Retire to the RV lifestyle

Retire to the RV lifestyle

By Carrie Dunlea

Individuals who are approaching retirement or those who already have said goodbye to the working world may find they are ready to make some life changes. Travel is something many older adults enjoy when they have much more free time to see the sights.

Recreational vehicles are great ways for couples to get out and travel on the open road. An RV is more than just a way to get around; for many people it becomes a lifestyle.

RV enthusiasts John and Kathy Kanelis say they were smitten years ago with the idea of being able to travel with an RV, so when they retired, they bought a 29-foot fifth wheel trailer.

“We could take it anywhere, within reason,” John said. “To the beach, the mountains, to a lake. It gave us a wide range of travel and scenic options to explore and enjoy.”

According to the RV Industry Association, about 10 million American households own RVs. 

There have been more RVs on the road in recent years, and there are now more facilities to accommodate them. RVIA says there are now roughly 18,000 campgrounds around the country, and certain facilities are pushing to improve and upgrade campgrounds in national parks and on federal lands.

Individuals considering if the RV lifestyle is for them can refer to this list of RVing benefits.

• Inexpensive travel (or living): RVers may be attracted by the idea of low-cost travel that doesn’t involve hotels and airfare and greatly reduces their reliance on restaurants while traveling. 

John and Kathy said they don’t cook expensive meals while camping. “We eat cheaply and simply while we travel,” John said. “Nor do we necessarily have to camp at an RV park with a lot of features that require additional spending. A scenic hiking trail is good enough for us.”

If you don’t own an RV, they can be rented for roughly $100 to $500 per day, and RV parks usually run between $35 and $50 per night, according to Allianz Travel Insurance. To keep the costs down even more, certain truck stops, big box retailers, churches, hotels, movie theaters, casinos, rest stops and other roadside locations will allow free overnight parking. Just verify before staying to avoid being ticketed.

• Freedom to come and go: When traveling in an RV, there are no set check-in-/check-out times to follow or boarding times to meet. RV travel can be strictly on your schedule. John says he and his wife have a wide range of interests. 

“We travel to wherever our spirit moves us in the moment,” he said.

• Plenty of help: Others who have embraced the RV lifestyle tend to be very friendly and ready to make new acquaintances at campgrounds and other stops. Those with more experience may be willing to share their expertise and pitch in to offer tips for better excursions.

• Creature comforts: Kathy said all she wants is a comfortable bed and a bathroom while John prefers to find somewhere that has internet with Wi-Fi access. 

“I write a blog and it helps me stay connected,” he said. The couple, much like other people who RV frequently, tend to keep familiar items and essentials on hand such preferred linens, clothing, toiletries, books, games, and more. When taking such items along, there’s no need to pack and unpack much for any trip. 

• Follow the weather: If desired, RVers can pick up and follow the jet stream. If 70-degree days are your thing, then follow those temperatures coast-to-coast. If you like skiing or snowboarding, you can head to colder climates.

• Downsize: The RVIA says that RVs are available across a wide range of price points. So, if the idea is to trade in a stationary house for an RV, you may be able to do so for as little as $6,000 to as much as $500,000.

The RV lifestyle may attract soon-to-be retirees. There are various advantages to getting on board.

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