No privacy, no WiFi: Why RV retirement might not be for you


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Have you seen those people who are out there living the RV dream, completely hooked? Give them a house that doesn’t move, and they’d be pacing the floor, longing for the open road. With many folks considering RV travel for the first time this summer, visions of perfect drive-through destinations and epic family National Park road trips may be dancing in your head.

But hold onto your hubcaps! If you’re imagining RV life as a constant reel of Instagram-perfect scenes, you might find yourself at a dead end of frustration and disappointment. Sometimes understanding the downsides beforehand sets you up for a smoother ride.

So before you buckle up hit the road, there are some things you should know. Here are 14 reasons you might just end up hating RV life. It’s not all scenic overlooks and s’mores by the campfire, but knowing the twists and turns can make all the difference!

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1. Becoming a minimalist

If you think an RV is just a house on wheels, think again! Even the swankiest RV is like the studio apartment of the vehicular world. And here’s the kicker: the cooler your RV looks on online, the less storage it’s likely to have. It’s like the universe’s way of saying, “Hey, want to look cool? You’ve got to make sacrifices.”

Need that cozy sweater for a chilly beach evening? Good luck. It’s probably buried behind a mound of clothes in what RV designers optimistically call a “closet.” Craving baked beans and need a pot? Be ready to unpack your entire “pantry” first.

RV life is minimalism on steroids. Heading out for a summer adventure? Pack like you’re only allowed a carry-on. And if you’re thinking of going full-time RV, get ready to Marie Kondo your life like never before. Because clutter in an RV doesn’t just mess up your space; it messes with your vibe, man.

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2. Shower situation

Oh, showers. The unsung heroes of everyday life, right? Now, picture your RV shower as more of a multi-purpose nook than an actual shower. Yep, it’s a storage closet, a cat litter safeguard, and sometimes, yes, a place to get clean. The joy of moving cat litter before showering is a sequence even Hollywood couldn’t script.

Let’s not forget, RV showers are petite, like a phone booth, but for showering. Quick rinse-offs are the name of the game here, no singing ballads with your shampoo bottle as a mic.

But hey, maybe you can swing it? Embrace the opportunity to skip daily showers and soak up that earthy, campfire scent. It might be just the “perfume” you need for adventurous living. And let’s be real, you’ll never appreciate your home shower more than after a stint in an RV!

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3. No privacy

A whole month on a lake out in the wilderness sounds like a dream, right? Your set up might resemble living in a postcard, but there’s something else to consider when spending so much time in one place— your RV park neighbor.

Ah, RV park neighbors, the potluck of personalities you never signed up for. Imagine, you escape to the great outdoors for some peace and tranquility, and who do you find parked next to you? Bob, the self-proclaimed “King of Barbecue,” who insists on sharing his life story and a questionable plate of ribs every time you step out for fresh air. And let’s not forget Karen, the “RV Park Monitor,” who seems to have a PhD in ‘How to Annoy People’—she’ll let you know you’re parked three inches too close to the petunias she claims to “emotionally connect” with.

RV parks are like little neighborhoods. You’re just a few feet away from your neighbors, for better or worse. Sure, some folks can be lovely — sharing campground tips or even a s’more. But then there are the less savory characters, like Mr. “I’ve never heard of a sewer hose, apparently.”

But hey, every cloud has a silver lining. You might come home with some good friends or hilarious stories. Though you’d happily skip a rerun of the leaky sewer hose saga.

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4. RV park availability

Hopefully you like playing games, because RV park availability is a lot like musical chairs. They’re opening, they’re closing, they’re playing hard to get just like those swanky hotels and trendy restaurants you’ve been missing.

You think you’re gonna map out the perfect day’s drive? Good luck! Got plans to swing into a sweet government-run campground? Double-check they’re taking reservations. And listen, crashing in a Walmart parking lot loses its quirky charm after the first couple of times, trust us. If you’ve got a low tolerance for the “Oops, didn’t see that coming” moments, the RV lifestyle might have you sweating in places you didn’t know could sweat.

