Many of the almost 3 million Instagram posts under #rvlife paint a beautiful and surreal picture of the RV lifestyle. However, it’s not always a complete picture or a good representation of the experience that many have in the lifestyle. One couple, The Foys, set out on an RV adventure only to discover that they hated RV life and threw in the towel after a few months.
So why didn’t the Foys fall in love with RV life like many others? Let’s look and see!
Who Is Matthew Foy?
Matthew Foy is a YouTuber that manages a personal YouTube channel, “Bon Foyage.” He was a civil engineering student at North Carolina State University.
He and his wife, Katie Anne, a professional organizer, moved into an RV to travel the country. They shared some of their adventures and experiences on the road with their viewers during their short stint as full-time RVers.
Why Did They Hate RV Life?
Despite what you hear and see on social media, RV life isn’t always puppy dogs and rainbows. Matthew and Katie Anne quickly discovered that the full-time RV lifestyle isn’t for everyone, especially them.
They experienced several things that led to them giving up on the idea and ultimately selling their rig. Let’s look at why they hated RV life.
If you’re unaware, almost all RVs experience some sort of mechanical issue at some point. You can’t expect to tow or drive a massive rig over the bumps and potholes of the road and not experience some sort of issue. Matthew and Katie Anne were quickly initiated into RV ownership when they experienced multiple issues with their slideout.
The slide would get stuck, and they would have to override it for them to retract or extend it manually. The couple thought they reached the point where they couldn’t fix it themselves and would need to take it to a dealership.
However, when they called to make an appointment, they learned that RV repair times could be weeks or even months before they could even look at it. This isn’t ideal for full-time RVers who call their RVs home.
While the couple started their adventure in North Carolina, they towed their rig down to Southern Florida and then across the country to California. However, they didn’t anticipate how cold most of the country gets in winter. They even encountered snow when staying in Austin, Texas.
They quickly discovered that despite having a high-quality RV, it’s not that great for cold weather. Controlling the climate inside an RV can be challenging, especially if you’re parking in areas without power. You can blow through a tremendous amount of propane and fuel for a generator trying to stay comfortable during cold weather.
Expensive RV Parks
The couple drastically underestimated how much they would spend on campsites. They preferred to stay in RV parks, where they said they were spending $80 to $100 per night.
Matthew and Katie Anne quickly discovered that the budget they had planned to last a year would only last half of that time at their current pace.
They tried boondocking to make their budget last as long as possible, but they craved the experience hookups provided. Managing their tanks and water usage was not an easy task for them to learn. They typically would only go three days at a time before they would need to find an RV park.
Living in the Wrong Rig
The Foy’s made the same mistake many other RVers make, buying the wrong rig. Matthew shared how they wished they had purchased a Class C or a Sprinter van.
They wished they could have parked in relatively normal spaces and the freedom they would have had for traveling, especially for shorter trips, if they had chosen a different rig.
Traveling Too Fast
Many RVers, including the Foy’s, fall for the temptation to travel quickly. When RVers do this, they may cover a tremendous amount of miles, but they exhaust themselves doing it so quickly. He wished they had slowed their pace and had enough time to enjoy the entire experience.
Matthew felt they constantly had to battle the many challenges of planning their route, booking campsites, and navigating roads with their rig. Towing a trailer across the country is not easy and can be an overwhelming and stressful experience.
Lack of Community
The lack of community was one of the biggest challenges for Katie Anne. Not having friends and family readily available was very challenging.
Being on the opposite coast from everyone you know can create tremendous loneliness. It’s hard to anticipate these feelings, which is why they catch so many RVers off guard. Throwing in the towel meant they could be back home with their friends and family that they love so dearly.
The Open Roads Fest brings together those embracing the nomadic lifestyle and are looking connect with others.
Is Living in an RV Hard?
While living in an RV can be a great way to live, it’s not exactly easy. So many physical and time-consuming tasks are required for those who want to live the lifestyle.
RVs require almost constant maintenance and upkeep if you want them to last longer than a few years. It can save a tremendous amount of money, but you’d have to adjust where and how you use your RV.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen many adventurous people naively jump into RV life without spending enough time processing the entire idea. Setting up and tearing down camp is a physically demanding process. The entire process can be very challenging and overwhelming for those who move frequently.
