Living in a Travel Trailer: Ultimate Guide with Tips and Legal Requirements | Blackseries RV
require_once './phpcms/base.php';
REQUEST A QUOTE

Living in a Travel Trailer: Ultimate Guide with Tips and Legal Requirements

Published on Jun-13,2023 by BlackSeriesCamper

RV or travel trailer living is an amazing experience, but it’s not a lifestyle choice that suits everyone. 

If you’re thinking about taking the plunge but want to know more about it, this post is for you. It’s critical that you gather all the necessary information, in order to make an informed decision. Lucky for you, we’ve done the leg work for you. 

In this post, you’ll discover the legalities of a full-time RV lifestyle, explore the pros and cons, find some tips on how to be a successful full-time RVer, and much more. 

Can You Legally Live in a Travel Trailer?

1.jpg

In the United States, it is perfectly legal to live in a travel trailer or any other type of RV and there are thousands of Americans who have chosen to do just that. 

However, the answer to this question is not as simple as it first seems. A better question to ask is where is it legal to live in a travel trailer?

While there are no federal, state, or local laws that prohibit full-time travel trailer living, there are laws in place that will limit the whole experience. For example, there are regulations and laws relating to camping, sleeping in a vehicle, and parking overnight. Typically, these relate to specific locations. 

What are the Pros and Cons of Living Full-Time in a Travel Trailer?

3.jpg

More and more people are choosing to downsize and adopt a full-time RV life. Some of these people want to pursue a life of full-time adventure, traveling, and discovery. Some are looking for an inexpensive and more exciting alternative way of living. 

As with most lifestyle choices, there are pros and cons.   

What Are The Advantages of Living in an RV or Travel Trailer?

  • Mobility: With a travel trailer you get to enjoy the freedom of being on the road. You can go wherever you want, whenever you want and you’re not tied to one location. If you chose, you could enjoy a different view out of your RV window every night. Travel trailers are more mobile than other types of RV.

  • Travel with the Comforts of Home: Being able to enjoy all the comforts of home is another really wonderful aspect of travel trailer living. However, becoming full-time RVers does require some downsizing and adopting a minimalist philosophy.  

  • Flexibility: Travel trailer living is a very flexible way to live life. You get to change your home base and location as often as you choose. Spend your summers by the beach and the winters in the mountains, it’s entirely up to you. It’s not just the flexibility of location either. You can also enjoy more financial freedom because your expenses are lower. A more minimalist lifestyle also means you can concentrate on what you really want to be doing.  

  • Cheaper Lifestyle & Cost Savings: Compared with living in a traditional house, RV living is more affordable. You don’t have the burden of paying a mortgage, rent, or utilities. However, it’s not all about saving money. You will have to put money aside for fuel and campgrounds. 

  • Closer to Nature: Life in a travel trailer allows you to be more in tune with the world around you. It is another common reason why people choose this lifestyle. You don’t have to get in the car and drive miles to enjoy the scenery, wildlife, or the weather. It’s all right there on your doorstep. 

  • Quality Time: If you’re RVing with a partner, pets, or family, you’re going to be spending a lot of time together. In most cases, this will be 24/7. It’s not necessarily a bad thing because the time you spend together tends to be quality time. It’s also a great opportunity to try new things together, explore, bond, and make the most of being together. 

  • Eco-Friendly Lifestyle: If you’re concerned about the planet and the impact you have on it, RVing can be more eco-friendly than living in a traditional house. You’ll find yourself using more reusable items because storage space is limited. For wild camping, you can invest in solar and create your own power. You might also find yourself exploring ways to conserve water in order to stay off-grid for longer. Trash disposal also tends to be limited so you’ll also embrace a more zero-waste way of living. 

  • Minimalism: Choose to live in a travel trailer and you’ll get the opportunity to simplify your life. There are challenges, such as downsizing, but the skill of minimalism, once learned, stands you in good stead for the future. 

  • Adventure and Experiences: One of the best upsides of travel trailer living is that it allows you to explore new places and enjoy lots of opportunities for full-time adventure. 

  • Freedom: The final benefit is the freedom being an RVer brings. You can live on your terms and be more self-sufficient. It also frees you from many of the chains of modern-day living such as a mortgage, a house, and many other things that tie you down. 

One final benefit that’s worth mentioning is that you can take your furry friend with you wherever you go on your travels. For many RVers, this is the primary reason for living life on the road. They don’t have to leave their best buddy behind when they travel.  

What Are The Challenges of Living in an RV or Travel Trailer?

So, after looking on the bright side, let’s explore some of the challenges of life in a travel trailer. 

