off the gas pedal. Drive
under the speed limit if possible. Anything over 60 MPH
simply wastes gas/fuel.
shorter trips and stay in one spot longer.
running a vehicle for an extended time frame during
warm-up. A minute or two is usually sufficient.
a gas tank allows excess gas to escape through the gas
in the morning when things are cooler.
the proper gas for your vehicle. Running on premium may be a
waste of cash.
there’s no knocking or pinging, 87 (or 89) Octane will
work well especially for highway driving.
tire pressure at recommended levels. Properly inflated
tires mean less road resistance and better gas mileage.
excess items on your roof causes wind resistance – it
also makes the engine work harder - which consumes more gas/fuel.
Carrying extras inside vehicles is better.
windows causes drag at faster speeds.
Accelerate before the hill, NOT while you are in the climb.
Disengage cruise control when driving on
Gear down to climb hills and use one gear lower when descending.
This allows the engine to work, rather than your brake peddle
(brakes will fade with overuse)
Try to drive through cities between 10 and 2 pm.
Stop and go traffic uses more gas and it takes a toll on the
? ? ?
What to do when family and friends think you’ve ‘lost it’?
Gary, Linda and Bailey (pet schnauzer) will soon become Fulltimers –
after several years of preparing for 'life on the move'. They
have taken some advance trips, updated their RV, read ‘21st
Century’ cover to cover, off-loaded furniture and made plans for
their departure in the fall. Their only problem is that anyone they
share their plans with think they are ‘NUTS’.
These two (3) want to hit the road, but they are going
through some apprehensive times.
They wrote asking for a positive ‘pick-me-up’.
Looking back in time by 22 years, you guys are now where we
began. Many people will think you have lost it, but don't despair. To
take off on an adventure like you plan is enjoyed by numerous
RVers across North America and around the world. It may be strange
in your circle of family and friends but you are not alone or unique
to want to enjoy this lifestyle. We received a retirement card that we have lived
by "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of
their dreams". All I can say is follow your dreams now - there
is no indication as to what tomorrow brings. We set out for 2-years
and before we knew it we are into 22 and it is still not long
If the lifestyle is not all you
expect, you will at least gather numerous memories. Going F/T is a
perfect opportunity to downsize and maybe discover a new place to
settle for Retirement Phase 2, in an area you didn't even knew existed before you began
your travel life. Don’t
worry about friends who can’t understand. Some family
still tell us to 'have a good holiday' when we leave Ontario each
Many fulltimers find
to add extra cash flow to their monthly income. For me it is writing –
others sell a product they believe in - while many RVers ‘work camp’ or wash units or, or, or.
There are several Fulltimers
Websites on our RV WebLinks page and Blogs covering
Fulltimer travel on the RV Living.net Important Things We Need to
Know forum. Also check out the ‘Article’, ‘Advice &
How-to’ plus ‘Q&A’
contact me by email. Keep thinking positive guys. Your time will be
here before you know it. There is no lifestyle that offers more
freedom than that of a life of RV Living. For us - '22-Years
FULLTIMING is STILL not enough'.
? ? ?
Q - My husband
and I want to go Fulltime with two teenage boys?
already home school and are a very close family. The boys are active in
Boy Scouts, swing dance, kayaking, and a few other things. Quite a bit of
our schooling is via the internet – on the road, it would be essential.
hope to add seeing, meeting and experiencing to their home-schooling,
spend time as family and allow my husband to leave a well-paying, but
unsatisfying demanding job. We
need to have some idea about budgets, costs, health care, etc. Can we work
on the move? What is it like to live in a small space? My mother travels
with us for half the year as well, is that a problem? I
feel odd asking strangers their opinion but I really do not know anyone
else who is RV living. We value your thoughts. Thanks in advance. Anne.
A: Hi Anne: First of all, you are NOT
‘loosing it’ for wanting to follow this lifestyle, but if you talk to
non-RVers they may not understand. Writing me, a fulltime RVer makes a
lot of sense. I cannot begin to answer the details of your Q in an email.
