Top Ten Advantages of Living in a Travel Trailer

Our life, living in a home one-half the size of their carports, is not well understood by our families. Our home is less than 200 square feet. We don’t have a garage, a basement, or an attic. Folks in big houses might not really notice the trappings of big spaces with hiding places above, below, beside, and inside.

How much time do you spend straightening the garage? Frank Lloyd Wright eschewed garages in many of his house designs. Wright preferred carports because they would avoid the capture of all that clutter. You know, once it gets away from you, the garage just can’t be recovered.

You’ve avoided going up to straighten the attic how many times? It’s too cold, it’s too hot, you have four gazillion things more important to do, you aren’t missing anything up there, and visitors almost never see it anyway.

What’s really in the back of the big downstairs coat closet? You know, the mysterious and unknown territory under the coats, and the tablecloths on those heavy-duty hangers, behind the vacuum cleaner and the boots? Who will ever know until you are forced to search even this hidden place?

In many markets across the United States housing was a sure investment. In some U.S. markets this might still be true, although odds makers probably would offer less than certain odds on it. A house is to have and to hold and to maintain and to clean and to keep organized and to repair and what else? It’s a lot of work, isn’t a certain investment, and might not be all it’s cooked up to be.

Anyone who full-timed in an RV knows there are many advantages to living in a compact and mobile space. We aren’t bringing up any news for full-timers. Many other people don’t know anything about qualities of rolling homes. And, if David Letterman runs out of other top ten list things, we thought he might want to use this list:

Top Ten Advantages of Living in a Travel Trailer:
1. You just can’t lose anything for long in less than 200 square feet
2. If the weather is bad, you can move
3. If the neighborhood is noisy, you can move
4. No painting, ever!
5. No leaves to rake or shrubs to trim, or gutters to clean
6. Power outage, city water system down? No problem in a travel trailer
7. You’re never far from home
8. Window washing or vacuuming or mopping take less than 1/2 hour
9. Upstairs bathrooms sewage never backs into the downstairs bathtub or shower
10. Our property tax bill goes down every year

We didn’t even get around to mentioning the most obvious — we can, and do, move our house about the states and provinces of North America. And we’re loving doing this in our 25′ Airstream travel trailer.

Jim and Debbie
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27 responses to “Top Ten Advantages of Living in a Travel Trailer

  1. Here-Here!!

    Well said.

    You left out the part about there is always room for your kids and their dogs, too…that must be number 11. *:)

  2. Sign me up! (Julie is not so sure.)
    What would be your top ten disadvantages?
    Medical?
    Mail?
    Family?
    (You have addressed most of the issues in your blog.)

    • Richard,
      This is an interesting question and our answer a year from now might differ from what we would say this year. We don’t think medical is a disadvantage — as one of our panelists stated two years ago at our seminar at WBCCI International, how great is it to be able to select a Pacific coast beach to recuperate from a broken ankle, or move your house anywhere in the continent to the care center of your choice for excellent treatment?

      But wait! What if we uncover more disadvantages than we sensed? We’ll have to think about this before we decide to write on it.

      Jim

  3. Another one on my list is when you travel you are sleeping in the same bed at night. When I traveled for work it would take me a couple of days to get a good nights sleep in that darn motel bed. Then it was time to leave. When full timing, you take your bed with you.

    • Bob,
      This might be #1, we didn’t even think of it until you mentioned. How great is sleeping in your own bed every night, wherever you are? We love making our bed and having to sleep in it.

  4. Great list! The benefits far outweigh the challenges we’ve encountered. (We have encountered some medical care challenges but nothing so severe that we would give up this fabulous lifestyle).

    I think my favorite thing so far is the ability to avoid nasty weather. Last year we were headed to Colorado but the weather report looked chilly. We pulled off the interstate, turned around, and headed to Moab, UT where it was 90 degrees and sunny. It was then we knew that giving up this Airstream life would be difficult. What freedom we have!

    Great blog! Safe travels!

    • Lani,
      Thanks for your great addition, avoiding nasty weather — or as we like to say it, Chasing 75 Degrees. That’s why our homes have wheels, isn’t it?

      Looked too briefly at http://aluminumbliss.com and enjoyed it already. We honeymooned, not so very many years ago, one island away from your recent r & r & r & r & r. And we snorkeled one day beside and hiked another day on St John. Wonderfully nice. Some day we may get back, but we’ll not get to sleep in the Airstream on the islands, eh?