Tips to Enjoy RV Life
If you’re considering giving RV life a try, we have some tips to help you make the most out of the lifestyle. Starting on the right foot is key, and if you follow these steps, you can smoothly transition into a new lifestyle that can offer a tremendous amount of freedom.
Do Several Trial Runs Before Fully Embracing RV Life
You don’t want your first RV trip to be when you hit the road to travel full-time in it. It’s a good idea to give yourself time to take several trips in your RV to learn how to use it and get comfortable with it.
Hitting the road will be stressful, and you don’t want to be learning how to operate leveling systems or hitch up your rig at the same time.
We recommend three or four solid trips in your rig to different campgrounds. This allows you to get familiar with and comfortable maneuvering your rig in various locations and scenarios.
It gives you experience planning your route and learning what to look for on a campsite. This way, you can hit the road confidently knowing how to plan and maneuver your rig.
Buy the Right RV
One of the biggest mistakes many RVers make is buying the wrong rig. It’s not uncommon for full-time RVers to upgrade to a new rig within a year of hitting the road. It’s hard to imagine and understand what exactly you need in an RV to live in it without actually living in one.
Being on the road for a year or so allows you to learn your preferred camping style and how you will use your rig in the future. You may think a travel trailer will do the job, but it really requires the space and stability of a fifth wheel.
If you can rent or test out a few different types of rigs to discover which might work for you, we recommend doing so. It’s a great way to avoid making a big financial mistake, especially considering how quickly RVs can depreciate.
Adjust Your Pace When Needed
One of the freedoms of living in an RV is that you can set your own pace. There will be times when you want or need to cross the country as quickly as humanly possible. However, most of the time, you set your own schedule of when and where you go.
Moving every few days can be a great way to see the country in a short period. But it can be extremely exhausting to you and anyone else traveling with you.
Take advantage of the freedom to slow your pace when you or anyone traveling with you needs to. Staying a month or two in some areas can allow you to experience more of an area and help you take advantage of monthly or long-term rates offered by some RV parks and campgrounds.
The RV 3/3/3 Rule will save your travel days.
Grow Your Mechanic and Repair Skills
Unless you’ve got a massive wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket, you better start growing your mechanic and repair skills. You can’t afford to pay a professional to fix or maintain every little thing that breaks.
Not only will this cost you a fortune, but your RV would likely spend most of its time in the repair shop due to the extended wait times at many repair shops.
Yes, there are repairs and maintenance projects that you should only trust a professional to do. However, there are a tremendous amount of these items that just about anyone with a few basic tools and the ability to watch a YouTube video can do themselves. Get comfortable learning from YouTube to keep as much money as possible in your pocket and bank account.
Stay Connected With Others
Before hitting the road, devise a plan to stay connected with those you love most. Take advantage of video conferencing to see and interact with friends and family. Just because you’re thousands of miles away doesn’t mean you can’t schedule weekly or bi-weekly phone calls so you can keep up with what’s going on in each other’s lives.
There will be times when you’ll likely miss birthday parties, cookouts, and other exciting events that you would have usually attended in the past. However, take advantage of airline credit card rewards so you have enough points to fly home for some of these events. Plan your travel plans around being present during some of your family’s most important holidays or seasons.
Many RVers spend the spring, summer, and fall traveling the country and then hunker down somewhere near friends or family in the winter. Find whatever works for you so you can stay connected with others.
You’re going to meet many people while on the road. Exchange social media information so you can keep up with the travels of your new road family. You never know when your paths may cross again.
We love using the app Nomad Near Me to follow people we meet along the way. It’s always a pleasant surprise when we get an alert that we’re in the same area as someone we’ve met along the way.
RV Life Isn’t for Everyone
We want to be as honest as we possibly can — RV life isn’t for everyone. There’s no way around it. If you jump into RV life and discover it’s not for you, that’s okay.
Just because you don’t like living in a tiny home on wheels doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy RVing. There’s a significant difference between being a weekend warrior and a full-time RVer.
Weekend warriors can tolerate temporarily cramming their entire family into an RV for a fun family adventure. However, full-time RVing requires you to do this day after day. It’s no easy task and one that deserves a considerable amount of consideration before embracing the lifestyle.
If You Love RVing, You Need to Stay Informed
Don’t rely on biased RV industry news sources to keep you informed with RVing news.
Stick with Nomadic News. We publish daily articles and breaking stories that matter to your RV lifestyle.