Mobile Living: What The Heck Do You Plan To Live In?
Updated: Aug 3, 2020
Mobile living is a fantastic adventure, but choosing the right home can be a daunting challenge.
After making the final decision to totally change my lifestyle and travel full time, I still can’t tell you what my mode of transportation will be when I leave in 2016. I know it will be a camper of some sort and it will be smaller than 24 ft. but I can’t tell you if it will be a van, travel trailer or a class C RV.
I can’t see any scenario where a Class A would be remotely viable for me, though I did find a really cool converted old school bus that was absolutely perfect several months ago. Alas, there were no funds to buy it and the timing just wasn’t right. It was bigger than the 24 ft limit I would strongly prefer and it would have required some work, but it was pretty special.
So unless something magical happens, this post outlines what I’m thinking so far. But as with everything you try to plan, anything can happen to change it.
A travel trailer is a fantastic option, but it is lowest on my list for a few reasons. There are many benefits, including price and your home being detachable from your vehicle, but there is also the chore of hooking up and unhooking as a solo traveler.
Another drawback for a solo traveler is safety. If I am feeling an uncomfortable vibe where I am staying overnight, I would have to go outside of the travel trailer to get in my vehicle to leave. If I was in a motorhome or van I could just hop behind the wheel and go.
Then there is the towing itself. I’m not very good at it. I moved a friend from Portland Oregon to Phoenix Arizona in August of 2012 and though I loved the trip and had no issues with the driving itself, I hit a couple of tricky spots with the car towing behind a 26 foot Uhaul.
One memorable night traveling through central California at about 2 AM, I pulled into a hotel parking lot to rest, only to quickly discover there was no way out. Thankfully after seeing me struggle for a little while, the bartender at the hotel bar came out and helped me remove the attached car, maneuver the truck to get out, then reattach the car.
The memory is significant enough to make me shy away from a tow trailer, despite the many benefits is has to offer.
Class B – Camper Van
A Class B van would be almost ideal. I love the maneuverable size and the living space is perfectly fine for me. I’m not fond of the small wet bath in most standard Class B Vans but the Class B Plus, though pricier, generally has a bigger bathroom.
At first I wondered if a Class B of any size would be too cramped for my 2 cats, but I think leash training and plenty of interactive play time would likely resolve that concern. I have seen other travelers make it work so I’m sure I can as well.
I also really like the idea of being kind of stealthy in a van. (I am surprised how many people aren’t even aware these types of vans exist!) I could go pretty much anywhere in a van but would have definite limitations with other options.
I’d have to find a pretty spectacular deal to afford what I need in one of these, but I always keep my eyes open.
All said I’m most likely buying a used Class C. I can just trade in my car for the RV, thereby eliminating my car payment. Ultimately it is probably the most financially feasible, and a smaller motorhome under 22 ft would be absolutely ideal for the cats and me.
There are many features and floor plans available in the class C arena, but with time, patience, and research, I know I can find something that fits my needs perfectly. Still, there are a couple of drawbacks that concern me with a Class C.
The propensity for leaks and water damage being high on the list, but also my vehicle would be my home and if the chassis breaks down, my cats and I are essentially homeless until it’s fixed. Unless of course I keep my car and tow it behind the motorhome, in which case, we could live in the car a day or two until the RV was repaired.
But that circles back to my concern about towing things and my lack of skill in doing so. Vicious circle anyone?
Cruise America offers pretty good deals on their used Class C rentals and has a pretty impressive refurbishment process and warranty. For the size I would need, the price is extremely reasonable as well.
I decided to go to some forums and see what kind of feedback RVers had on these units and there were lots of opinions. For many people, the purchase of a rental is a big no-no right off the bat and others who are like-minded feel the quality of the rental fleet Cruise America offers is questionable.
Some expressed concerns with rental people not using/operating them with the same respect they would an owned unit, but others pointed out the refurbish process and warranty should eliminate that concern.
I could not find one person who had purchased one that had a complaint, however. It is possible that no full-timers own one, but that seems unlikely.
While I am not prone to care what others think, I also don’t want to spend any amount of my time trying to defend a purchase that was right for me. As such, for now I have decided to table the idea of the refurbished rental, but I reserve the right to revisit it if I can’t find a really good reason not to.
So that’s it. That is where things stand today. It’s a darn good thing I have several months to figure this out!