It is too comprehensive, that is why I wrote my book.
There is a lot to learn – so
to simplify an answer I have provided a selection of websites in the
sidebar to break it down into specific sections. Especially take a look at
Families on the Road
Back to Directory
? ? ?
Q: We want to go Fulltime but we are unsure if we can afford it?
Q: Peggi; I found your website through Amazon. My husband & I
are looking to purchase a 5th wheel & live in it full time. I was
wondering if you had any recommendations for books, etc. we should
purchase (besides your own, of course) to "help us on our way". Do
you use Streets & Trips With GPS as a navigator?
How do you mount your laptop?
Thank in Advance, Darcy
Hi Darcy; Congratulations on thinking of going
fulltime. FYI - We have NO GPS
on board nor do I usually use my laptop while on the move. There are close
to 200 books discussing the RV lifestyle. Knowing how to operate your unit
is the most important part of this lifestyle.
A selection of outstanding
informative E-Books, DVDs and Videos available from RVEducation101, the
RV Bookstore, Happy
Camper, RVersCorner plus
the BookNook Additional links to these numerous
books/e-books, DVD’s and videos are also featured on my Home
page. Topics cover everything from understanding your unit,
to operating all systems within an RV, to buying a pre-loved unit, to RV
travel and so much more. Clicking
on these resources will quickly answer all your questions.
? ? ?
As non-mechanical types can we afford retirement as
Peggi and John:
buying your comprehensive RV
Packing Tips, RV Life Lessons plus Easy Living Hints-3 E-Books in One,
I have many questions about retirement travel in a motorhome.
My on-line search reference motorhome retirement travels has come up
empty. May I ask your insights on this subject?
We've thought for some time that we'd like
to sell our home and motorhome travel while we determine what our eventual
plan will be. We have five married children (and nine grandchildren) who
live in Arizona, Washington, Montana, and Virginia (soon to move back
West--perhaps Colorado or Utah), so we could be seeing them all more
often, and enjoying new destinations as well.
I haven't quite figured out if we can afford the lifestyle, so our
Our first concern is we are not mechanical/technical types – can we enjoy a successful life in a motorhome? We've been weekend campers
for years, so we already know we enjoy the lifestyle –
it's the maintenance
and repair aspect that we're concerned about being able to handle on the
As we read topics in the various forums, it seems there must be
numerous and frequent glitches that occur, and we wonder if much of the
lifestyle actually becomes mired in fixing and repair? And, we've noticed
also that so many units are for sale after 3-5 years
why? Do people find
they are too complex to be enjoyable?
I hesitate to ask, realizing you don't
know us, and not wanting to inconvenience you. We don't have friends who
have done this, so we are trying to learn what we can from reading forum
discussions and visiting RVing websites. Thanks from Judy
To make it easier I will answer each of your questions individually.
to make the planning an enjoyable part of the adventure.
added input there are several links to Fulltimers
pages on our RV WebLinks page.. On our Forum under the
and in the Blogs
on ‘Important Things You All Should Know’ you may find
other interesting tips and personal experiences as well.
A: Everyone thought we too had a screw loose - we had never
even camped before. 21-years ago help from books was also
nothing for us Cdns – it was one of the reason I began writing. We
learned most of what we know from the school of hard knocks and from
others we met along the way. The world was our oyster and we were on a
roll – we had places to go and things to see. We have not looked back.
Life is good in the 'McD' household.
coin a phrase from the Cdn Military "There is no life like that of
RVing". If after a few years you two decide it is not for you –
worry, by then if you have followed your dreams, you will have enjoyed
many memorable places and it may give you an idea as to where you would
like to settle for Retirement phase 2.
? ? ?
