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Researching to go fulltime


cbg72273

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Hi,

 

My wife and I are on a fact finding mission. We've had a dream for a long time to give up our apartment here in Texas and get a motor home and travel full time. So far we are leaning toward a Class C or small A. I am 6'2" and seem to fit more comfortably in an A.

 

It's only the two of us and maybe once a year take our grand kids when they're out of school. My wife might get a tiny lap dog to take with us.

 

So right now we are looking to try and estimate what it would cost to hit the road full time. We are reading the forum to get "educated" but if you have any advice or insight we would appreciate it.

 

Thanks!

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Frankly we have had both. While I live certain things about our DP there are things I liked better in the 5th wheel

 

As to expenses. You will find many variables but I tell people it cists what you are willing to spend. There are some who can't live on less than 50k a year and others who ate having a grand old time on nothing more than a couple Thin Social Security Checks

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Thanks for the responses.

 

We will be staying in populated areas. No 5th wheel, it would kill our Kia Soul. :lol:

 

When we lived upstate NY most nights there were no less than 10 RVs overnight in Walmart. I know each jurisdiction has their own laws that we'll have to check out ahead of time. Of course we'll be staying at parks as well when we want to explore an area.

 

We'll be getting rid of the Soul not to have 2 vehicle payments, and rent a car when we need it. We plan to eat in the MH for most meals. We checked out the Thor ACE at one point and kind of liked it. Anyone have experience with the ACE?

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Not many Fulltimers that I know of go without the use of a toad. Do you have or have you considered taking a motorcycle/scooter with you? We will be going FT (with a truck and TT) in just under 3 years and plan on taking a pair of small 100 mpg motorbikes with us to avoid firing up the diesel for quick trips to the store. Others take street legal golf carts, street legal ATVs, motor scooters, electric mobility scooters or at least a pair of bicycles (if you are fit, or at least devoid of knee problems) for the occasional errand. There will be many places you can't go, won't want to go to, or can't afford to go without a separate vehicle. Car rental rates, when you can find them available, (which is sometimes difficult in small towns) is usually between $120-$250/week + insurance, which if you don't have a car policy, you may need to purchase, depending on what your RV policy covers. Most full coverage car policies cover car rentals, but many RV policies don't.

 

A high-end used MH is indeed a much better value than a cheap new one, plus usually any warranty issues (and there will be many on a new, entry level unit) will be already taken care of.

 

Chip

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An "A" will give you a lot more storage which is vital when fulltiming.

Funny, our 5th wheel has more storage than the class As we have seen. As for the 6'-2" height, the newer full time 5ers have plenty of head room.

 

So do not rule out a 5er on one comment. We have had class As and decided that the 5er was our choice for full time.

 

Ken

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My suggestion is to start with a used RV, one that you can afford to pay for with cash. You most likely won't find the perfect RV -- for most people, such a critter doesn't exist. They all have advantages and disadvantages.

 

As for expenses, we found that there was no cost to going full-time RVing. There was a savings! Our expenditures in every budget catagory dropped. Some expenditures were moved around, to cover similar, but different expenses. for example, instead of a mortgage payments there may be campground fees. Another, example, Instead of a water bill, we have laundromat fees.

 

Coleen

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We'll be getting rid of the Soul not to have 2 vehicle payments, and rent a car when we need it.

 

When we traded in our fifth wheel and truck for the motorhome in my signature, we did it while we were snowbirding in Arizona, so we were without our car (also a Kia Soul, although ours is a manual transmission one that is towable 4-down...the automatics are not). We figured that being without a car for the 3+ months before we returned home would give us a good indication of whether or not we really needed a toad (our motorhome is only 29' in length).

 

It didn't take us long before we knew that we NEEDED a toad! Even at a relatively short 29', getting into and out of a lot of spaces was a PITA, sometimes even impossible...like the time we wanted to stop and have lunch someplace and the parking lot was full. If we'd had a car, we would have had no problem finding a space, but with the motorhome, not only couldn't we have fit in any of the available spaces, navigating the packed parking lot was difficult. Think of what it would be like with an even longer motorhome!

