Can you live comfortably in a recreational vehicle full time? Some people seem to think so.
Foster Huntington, a professional writer, advertised his own RV lifestyle with the Instagram account #vanlife, and coined the slogan “Home is Where You Park It” – which you will often see on the rear of an RV owned by people who live part-time or full-time in their RVs.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 2,667 RV Dealers making $25.9 billion in sales in 2017 (the most recent year for which figures are available), an increase of 81.5 percent from $14.2 billion in sales in 2012 with an increase of only 42 dealerships.
At those dealerships, you’ll find many kinds of RV to choose from. According to the census, 47 companies make them. The national center of RV manufacture is in Indiana, where most manufacturers are based, as well as most of the component manufacturers. Besides the RV companies, there are also 743 companies that make travel trailers and campers, also mostly based in Indiana.
Manufacturers range from Oasis Campervans, which will convert your minivan into a mini-RV for $8,500 all the way up to Marchi Mobile, whose eleMMent Palazzo Superior is priced at $3,000,000. In between, a typical travel trailer is liable to be $20,000, a fifth-wheel might be $40,000, and self-contained motor homes start at $100,000, according to the Camper Report website.
So, having bought an RV, where do you take it, and where do you park? An RV comes with all the comforts of home, but to use them you need not only a space large enough to hold your vehicle, but also the cables and hoses which provide your vehicle with electricity and water while it’s parked. Fortunately, there is a network of locations which provide parking room and also “hookups.”
In Benton County, there are several ways to enjoy RV life. If you don’t want to buy, rentals can be found from about $100 to $300 per night. Campgrounds around the county come with daily, weekly, and monthly rate packages.
Heading back to the Census, it says there are 11,791 RV Parks and Campgrounds around the country. You can also rent space at national parks, state parks, and RV spaces maintained by local governments. The National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers all maintain locations which have RV spaces.
You might not even have to pay for your parking space: Boondockers Welcome puts RVers in touch with homeowners. Harvest Hosts is a service that connects RV travelers with farms, wineries, and other businesses which allow RV parking.
All of which means that while RV living is usually a luxurious and fairly expensive existence, it can be managed on a very modest budget. It is practiced by well-to-do retirees who like to travel and by people trying to live off the grid.
By John M. Burt