Stationary RV living means living in an RV or motorhome full-time, but instead of taking it on the road, you park it in one place for a month, a year, or forever. Living in a stationary RV full time is a little different from life on the road, so this guide will tell you everything you need to know.
- 1 Can You Live in a Stationary RV Year-Round?
- 2 What Type of RV Is Best for Full-time Living?
- 3 What States Allow Full-Time Stationary RV Living?
- 4 Can You Rent an RV for Full-time Living?
- 5 Is It Cheaper to Live in an RV Than a House?
- 6 What You Need to Prepare for Stationary RV Living
- 7 Stationary RV Living Tips for Beginners
- 8 Pros and Cons of Stationary RV Living
- 9 Is Stationary RV Living for You?
- 10 FAQs
Can You Live in a Stationary RV Year-Round?
You can live in a stationary RV year-round, and many people do. It’s a great happy medium between living in a traditional house or apartment and traveling full-time. But there are some special things to remember when contemplating life in a stationary RV.
What Type of RV Is Best for Full-time Living?
Stationary RVers have different requirements than RVers who frequently travel in their rigs. While they might want to keep their RV small and portable, bigger is better if you plan to keep yours parked most (or all) of the time.
Whether you’re living alone or with a family, most stationary RVers agree that you’ll appreciate the extra room to stretch out.
We recommend tow-behind RVs, specifically fifth-wheel towables, for full-time stationary living. They’re the biggest class of RVs available, so you’ll have plenty of space to live in. And since you’re not towing it anywhere, it doesn’t matter whether you have a huge hauling truck or a mini hybrid sedan.
We also suggest that you skip the motorhome for full-time stationary living. While a motorhome is super convenient if you want to pick up and go at a moment’s notice, it’s more of a hassle when you’re not on the road. You have to run the engine periodically to keep it from gunking up and even take it around the block occasionally.
Maintaining a motorhome is a needless chore and unnecessary expense when you could just get a towable RV, set it, and forget it.
What States Allow Full-Time Stationary RV Living?
It’s legal to live in an RV full-time in all 50 states.
However, most cities limit where you can camp in your RV. If you try to live on a public street for more than a night, you’re likely to run into trouble with the local authorities. But as long as you’re camping in a legal camping zone, you can live in your RV full-time.
The tricky part is finding a good, legal camping spot to call home long-term. Believe it or not, living in an RV on your own land is illegal in many areas.
So, where can you park your RV for stationary living? Your best bet is to find an RV resort, park, or campground.
Designated campgrounds and RV parks often offer monthly and even annual rates that are better than the per-night rate they charge tourists. Most also include access to a wide range of amenities, such as showers, Wi-Fi, laundry room, pool, hot tub, fitness room, and more, for no additional fee.
You’ll have to do some research to find the long-term RV park that’s right for you. There’s no convenient Airbnb-type platform to search for stationary RV parks and campgrounds.
An app like The Dyrt will help you locate campgrounds that meet certain criteria, but you’ll probably still have to call them directly to find out their long-term leasing rates.
Can You Rent an RV for Full-time Living?
If you’ve never lived long-term in an RV or other small space before, renting an RV for a short time is worthwhile to see whether the experience is right for you.
Many people rent out their RVs on sites like Airbnb and VRBO when they aren’t using them, so you can try it out for a few days or even a few weeks before you commit to the lifestyle full-time.
Renting an RV isn’t a very economical long-term option, though. If you want your RV living to be budget-friendly, your best bet is to buy a used RV and rent a designated spot in an RV resort or campground.
Each park’s weekly, monthly, and annual leasing rates will vary (and may be negotiable), so call around to find a price you like.
Some RV resort lots cost as little as $300 per month, while more popular resorts in certain luxury destinations could cost over $800 per month. Sometimes, you can get a larger lot or semi-private site if you’re willing to pay a little more for rent.
Just remember that if it turns out you don’t like the park you chose, you can always pick up and move again. That’s the freedom of RV living.
Is It Cheaper to Live in an RV Than a House?
Full-time RV living has the potential to save you a lot of money compared to owning or renting a home or apartment if you choose the right setup and make smart financial choices.
On the other hand, it’s possible to spend more money living in an RV than you would in a traditional home. It’s all about where you put down roots and what you do when you get there.
Your RV living expenses, in general, will include:
- RV payments
- Lot rental
There are ways to splurge and save in each of these areas when you’re living in a stationary RV. For example, if you buy a used RV and fix it yourself, your monthly payments will cost you little to nothing.
You can also choose an RV park or resort that gives discounts on long-term stays to save even more money.
To avoid overspending on utilities, you can choose a location in a moderate climate that never gets too hot or too cold and winterize your home with skirting to reduce heat loss when it’s cold.
Investing in solar will also cut your utility costs dramatically, though you’ll have to spend a little more upfront to get started.
