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The Ultimate Guide to Part-Time RV Travel

Whether you’re sticking close to home or hitting the road for a grand adventure, here’s what you need to know before taking your rig out of storage.

As part-time RVers, my family has spent years exploring the U.S. in our travel trailer. We’ve played weekend warrior to explore locales close to home, taken advantage of school breaks to set off on weeklong getaways, and even spent months roadschooling and remote working from the road during the pandemic.

But while we love our time spent on the road, we also cherish having a home base to come back to between our journeys. It’s this desire to have the best of both worlds when it comes to maintaining a brick-and-mortar home and a tiny home on wheels that makes part-time RV travel so appealing to us, and the millions of other RV enthusiasts who take to the road whenever their schedules allow.

Whether you’re considering buying your first RV or already own a rig and are looking to make the most of it, here’s what you need to know about traveling part-time with a recreational vehicle.

Considerations for Part-Time RV Living

An RV is your second home, and just like your sticks-and-bricks residence, you’ll need to take care of logistics and set yourself up for success, both when you’re on the road and when you’re not. Here are a few things to consider.


Owning an RV comes with some obvious, and less obvious, expenses. When setting a budget for your rig, keep in mind additional costs, such as insurance, storage fees, and increased gas expenditures, in addition to establishing a savings account for potential maintenance. You’ll also need to budget for RV-specific purchases like hoses and wheel chocks, as well as any niceties you may want to help make your camping experience more enjoyable.


While it’s fun to think about all the time you’ll spend camping, you also need to consider where you’ll store your RV when not in use. If you own a home or land where it can be stored, you can save on storage fees and use your RV as extra living space or for guests. However, keep in mind that setting up an RV pad on your property will come with some up-front costs.

If you can’t store your rig on your property, you’ll need to look for RV storage. A quick online search will show you storage facilities in your area, and prices generally vary based on the size of your rig. Sometimes these facilities have a waiting list, so you’ll want to secure storage options before bringing home your RV. Keep in mind that you’ll likely need an RV cover, locks, and tire covers to properly store your rig, depending on the climate.


Just like any vehicle, insuring your RV is a must. If you’re purchasing from a dealership, it will often offer discounted rates through partner insurance companies. However, know that this is not your only option. Shop around for rates, including with your current car insurance company, and determine which plan works best for you.


Ongoing wear and tear will inevitably cause things to break. You can often do small repairs yourself with tips found online, or by watching YouTube tutorials. Larger repairs may require a trip to a service center or help from a mobile RV technician.

Whether you regularly use your rig or keep it in storage for long periods, you’ll also have some ongoing preventative maintenance to perform. Be sure to inspect your roof and seals regularly, check your batteries and propane tanks, examine tires, and test all safety equipment before any trip. You should also flush your tanks before putting your RV back into storage, and if you live in colder climates you’ll need to winterize before temperatures dip below the freezing mark.

What to Look for in a Rig

When looking to purchase a new (to you) RV, you’ll want to consider how many people you’ll be traveling with, how much time you’ll spend on the road, and how you plan to utilize your rig while traveling.

Party Size

Start by thinking about who you’ll bring along. When tallying up who’s in your party, plan for the number of people who will routinely be traveling with you, versus planning for scenarios where you might have a larger crowd.

If you’re a retired couple planning to travel as a twosome, but may occasionally bring grandchildren along, you should look for a couple’s unit with couches and sofas that can be converted to beds for extra sleeping space when you need it. Conversely, a large family will want to account for comfortable sleeping arrangements for every family member and will likely not want to convert furniture each night—think bunkhouses.

Time Spent on the Road

You’ll also need to consider how much time you’ll be spending on the road. Weekend warriors can easily pack up and get going with a smaller rig, whereas those looking to set off on farther-flung adventures may want to have more room to spread out on extended getaways. Things such as tank sizes and onboard generators also become more important as you think about taking longer vacations.

How You’ll Use Your Rig

Do you need space for remote work and schooling? Do you plan to use your RV only as a place to crash or will you have lots of indoor time? Do you want to travel with large toys, like ATVs, motocross bikes, etc.? Are you planning to park it somewhere, like a seasonal spot, where your RV will remain mostly stationary? Knowing how the space inside your rig will be utilized once you’re at your destination will also help determine what size and layout you need.

Still Can’t Decide?

When in doubt, it’s best to start small as you’ll find it easier to navigate and locate camping spots that accommodate a smaller rig. First-time RVers and those on a budget may also want to avoid getting a motorhome, which not only has a higher up-front cost, but also higher maintenance costs. Choosing a small, inexpensive towable is a convenient way to test the waters when RVing, and you can always upgrade in the future.