  • Lack of Space: A distinct lack of space is something that takes a great deal of getting used to. Such cramped living conditions don’t suit everyone. You’re also using the small space for lots of different things such as cooking and getting dressed. There’s also the challenge of navigating a tiny bathroom. It does take some adjusting to, but in time you do learn how to live with such a small space. 

  • Limited Storage: Storage space tends to be very limited in an RV, and even more so in a travel trailer. There are some belongings you’ll need to get rid of and also get creative with your storage solutions. You may have to downsize cookware and kitchen items and also consider vertical storage. To make the most of the limited storage space, you have to weigh up what is vital with what you can do without. 

  • Weather: the weather doesn’t have that much of an impact when you live in a physical house. In a travel trailer, however, unpredictable weather including thunderstorms, wind, and snowstorms can have a massive impact on your daily life. There are also winter preparations that can’t be forgotten or you’ll end up with frozen pipes and water tanks. Propane tanks used for heating might also stop working.  

  • Temperature Fluctuations: RVs tend not to be built with much insulation because they’re not really designed for everyday life. Internal temperatures can fluctuate massively and quickly. Hot and humid environments leave you fighting mold, mildew, and heat. Cold climates, on the other hand, mean you’re struggling to keep warm. However, on the flip side, you always have the option of getting behind the wheel and driving somewhere the weather is more pleasant. 

  • RV Maintenance: A travel trailer is a home on wheels and as such it’s built using lightweight materials for ease of traveling and maneuverability. Such flimsy construction requires regular maintenance and fixing. If you don’t have a regular maintenance schedule, repairs can be costly and time-consuming. To help keep the cost down, you might benefit from learning some basic DIY maintenance skills. 

  • RV Depreciation: Another key downside of full-time RV living is depreciation. This type of vehicle is very expensive to buy but they lose value over time which can be frustrating if you decide to sell it. Consider your travel trailer as your home rather than an investment, and you should feel better about it. 

  • Travel Days: Traveling in between park-ups can be stressful. Why? You’ve got to tear down your campsite which takes time. Tanks must be dumped appropriately. There’s the issue of locating accessible gas stations. Route planning can be challenging, especially if you’re in a larger RV. Driving an RV or travel trailer is an intense experience, even when you’re used to it.  

  • Changing Routines: Travel trailer living makes it hard to find and stick with a routine. If you work on the road, it’s even more challenging. 

  • Noise & Privacy Issues: Travel trailers are much smaller than a traditional home and as such they’re less private and noisier. There is no insulation either which means noises from outside are easy to get in. It can take time for people who are used to their own space to learn to live together. 

  • Internet Access: If you need the internet for work or to stay connected, it can be an issue, although not as mad as it was in previous years. Nowadays, an internet connection only requires some planning and the right equipment. Options for full-time RVers to stay connected include unlimited mobile data plans, multiple carrier hotspots, a satellite internet plan, or a cell or wifi booster. 

What Are Some Essential Items to Have in a Travel Trailer for Everyday Living?

There are lots of things full-time RVers can do without if you decide to adopt RV living, however, there are also some essentials that will make full-time RV living bearable and safer. 

Here is a list of some items you should consider:

  • Spare parts for your travel trailer

  • Tools

  • Spare tires

  • Maintenance products

  • Batteries

  • Fresh water and food

  • Water and sewer hoses

  • Shore power cables and adapters

  • Pedestal surge protectors

  • Jack pads and wheel chocks

  • Maps and apps

  • All-weather clothing

  • Dishes and cookware

  • Comfortable bedding and linens

  • Water pressure regulator

  • Camping memberships

  • Emergency supplies

  • Vehicle insurance

  • Medical insurance

  • Internet access

  • Medical records

  • Domicile and mail service

Things to Keep in Mind if You Live in a Travel Trailer?

9.jpg

There are many things to keep in mind if you want to live in a travel trailer. Here is a list of some of the most important things to think about:

  • Before you purchase your travel trailer, think about its layout and whether it will suit your lifestyle and special needs. Layout matters far more than size and big is not necessarily better.

  • Protection for your travel trailer

  • Some sort of reliable power solution such as solar power or a portable generator

  • The size of your black water/septic tank

  • The size of your gray water tank

  • The size of your fresh water tank

  • How you’re going to cook your meals and what you’re going to cook

  • Pare down your cookware and dishware to the essentials

  • Some sort of food storage space is essential

  • Learn how to keep super tidy

  • You’ll need to pick over your wardrobe and you might need to be more creative

  • Buy a quality mattress because a good night’s sleep is essential

  • Winterize your trailer

  • Keep your trailer clean

How Do You Deal With Issues Such as Limited Water and Electricity Supply While Living in a Travel Trailer?

