I'm going to be adopting a cat to travel with me once I'm more secure in my financial ability to do so. I've already lived in my RV with my best friend and her cat for about 3 months last year although we weren't doing any traveling at that time.
As a certified Veterinary Technician with experience working in a vet clinic, I'd be real nervous about letting a cat ride in a TT while in motion. If you were to have to step on the breaks suddenly and the pet isn't secured in a carrier the poor thing could go flying and get hurt. Likewise, there's not a good way to keep a TT climate controlled while driving, it could get real hot inside in the summer with the sun beating down on the TT, and you can't really keep a window open without road debris getting inside.
Just my two cents.
Hello, and welcome. :)
A lot of people recommend the RV Consumer Group (http://www.rv.org/index.html) for non-partisan ratings of various RV models. It does cost money to join, but from everything I've heard they really do keep the ratings independent and fair. I'm sure others who've used it will be speaking up on it's behalf soon enough.
What I personally did when I was hunting around for my rig was locate online clubs for that particular kind of RV (Casita) and read through their forums to see what people who already had one thought of it, what kind of problems were likely to crop up, etc. Overall, the results were positive, so I felt confident when I made my purchase that I was going to get a decent rig, and from reading about them online from other owners I knew what to look for in a good one when I was doing my shopping.
Whatever you decide on, good luck!
I'm a full-timer work camping in Badlands National Park this summer, and I game.
I've played and enjoyed several card and board games, Munchkin is very amusing. I've done some 4e D&D but have generally gotten help from more experienced players for character creation. I also MMO, but I do GW2.
I won't be making it to the West coast this year, but if you happen to swing out this way maybe we could set something up. Otherwise there's always next year. :)
Everyone has said this before, but I'm going to say it again because it's very true: no one can give you an accurate dollar amount because no one else is you.
Generally, if you don't change your spending habits you'll probably find that it costs you the same to RV as it does to stay still, unless your taking on a loan for your RV, or getting rid of one by selling a house, etc. Instead of rent/property taxes you're paying for RV sites/fuel to travel. Food will be about the same, entertainment costs will be about the same (as long as you don't treat it like a perpetual vacation - if you do that it'll be more!). It'll also cost money to maintain your RV, it's a house on wheels that undergoes earthquake like forces every time you move it - things break down faster than on a regular house.
I'm a young solo full-timer in a 17' molded fiberglass trailer. I have no debt whatsoever, and I live modestly. I've had months where I spent under $700 (work camping where site and utilities were paid for, didn't fill up gas tank the whole month, didn't spend a single dollar on entertainment, didn't have any maintenance issues crop up), and months where I spent over $1,600 (lots of traveling, going out to eat more, spending money to see the sights, going to the dentist, etc).
Also as others have said, things cost more in Canada than they do here, the dollar is weaker than their currency, so keep that in mind. I also second having an emergency fund, because RVs are complex and at some point something will go wrong, it's inevitable.
Whatever you decide, good luck!
As others have already stated, several of the smaller 'molded fiberglass' trailers have a GVWR of 3,500. I have a 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe at that weight, but I tow it with a Dodge Dakota that has a tow rating of 6,500. Most will say that you want the max trailer weight to be 80% of the vehicle's tow rating because you'll be putting stuff in the tow vehicle too.
My Casita works very well for me as a solo full-timer, but it all comes down to what you two are comfortable with.
Had about 4 inches last week here in Badlands National Park, least it melted pretty fast. Highs in the 70's the last couple days, but then later this week the weatherman is saying lows below freezing again and a chance for more snow.
I've come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as spring weather. During the period of time known as 'spring' a coin gets flipped every day. Heads, it's winter. Tails, its's summer. :P
KC and Wendy, I'm working at Cedar Pass Lodge in Badlands National Park through the summer. I've been here a week already and am loving it so far. If you're in Wall KC we're less than an hour from each other. :)
From what I've seen and heard it does sound like parks in the east charge more than the west, I had an RVing friend from Texas drive out east up into New England and she couldn't believe how much more everything cost. I'm a full-timer but I've spent a lot of time in SC recently and prices here compared to when I went up to South Dakota were more expensive.