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5. Wifi? What wifi?

WiFi — also known as the unicorn of RV parks. When they claim to have WiFi, brace yourself for a plot twist: it’s either nonexistent or moves at a pace slower than a snail doing the cha-cha.

Keeping your kids entertained or staying connected to the outside world? Well, better have a backup plan. If you’re one of those modern nomads working from your rotating home, be ready to splurge on a solid internet setup.

Seriously, our phones and all that techie gear are like our kids; high-maintenance and expensive. And if you’re not an IT wizard, get ready to fork over some serious dough to solve your connectivity conundrum.

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6. You’ve (not) got mail

Thinking about going full-time in your RV? Buckle up, because the mail situation is like a plot from a daytime soap opera. You might call New York home but have mail arriving in Texas. Sound confusing? That’s because it is. Having two address can complicate many things — Don’t even get us started on applying for a car loan.

And let’s talk about the Bermuda Triangle of package delivery. Mail and packages go MIA more than you’d think. Those reading glasses you ordered months ago? Just accept that they have become a permanent installation in an Arizona post office.

Love online shopping? Be prepared to not know if your new stuff is coming via USPS, UPS, or FedEx. And guess what? Not all of those play nice with general delivery or RV parks. Translation: if you get a high from hearing a doorbell ring followed by a package arrival, RV life might just break your heart.

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

7. Catching creatures (& diseases)

So you’re dreaming of getting up close and personal with Mother Nature in your RV, huh? Just remember, she’s got some cranky relatives you might not be keen on meeting. We’re talking annoying plants, creepy crawlies, and even diseases that sound like they belong in a medical drama. From West Nile, Valley Fever, and a fabulous thing called juniper rash, the opportunities to catch something uninviting are endless.

RV life’s great for becoming a geographical know-it-all, seeing the nitty-gritty of different places. But a little PSA: Do your homework. Learn the local “What Not to Touch” and “How to Avoid Nasty Surprises” so you can keep the love affair with your RV going strong. You don’t want to be on a first-name basis with the local ER staff, do you?

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8. Rolling (literally) all the time

Hey, guess what? When your RV rolls, so does everything inside it—and not always in the direction you’d expect! This includes keepsakes and sentimental trinkets (RIP, Grandma’s vintage vase). So, here’s a pro tip: “Momentum is the enemy.”

You better believe those cupboards need to be packed tighter than a contestant on a reality TV show. Cushion the heck out of them to make sure nothing gets a running start. And as for driving, take it easy! Think of yourself as a chauffeur for your fragile passengers.

Oh, and don’t get sucked into those oh-so-pretty Pinterest photos showing open cabinets and dainty glassware sitting casually on countertops. Trust me, either those RV bloggers are playing pretend, or they’ve got a graveyard of broken belongings they’re not showing off.

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9. A plethora of coffee mugs

Ah, but here’s the silver lining in that cloud of shattered china: You’ll never run out of coffee mugs. No joke! Once you hit the road in that RV, it’s like you’ve sent out a universal signal that says, “Hey, I collect kitschy coffee mugs now!” Everyone you know—your mom, your second cousin, your yoga instructor—will suddenly decide that a mug with a cute camping slogan or a doodle of a bonfire is the perfect gift for you. So don’t worry about your coffee mug casualties; your backup mugs are already on their way!

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10. RV ABC’s

Strap in, friend! You’re about to become the RV expert among your circle of friends, whether you like it or not. See, in the collective mind of the general public, there are only two RV types: the iconic Airstream and the classic Class C motorhome. You know, the one that pops into everyone’s head when they hear “RV”? Yep, that’s a Class C.

Prepare for the onslaught of tags and mentions on those swanky videos showcasing million-dollar RVs. “Wow, your life must be so cool,” they’ll say. And you know what? They’re not wrong. Because if you’re traversing this great land in an RV, your life is pretty darn cool, no matter what wheels you’re rolling on!