Compare that to a brick-and-mortar residence, where you have all those same expenses but almost no way to control them. Your rent or mortgage, property taxes, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, heating, air conditioning, maintenance, etc., are all fixed expenses when you live in a house or apartment.
But when you live in an RV, you can always make choices that save you money. Smart RVers usually live on a much smaller budget than ordinary homeowners and apartment dwellers.
What You Need to Prepare for Stationary RV Living
The beauty of stationary RV living is that it doesn’t require much preparation. All you need to get started is an RV. There are, however, a few things that you can get to make your stationary RV lifestyle more enjoyable:
- Picnic table
- Camping chairs
- Outdoor grill
- Air fryer
- Instant pot
- Space-saving storage solutions
Anything that can help you conserve space, time, and energy is a great investment for the stationary RV life.
Stationary RV Living Tips for Beginners
- Sell the tow truck: Stationary RV living means you won’t be moving your rig around very often, if ever. So why would you pay huge monthly payments for a gas guzzler of a truck you may never even use to tow your RV? You can always rent one when it’s time to move.
- Check out the mail situation: Some RV parks accept mail for residents or have designated mailboxes for each site. Others offer no mail service, so you’ll have to use a forwarding service or post office box to receive mail.
- Make yourself at home: When you plan on keeping your RV stationary for a long time, you don’t have to be ready to pick up and move at a moment’s notice. If you’re able to get an annual lease, most parks will let you make improvements to your lot, such as building a deck or patio. You can treat your stationary RV like a traditional home.
Pros and Cons of Stationary RV Living
Stationary RV living is a dream-come-true for many people, but like any lifestyle, it has its ups and downs. Here are some pros and cons of living full-time in a stationary camper or RV.
- Stationary RV living is usually less expensive than traditional homes or apartments, so smart RVers can save money and live on less.
- You can move on whenever you want, whether because your lease is up, you don’t like your neighbors, or you’d rather live somewhere warmer. Stationary RV living still gives you the option to pick up and go.
- Many campgrounds give residents access to a wide range of amenities such as pools, laundry facilities, and activities included in your monthly lot rent. These fringe benefits are a huge perk to RV living.
- Space is tight, and there’s no getting around that. It’s easy to feel cooped up, especially if you’re living with a partner and/or children. You can minimize the discomfort by spending a lot of time outside, but you’re probably going to get antsy.
- Dangerous weather can be catastrophic when living in an RV. Make sure to take extra precautions when preparing for storms and other inclement weather. Secure outdoor furniture and appliances and take up your awning at the first sign of a storm.
Is Stationary RV Living for You?
Do you think you might enjoy stationary RV living? Ask yourself some of these questions:
- Do you like the idea of being able to pick up your home and take it somewhere else whenever you want?
- Do you prefer to spend as much of your time as possible outdoors?
- Do you live alone?
- If you live with a partner, are you comfortable with the idea of spending long periods in extremely close quarters with them?
- Are you ready to put down roots after years of life on the road but not ready to move into a traditional home or apartment?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, stationary RV living might be the right lifestyle for you.
Here are a few additional frequently asked questions about living full-time in a stationary RV.
Is full-time RV living illegal?
Yes, living full-time in an RV is legal, whether on the road or stationary. Many cities and townships have ordinances limiting where you can camp in your RV, but as long as you’re in a legal camping location such as an RV park or campground, it’s perfectly legal.
How do people make money while living in an RV?
People living in RVs make money in a lot of the same ways people living in traditional homes do. Stationary RVers often work in a traditional office, commuting to and from work daily as regular homeowners and apartment dwellers do.
But RV living offers added flexibility that traditional housing can’t beat. RVers are also often digital nomads who take their work with them on the road or seasonal workers who pack up and go where the work is available. Stationary RVers get the best of both worlds, with stability when they want it and freedom when they need it.
Can an RV be used as an office?
An RV can be used as an office. Most RV parks and resorts offer Wi-Fi included in lot rent, but the signal strength isn’t always the best. You may need to invest in a Wi-Fi signal booster or your mobile hotspot to make it work, especially if your work consumes a lot of bandwidth, but plenty of people work from their stationary RVs.
Can you rent an RV on AirBnB?
You can rent RVs on AirBnB to get a sense of what full-time RV life would be like. Some Airbnb hosts offer steep discounts on long-term stays, but most will require you to pay a nightly or weekly fee. The cost of renting an RV on AirBnB is usually much higher long-term than other camping solutions, but it can be a great way to test the waters before committing.
Where can you park your RV to live for free?
There are plenty of places to park your RV overnight for free, but if you plan on staying long-term, your options are more limited. Free dispersed camping is often available on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, but you’ll have to pull up stakes and relocate every couple of weeks. For long-term stationary RV living, your best bet is to rent or buy an RV lot.