Can I as a single female & novice become a
have been looking at older gas motorhomes. My basic question is –
assuming I live fulltime in a gas (not diesel), and I am not driving it
everyday, what kind of daily cost of living am I looking at for running
the various appliances (cook, wash, etc.)? I do not even know what propane
costs, so I am trying to do my homework, but there are so many factors, I
need some basic info. Thank you for your time,
A: Catherine, There are numerous women
on the road doing what you want to
do. The book
RV Travelling Tales (BookNook page) is written by single women and it
explains what the mobile life is all about. On my Advice and How-to
page I have several stories covering budget costs, towing, maintenance,
residency, winter camping plus many other items. My book RV Living in
the 21st Century addresses many your Q.
Actual costs will be monthly
rent, plus electric charges (approx $50.00 per month) occasionally water
is also metered. Propane in some parks can be very costly. FYI, In south
Florida it was $3.00 per gallon if a motorhome was filled in a park.
However we paid a mere $1.80 at a nearby Flying J. There is so much more
to consider than actual living costs. An RV is a vehicle and a home
– they both need to be maintained –
even if they only have limited
are meant to be driven, so to leave them sitting in one spot IS NOT GOOD FOR
THE ENGINE AND ALL COMPONENTS. A trailer or a 5th wheel is better for RVers who only want the
occasional move. Expect periodic RV maintenance such as a motorhome
tune-up – some small items such as battery replacements (MH engine and
house) $200-$500 every 3-5 years. New tires – cost depends on the size,
(again 4-6 years), can be expensive – RV tires are higher priced than
car tires. An RV is both a vehicle and a house, so expenses are also
incurred for residential things - for instance when our
fridge quit at 10 years, replacement was $2000.
All RVers should have an emergency fund set aside to
counteract surprise expenses. Ours is a zero balance credit card. Putting
aside a monthly amount in a contingency fund helps off-set costly routine
? ? ?
I'm Cdn, Can I work as a KOA Work-Kamper in the USA?
Canadians, who would like to work at a ‘KOA Work-Kamper’ program in
the USA. Do you know of any info reference
visa's - or who I could contact to see
if this is possible?
Can we work and travel in the USA? We’ll
soon be Fulltimers - and want as much information as possible to work for
up to 6 months at a KOA park.
A: Hi: Contact KOA first to see if they hire Cdns
and if they do they may be able to provide info on how to get a work-visa,
plus assist you in the visa process.
Be aware you may be expected to
pay tax in both countries In
the past some US Green Card holders lost their access to
Canadian medical. Consider
For more info, use
the search bar on www.rvliving.net
and type in ‘Working in the USA’, click the ‘web' search radio
button. About 500 sites came up. Follow these links to find your own visa
info OR go to Just for info Canadians can only stay in the USA for 6-months per
calendar year without a visa.
info on Immigration
for Work Visas go to www.voyage.gc.ca/main/pubs/usa_bound-en.asp#working
On the left
click 'Working in the USA' .
NOTE: It is not wise to work in the US without visas although
many do. You may be taking a job away from an American. Even if you are
working in exchange for a site, Revenue Canada and IRS could??? also decide it is
bartering and you may be requested to pay tax.
? ? ?
’re heading out on our first trip and our ISP has
no USA contact, How can we stay in touch?
We leave Ontario mid March for our first
main trip to Florida in our new Class C Diesel.
Can we buy your book someplace en route? How can we connect to the
Internet when away from home? Our
laptop has a wireless card. We will be staying at KOA
camps while in Florida ( 3 weeks) Can we purchase a short
provider and if so who would you recommend? If this trip is as much fun as we anticipate we intend to do
2 months in Florida or Texas next year. We both are in our late 50’s and
just retired. Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.
Barb and Wayne
A: Congratulations Guys:
There is no life like that of RVing and we are so happy you are
joining those of us on the move. Most, if not all KOA’s have WiFi
access. My book is readily
available from numerous sources on line (follow links on RV Living.net)
– a very few books stores will order a copy for you.
Some RV Dealers also sell my book.
If you manage to connect to WiFi, you do not need an ISP anywhere.
You buy service from the WiFi company. You will need an email account but
this can be an msn.com, or gmail.com or yahoo.com or hotmail.com etc.
