How To Go From Renting to Full-Time RVing with Kids

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Living in an RV with kids might sound daunting, but it’s actually a lot of fun and easier than you think. My husband, 7-year-old son, and I live in our RV full-time, and we absolutely love it. It’s our home on wheels, and we love having the freedom to go anywhere we want whenever we want to.

Family Renting an RV
Karen on an RV trip with her husband, son, nephew, and two nieces.

Why RV Living with Kids is Great

My family and I live a full-time RV lifestyle now, but we rented RVs for our road trips before that. After taking a family RV trip with my nieces and nephews, my husband and I knew that full-time RV living would be a great fit for us.

Of course, deciding if this lifestyle is right for you and your family is an extremely personal decision, but there are a few pros to RV living that I think benefit almost anyone, such as:

  • Family Togetherness
  • Exploration
  • Less Expensive than Traditional Home Ownership
  • Ability to Go Anywhere at Any Time
  • Fewer Expenses Overall
  • A Unique Perspective on Life

RV Living with Kids: Getting Your Feet Wet

Before you purchase an RV, it’s important to understand what goes into RV living. Renting an RV is a great way to help you get acclimated to the RV lifestyle and see if it’s truly the right fit for you. If you find that the lifestyle is a good fit for your family, that’s when it’s time to consider purchasing an RV.

Renting an RV

Renting is the first step on the road to living the RV lifestyle. In a very real sense, it’s a test drive for the rest of your life if you decide to move to full-time RV living. Renting makes it easy to understand how to live in an RV, and if that life is one in which you and your family will thrive.

Why You Should Rent Before Buying

Renting before buying gives you the experience you need to learn everything about how RVs work without the pressure of a monthly payment or the idea that you have to use it immediately and continuously because you paid for it.

Renting affords you a low-stress environment in which to learn how all of the systems in an RV works, how to use hookups, how to maneuver and park, and so much more. Most rental companies or private owners will even include a written outline of how the RV and its systems work. Perks of renting before buying include:

  • Less Stress
  • No Wasted Monthly Payments While you Learn the Ropes
  • Time to Get Acclimated to RV Living
  • Written Operations Guide to Follow
  • Tour Usually Provided by Rental Company/Private Owner
  • A Test Run of the RV Life
family in matching pajamas in RV
Karen & family pictured in a 2019 Jayco Redhawk RV rental.

How to Rent an RV

Renting an RV is a lot like renting a car, just on a larger scale. There are many RV rental websites out there, and you might even have an RV dealership or rental company nearby, depending on where you live. Some Peer-to-peer RV rental websites connecting renters to RV owners are:

Once you find a rental company or website, you’ll be ready to begin the rental process. This is a process that requires time, patience, and due diligence. However, the following questions can help you decide what your family needs and if it’s feasible for you. Things to consider when renting an RV include:

  • Price
  • Size
  • Type of RV
  • Maneuverability
  • Amenities
  • Driving Comfort
  • Setup and Breakdown Requirements
  • Sleeping Layout
  • Storage
  • Kitchen Setup

Purchasing an RV

Purchasing an RV is very similar to renting one. You’ll ask all the same questions you would when choosing a rental. Even after getting some experience under your belt with RV rental, you’ll want to consider all the things I just listed for RV rentals. You’ll also need to do a bit more homework concerning manufacturers, consumer ratings and reviews, and the like.

Some major points to think about when purchasing an RV are:

  • Manufacturer
  • Consumer Reviews/Ratings
  • Maintenance (Closely Related to Manufacturer and Consumer Reviews)
  • Type of RV
  • Floor Plans
  • Cost
  • Storage Requirements

One last thing to note about purchasing an RV is buying used. Just like cars, RVs depreciate. Also, like cars, RV amenities don’t drastically change from one year to the next. You can save a lot of money by buying an RV that is two or three years old. Even purchasing an RV that is one year old can save a significant amount of money.

We purchased our used RV on Facebook Marketplace, and we were able to save a ton of money by doing this.

RV floorplans for kids

RV Floorplans for RV Living with Kids

Another important factor to consider about RV living with kids is your RV’s floor plan. Although you’ll lose a little space and privacy with a full-time RV lifestyle, you can still choose RV floor plans that offer a modicum of both.

Many RV floorplans, especially in large, Class C motorhomes and travel trailers, have a bed in the back with extra sleeping in the front. This allows for more room to spread out for you and your children. In addition, some large RVs have pop-out sides for even more space.

Of course, your floor plan’s roominess is determined by the size of your RV and the price you can afford, but in general, doing research on floorplans can pay back big dividends when you’re on the road.

Consider these popular options for RV floorplans in helping you choose what’s right for you.

Some Closing Tips for RV Living with Kids

kids playing on ipads in an RV

Finally, I have some closing tips on RV Living with Kids. They can help make the transition to RV living easier or just make renting an RV less of a hassle.

  • Do Your Research – Know what you want/need before you visit a rental or sales company.
  • Know Your Pricing – Understand the current prices for RVs, so you don’t get oversold.
  • Choose the Right RV – Choose the right RV for your family’s size and needs.
  • Ask Lots of Questions – Whether renting or buying, ask all the questions you can think of. Never leave anything to chance.
  • Practice Patience – As excited as your family might be about RV living, there will be bumps on the road as you adjust.
  • Have Fun – Finally, have fun. You’re embarking on a new life that will literally take you wherever you want to go whenever you want to go there. Embrace it and all the joy it brings.

We are so happy that we took the plunge into full-time RV living. Our family loves it so much that we don’t see ourselves moving back into a house anytime soon.