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11. Black water (ew)

Ah, RV life: the open road, beautiful landscapes, and… handling poop. Yup, you heard right. Imagine having a pet, but instead of a cute furball, it’s a bathroom on wheels. Those tanks aren’t going to empty themselves, and spoiler alert: the hoses you need to handle aren’t ones you’ll want to shake hands with. Let’s just say it’s the dirty little secret of RVing that nobody likes to talk about. You might get used to it, but it’ll never make your list of “Top 10 Favorite RV Activities.” So if you’re squeamish about that sort of hands-on maintenance, buckle up, Buttercup, ’cause it’s just part of the ride.

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12. Mechanical repairs & problems

Your RV isn’t just your cozy home-on-wheels, it’s a full-fledged vehicle, with an engine, tires, and plenty of things that can, and eventually will, go kaput. Oh, and did we mention this might happen miles away from the nearest auto shop? Fun, right?

If you’re dreaming of an always-smooth journey, you might need a reality check. Even brand-spanking-new RVs have their quirks and will require some mechanical TLC. So you better know the difference between a converter and an inverter (nope, they’re not the same). You’ll also need to check tire pressures, and maybe even learn how to hitch up a trailer if that’s your RV style.

In short, if you dread anything that involves tools and tinkering, brace yourself. RV life might just be one long, winding road of mechanical adventures you never asked for.

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13. Road etiquette

Ah, the open road! A place of freedom, adventure, and… driving lessons you never asked for. Pro tip: Sunday mornings are golden for breezing through city traffic. And heads up — there are some places you just should never drive an RV. Steer clear of El Paso, Texas and Salt Lake City unless you want to feel like a pinball on asphalt. Hey, maybe you’re game for that kind of chaos!

RVing, whether it’s a weekend jaunt or a year-long expedition, also means you’ve gotta master the art of road diplomacy. Expect to meet Mr. Road Rage and Ms. Impatient at every turn. You’ll feel nudged into making risky moves or hurried decisions. Resist the urge! Your moving house isn’t exactly nimble, you know. Keep your cool, smile, and wave at the haters. You’re in this for the long, enjoyable haul, at a pace that suits you. So drive like it!

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14. Financial investment

Dreaming of rolling into retirement with a life on wheels or maybe ditching that sky-high rent for some picturesque #VanLife? Hold on there, partner! While RV life might look like a budget-friendly escape route, it’s not all scenic overlooks and zero-dollar rent. Those online RV bloggers might be glamping at new spots nightly, but their wallets are on a different kind of adventure.

But hey, who said you can’t be savvy and scenic? Here’s the lowdown on hanging onto your bucks while enjoying the open road:

  • Take it slow, seriously. Think of each spot as your extended staycation. Park that RV for a month or more, and not only do you save on gas, but RV parks often offer a reduced monthly rate. It’s win-win!
  • Plastic can be fantastic. No, not for filling your gas tank! Use rewards credit cards for literally everything. You’d be surprised how many travel credit cards include RV parks as “travel” and give you points or cash back for it. The same goes for gas and groceries.

So there you go, swiping and saving your way to a happier RV life!

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Driving in the facts

Hitting the open road in an RV this summer is a fantastic idea for adventure! But listen, it’s not all sunshine and scenic pit stops. To set yourself up for a journey you’ll look back on fondly, make sure you’re armed with knowledge:

  1. Pack Wisely: The phrase “road trip essentials” takes on a whole new meaning when your road trip is also your home. Learn what you absolutely can’t live without and what’s just going to take up precious space.
  2. Know Before You Go: Don’t just rent the first RV you come across online. Do your homework. Read reviews, compare amenities, and consider how much space you’ll really need.
  3. Financial Smarts: If you’re making the leap to buy an RV, dig into the best loan options. An RV is a significant investment, and the right loan can make or break your long-term enjoyment of your mobile home.

And the grand finale? Have a blast. For all its quirks and challenges, RV life offers a unique type of freedom and adventure you won’t find anywhere else. So yes, you’ll face some hiccups and maybe even a breakdown or two (mechanical or emotional, take your pick). But it’s all part of the journey—a journey you’ll be talking about for years to come!

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