Small Town Vs Big City RVing: Full Time – Which Is Better?
Choosing fulling time RVing is a big decision for people who welcome this lifestyle. Big City or Small-town full time RVing both have pros and cons, though ultimately it comes down to a person’s situation and lifestyle choices.
If you’re like me, you went camping and RVing with your family as a kid, weekend trips, and long summer vacations. You experienced lots of exciting adventures in different cities and peaceful times hiking, swimming, off-roading, and fishing. Living the full-time RV life is much like those experiences but from the comfort of your traveling home.
Possibly, you love the outdoors but need the ability to be close to the city for work or other personal reasons, or you love nature and work remotely, or you are retired and want to travel.
Knowing what your abilities are and your limits is a big part of making your decision to RV full time in the Big City or Small Town.
Some people decide to start full time RVing out of financial needs. Or a short-term contract in a highly inflated marketplace or a remote location. Full time RVing is a way to have a home or personal space without the inflated costs of renting a house or have a mortgage.
Here’s a list of the pros and cons of the Big City Vs the Small Town:
Big City Pros:
- You’re close to events (concerts, athletic events, comedy, shows)
- You have a variety of food choices
- Experience the nightlife
- Constant activities for you and the kids; amusement parks, zoos, water parks, and historical sites
- Comforts of multiple stores, groceries, automotive, and clothing, of mainstream America
- Nice campsites with some natural settings
- Children around for your kids to interact with
- Accessible medical facilities
- Good cell phone service
- Lots of options for repairing RV
- Great medical facilities nearby
Big City Cons:
- Lots of Traffic
- Long lines to contend with at entertainment events and getting food
- Cancelations of events
- The fast pace of the city
- Not pet friendly
- Higher crime rates
- Prices could be high depending on the city
Small Town Pros:
- An abundance of Nature, seeing wildlife in its natural element
- Many trails, hills, beaches, and natural places to explore
- Bigger campsites
- Fewer people
- Time to yourself for reflection and relaxing
- Quality time with family with fewer expenses
- Opportunity to meet the locals and learn about their culture
- Small unique experiences from restaurants, local coffee shops, and merchants
- Lifelong friendships you can come back to visit
- Local artists, musicians, and entertainment that is unique and inexpensive
Small Town Cons:
- Not a lot of interaction with other campers
- Lack of places with variety for eating and shopping needs
- No entertainment or events
- Minimal places for fuel and groceries
- Lack of options for RV mechanical needs
- Fewer activities for kids
- No children for your kids to interact with
- Feeling isolated and alone
- Lack of medical facilities
- Nuisance wildlife interactions (stilling garbage, making a mess of your campsite)
Is Full Time RVing Worth It For You?
A question many of us have to ask is… Am I cut out for this, is this RVing life for me?
Things to consider:
- Living a nomad lifestyle, being in solitude at times
- Moving every 7 to 14 days, or possibly negotiating long term stays
- Living as a minimalist (not that all RV living is complete minimalist, but you have to be willing to downsize at minimum ¾ of your belongings and either store the other items or sell them,)
- Giving up privacy, especially if you are RVing with family or friends, shutting the door does not stop you and them from hearing everything in the RV
- Understanding the costs of RV maintenance, knowing it is frequent and ongoing
- Are you handy and able to fix things yourself, or will you need to higher for your maintenance needs? (This is very costly and adds up quickly)
- Living on a budget that can realistically range from $2000 to $6000 a month, depending on lifestyle choices of staying in a campground or boondocking
- Do you need to supplement your income, and how will you do this?
- Winter RVing or will you be a snowbird in the southern states. If you plan to winter RV check out this great article on How to RV in the Winter.
- Handling setbacks, changes in plans, or schedules due to unforeseen situations (weather, construction, locked down locations)
- Booking locations far in advance
Many people sell off all their belongings to embrace the full time RV life only to find they’re not cut out for this lifestyle. They feel cramped and overwhelmed in the small space, tired of the moving, and continual changes due to unforeseen circumstances while traveling.
When you are vacationing in an RV you bring things you need on your trip and your other belongings are at home. When you full time RV you are living with what you have, and your other belongings are in storage or gone.
Why Do People Live In RVs Full Time?
Living full time in an RV for some is the idle nomad lifestyle. They can live in the comfort of their small home, travel the terrain, see the sights of mother nature, and maintain a simplistic life.
For others, RVing full time is about saving costs and having your own home without the inflated costs of renting or a mortgage. Allowing RVer’s the ability to work remotely and spend time with family or having the ability to travel at lower costs in the comfort of their home.
In some cases, RVing allowed people to stay in their cities or hometowns, by negotiating long-term extended stays, allowing them to work their full-time job while living at much lower costs than before.
Reasons to Full Time RV
- A minimalist lifestyle
- Lower costs of living (saving on rent or mortgage)
- Traveling around the states and the world
- Quality time with your family
- Less chaos and responsibility
- Spontaneity of being able to go wherever you want, whether that is big city RVing or small town RVing
- The ability to work remotely and with flexibility
- Less financial responsibilities (this can be argued if you are not a handy person and able to fix up minor issues with your RV)
- The freedom from a long-term mortgage payment
- The opportunity to meet different people, learn about other cultures, see and explore real historical landmarks
- Long term RV sites for a month at a time or extended stay campsites
A lot of full time RVer’s will tell you they wouldn’t change their lifestyle for the world, because of all the adventures, discoveries, and unforgettable experiences in their travels.
How Much Does It Cost To Live In An RV For A Year?
Many people ask how much it costs to RV full time. This is a great question, but it greatly depends on the type of RVing you choose to embrace.
On average campsites range from $25 to $90 a night depending on location, size, and connections.
The average mortgage in the United States is between $1275 and $2000 a month.
The average monthly cost for a monthly stay at an RV campsite ranges from $400 to $2000 a month.
Long-term stays (over 30 days) range from $375 to $1500. Most campgrounds require you call the location to negotiate a price and the amenities.
Take a look at the average median rates for a mortgage/rent, RVing, and long-term RV extended stays:
Type of living
Nightly (median rate)
Monthly (median rate)
Yearly (median rate)
RV short term stays
$1200 (mo. rate avg)
RV long term stays
On average you can expect to spend between $28,000 to upwards of $40,000 and higher full time RVing. This includes maintenance, entertainment, laundry, fuel, food, and other personal needs. Many full time RV’ers say you can live comfortably in this range.
Deciding to RV full time is not an easy decision and is not suited for everyone. Knowing your limits is a big part of making your decision.
If you are an RV enthusiast and love the lifestyle, your next move is figuring out your budget and creating your first plans. Consider splitting your time between Big City and Small-Town sites, to find what suits your lifestyle needs the best.