If you are travelling with a cell phone International Plan you can
connect your laptop to your Canadian ISP phone number Canada - providing
you have enough minutes. The cell is slow. But 'Express' connection cable/chargers
are available for most
phones. BUT be sure your cell service supports DATA calls and that
there are no extra roaming fees etc.
To use a Dial-up modem you will need an ISP with a local USA
contact phone number. or one I mentioned above. A few other suggestions of finding low cost or free
ISP’s is Juno.com or AOL.com – sometimes these will add an extra fee
to use in Canada.
a great trip and enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Life is good on the move.
? ? ?
Q: Thanks for your
content website. Does your 'Net Dish work in the US?
We would like to find out how the Internet Dish works in
the US. I have done some reading on the subject and getting confused! Do
you need to have a separate service for the States or will a Canadian
internet provider be usable in the US? We are planning to go fulltime
Rving in a year or so but in the meantime will be traveling in Canada and
the States for vacations. We are internet junkies so want to be able to
hookup anytime anywhere.
A: Patricia and Klaus. I love my
Direcway Dish (now Hughes.net) and being on line 24/7 is wonderful. It works everywhere in the States
and Canada from our same server (except our .74 metre dish would not pick
up signal in east Newfoundland – Direcway does sell 1.2 meter dishes)
However we did get good service on the western NFLD peninsula) Our
Canadian server is Galaxy. It also worked equally well without changing
satellite locations when we travelled west during summer of 2007. Galaxy offers
many different satellites
depending on where you are. Changes are only necessary occasionally
depending on your location. We are on G-11 and it is their main
default satellite for USA and Canada.
But if our travels venture
elsewhere, for a small one time fee, we can simply change the satellite we log onto. It is a joy to be on
line 24/7. The story on our
website (see sidebar) includes contact info etc. Photos on our Gallery
puts everything into perspective. Hope this helps
? ? ?
do I have 'Net
access to run a business from my 5th Wheel in RV Parks?
I just bought a 5th wheel trailer. As a patent attorney it is
important to continue my practice using email to/from my office, and to
look at download patent information from the US and other patent offices.
heard that with satellite systems that uplink to a satellite must have the
dish set up by a “certified installer”. Since you have two-way
communications with the satellite, did you have to take special training
to become a “certified installer”, or was that part of Armand’s 5-6
hour set-up training? Or is that just a US requirement?
Allen: Thanks for touching base – my
answer may differ depending on where you call home? My installer was near
by and I took a course but he recently
sent a Dish and equipment to New Mexico. I’m not sure the rule of a
‘certified installer’ is enforced or even required any longer.
A comprehensive operating instruction book (and continuous tech
support with no time limits) should be part of any package. The course just simplifies the process. I use
Canada’s ‘Galaxy’ server, they offers a choice of many satellites
(occasionally it may be necessary to log onto a different one as RVers
move to extreme locations). American users have told me that their servers don’t
always offer the same selection.
all US Installers offer a course, but most include an instruction manual.
I love my Dircway Dish (Now Hughes.net) and being on-line 24/7.
The majority of the time we
set it up in less than 10-15 minutes. Our Dish travels in the back seat of the car between destinations
but many Fifth wheel owners find a place to stow it. The tri-pod and
pointing arm will fit into a folding camp chair bag. If I do have problems my installer or Galaxy tech support walks me through
? ? ?
Do you claim things left in the USA or items you use such as
bought some toys for the grandkids and left them in Ohio.
Thanks in advance Sandra
Sandra, when we come back we pick a
realistic figure to claim. With us it is generally
$600.00 Cdn for routine
stuff between the two of us over our 5-6 months- too much work to keep
exact records. That is if we have not bought anything with a high price
tag such as a computer or stereo etc. Those items we claim in full at the
border. Day to day expenses are necessary to live and the agents
understand that. NO it is not necessary to report the cost of any items
that we leave in the USA.
maintenance is tax-free and not part of your amount of your
claim. For instance an oil change or a blown tire is considered emergency
but NOT replacement of all 4-tires. We had to replace a costly altimeter
on our way home - that was emergency and not subject to tax or duty since
we could not drive without a replacement. BUT the agent last spring
never even asked us about maintenance. They do not always ask but we have
the bills ready just in case.