 

Without a toad, you'll have to unhook water/sewer/electrical (assuming you're in an RV park) and put everything away inside every time you want to run down to the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread and a carton of milk. Sure, you can rent a car, but that can get expensive very quickly...you may very well pay more in rental fees each month than your current payment on your Soul. Plus, if you plan on renting a car, that will limit you to locations where there are car rental agencies, meaning larger towns/cities. We often stay in areas where there are no car rental agencies anywhere around (but, then, we tend to boondock in out-of-the-way places).

 

I've known quite a few people who started out fulltiming without a toad (if they had a motorhome). In almost all cases, after awhile, they ended up buying a toad because being without one was so inconvenient.

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I think you'd be unhappy not having a towed vehicle especially if you like to get off the interstates and explore. Rentals aren't always available unless you're near a city or major attraction. Plus, having to drive a motorhome grocery shopping and other errands. If you ever need repairs on the motorhome having a towed is nice to have while waiting for the repairs - sometimes takes days. Also, breaking down in a remote area you'd have a vehicle to drive to get help or to a telephone connection.

 

Full-timers can live on $20,000 and up. It all depends on your lifestyle. If you plan to spend like you're now doing while living in a house (recreation, groceries, etc.) you can easily judge how much you'll need.

 

You can always volunteer in parks and get a free campsite or workkamp for some extra cash. If you're running short than stay in one place longer. Monthly/seasonal rates are cheaper than daily/weekly rates and you won't have the added fuel costs.

 

I'd also highly recommend that you start out without a vehicle payment. It will be a lot easier on you. There are many good deals on a quality motorhome that is older. Look at the web site for PPL Consignment in Houston to get a general idea of what's available for the price you can manage. They will show a gas section and a diesel section.

 

Best of luck to you!

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We lived about 18 months in a 24' Class B (Winnebago View) without a toad and it worked fine because were we in vacation mode--moving most days and doing the tourist things along the way. Then we moved into a 35' DP (Winnebago 34Y) and bought a car to tow--that drastically changed our style of traveling because we lost the ability to park nearly anywhere. When Dave was done traveling I bought a 24' Class B (custom built Sportsmobile) in which I would stay two weeks at a place, then go do laundry and grocery shopping on my way to the next place--that worked too. It helps to figure out how you want to travel to buy the right-for-you rig.

 

Linda Sand

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Funny, our 5th wheel has more storage than the class As we have seen. As for the 6'-2" height, the newer full time 5ers have plenty of head room.

 

So do not rule out a 5er on one comment. We have had class As and decided that the 5er was our choice for full time.

 

Ken

The 5er is ruled out because I don't want to kill our Kia Soul. :D

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Thank you all. Your insight and advice is very much appreciated. Getting a used RV was not in our planning but some of you have made me want to take a look at it. I always worry about mechanical "surprises", but i guess with a used one the bugs are all shaken out by the time I get it. After reading your comments a 5er may be a choice. I guess getting a used pick up and RV might be better on our wallet. As far as expenses, we don't need restaurant meals everyday. It would be nice a couple of times a month but we plan to eat in the RV. Our apartment rent is $925 + water + electric + trash + cable + + +. With some preliminary rough calculations I know we can afford going full time. Just got to figure out what we'll be travelling in. One more question, 5er or TT? And why?

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If you're on a budget, a truck and 5th wheel has several advantages over a motorhome. The truck and trailer separates the house from the drivetrain while the motorhome has them permanently joined together.

 

With a truck and trailer, you're free to replace the truck or trailer independently of each other without losing your investment in the other half of the combination. If When the truck needs major repairs, you have the option of replacing it instead of sinking money into an aging drive train. If you want to replace the house, you can do that without losing your investment in the truck.

 

With a motorhome, you're pretty much committed to spend whatever it takes to keep it running or you'll have to replace the whole shebang.

 

When the drivetrain needs service or major repairs, a truck and trailer lets you put the house in a nearby campground and wait comfortably while the truck is in the shop. With a motorhome you're living in the shop while dodging the workers or cooling your heels in a motel.

