If you aren’t that up to traveling, then a good option for full-time RV living would be to stay in an RV park. But as simple as staying in one spot may seem, there are many intricacies regarding full-time living in an RV park that you should know about to have a seamless experience.
Let’s have an overview of the things that you should keep in mind while living in an RV park full-time.
Tips for living in an RV park full time
1. Get the biggest RV you can
We think that the most important tip for full-time living in an RV park is that you should get the biggest RV you can. Save up as much money as you can on a good and well-equipped RV, even if this means postponing your transition to the RV lifestyle for a few months.
While your aim may be to stay at an RV park full-time without any traveling, we think that you should think a little ahead. You don’t know how your needs and capabilities may change over time.
If you have a self-sustained RV with ample kitchen space and a full bathroom, then you can stay at pretty much any campground. While there are many campgrounds throughout the US that offer any facility that an RVer could dream of, you may be unable to find such a campground in your area, or it may be beyond your budget capabilities.
Due to this, it would make sense to have a self-sustained RV that would be able to satisfy your key needs even in a sub-par RV park.
Not only that, but a self-sustained RV would allow you to easily switch from a stationary RV lifestyle to a more mobile one without buying a new RV!
In the end, if you can, wait a little and save some money to get a better RV that would be able to sustain itself no matter where you are in the country.
2. Don’t buy a motorhome
If you are firmly intending to avoid any travel and stay at an RV park full-time, then it may make sense for you to avoid buying a motorhome. What’s even the point of having a self-propelled RV if you won’t be driving it anyway?
Motorhomes can be quite expensive, and you can save a lot of money by going for a towable RV. Not only that, but a towable RV would delivery much more comfort than a motorhome for less money!
Motorhomes also require maintenance regarding their powertrain. And if you aren’t intending to travel anywhere, again, why impose pointless costs on yourself when they aren’t going to bring any benefit?
With that being said, if you aren’t completely excluding that you may one day switch to mobile RV living, then you may want to buy a motorhome. But keep in mind that motorhomes can be very expensive.
3. Don’t buy a towing vehicle
This tip applies to towable RVs like fifth wheels, toy haulers, campers, or travel trailers.
The logic is quite similar to that of not buying a motorhome – why have a towing vehicle if you aren’t intending to travel? After all, it will be just sitting in the park, occupying space and perhaps also incurring maintenance costs on you.
Now, you may be wondering how you would get your RV to an RV park without a towing vehicle. The answer is that there are many ways for you to do so.
If you are buying an RV from a dealership, you may have your RV towed to the RV park you are intending to stay in. Alternatively, you could find a towing service that would move your RV to the designated location for a small service fee.
And when you decide to move your RV out of the park, you may again hire a towing service, or maybe ask your neighbors for help.
4. Carefully research RV parks
A crucial step to take when preparing to live in an RV park full-time is to research what kind of parks are available in your area (or elsewhere if you are planning to move to another place). In fact, we think that this is the first thing for you to do during your preparation for RV park living, even before looking for an RV.
It would be pretty unpleasant if you bought an RV and then found out that there are no good parks in your area to stay in. This would be, first of all, frustrating, as well as costly if you had to move your RV to a park located far from the current area of your residence.
There are thousands of RV parks throughout the country, each offering very distinct sets of conveniences and facilities. Some RV parks are packed with facilities like clean bathrooms and power grids, while others may provide you with nothing more than a place to stay in.
Among the things that you may want your RV park to have are:
- Laundry rooms.
- Landline phone service.
- Grills or BBQ.
- Tennis courts, swimming pools, gyms, exercise classes, or anything else that you are particularly interested in.
So first and foremost, you need to find an RV park that would provide you with the required amenities and facilities.
Aside from that, you need to carefully consider what kind of restrictions the RV park in question has. Some RV parks, for example, may not allow pets, while others allow pet owners to stay on pet-friendly areas (the number of which may be limited).
Some parks do not allow full-time residents. Not every campground is smoking- or kid-friendly as well. There are many similar things that you must keep in mind to avoid any surprises or disappointments.
5. Arrange your mail delivery
Mail reception is another important thing that you will need to think about. There are four ways for you to go about your mail delivery:
- Have someone trustworthy pick up your mail and hold it for you.
- Put your mailbox on hold at the US Post Office.
- Forward the mail to a friend or relative.