Limited water and energy is something you’ll likely have to deal with, especially if you spend most of your time off the beaten track. Camping without any hookups is usually called dry camping and sometimes boondocking. Here are some quick tips that might help if you’re dry camping.

  • Turn off the water when you’re cleaning dishes, shaving, or brushing your teeth

  • A solar shower is a great option that uses less water and zero electricity

  • Take shorter showers

  • Think about using a dry shampoo

  • Pair up in the shower

  • Avoid flushing whenever possible

  • Turn off all appliances and lights when not in use

  • Only turn on one light at a time

  • Use battery rather than your trailer lights

  • Put appliances in gas mode if this is an option

  • Use solar power

  • Consider switching to LED light bulbs

  • Stock up on propane 

Safety Considerations to Keep in Mind When Living in a Travel Trailer?

7-min.jpg

If the news is anything to go by, you might be wondering whether it’s safe to live in a trailer. Personal safety is something you should think about and making a plan for your personal safety could make the difference between a good time and a bad one. Here are a few quick and easy tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and be alert to what is happening around you

  • Always lock your travel trailer when you leave it

  • Use window locks

  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight

  • Know the basics of CPR and first aid

  • Know some self-defense tactics

  • Be prepared for the weather to change

  • Plan ahead by researching an area and having an escape plan

  • Use a satellite communication device if possible

  • Have a source of clean water

  • Have an emergency food stash such as dry goods, canned fish, or meats

What Are The Legal Requirements and Regulations For Living in a Travel Trailer in Different Areas?

There are no national zoning laws for full-time RVers, however, many cities across the US are now regulating this lifestyle choice. 

Legislation is being created that dictates where you can park your travel trailer and for how long you can park. Even if you’re parking on your own property, the regulations are diverse and depend on many different factors. These factors are dictated by the city, county, and state of residence.

It’s important to know at least the basics about motorhome and travel trailer zoning laws. That being said, they do vary across the country. They can also change over time depending on a community's changing needs. 

Zoning laws vary and the consequences of violating them can also vary as well. A violation might result in you being asked to move your trailer, or it could lead to large fines, civil penalties, or even criminal proceedings and imprisonment. 

If you’re planning to spend more than one night somewhere, it’s always best to do your homework. Find the local county or city zoning department and ask what you’re allowed to do. 

Is Living in a Travel Trailer Cheaper Than Living in a House?

10-min.jpg

Yes, it is possible for travel trailer living to be cheaper than living in a house. This is because RVs require less space and utility usage. The costs for maintenance, cooling, and heating also tend to be lower than a traditional house. 

In addition, full-time RV living also encourages a simpler RV life and more minimalist lifestyle which can also mean fewer expenses. 

Where is The Cheapest Place to Live in a Travel Trailer?

A great way to save money when you’re full-time RVers is to look for free or cheap campsites.

There are thousands of free campsites managed by the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). You’re also likely to find free campsites near many state and national parks and other popular tourist locations. 

It’s also possible to take out membership to RV programs such as Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome, and Thousand Trails. There is huge potential to save thousands of dollars if you learn how to use these programs to their full potential. 

When it comes down to specifics, there’s one particularly budget-friendly place you could live in your RV. Quartzsite, Arizona has plenty of full hook-up sites, some of which cost less than $300 per month during the off-season. Even during the busy seasons of January and February, monthly spots cost less than $500.   

How to Find Suitable Places to Park My Travel Trailer For Long-Term Living?

14-min.jpg

You have several options if you want to park your travel trailer long-term. They include places such as private RV parks, membership park, and some mobile home parks. 

Simply call to find out whether a particular RV park offers long-term spots. Another option is to park on private land. It might be your own, a friend's, or a family member's piece of land. A big consideration with this option is that you can get water and electricity and dump your water waste safely. In addition, you’ll also have to make sure the city allows RVs to park on the land. 

What are the Costs Associated With Living in a Travel Trailer?

The monthly costs associated with travel trailer living vary considerably, depending on the type of trailer and your RV lifestyle. Monthly expenses are likely to include maintenance, repairs, electricity, gas, food, insurance, health insurance, phone and internet plan, and entertainment.

What is a good budget for FULL-TIME RV living?

In terms of an average figure, you could enjoy a pleasant enough RV life for around $1,000 per month. However, depending on your needs, the cost of living in an RV could be as high as $5,000 per month. 

How to Live in Your Travel Trailer During the Winter?

12-min.jpg

If you’re planning to live in your travel trailer during the winter, there are some essential tips we’d like to share.