      I’m looking forward to reading more on your website — thanks for sharing the link and your nice comment.
      Jim

  5. Pingback: Another advantage to full-timing | Dreamstreamr Odyssey

  6. {{{hugs}}}

    I agree with everything on your list except for #4 – I’m painting mine bubblegum pink!

  7. Okay Wendy, but you have a motor home. If you had a trailer you couldn’t paint it pink inside because the paint would overload the axles or something. I think the weight of the paint is why ours is paintless inside, right?

    Jim

  8. Let me see,here…

    No mortgage/lease.

    If I get tired of the view outside, I change it.

    No door-to-door salespeople.

    The power goes out in the neighborhood? Not a problem.

    I don’t have to take the groceries from the store to my car, and then from my car into my house.

    I get tired of the city? I move to the country..

    I get tired of the country? I move to the city.

    Nothing in my house is more than six steps away.

    See? You missed a LOT. ;-)

    • Right you are, Will. We’ve especially enjoyed some of these like numbers three and four and eight. What’s a door-to-door salesman? Four years, we forget. Widespread power outages in our resort last January due to severe cold snap. Lights stayed on, heat stayed on, but not for most of the park models. Just the RVs. Six steps? I can reach the fridge, sink, and kitchen cabinets from my seat at the dinette. Pretty nice, for sure.

      Thanks for adding to the list — these are good ones too.

  9. Anonymous Vagabond

    This is my intended plan, to live in a truck camper. In my line of work (* construction *) there is always a new project, most of the time in a different city. Living this life style will net me 1300-1400 a month, in pocket money. My only expenses. Being $500-600 a month. After I’m done financing my truck and camper, expenses will be cut to $300. Then in my late twenties I want to purchase a acre or two of land, run electricity + sewage + water and live off there.

    I became homeless when I was 18 years old, I learned a lot about myself. I didn’t need the latest gadget, fancy car, or anything really. It transformed me to live a minimalist lifestyle. Granted, I still like to buy good hearty food – but that’s about it for me…

    You can still be connected to the world in a travel trailer, most newer models have cable / satelite hookups.

    • Yeah AV, we are definitely connected and even without cable or satellite. I would, mainly during ATP Tour events, like DISH or cable with The Tennis Channel but otherwise just don’t want more television in our home. We have cellphone, internet, and amateur radio for connectivity. They all work but with each with varying effectiveness depending upon where we are.

      Good on not spending for things. Yesterday someone reminded us to spend on experiences instead of stuff. Can’t always make this choice but the memories from experiences can far outlast the pleasure from gadgets or fancy cars.

      Our favorite mode remains traveling over sitting. Don’t know if we might continue wintering in one spot or not — trying five months in one place this year and will see if it drives us nuts or is worthwhile for us. Your construction work offers (requires?) mobility and living in the truck camper seems almost perfect, if a little tight for space compared to even a small trailer. Then again, you can park in tighter places easier than we can so as long as it works for you . . .

      Thanks for your comment and good luck.

  10. What kind of tips/suggestions or other info would you have for someone wanting to start in this lifestyle? I’ve always thought about it but could never do to personal reasons and now the opportunity is here! I want to take it before it slips away but I know nothing about getting started.

    Thanks!!!!

    • Gypsy,
      Start with escapees discussion forum, and consider joining Escapees. Lots of information, services, support, and they advocate well for full-timers. Look at our web site, http://dreamstreamr.com. We have a lot of information about how we started out and what we use/don’t use. Look up “full-time rving” on your browser and pick through the many helpful sites there.

      And ask most any RVer or full-timer and you’ll almost always get a helpful answer with a smile. Let us know if we can help, we’ll try. Our email is on our website on every page.

      Jim

  11. I just bought myself a 32 ft travel trailer and I am packing up my house and giving away most everything and am ready for a new adventure. And that is what I see it as, my next adventure in life. I raised my kids and they are on their own and now I am free to down size and enjoy life on 1/4th of the money I was paying before. No more house payment, no more electric, water, sewer, garbage, yard to maintain.. all the bills that come with living in a home that is too big for just me.
    I will have the time to spend with family and more time with my grandkids. I can park at the coast for a few weeks then move to the country by a river or lake or park in one of my kid’s driveway for a long visit. Really, what could be better??

    • Debbie,
      It will be an adventure, and I agree with you about gaining time. We were talking just this afternoon about how much time we have now. We love it.

