifestyle we have ever lived.
Problems like lack of money, our business failing and needing a place to live but not being able to afford anything that suited us were all motivators to let go of our fears related to rejection and the unknown. We were not fully aware at the time that those were all opportunities to live a life filled with freedom and to set an example for others who also yearn for personal change. The lesson Audrey and I took away from this experience was: sometimes you have to get out of the way, in order for life to bring to you that which you already desire.
In the face of all our “problems”, Audrey and I merged our failed web design company into a more profitable one and became sub-contracted employees of that company, doing work virtually on the road. Before our credit went belly up, we asked for one final loan for a truck and a 38-foot trailer. Simultaneously making a life-long pact to never use credit again. We sold everything we owned that wasn’t supportive of a more minimalistic lifestyle and we watched YouTube videos of other full-time RV’ers every night in preparation for our new adventure. All of this happened in a matter of 3 months and moved our new RV to Audrey’s father’s 20-acre ranch in Texas as an initial basecamp. After 8 months, and more “problems”, in August of 2017 we followed life’s promptings and took our maiden voyage into the full-time RVing lifestyle.
So much about life itself has been learned since then.
A lot had changed in the following 8 months. I quit the best job anyone could ever ask for (to follow my true passions) and Audrey quit the same “dream” job to pursue her music business full-time. Trust me when I say we do not have some kind of savings we can fall back on in order to do this. When you live like this, you really start to notice the “cage” everyone else is in and because of that, you become quite motivated to stop wasting time. At least, we have. Like Alan Watts said, “You keep doing things you don’t like doing…in order to go on living…so that you can keep doing the things you don’t like doing…which is stupid.”
Having been alive for almost 35 years I’ve had many of the common ups and downs of life. I have moved over 75 times in and outside of the United States. I’ve lived in drug infested poverty and had more than some will ever have. There were times where I was unbelievably angry with life and I’ve been at peace. To date, I can say without hesitation that the full-time RVing lifestyle has been the best experience I have ever had.
To learn more about Audrey’s music visit her website https://audreymusic.co
Ready to go Deeper? Join us at RV Success School
We offer self guided online courses, with options for group phone coaching and private consulting. Plus an RV virtual summit with over 13 hours of content from 15+ RV experts. Our courses and summit go much deeper, giving you clarity and confidence to make your decisions and greatly enhance your learning from the book. Visit RV Success School and save 20% with coupon code BOOK20.
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Thank you again for reading our book and for visiting us here at RVLOVE.com. We look forward to sharing more with you.
Best of LIFE!
Marc and Julie
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – we earn a commission if you make a purchase using our links. Please note that we have shared these resources and links to help you continue your learning, and discover the best products we have found on our RVing journey. Our opinions are not for sale, we never make recommendations based solely on the commission we might receive. And we only recommend products, services and memberships that we personally use, love and feel may benefit you. The income we earn goes toward supporting us in creating more valuable content for our community.