The decision to travel full-time is not only a lifestyle change but a change in mindset as well. To be honest, I still struggle with the idea of selling it all, though I have started to downsize. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a materialistic person, but everything! I’ll be sharing more on that later.
Adding to this is the emotional decision of purchasing or upgrading an RV, which can be as emotional as purchasing a new home. I find myself struggling with the decision of what is the best way to travel coach or 5th wheel.
A few years back it would have been a no-brainer, a coach all the way. The thought of getting out and cranking jacks, manually leveling it and having to jump in and out to match the height when hooking up was more than I was willing to deal with. Not to mention that up to a year or so ago the interior design of a 5th wheel was stuck in the 80’s.
But nowadays it’s a whole new ballgame; auto levelers, one-touch memory, interior designs to match any coach or home. Not to mention the options of; front living rooms, front or rear kitchens, fireplaces, big screen TV’s and so on.
I have seen more than a few beautiful coaches that have made me drool, but many of them cost as much as a house or more. I love the look of them and all the storage, but I hate losing the cockpit space, and to me, coaches feel a little like living in a box.
As I have gotten older my priorities have changed. I am not all about living in the moment. I tend to spend more time thinking about the future and life after retirement. These days I am all about living debt free, and going into debt for an RV is out of the question. Part of traveling full-time is traveling affordably so you can maintain the lifestyle and see all there is to see. I’m not sure how long my journey will be, maybe 2-4 years on the road. I know several RVers who have started out like that and have been on the road between 8 and 15 years. So I am keeping that open with the knowledge at some point I will want to establish some roots or base for my older years. So again I budget for my traveling, my retirement savings, and a future home.
At this point, I am budgeting for a fifth wheel and a 2-3-year-old truck (350 or 3500 series) or used coach and toad. When I sell it all, I plan on cash flowing my purchases to ensure I am traveling and later retiring debt free. Beyond the initial purchase price; the other key factors in my evaluation are on-going maintenance cost, how long I will be keeping the unit and the potential resale value.
Factors I’m evaluating are:
- Maintenance Cost
- Fuel Costs
- Potential resale value
- Possibility of using the rig as a spare room once I settle down, thus allowing me to budget for a smaller home
- Cost of a 5th wheel and truck vs. a coach and toad
- Currently traveling alone with my dog vs. possibly an additional person in the future (hey never know where love lies)
- Driving comfort
- Turning and parking ability and ease
- Living comfort
- Ability to work full-time comfortably
- Ability to set it up for boondocking
Today I am leaning towards the fifth wheel; I like the space, headroom, and division of areas. It feels more reminiscent of a small apartment vs. the boxy feeling of a coach. But everyone has their own preference.
The two I am leaning towards today are the Crossroads Rushmore/Washington RF39WA fifth wheel. It has a great full desk as a work area without taking away from the comfort of the unit. A work area is important to me as a Graphic Designer since I have a larger computer and dual monitors.
More to come..
But, I welcome your feedback and input as to what has worked best for you and why.