Book Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV

In two years, I’m going to quit my job and live the full time RV life. I’ve started making serious plans, and am even trying to figure out whether I should by a motorhome or a trailer. I’m in full research mode! And I’m super excited about it. The problem is, I don’t really know where to start. Fortunately, one of my awesome Twitter friends (The 76K Project – you should totally check her out!) recommended A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV by Alyssa Padgett.

A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV

A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV is a great resource for anyone who is interested in the RV life. Although Alyssa’s overall tone is positive, and you can tell she loves the lifestyle, she doesn’t sugarcoat it. There are definitely a few downsides, and a lot of things that you need to consider before you hit the road. Luckily, she breaks it down into easily digestible segments – picking your rig (which I really need right now), things to know before you start, the transition to a full time RV lifestyle, and life on the road.

Picking the Right Rig

I feel like I’m ahead of the game for knowing this was the first step. My entire life right now is trying to decide what type of rig (apparently that’s the RV speak either a motorhome or a trailer – I’m acclimating!) I’ll need, and figuring out how much it will cost. It’s important to have a rough idea of that now so that I know how much I’ll need to budget or increase my income in these next two years.

Padgett’s advice makes a lot of sense. She doesn’t tell you what type of rig you should buy – instead she does a great overview of all the various options, listing the pros and cons of each one. This helped me a lot when I was brainstorming which type I should buy!

But she doesn’t stop there – she also discusses the pros and cons of buying used vs new, and goes into great detail about the various car towing options. She does an amazing job of covering every consideration that most people have when trying to decide what to buy.

The only piece missing from her fantastic overview is how each option would work with pets. That’s completely understandable though – most people aren’t trying to jam four cats and two dogs into an RV. That’s something I’ll have to research further on my own.

Know Before You Go

The next section in Padgett’s Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV is all about the things that you should know before you even get started. I highly recommend this chapter to anyone even considering the RV life – you may learn some things and decide it’s not for you (tank dumping? Nasty. And do you really want to deal with all the nonsense surrounding leveling? I didn’t even know that was a thing!).

Padgett talks about these uncomfortable aspects of living in an RV with poise and honesty. She doesn’t try to downplay the negatives, but she also makes it clear that, for her at least, the positives out way them. Besides, there are negatives to every type of living situation. It’s good to have an idea of what you are getting into before you decide to take the plunge.

The Transition to Full Time RV living

A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV helps set you up for success with life on the road. There are tons of practical and administrative items that need to be handled before you embark on such a lifestyle, and Padgett covers them all.

This section of the book covers mundane but incredibly important topics such as getting insurance, getting mail, setting up residency, and more. Yes, this real-life stuff can get a bit boring, but it’s paramount to successfully achieving the full time RV life goal. Did you think you could just pack up and go?

Life on the Road

The final section of Padgett’s amazing guide covers life on the road. This is an excellent section that gives you hints and tips for how to survive – you guessed it – life on the road. It takes you through some of the most important things that you will need to know once you become a full time RVer.

One of the biggest hurdles to starting a full time RV life is deciding where to park your rig. Padgett discusses the differences between trailer parks, RV parks, and campgrounds, with insight into the pros and cons of each. I didn’t even know they were different things! She also covers finding ways to park the rig for free, and has an entire chapter devoted to the benefits of various RV club memberships (some of which offer discounts on campsites!

For more research on how to do the full time RV thing, check out RV Education!

Outside of that, this section of A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV also covers the incredibly important topic of RV maintenance. Where do you stay if your home is in the shop? This is a very real consideration that you have to make if you are considering living life on the road.


The only thing that I wished Padgett would have covered that she didn’t is how to make money on the road. Obviously, how to guides about making money can be difficult, because what works for some doesn’t work for others, but I think a basic section about how her and her husband support themselves would have been helpful. Afterall, tons of people decide against a lifestyle like this because they don’t know how they would support themselves on the road. Maybe I’ll write a book on that once I figure out the magic formula!

To be fair, she did cover some of the costs associated with RV living in the section about transitioning into RV life. However, in my opinion knowing the cost is only half of the equation. Knowing how to cover those costs is also an important piece.

Rating – 4 out of 5 Stars

Overall, I’m going to give Alysa Padgett’s Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV 4 out of 5 stars. It was incredibly informative and went over a lot of things that I never even considered. It’s a great read for anyone who is interested in the RV life and who wants an insider’s opinion on what it is really like.

Unfortunately, I can’t give it a full 5 stars because, in my opinion, how to make money on the road is a huge piece for those of us who are not yet retired. I underrstqnd that there are tons of methods and everyone will need to find their own way, but including some of those options would have been nice.

Overall though, it was a very informative and engaging read, so if you’re at all interested in living life on the road, you should get your copy today.

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