 

The primary disadvantage of having a truck and trailer versus a motorhome is using the truck as your daily driver instead of a small economy car. You'll pay more for fuel versus doing your local driving in a small economy car but unless you do an awful lot of local driving it will be a relatively small difference in your overall budget.

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I have not heard of many good things about Thor. Personally I would prefer to spend my money on a slightly older high end coach than an entry level one.

 

+1 on Jim's comments. Service after the sale is huge and have not heard much good about Thor after the sale.

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You asked about differences with a 5th wheel or a trailer. Storage space would be a biggie. A 5th wheel will have way more basement space and you'll need it for full-timing. You'd also be able to find a good quality 5th wheel with full-timing in mind. Trailers, not so. Between the two I'd definitely go with a 5th wheel. There's another post on this forum going right now on what manufacturers are good for full-timing in winter or hot summer. The choices given would be good choices for you to concentrate on if going with a 5th wheel. They are all quality manufacturers.

 

The other post is in the 5th wheels sections of this forum.

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Thank you all. ... One more question, 5er or TT? And why?

I planned to full time the rest of my life. After a lot of research, I decided on 5th or TT for the same reasons so eloquently already expressed. I looked at TTs, but just couldn't find a floor plan that I could live with forever. The only ones that even came close seemed to be made with very cheap materials and didn't look durable to me.

 

I began looking at 5ths and found good floor plans. Once I found the ideal (for me) floor plan, I discovered it was only available in a used trailer. So I looked at the particular make and model I wanted and only had to worry about how well it had been maintained and customized and what options it had. Eventually I found one with the exact options I would prefer that really looked unused, except for the peeling decals and peeling wall decals around the bathroom.

 

I'm really happy with how it all turned out, but I think I got very lucky. If I were doing it over, I would have called Kansas RV and had them watch for a used one with just what I wanted and then sat back and waited. In that case, condition wouldn't matter much, because they can pretty much make one new again, add any options that weren't already there and it would just be a question of $$ vs things that would matter to me.

 

Good Luck. I think you are on the right track and making very sensible choices so far.

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If you go with a regular trailer, you have more tow vehicle options than if you choose a 5th wheel. We have full-timed in a Holiday Rambler trailer and a Forest River trailer; they both held up very well. We like being able to use a van as a tow vehicle, or to be able to put a topper on a pickup box so we have that covered storage space in our tow vehicle.

 

It does help a great deal to give thought to what kind of lifestyle you will have while full-timing. Those who move often have different needs than those who park for months at a time in a campground. Even such things as your housekeeping habits make a big difference -- if you have a lot of stuff laying around, stuff that you'd need to put away each time you move your motorhome, it is much different than if you keep things put away, so you can drive the motorhome to the grocery store without having to do much to get ready.

 

Coleen

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Currently we part time in a Wilderness TT. It is parked majority of the year at one campground which we own a lot at. We do take it out to other places as well. We enjoy travel trailers as it is our preference. Andi and I have enough room even with 2 medium sized dogs.

We have 3 more years until we go full time and most likely will stay with a TT..This is the one we are looking at Fulltiming with.... http://www.rvusa.com/rvs-for-sale/2016/crossroads-sunset-trail-reserve-32rl-travel-trailer-new-alcoa-tennessee-37777-1345684

We may find after a year or two that we want to get something different like a 5er or whatever. Our tow vehicle will be a dodge ram 3500 dually. We will also be traveling with a toyota camry which Andi will drive. It is paid off and we can use that as a daily vehicle.

To make this short.... You will continue to do your research and choose what you feel is best for you at that time..However, after spending some time in your choice you may decide that you want to trade up or down. Most on here will tell you that they are not in their original rigs.

Purchase that which is in your budget at this time and move up or down as needed.

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The primary disadvantage of having a truck and trailer versus a motorhome is using the truck as your daily driver instead of a small economy car. You'll pay more for fuel versus doing your local driving in a small economy car but unless you do an awful lot of local driving it will be a relatively small difference in your overall budget.

The difference in the cost of insuring two motorized vehicles versus one may pay for a considerable amount of fuel.
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