The One Thing You Need to Full-time RV

Lots of people ask about the most important things full-time RVers need to be comfortable. That list is a little different for everyone, but there is one thing you need to full-time RV no matter who you are, what you drive or where you go: an emergency fund.

You Can’t Follow Your Bliss Without It

one thing you need to full-time RV
Without it, you’re facing huge obstacles on the road.

Hitting the road on a whim is such a romantic idea. One day you get so fed up with the BS that you chuck that default life of yours. Then you pull away from the curb and seek out the nomadic adventure in your heart. If you’re born with wanderlust in your soul the way we were, this lifestyle can hold the keys to happiness.

But sometimes the Situation is the Boss and your happiness takes a back seat. The recent vehicle issues that Jim and I encountered got my head spinning with “What ifs.” What if we didn’t have the money to pay for those repairs? What if the repairs had cost even more?

We love this lifestyle, but happiness alone won’t get us to Alaska. Or anywhere. The ingredient to sustaining our road-tripping bliss is knowing we can bounce back from unexpected repair bills.

one thing you need to full-time RV
You need more than happiness to get anywhere.

Our unplanned stay in Ephrata Washington set us back about $1,000 in repairs and RV park rent while we waited. Before that happened I had hoped we could camp free all the way to Alaska but that plan dissolved just a few weeks into the journey.

The rent and mechanic’s bill put a dent in our savings (almost as much as the big dent we put in our Dodge!). But did this incident stop our wheels from turning? No. Because we do everything we can to keep a healthy emergency fund. The day we left town my heart was filled with gratitude knowing that we could cover the cost.

Now the only question is, how long will it take us to bounce back from that hit?

Dave Ramsey Knows the One Thing You Need to Full-time RV

Our debt-free inspiration Dave Ramsey knows the one thing you need to full-time RV. It’s the one thing you need to thrive whether you’re a gypsy or a suburbanite:

A cash emergency fund of three to six months of expenses.

“Having an emergency fund and being out of debt (except your house) turns your emergency into an inconvenience,” says Dave in this great explanation of the importance of an emergency fund. 

Everyone’s expenses are different so the amount in the fund changes from person to person. Thankfully Jim and I are frugal full-time RVers, which makes it a little easier to keep that emergency fund stocked and replenish it when we take a hit.

We’ve spent the last nine days boondocking in 90-degree weather, just to avoid paying rent while we wait for our last batch of mail to arrive before we cross into Canada. Dry camping in hot weather without air-conditioning isn’t much fun, but our teeny bit of discomfort is a small price to pay for stashing nine nights of rent money back into the emergency fund. Along with our You Need a Budget planning tools, Dave’s Four Quick Ways to Build Your Emergency Fund are a huge help at times like this. 

Many people get excited about hitting the road and put tons of thought into their rig and where they’ll go. But based on the number of people we see come off the road every year, it’s my guess that many those former full-timers didn’t get nearly as excited about building their emergency fund. 

How about you? Are you living on the edge without an emergency fund? Do you squirrel every extra penny away? I’d love to hear about your experience covering costs while you wander.


2 thoughts on “The One Thing You Need to Full-time RV”

  1. I couldn’t agree more! Even though we have a new 5th wheel, we know that there will be issues that pop up. These are big rolling earthquakes for goodness sakes! Knowing we have an emergency fund to cover these “inconveniences”, gives me piece of mind. Love your blog and aspire to be successful boondockers like you! 🙂

    • Julie, I have no doubt that you and Rick will do just fine! Congrats on the house sale and all you’re doing to get on the road. We look forward to following along with your adventures.


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