However two years ago when we replaced our fridge because it quit working,
we were charged tax on it because they (Customs Agents) said that a fridge
was the same category as a stereo. Go figure.
Hope this helps and remember to ONLY answer the Q asked - do not
relay any more than required. - too much info can get you into trouble. Have
a good trip!
? ? ?
What does it cost to go Fulltime?
Peggi and John: We are thinking seriously to go full time
for a few years. Our concern is about the cost and if we can afford it. We
are concerned about gas consumption/cost and where to economically sleep
overnight in a safe way. Our pension fund is limited and we want to make
sure we can live without spending all the money we have. If our business
sells and we find a good used motorhome, we hope to hit the road for a
while. Jose and Elsa.
Hi Guys: Good to hear from you. FYI I have a detailed
story on RV Living.net covering
It is also highlighted in RV Living in the 21st
Century. I list the things you must address - we still manage to camp
under $500-$600. Cdn per month. Gas/Fuel costs depend on how far we travel (in
this high gas/fuel era, many RVers are staying closer to home or taking
longer to reach their destination). But maintenance costs also must be
A number of RVers
‘work-camp’ while on the move, but it is not good for Cdns to work
south of the border without visas. Too much to go into in a short Q&A,
but Revenue Canada (and the IRS) can decide working in exchange for a no-cost site is bartering. On another
note you may be taking a job away from an American which could cause
friction. There are work-camping
jobs in Canada. Find more links for ‘Working on the Road’ on our
RV WebLinks page.
Hope this info helps somewhat.
Remember the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their
dreams. It is important to follow your dreams!
? ? ?
Q: When we wanted to purchase a USA satellite service, we were told we
needed a Social Insurance number. Is there a way around this?
We were told that without a SIN we would have to pay a costly
Installation fee. We are Canadians we do not have a US social insurance
Just use your Cdn Social Insurance
number. It has the same number of digits and most
merchants just need a SIN# to
qualify the order. This number is not routinely checked.
Q is, why do you want an American satellite system? While you are in
Canada, take a look at StarChoice.com. I hesitate to recommend
because they take many channels snowbirds watch when we roost south of the
Panhandle. The further you go the more channels we lose. HOWEVER many of
us still use Express Vu and when we get into the south we continue
to enjoy Canadian content and we pick up the US Networks off our
Bat-Wing antenna or from park cable. This way you will
receive Canadian news as well as American input.
? ? ?
Where can I find a simple test kit to check my water supply anywhere I
stay – home, hotel, RV, etc?
As we begin our retirement travel, we want to be prepared with safe
water as we move around. The kit should show us the quality of the water
as it comes out of the RV tap, or before we connect to the campground tap.
We just returned from Korea and China where it is no fun being afraid of
the tap water. We both remarked how nice it is to drink from the tap
without concern at home.
I have checked everywhere with no success,
and wonder if you have a lead on a test kit for everyday use. It seems we
could have a problem anytime , anywhere. Thanks Dan.
A: Dan I need outside help for
this one so I forwarded your request to Mark Polk at RVEduction101.com for suggestions.
There are quite a few water testing kits available. (see
sidebar for one suggestion)
The problem is they can get expensive if you
want to test water frequently. I would recommend a good water filtration
system for use at home or with the RV and keep the testing kit available
for travelling and staying in hotels etc.
Water Test Kits
RV WebLinks Updated May 2014: Meet
Your Hosts; Getting
Updates - Advice
and How To;
(As of Oct 10) RV
Picasa Web Albums
is only a few of the many Q that are addressed on the RV
Living.net forum Take a look to see many more. May your travels always be