- Pay a mail forwarding service so that your mail gets delivered to you.
For full-time living in an RV park, we think that the fourth option is the best. If you will be away for a long time, then having your mail picked up by someone else or putting your mailbox on hold are going to make it difficult for you to receive important mail that may come in a hard copy.
Things like insurance policies and legal documents are still frequently sent to you by physical mail. You don’t want to miss out on such mail, which is why we think it’s best to pay a mail forwarding service that would deliver the mail to your RV park.
6. Pay special attention to security
RV parks can be good, or they can be bad. RV parks may have everything that you would dream of, but they also may provide you with just a land plot to park your RV on. Likewise, RV parks can have great security, or they may have none at all.
Needless to say, you would want to first pick an RV park that has good security. A good park will ensure the security of the park’s residents with means like security guards and police protection.
However, while things like these are a baseline for what an RV park’s security should be, you shouldn’t fully rely on the steps taken by the RV park administration.
Bad things happen, and no matter how good the security is at your park, your possessions are still very vulnerable to intruders.
Among the things that you can do to stay safe are:
- Locking your RV whenever you are away.
- Closing windows and curtains.
- Making arrangements with neighbors to look out for each other.
- Hiding your valuables or expensive items, preferably in a safe.
7. Build relationships with others in the park
Apart from you, many other RVers are going to live in the RV park. They will be people of different ages, professions, circumstances, nationalities. Some may have settled in the park due to health or budget issues, others just love the idea of being free to live the life they want, while others are just making a stop before continuing their journey.
In an RV park, you are going to make many new acquaintances, and you are going to meet many new people. With some, you will get along well, while others may be a source of disputes and problems.
While you are free to communicate with anyone in the park, you should try to build relationships with those who are staying at the site long-term.
Every RV park can have a group of regulars who can form homeowners’ associations to share news or arrange various types of activities like picnics, bus trips, or parties. Usually, all RV park residents are welcome to participate in such activities. And you indeed should participate in the social life of the park’s residents since it is the easiest way of building relationships, as well as a way to keep oneself occupied.
8. Follow the park etiquette
No matter what kind of an RV park you stay in, you should always practice good etiquette. For example, you should:
- Observe quiet hours.
- Avoid walking across other RV owners’ site.
- Avoid infringing others’ sites with awnings or slides.
- If you have guests, make sure that they do not disturb your neighbors.
Some RV parks may have strict etiquette guidelines which they will seek to enforce, while other campsites won’t care even the slightest about how their residents behave. With that being said, you should probably also go for a park that cares about the interaction between its residents.
9. Join an RVing club
RV clubs are organizations that allow you to live full-time more efficiently. For a membership fee, these clubs offer a wide array of benefits like discounts at campgrounds, job boards, mail service, gas discounts, or whatnot. If you want to save money – which you probably do – it may make sense for you to join an RV club.
Let us introduce to you a few RV club suggestions.
- Escapees RV Club. For a $39.95 annual membership fee, these guys offer numerous goodies like 15-50% discounts at over 800 commercial RV parks and mail forwarding. Aside from that, they offer roadside assistance – which may not be necessary for full-time stationary RVers – and access to educational materials and social events.
- Good Sam Club. For a $29 annual fee, Good Sam Club offers gas discounts, 10% discounts at over 2,400 parks & campgrounds, free shipping from select marketplaces, and more.
- Passport America. Passport America offers up to 50% discounts at nearly 1,800 campgrounds in the US, Canada, and Mexico for an annual fee of $44.
10. Be wary of bugs and rodents
No matter how luxurious your RV park may be, you are still living at a campground out in the wild. And while this equals to some unprecedented experience, many problems probably will come with living in an RV park.
All sorts of spiders, bugs, and ants will try to make a home of your RV, especially if it is winter outside. Not only that, but you may also catch a rodent infestation, which isn’t a thing that you would want to deal with.
Due to this, you need to think about making your RV mouse- and bug-proof. And just in case, you may want to take a few mouse traps or ant poison with you in the event you have unwanted guests in your rig.
11. Prepare your RV for winter
One big project that you may need to complete before moving to an RV park is preparing your RV for winter. RVs rarely come adequately insulated, and you are going to quickly discover that your RV leaks heat if you don’t do anything to improve its heat retention.
