The 5 Downsides of RV Travel

Our 36' RV ... takes us everywhere we want to go!

It’s old news … ya’ll know our story.  3 years ago, in the middle of an epic road through West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina we made the decision to travel full time in our RV.  

We were roughing it in our 1999 Georgie Boy Cruisemaster, there were no luxury features, no washer and dryer, no dishwasher, no flat screen TV’s, no inverter … it was a box with some seats and the bare necessities of home.

We were sold.  We loved it.  The freedom, the adventure, the education, and yep … the romance of it all.  We felt like we were doing something never done before, we were high on life, high on adrenaline and so totally free.

Fast forward today and we still have a lot of the same feelings, life is absolutely what you make it and we have set out to make it extraordinary.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t difficulties or struggles or frustrations, but more that we deal with them.

One of the most popular things we are asked is what are the hardest things about RV’ing and to that for a long long time we had no answer.  I mean what about this lifestyle is difficult compared to regular home living?

You really do have to rack your brain for the answers.  They don’t come to you immediately, but there are things that are harder on the road than they would be at home, for sure.  I don’t dwell on them, because, in my mind, the positives far outweigh the negatives, but icymi, here are our 5 downsides to RV travel …

NFL

Watching the Broncos at KOA.
Watching the Broncos at KOA.

I mean, first and the most obvious is the lack of any antenna on this beater RV and that means NO NFL.  And for us, that’s a big buzz kill.  We love Sundays.  We go to mass, we eat donuts after and then we make a huge batch of chili and cheer on our favorite teams, Go Broncos!.

Now, during our 5 month brush with luxury, we had 3 flat screen TV’s and an epic antenna that picked up signals pretty much everywhere we went.  The bummer is we didn’t realize this until about 2 weeks before we had to return it, but none-the-less it was great, if not a little distracting.

Now, this is the easiest thing to overcome.  Either buy a newer RV with a working antenna or you can hook up your RV with satellite TV.  The only caveat we is that you must have your home outfitted with satellite first, or so we were told by DirecTV.

Work

Dan finding kayaking way more fun than working!
Dan finding kayaking way more fun than working!

This is so hard.  Like, really, who the heck wants to work when 1) it feels like you are living a vacation life, 2) you are parked on the beach, at a river, below a cliff, with so much fun beckoning, and 3) work sucks.

At home, Dan has an office and he can retreat there in the wee hours of the morning or stay up well into the night.  That is just virtually impossible in our current RV, it’s just not OSHA approved.

If you’ve seen our Today Show video, you’ll see that Dan is filmed working in the drivers seat, his desk the steering wheel. This is a prescription for carpal tunnel if I’ve ever heard of one.

Today, the RV market is incredibly competitive and manufacturers are fighting for an edge, to offer something different of value to potential customers.

The Newmar Dutch Star had a retractable table that did not double as a bed and so, Dan was able to stay up or wake up early to work so he had more time during the day for fun.  I’m betting there are many other RV’s out there that have the same.

WIFI

Our incredibly expensive jetpack.
Our incredibly expensive jetpack.

We are being destroyed by wifi charges.  This month alone we paid $400 for data, that doesn’t include taxes, line charges etc.  $400!!

At home our Internet portion of our cable bill was about $50/mo with no cap on data use.   In our Georgie Boy Cruisemaster, we don’t watch videos on our computer, we are uber careful about uploading photos and videos, etc, whereas at home, we have unlimited data.

It’s a major drag, and then to have a bill like this.  Geesh!

The only thing you can do is find free wifi, and regardless of what most campgrounds tell you, campground wifi sucks, always.  There are products out there that help boost wifi, so if you are somewhere that supposedly has free wifi, like a campground or outside of Starbucks or McDonald’s, you can boost the signal for free.  After three years, this is something we are giving ourselves for Christmas!

Couple Time

Dan and Susie celebrating their 22nd Anniversary!
Dan and Susie celebrating their 22nd Anniversary!

MmmHmmm, couple time in the beginning took us back to our early days of marriage when we were living with my mom while our apartment was in the final stages of being built…Awkward, but exciting.

We would leave and find epic hiding spots, you know, in the backseat, skinny dipping in Burke Lake, under the stars, campground showers  … wherever,  it was fun.

It’s still fun, sometimes we’ll pitch a tent, sometimes we’ll take a bottle of wine down to the river … we are young at heart and regular couple time keeps us connected … just like it was intended!

But it’s not as easy as it was at home, we have to work at it to make it work … we both have to be committed and for the most part, we are!

Quiet Time

The noisy people who share one 36' RV for all travel!
The noisy people who share one 36′ RV for all travel!

I can honestly say my kids are the biggest talkers I’ve ever met, and the fact that there are 11 of them means there is never a moment where the RV is silent, unless it’s like 2 am … even then, though, some of our kids talk in their sleep.

In our RV there is no place to hide where you don’t hear people, ha ha.  I royally loved the bunk room feature of the Newmar Dutch Star because the younger kids would occasionally retreat back there to play.  I could also ensure they went to bed at a reasonable hour.

In our RV everyone pretty much has to wind down at the same time … and it’s getting later and later.

No-one in the RV market has the 12 kid issue, I don’t think, but children, in general, talk non-stop.  An RV with bunks is very parent friendly … I’d look for one of these!

Downsides in Perspective

Now when you put these “downsides” up against the positives (all the things I write about) you will see why we don’t really ever blog about these “inconveniences”.  While I may go deaf or crazy from my inability to escape, I’m living and loving and participating in life, actively, with my kids.  We are growing together, parenting could not be more magical!  While Dan and I might “stuggle” to find alone time, we have made an, albeit non-verbal, commitment to each other and that includes couple-time nightly.  {grinning}.  Wifi, yeah we need to find a better solution or we’ll go broke. Work, sucks.  No-one wants to work, but our philosophy is we are blessed to be living the life we are and we are willing to do whatever it takes to continue, ie work!  The NFL … we’ll just make more friends and/or take the kids to sports bars.  LOL.

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2 Comments

  • Just watched you on Global BC – cannot wait to meet you (perhaps) at the Snowbird RV Show in Abbotsford this weekend. My husband and I are starting this in retirement next spring and my reservations have just evaporated – if you can do it with 13 – we can do it easily with two. What an inspiration you all are.

    • Hi Patti!!

      Ahhh, we would LOVE to meet you both this weekend, that would be fantastic. And, congrats, retirement is a glorious time to begin fullime RV’ing!!

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