As others have said, state parks and state forests (and national forests) tend to be cheaper, chains and resorts cost more. I tend to balance time spent in a full hookup park with nights in Walmart and at truck stops for free to keep expenses under control since I'm on a budget. I can't wait to really get out west and experience some of that fabled cheaper camping I've been hearing about. ;) Looks like it'll be this summer!
I think you are very wise to not take on debt to buy your TT. Like you I saved up until I could afford to buy mine outright and it's such a relief to not have to worry about balancing monthly payments along with everything else.
That being said, mine was only $8,995 and is a '99 17' molded fiberglass trailer. Most people wouldn't touch a TT that old, but since these things have no seams they hold up a lot better than standard built trailers.
I bought it last March, moved into it in April, and started traveling full-time in September. I'm still working out the kinks, but really enjoying myself so far. :) The waiting is hard, but it pays off!
I full-time in a TT by choice, a 17' molded fiberglass trailer. That gives me my truck bed to store stuff in and the smaller rig length is easier for me to manage solo, fits into smaller camping spots and will fit in 2 regular size parking spots lengthwise.
Since it doesn't have seams like regular RV's do it's that much less likely to develop leaks and they last a lot longer, my trailer is 14 years old and I get plenty of compliments on it from people who think it's new. Well, less compliments the past couple months because I need to clean and wax it again, that'll be a chore coming up now that the weather is getting warmer. ;)
I'm 29 years old and I'm not rich. It was go small or don't go at all, and I'm so thankful that I decided to go small. I actually feel a lot freer with a smaller rig and less 'stuff' to worry about.
I started full-timing last year at 28 and love it. I say go for it! I travel in a 17' Casita travel trailer pulled by a Dodge Dakota, the combo gets about 15 mpg which isn't bad at all for a house.
A bit more info on your situation would be helpful to give good advice. I agree with staying debt free and having an emergency fund. I personally fund my travels though seasonal jobs but I'm hoping to transition to more location independent work so I'm not tied to an area at all. Obtaining health insurance can be a real issue if you have previous medical conditions, I'm lucky to be healthy and not have any such issues so my coverage isn't too much money.
I've written quite a bit about solo full-timing at my blog if you'd like a peek, the link is in my info. I've covered jobs that I've held, domicile state selection, mail forwarding, choosing an RV, stuff like that.
Whatever you decide to do, best of luck! We only live once...
Same thing happened to me first time I left my new RV sitting unused for a while in the heat and humidity of South Carolina. As others have said bleach did the job well, in the future prop it open so the air circulates.
Well I love my 17' Casita (GVWR 3,500) that I tow with my 4.7L V8 Dodge Dakota that has a manufacturer tow package and tow rating of 6,500, but sadly you're not fitting a family of 5 in there. I think you'll be hard pressed to find something without pop out sides that can fit that many people with a GVWR of 7,000 or less, and really to be on the safe side most people will tell you not to get above 80% of the vehicles maximum tow rating, which has you looking at something more like 5,600 max.
Maybe someone else will have other ideas.
I know I'm late responding but I worked at the Coffeyville site last year and I stayed at Big Chief, the park right across the street. As Lurker52 said there's no shade, sites are close together, the roads are mostly dirt with a bit of gravel, and it turns to mud when it rains a lot, but the bath house was new and clean and the new guy that runs the place Eric is a good man. The WiFi was $15 a month when I was there (it use to be $30 a month before Eric took over) and while it wasn't blazing fast it worked 99% of the time.
The way I look at it is you're there to work, not to sight see, and you just can't beat being right across the street from home when you're getting done with an 11 hour shift and don't want to do anything but go to bed. I've written more about working at Amazon on my blog if you're curious about the experience, can just do a search for Amazon or CamperForce.