There are many ways to improve your RV’s heat retention – you may skirt your RV, block off windows and doors from inside, or add foam boards to the floor. Not only that, but you should also think about setting up a heating system in your RV, be it a propane furnace, a solar heating system, or maybe a heating pump.
You should probably improve the insulation in the walls, floor, and ceiling of your RV as well. This is a very cumbersome project since it involves ripping the interior apart, but it may be worth doing if you will be staying in an area where winters get particularly cold.
Lastly, you will need to winterize your RV, though you will only have to do this before the winter season.
Needless to say, if the area you will be staying in is warm no matter the season, then you don’t need to worry about heating as much.
12. Keep an eye on your RV’s condition
While your RV will be sitting in the RV park motionless, it doesn’t mean that you won’t need to perform maintenance on it.
If left untreated, your RV’s exterior surfaces may corrode or oxidize, which will not only make your RV ugly but also will physically weaken it. Not only that, you need to keep an eye on all the equipment that you have in your RV like RV generators, batteries, holding tanks, etc.
It would also be great if you knew your way around DIYing your RV issues, as well as had the necessary tools with you onboard. But if you will have access and the budget to hire a professional to do repairs in your RV, you won’t need to know how to handle any tools.
13. Be wary that your neighbors may not be the most pleasant people in the world
While you will build a close connection with your RV park neighbors, there may also be people who you won’t be able to get along with.
Loud neighbors, people who won’t respect your space, those up to debate just for the sake of it – you aren’t safeguarded from meeting people who could make your stay in the RV park unpleasant. Well, you could always leave the RV park to find a better place to stay in full-time, though some parking grounds may have more or less strict policies regarding those who are a disturbance to others.
Pros & cons of full-time living in an RV park
Everything has its good and bad sides, and this applies to full-time living in an RV park as well. Below, let’s overview the key benefits and disadvantages of living in RV parks that you should know about.
In general, the biggest benefit of full-time living in an RV is freedom. This may not be as evident when staying full-time in an RV park, but you still have no less freedom than if you have opted for a more mobile style of RVing.
While you may be determined to stay in an RV park, you are free to move out anytime you want. Not only that, but you may switch from stationary to mobile RV living and start traveling around the continent.
Your ability to quickly change your RV lifestyle will mainly depend on your budget since you may need to take care of some expenses, like buy a towing vehicle if you don’t have one. This may impose certain limits on you, but you are nonetheless free to do anything you want with your RV lifestyle.
In terms of social interaction, switching to full-time RV living can be a tough decision. You may have been particularly close with your neighbors at home, and you will also be unable to meet your friends and relatives as often once you move to an RV park.
But on the other hand, you will meet many new people who can help you satisfy your needs for human interaction. Not only that, but it is very easy to build very close relationships with fellow RVers since you will already have one big common interest – full-time RV living.
One sought-after benefit of full-time RV living is that it can be much more economical than living in a house or apartment. Living in an RV park, you may feel this benefit even more.
If you have a fully-equipped park ground, then you will be able to avoid spending any money on things like fueling your RV generator or keeping your freshwater tank full. Of course, you will have to pay a fee for park conveniences, but in the end, living in an RV park can often be much more economical than in your own house or apartment.
You can further improve your money-saving if you become a member of an RV club, as described above.
Possible lack of facilities
As we’ve mentioned above, some RV parks can be packed with facilities, while others will have little to no conveniences to offer. And the thing here is that your financial capabilities are going to determine what kind of an RV park you will be able to afford.
Not everyone is going to be able to pay for an RV park that has all the facilities they would need in an RV.
If you find that you won’t be able to stay in an RV park that has all the desired facilities, then you would need to pick an RV that would compensate for it. For example, if the park doesn’t have any shower or bathroom facilities, your RV would need to have them.
You won’t necessarily meet good people
As we’ve again mentioned above, you will meet many new people, but not all your acquaintances are going to be what you may be wishing for. People can be annoying or outright problematic, and you need to be prepared for that.
You’re stuck with one scenery
If you like to live in motion, then you probably won’t like that you will be stuck with one scenery in an RV park. But this shouldn’t be too big of a problem since those who decide to go for full-time living in an RV park most likely don’t like traveling to begin with.
If you can’t live without seeing new places, then you probably won’t even think about stationary RV living. Still, you could get bored from the same exact scenery quite quickly even if you aren’t an avid traveler.
If you enjoyed this article then take a look at our other RV how-to articles.