  12. Richard guernsey

    I will be doing the same thing in my 2011 23ft.airstream in October 2012. So good for you, You go Jim & Debbie hop to see you two on the road. Richard

  13. Pingback: Top Ten Advantages of Living in A Travel Trailer 2012 | Dreamstreamr Odyssey

  14. Hey do you guys think a 30 foot plus travel trailer would be a good idea for me and my family. im 20 years old and have 2 babys with my wife. we like evrything you guys listed and our idea is to live in one of these travel trailers for aboit 6 years and save up as much money as we can.. we believe the the rent for a lot will be way easyer and economic for us. we found a travel trailer for 8000 cash and its nice. is it hard living in a travel trailer..? the room os spacious but my concerns are stuff like the toilet and water / electric etc.

  15. I will begin my full time life on the road within a few weeks. Unfortunately, I am not yet ready to purchase a travel trailer and vehicle with to pull it. My work is the reason for the travel. I hope to be able to make the trailer purchase in the spring of 2013. It has been suggested that I go with a 26-32 foot fifth wheel even as a single person. Is this a good idea or do you think smaller is better? I wouldn’t mind having space for company from time to time. The thing is, the more I don’t use my company’s housing arrangements, the more money I make because they give me the housing allowance. This would amount to as much as $1600/mo. The sooner I get into a trailer, the better.

    I also am concerned about weather. While I have some control where I go on assignment, I could end up in North Dakota in the winter. How cold is too cold for RV living? I already know the N. Dakota thing is out.

    Another concern is city living. My work is in Hospital Laboratories for 13 week assignments. Will I have trouble finding a place to set my trailer when I am working in a large city? I don’t mind driving in to work, but I’m just not sure how far out we are talking.

    How do you handle mail? All of my bills are online, so that isn’t a problem. I suppose there is a way to avoid junk mail. Any suggestions on this?

    I appreciate your expertise and look forward to any knowledge you can pass on.

    Chris

    • Wow, great questions covering pretty much the whole gamut of getting started full-time RVing.

      Okay, first things first — even though you’re not escaping from work, you are slipping loose from living in a sticks and bricks home. So we recommend you join Escapees, the best RVing club anywhere. Great monthly magazine, fab web site, best mail forwarding service, and more. Do tell them we (we are #094415) recommended you, it helps us a little. We have gotten a lot of great help and support from Escapees, and they also have a tremendous RVing discussion forum on-line (it does NOT require membership, btw).

      Second — size of RV is pretty much a decision based upon lots of factors. We think 25′ is great for the two of us, and the same trailer would be just right for one of us too. We love the amenities of our 25′ trailer, it has ample galley space and dining and sofa and a full-time bed, a spacious pantry and a dry bath (very nice to have), and two wardrobes, and lots of storage space. Yet the 25′ trailer is small enough for every campground we have visited in the past seven years, and that’s a lot of campgrounds in every state except Hawaii and those in New England (just haven’t gotten there yet).

      Our stated goal is to chase 75 degrees — but we have enjoyed a night as low as 11 and many nights below 20 Farenheit. Our trailer is ill-equipped for cold weather but performed perfectly through these cold nights. If the weather did not warm above freezing in the days, though, we might have faced necessity of winterizing our water lines, or relocating to a warmer clime. A few fifth wheels and trailers are equipped better for cold climes, at least are marketed as such — a couple names come to mind like Arctic Fox and Big Foot, maybe Award. I think it would be nice to have better insulation all year round, and could sure help in coldest and warmest weather.

      Deb and I worked our careers in health care systems, but always from housing within reasonable commutes from the major medical centers. In North Carolina, nice RV sites are available within no more than 20 miles from the hospitals in all four cities I worked. We cannot speak for other states but suspect this is largely true in most areas.

      Okay, I’ve run out of brain cells and probably didn’t finish answering your questions. If you haven’t already, please go to our web site and look over a few of the pages about how we chose and outfitted our trailer (home improvement pages), and perhaps the FAQ pages will answer questions like mail forwarding (which is working really great still). And do feel free to email us (our email is easily reached from our web site) any other questions.

      Readers, y’all feel free to pitch in answers to Chris’s questions too, okay? This is a good place for sharing this stuff.

      Jim

  16. We recently posted this blog topic anew, with a slightly improved (two years more experience) perspective. You can see it here https://dreamstreamr.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/top-ten-advantages-of-living-in-a-travel-trailer-2012/

  17. Pingback: Time for Friday Favorites | Living Simply Free

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