This is the second in a series of RV Questions that we’ve received via contact form or from our Youtube channel, along with our answers. If you have a question about RVing or our life in general, please use our contact form here.


RV Question #1 from Notae

Google Maps RV Park
Google Maps Is a Great Place to Start

Hello! I stumbled upon you and your husband’s youtube channel and I’m super thankful that I may not have to go through this alone. Essentially, I am a college student currently 18, second year in, hoping to reduce living and educational expenses by moving into an RV. I was able to get one for a steal, but now all I am trying to secure is a place to stay. I don’t drive so this is really important that I can find a permanent like area for me to dwell in that’s inexpensive. Any suggestions? Oh, and some additional details that may be important, I currently live in Fairfax, Va in a student apartment at my university. Thank You

Rich Answers: I’m not very familiar with Virginia, however my process for finding a long-term RV park is the same pretty much everywhere.

I go to Google Maps, center it on my area, and then search for ‘RV Parks’ or ‘Campgrounds’. I discount RV Parks that have bad reviews – although it’s important to read the reviews as some people have surprisingly unrealistic expectations of what an RV Park should be. I’ve seen everything from people that expect a resort experience for $40/night to people that got angry because they were asked to turn down their music after 10pm!

At any rate, I focus on RV parks that have a website as nearly all of them list their monthly rates publicly. Many parks offer additional discounts if you plan to stay 3 or more months, so ask them about that as well. Depending on where you are monthly rates can be as low as $250 (in the south) to well over $1000 (along the coast) so it may or may not be cheaper than renting a room or small apartment. Keep in mind that almost all RV parks charge full-time residents for electricity usage, and make sure to check their rate, as some parks mark it up.

Your biggest challenge is that many parks in Virginia close for the winter. You’ll also want to check your RV to see if it’s winter worthy. It should have decent insulation (R-value, heated holding tanks, and preferably double-pane windows. If it doesn’t you’ll freeze – or your tanks will freeze and crack, or you’ll spend a small fortune on electricity/propane. You can add tank heaters and insulation if necessary and I’d recommend searching around on line for more information about that. We go south for the winter (like most full-timers) to avoid the cold. Good luck Notae!

Question #2 from Stephanie

Hi, love your site and your RV. I am single and don’t need much. I am considering living full time in an RV to save money to buy a better RV at retirement. However, I live in Oregon where it is rainy and this year snowy.

How difficult will it be to live in an RV full time in a rainy and sometimes snowy (every other year) location? Your answer means a lot, Thanks!

Rich Answers: Thanks for getting in touch. The challenge with snow/cold is that your holding tanks and water hose can freeze. In general it’s not difficult to keep the RV itself warm assuming you’re on full hookups (power/water/sewer) in a place that has a relatively mild winter like Oregon.

Our RV is really a 3 season model. We don’t have double pane windows and our holding tanks don’t have heaters, however they do make 4 season RVs with better insulation, heated holding tanks, etc… Of course those models are heavier and more expensive.

That said, we’ve been in weather in the 20s and have been fine. Camping World sells rolls of bubble Multi purpose foil that they advertise to protect you from heat/sun, but it’s also perfect for insulating your windows at night. I use velcro to hold them up.

They also have vent cushions to insulate your vents (all RVs have 14″ vents).

Finally you’ll want an electric space heater to keep you warm. My wife swears by her heating blanket and that’s a good option too. Most RVs have propane furnaces, but in my experience they’re not very efficient and use a lot of propane. You can experiment and see if you’re spending more on propane or electricity (space heater). Some parks don’t charge for power, so then a space heater is the way to go.

Back to your hose and tanks. The easiest way to insulate your hose is using pipe insulation from a hardware store like this stuff from Home Depot. It’s inexpensive and they come in 6ft lengths, so you’ll only need a couple. This will keep the hose from freezing at night as long as it’s getting above freezing during the day – or even if it only gets above freezing every few days.

If you’re really concerned about the cold, you also have the option of purchasing a Heated Drinking Water Hose. They’re expensive and need to be plugged in, but they work. Again, these probably aren’t necessary in Oregon, but might be if you’re up in the mountains (Cascades).

For the holding tanks you can install tank heaters (http://www.dyersonline.com/rv-plumbing/rv-holding-tanks/holding-tank-accessories/tank-and-pipe-heaters.html). These are only necessary if it’s going to be below freezing for several days.

In general it takes several days of below freezing temps before you have to worry about most of these things. Oregon usually doesn’t get that cold, so the short answer to your question is I don’t think it will be difficult at all. Montana or Minnesota on the other hand… 🙂

I hope this is helpful – let me know if you have any other questions, and good luck!


Keep your questions coming! If you’d like a question answered go to our contact page and ask. We usually respond to questions within 24 hours.

Until next time, happy trekking!

Author

Hi, I'm Rich - Perpetual traveler, photographer, writer, and web designer. To contact me, visit my site - www.richkent.com. Thanks for reading, and happy trekking!

6 Comments

  1. So, my big concern, (hypothetical), we no longer own a home . We are now to old to drive the motorhome anywhere. Are there parks that offer a permanent space for the aging full timer to live out their fulltime RV dream. Thinking you would pay a space and utility fee monthly but not be required to necessarily have a time limit on how long you stay?

    • Rich Reply

      Hi Kim – yes, that’s correct. There are a few different types of parks depending on zoning laws. Some campgrounds have ‘annual’ sites that allow you to have your RV parked on the site all year, but limit occupancy to around 240 days a year. These are good for vacationers – people who have a house and want to have a vacation place in the mountains, so they setup an RV. These are also good for full-timers, assuming you want to travel a few months out of the year. There are also mobile home parks that are setup for 24/7 365 living and you pay rent and utilities. These are usually annual lease spots, and you can move your RV if/when you want to leave. Good luck!

  2. Hi! Me and my boyfriend have been looking into living full time in an RV, however the problem we are facing is soon (one year from now) we want to buy the rv and move to San Francisco area to go to school, but we can’t find any campsites that offer fulltime RVers. I was wondering if you have stayed out there and if you know of any places that let you stay for a year at a time?

    • Rich Reply

      Hi Kasey – We mostly avoid the bay area. Too much traffic, crazy roads, plus it’s very expensive. We’ve passed through a few times, but always stay either several hours north or south. Sorry I can’t be more helpful – good luck!

  3. hi,rich liked your video on your aspect .looking at a 2015 aspect 30j could you tell me the true mpg’s for this motorhome.both towing and not towing? thanks wayne p.s.what do you think of the 30j model vs. 30c?

    • Rich Reply

      Hi Wayne – It’s a tradeoff between the two. I like the bedroom better in the 30C. I like the bed being tucked in vs. facing through to the front of the RV. That said, I like the storage space in the 30J much more than the 30C. Storage is limited in our RV, and the 30J gives you a lot more room.

      For fuel economy – I’m always towing our Honda Fit which weighs about 3000 pounds with stuff in it. My worst tank has been about 8mpg, and my best tank almost 10mpg – right under. I get the best fuel economy going about 55mph. Anything over 65mph and MPGs drop quickly – so your fuel economy will depend a lot on how fast you drive.

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