Hello. I'm a solo full-timer who lives in a 17' travel trailer. I wasn't exactly poor when I hit the road but I'm sure not rich either.
It's hard to give you advice because we don't know much about your situation. As others have said, trying to arrange to have a job waiting before you hit the road is a good plan. I'm paying my way by taking temporary and seasonal jobs as I travel, and with the job market like it is it isn't always easy. In fact when I got down here to GA/SC in January I went about 4 weeks with no job at all before I landed my current gig, and it doesn't pay enough to cover all my bills. Luckily I have money stored up for occasions like this so I won't starve, but if you don't have that kind of cushion to fall back on it could be rough.
Summer jobs will be starting up in another month or so, and I've found a lot more possibilities then that pay a living wage for just me, but to support a family? I don't know...
I love seeing the country as I travel and I'm having a lot of fun as a working full-timer, but it's not like being in vacation mode all the time. In fact I'd say it's more work than living stationary was since the job searching is near continuous.
Best of luck to you, whatever you decide.
Well, I travel full-time in my 17' Casita and love it. Scamps seem to have a similar build quality from what I've heard, so they'd probably work well too.
Mine is 14 years old, and still going strong. Molded fiberglass trailers hold up much better over time than wood or aluminum frame ones, I think a big part of it is because they don't have seams where water can get in and cause damage. Because they hold up better though, they'll cost a quite a bit more money used than other trailers of a similar size, I don't know if money is an issue for you or not.
Mine's a Deluxe model, which means it has a toilet and a shower, but they're both together in the same 'room' marine style, I imagine the Scamps work the same way. Of course it also has a fridge and 2 burner stove, no oven though.
I'm not real familiar with your tow vehicle, but I think before you start looking at brands the first thing you should do is look at your owner's manual and figure out what the tow rating is for it. My Casita has a listed dry weight of 2,200 lbs (and with all the modifications previous owners have done it's higher than that) and a maximum gross weight rating of 3,500. I tow it with a Dodge Dakota, it's a mid-size truck.
Best of luck to you!
Hello Brian and Shan!
Sorry I don't have time to read all the comments to see what others have suggested, this might all be repeats but I'm at work right now on lunch so time is limited. :P
I'm a 29 year old solo full-timer and I had no great fortune amassed before I went RVing either. I'm paying my way by taking seasonal and temporary gigs while I travel. I did do the Amazon thing up in Kansas last holiday season and that is a good way to earn some money, I've written about it pretty extensively at my blog if you're curious, the first post I wrote about it that gives general information including wages for all 3 sites can be found here http://www.interstellarorchard.com/2012/06/26/about-amazons-camperforce/.
Standard workamping jobs on the other hand aren't so great, unless you two are drawing in income in some other way through a pension or social security? Normally how those kind of work is you put in about 20 or so hours a week in exchange for your site and utilities. That's great and all, but doesn't pay for gas, food, health and vehicle insurance, phone, etc. Since I have no other money coming in, I need to be earning enough to cover those costs too and taking another part time job in conjunction with a workamping job would be a bit of a scheduling nightmare.
Right now, I'm working at a Lowe's as a seasonal employee. The pay isn't very good and it wouldn't be sustainable long term as a solo, but I had done some math before and I think for a couple where both people worked it would be feasible if not glamorous work. I'm poking about now for better paying summer opportunities working at the parks or other touristy type places. Like Amazon, some of those kind of places pay for RV site and utilities plus an actual wage that covers other living expenses.
I hope things work out well for you! Please feel free to message me if you have other questions, I try to help when I can.
Last fall when I became a full-timer and set up residency in SD I used ehealthinsurance too and I ended up going with Coventry. My plan is a high deductible (it seems like most younger full-timers go this route) and it's only there in case something catastrophic were to happen.
For the more touristy locations I like spending the week at the campground because there will be less people to deal with and a better range of sites available. Last fall when I was doing more traveling I'd overnight at places like Walmart on weekend days and focus mostly on driving then, then pick a nice place to stay during the week.