  • Winterize your RV camper

  • Get the right heater

  • Insulate your travel trailer properly

  • Prepare your tanks and pipes to prevent freezing

  • Check your tires 

  • Pack the right gear

  • Make sure the windows are properly insulated

  • Check campground schedules because many close during the winter

  • Drive carefully

  • Head south for the warmer weather

How to Choose the Right Travel Trailer for Full-Time Living?

4-min.jpg

If you’re sold on the idea of RV living, it’s time to think about purchasing a travel trailer. What are the things you should be looking for? Here are some factors you should consider:

Size and Layout

Size and layout are the two most important. If it’s just going to be you and a partner enjoying your RV full-time, you’re probably thinking a two or three-sleeper will be big enough. However, if you’re living in the travel trailer full-time, consider whether a slightly bigger one will be better because you’ll have more room for storing clothes, food, and other things. The best size is one that you can grow into over time. 

In terms of layout, consider different floor plan configurations. Floor plans can differ significantly and will influence how comfortable, useful, and big the interior feels. 

Quality and Durability

If you want to enjoy nature to the max, but also enjoy a touch of luxury, quality, and durability are crucial factors to consider. 

Blackseries has an excellent range of travel trailers that have been built with premium furnishings and European appliances in the interior. They are built for outdoor adventures and come loaded with all the features you might need.

Weight and Towing Capacity

The weight of your travel trailer is important if you’re thinking about buying a towable travel trailer. 

Travel trailers tend to range between 1,200 and 9,000 pounds in weight. However, the average is around 4,000 pounds which means you’ll need a full-size pickup truck to tow one safely. 

Storage Capacity

In terms of storage capacity, think about what you want to take with you when you head out on the road. If you’re going to be working while traveling, it means more storage space will be needed. The same applies if you’re RVing as a family. 

When thinking about storage capacity, consider sleeping areas, working areas, general storage, and external storage space. 

Amenities and Features

If you’re thinking about becoming full-time RVers, you’ve probably got a desire to break with convention and normal routines. However, you’re still going to want some comforts of home. You’ll need to make food for yourself, shower, keep your food safe, and possibly even watch a movie or two. 

Choose an RV that gots an adequate number of amenities, as long as it doesn’t feel too cluttered. 

Insulation and Climate Control

Travel trailers are not very well insulated which means you’re going to feel the full force of different weather conditions, particularly changing temperatures. If you want to keep the travel trailer’s internal temperature constant, insulation, and climate control are essential features. 

Water, Sewage, and Power Systems

Your RV lifestyle is going to be dictated by the size of your fresh, gray, and black tanks. If you’re planning to spend most of your time boondocking and at public campgrounds, look for a travel trailer with larger tanks. If you’re mainly going to be staying at a full hook-up RV park, a tank size is not so crucial. 

You’re going to need some appliances if you want to be comfortable, so how you’re going to power them is a big consideration. Solar power is the most obvious solution because then you’re not tied to one particular park up. 

Mobility and Versatility

Think about how you intend to use your travel trailer because mobility matters a lot when you’re looking for a permanent RV home. If you’re planning to move from place to place every couple of weeks, a large RV isn’t the best way to go. Your choice of travel trailer should be based on how mobile and versatile you want to be. 

Affordability and Budget

You can live in a travel trailer very luxuriously or on a tight budget, depending on what you’re looking for from the experience.

Some of the major expenses include fuel, campsite fees, maintenance, repairs, mobile phones, wifi, and groceries. There’s also the actual cost of your travel trailer to take into account. 

Personal Preferences and Lifestyle

The final factors to consider are your RV lifestyle and preferences. These will both influence the type of travel trailer you purchase. For example, are you planning to head off road at any time? You’ll need a travel trailer that’s rugged and durable. 

Conclusion

Travel trailer or RV full-time living has lots of benefits, but whether it’s right for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. You’ve got the cost-effectiveness, flexibility, and mobility working in its favor. But you’ve got to balance that with the lack of space and the inconveniences of living in a home on wheels. 

FAQs

Is it worth It to Live in a travel trailer?

The full-time RV lifestyle is definitely worth considering, financially. You have less space which means you’re not spending money on clothes, toys, and much more. You’re also saving on utilities and you’ve not got a massive mortgage to pay. 

How long can you live permanently in a travel trailer?

Generally, it’s perfectly legal to live in an RV full-time for as long as you like, provided you’re not parked in one spot for more than a few weeks at a time. In some states, it’s possible to live in a travel trailer for up to six months in one location. However, some states have much stricter laws. 



Related Articles

Address
19501 E. Walnut Dr South City of Industry,CA 91748 USA
Email
info@blackseries.net
Phone
(833)822-6737

Stay informed

facebook twitter youtube instagram pinterest

TOP