Close up of a giant horsefly being held by a shirtless causasian man while camping in Canada

You Might Not Enjoy RV Life. Here Are 10 Warning Signs

Crashing waves and beach sunrises. Beautiful hues of canyon sunsets. No responsibilities except posting pictures of perfection on Instagram. Sounds like the RV life, right?

That image of the RV life may get you through some tough days, but it’s not quite an accurate picture. Let’s dive into this lifestyle and look at 10 warning signs that you might not actually enjoy it.

Is RV Life Right for You? 

Many people think RV living is what they’re looking for. Fewer bills, more quality time with family, opportunities to travel, a simpler lifestyle, and other perks appeal to many people. But does your personality and do your interests really match the RV life?

10 Warning Signs You’re Not Made for RV Life

Here are 10 warning signs that you probably shouldn’t sell everything and head for the hills. Examine your nature and consider the personalities of your family members as well.

Do this before you purchase an RV. Don’t make any camping plans until you go through this list and take a hard look at yourself.

1. You Need Rigid Plans and Structure

If you thrive in structure, the RV life might not be the right lifestyle for you. If you have to have your daily routine planned from start to finish and your weekly itinerary laid out every Monday morning, the RV life may end up frustrating you. 

Things happen when living in an RV. Slides malfunction, tires blow out, roofs leak. When these things happen, it throws a wrench in your plans.

Even events unrelated to your RV can impede your plans. Maybe you can’t find a campsite in the area available next weekend or the state park you wanted to visit closed unexpectedly. If you can’t allow for flexibility in your plan, it’s going to be difficult for you to enjoy RV living.

2. You Have a Hard Time Being Adaptable

Like the first warning sign, if you can’t adapt well, you’re going to struggle to live in an RV. Maybe you need structure and routine but can handle a change in plans.

If so, you’ll probably be OK when unexpected things occur. But if you have a hard time adapting to changing situations, you may want to reconsider RV living. 

3. You Hate Bugs 

A natural part of camping is bugs. Ants, mosquitoes, bees, and more will live with you. Unfortunately, they’ll get into your RV at times. But most definitely, they’ll visit your campsite.

They’ll make homes around your welcome mat and join you for s’mores around the campfire. If you hate bugs, you might not be cut out for RV living. Remember, you’re living in an RV outside, surrounded by nature.

4. You Hate Dirt

Since an RV is outside in the midst of sand and gravel and leaves, you have to deal with dirt. RV living is about enjoying nature

If you can’t enjoy dirt, don’t buy an RV. If you don’t let your kids play in the dirt, don’t buy an RV. And if you’re going to complain every time someone walks inside with dirty shoes, don’t buy an RV.

5. You Can’t Stand Discomfort

Most people have this idea of following 70-degree temperatures all year round. This certainly would be ideal, but it’s not reality. At times, temperatures will dip in the 40s, even in Florida.

During the summer, temperatures may still reach 90 in Michigan. If you can’t stand discomfort and will be miserable if you can’t chase 70 degrees, RV life may not be for you.

Being dirty also goes along with this. If you can’t go to bed without a shower or if you can’t let your kids go to bed without a shower every night, RV living may be difficult for you.

Sometimes you need to conserve water, and taking a shower just isn’t possible. Or perhaps you’ll run out of hot water, and someone won’t get a shower that evening. Sometimes the water hook-up stops working properly, and you can’t take that morning shower you’re used to. If you can’t deal with being dirty some days, this lifestyle may not be for you.

Close up of pristine white sneakers covered in mud and standing in a puddle.

6. You Can’t Give Up Your Material Possessions

If you’re lucky enough to be able to keep your sticks-and-bricks house with all of your possessions and travel as much as you want, then this warning is a moot point. But if you’re like most people who choose the RV life, you’ll have to sell much of what you own to afford this lifestyle.

If you can’t give up those material possessions, it’s going to be hard for you to get on the road and enjoy RV living. And once you’re on the road, if you have to have a bunch of stuff with you, you won’t have room in a tiny space to store it.

Do you need all 25 pairs of earrings? Do you need a toolbox full of every tool imaginable? If so, RV living is going to be difficult.

7. You Prefer a High-Maintenance Lifestyle

If you prefer a high-maintenance lifestyle like getting up and spending an hour getting ready, always wearing make-up, never going out without a shower, and having to wear designer clothes every day, the RV life might not be the right one for you.

Maybe you only eat certain foods and refuse to try new cuisine. Maybe you require date nights at expensive restaurants and dancing at invite-only clubs.

You’ll never be satisfied with the RV life. You’ll constantly be disappointed, which means you’ll always complain. And that won’t be enjoyable for anyone in your family.

8. You Need Space … A Lot of It

Everyone needs their own space sometimes. There are times when you just want to get away, read a book, listen to music, take a walk, or meditate in silence.

You can have that when you live in an RV, but you have to carve out those times intentionally. You won’t find personal space living in a tiny RV. If you always need your own space or always want privacy in your own bedroom, you might not enjoy the RV life.

Woman from the back with hear head down as she sits in the bunk of a campervan.

9. You Can’t Stand the Idea of Dealing with Your Own Waste

If you’re lucky enough to have another member of your family responsible for taking care of the waste, then you won’t have to worry about this one. But if you’re going to share the responsibility of emptying the black tank, flushing the black tank, and perhaps dealing with a black tank “uh-oh,” then reconsider living in an RV.

Dealing with waste is routine in RV living. You may not have to deal with it daily, but you’ll be handling waste a couple of times a week.

10. You’re Not Adventurous

Finally, if you’re not adventurous, why consider the RV life? Living and traveling in an RV is supposed to be about adventure and exploring new places. If you like the comforts of your own home and the familiar, you might not like RV living.

If going hiking in a canyon in Utah, going scuba diving off the coast of Florida, or trying lobster for the first time in Maine doesn’t interest you, consider whether your personality and interests fit the RV lifestyle.

Woman wearing aviators and bikini splashes the camera playfully with water while swimming in the ocean.

Do You Think You Can Handle RV Life? 

So there you have it. Ten warning signs that you might not enjoy the RV life. You know yourself better than anyone. You know the people in your family. Do you think you can handle RV living? Is it the right lifestyle for you and your family?

Pause, reflect, and examine. Be honest. Don’t jump into something because it’s a cool idea. Really think about if it’s going to fit your personality and needs.

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