We always seem to get the same questions from new and wannabe fulltimers. I will be presenting my Fulltimer FAQs seminar at the Escapees Club Escapade rally in Goshen, Indiana May 12-17. For those of you who can’t make it to Escapade (and you really should), hopefully we can answer some of those questions for you here.
How much does it cost to fulltime? As I wrote in a blog a while back, how much you got? This can be either a very expensive or a very inexpensive lifestyle. We know some fulltimers who are making do on $1,000 a month and we knew one couple who got off the road because they could not live on $5,000 a month. I think the comfortable range is somewhere in between those two extremes.
How much do rising fuel prices affect fulltimers? We all pay more at the pump every time fuel prices rise, but overall, most fulltimers I know have adjusted well. Many have found ways to offset high fuel prices, like traveling less and staying longer in an area. But most of us just moan and groan and pay the price. I don’t know any fulltimers who have given up the lifestyle because of fuel prices.
Am I a fulltimer if I still have a house but don’t live in it? There is a lot of debate on this among some people, but I consider someone who lives in an RV all of the time and moves at least occasionally a fulltimer.
How do you get your mail? Most fulltimers use one of several very good commercial mail services, many of which are operated by RV clubs for their members. Some good mail forwarding services include the Escapees RV Club mail service in Texas, the Good Sam RV Club mail service in Florida, Bee’s Mail Service in Nevada, Alternative Resources and My Home Address, both in South Dakota.
What are the best cellular telephone plans for fulltimers? Most fulltimers we know use either ATT or Verizon, and Verizon seems to be the most popular. Both have nationwide plans
What is boondocking? Is it the same as dry camping? This is another one that can start a debate around a campfire. Though some will disagree, for our purposes, we use the terms dry camping and boondocking interchangeably. Whenever we are parked overnight without hookups, be it in a roadside rest area, WalMart parking lot, a friend’s driveway, or a patch of desert far away from the nearest campground, we are boondocking.
How many solar panels do we need on our RV? It depends on how much you plan to dry camp. As few as none or as many as you can carry. We had five on our MCI bus conversion, for a total of 540 watts. We have just one small factory installed panel on our Winnebago Ultimate Advantage. Solar panels are only supplement to your power supply, not a replacement.
What roadside service plans are best for fulltime RVers? The two most popular plans are the Good Sam Club’s Emergency Road Service and Coach-Net, available as part of membership in the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) & Escapees. For Good Sam’s Emergency Road Service, contact Charles and Chris Yust at C&C Marketing and Insurance.
What RV clubs should we join? Good RV clubs include the Escapees RV Club, Good Sam Club, Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), Family Campers and RVers (FCRV), and SMART (for active duty, former. and retired military). The Escapees RV Club is the best of the best in our opinion.
Can I still get satellite TV when I’m on the road, including the local networks? Both Dish Network and DirecTV are available to fulltimers and offer local TV networks. DirecTV subscribers can submit an RV waiver, which will allow you to get distant network feeds (DNS) from either the east or west coast, or sometimes both. Currently, Dish customers can only get the local networks wherever they are.
Is there a bank that works best for fulltimers? Any of the nationwide banks, such as Bank of America, Chase, or Wells Fargo will have branches in several states where you can take care of routine transactions. With a debit card bearing either a Visa or Mastercard logo you can make purchases anywhere in the country, and access cash from ATMs nationwide.
How much cash should we carry with us? We seldom carry more than $200 in cash with us. If we need more we can always hit an ATM for cash, or get cash back at a grocery store, WalMart, post office, etc.
That’s about all I have room for today, but tomorrow I’ll continue this discussion and cover other frequent questions, including campground memberships, pros and cons of different types of RVs, RV holding tanks, dry camping, guns, and I’ll try to answer anything else you can come up with between now and then.
Meanwhile, if you have read and enjoyed the 9 Killer Thrillers anthology that I participated in a while back with eight other bestselling authors, you’ll be glad to know that the reception was so good that we’ve done it again! That’s right, 9 More Killer Thrillers is now available on Amazon, Nook, and other e-book venues, and just like our first compilation, you can get nine full length novels by the likes of Russell Blake, Melissa F. Miller, L.T. Ryan, John L. Betcher, Luke Romyn, Claude Bouchard, Michael Wallace, M.J. Rose and yours truly for just 99¢. You read it right, less than a buck for nine full length mysteries and thrillers. How can you go wrong with a deal like that? Get yours today!
Thought For The Day – An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her. – Agatha Christie