We get a lot of questions about how we make a living and stay connected while on the road. As full-time RVers and full-time employees, we have to make sure we’re connected at all times so we can work remotely no matter where we are located. We’re a little (ok a lot) untraditional in that all 3 of us have work-from-home jobs that allow us to be wherever we want to be. That gives us the freedom to live in the RV, travel the country, and work from wherever we are at the time. The downside to this is not having a home internet connection and a constant source of reliable internet.
First off, we use Verizon Wireless as our cell carrier. We did a lot of research about whether we should stick with Verizon or switch carriers and it seemed Verizon was the most reliable option for our traveling needs. They haven’t failed us yet so that’s been good so far. We each have an iPhone and we also have a MiFi 7730L Jetpack for our WiFi needs. We’re currently using about 300 GB of data each month so that one Jetpack is not enough. Thank goodness for companies renting out unlimited cellular plans. We would get throttled a lot if we only had the single Verizon Jetpack. We rent a truly unlimited data plan from someone that allows us to video conference all day, every day.
The most important item we own is the WeBoost Drive 4G-X RV Signal Booster. This thing has saved us on more than one occasion. We’ve never been out of cell phone range with Verizon, but sometimes in rural areas, it can be quite slow. Being in the social media field, I’m constantly uploading large files and documents online and with a weaker signal, it takes much longer than it should to upload these files. The 4G-X RV booster has allowed me to join video conferences when I would not have been able to do so with our Verizon coverage. The 4G-X is used by a lot of first responders who need to ensure they have a constant connection – with that being said, we trust this device a lot.
Installation was pretty simple, but also a little bit scary because you do have to drill a hole in the outside of your RV (yikes!). They provide a cap that keeps the moisture out of the camper and seals off the hole you drill. It is pretty basic installation for the most part. After you figure out where you want to put the inside booster antenna and the outside antenna, you drill the hole and run the cable through. Plug in your booster and get rolling! Ok, so there’s a little more to it than that but not much. It is pretty simple!
One major thing to note – the inside antenna booster only works within a few inches of the device you’re using. So if you’re using it to boost a cell phone, you pretty much have to hold the cell phone and the booster near each other to achieve any boost. For me, I use it for my MiFi Jetpack. I’ve figured out the sweet spot of where to place the booster and where to place the Jetpack to get optimal boosting. When talking on the phone, I generally leave my phone near it, wear my Apple AirPods, and walk around while I’m talking.
We love our RV booster so much that we also have the same booster, but the car version – the WeBoost 4G-X. It works just as well, but doesn’t require any drilling or semi-permanent placement like the RV version. The original car version has a magnetic antenna for the roof of the car rather than a large bolted on booster like the RV.
The WeBoost really has allowed us to continue this lifestyle on the road while working full-time. It really wouldn’t have been possible without it. First responders trust it enough to use it for their jobs and emergency calls – it works that well and it works with all cell phone carriers.
We also each have designated work spaces. I have a desk in my room, Mom has working space in her room, and Dad utilizes the living room area. We have doors that close off each area allowing us to all three take phone calls. The set up is perfect for us and allows to be a full-time RV family!
There are 2 categories of gift-givers during the holiday season.
You’re either a pre-Thanksgiving (and maybe Black Friday)
shopper or a Christmas Eve shopper. The rest of the weeks between those are
simply made for sipping hot chocolate by the fire while watching Christmas
movies, attending Christmas parties, and building gingerbread houses – am I
So with the Christmas season upon us, everyone is talking
about what to get the people in their lives for Christmas. I’m here to tell you
my go-to gift this year!
I’m talking about the gift of portable power! You heard that
right, I’m here to tell you my top 5 types of people who would LOVE to receive
a gift of portable, renewable power for Christmas – or any other holiday for
Let me introduce you to AIMTOM,
a company committed to clean, renewable power being made available anywhere,
anytime. As a digital nomad, this is a huge deal. I need to be able to work
from anywhere and have a constant, reliable source of power. No power means no
work so I always need not only a portable source of power, but also something
reliable enough to get me through power outages at campgrounds.
I personally have the AIMTOM SPS-500 (also known as
the PowerPal Raptor) which is their most powerful model. This baby has a 540Wh
capacity and weighs only 11 pounds. This lithium battery power station is 20%
lighter than other power stations with a similar battery capacity. Since every
pound matters when your home is on wheels, this is a big deal for us! Here’s
the thing though, it doesn’t just power up 1 or 2 items, it comes with 9
outputs – that means, I can charge my phone, iPad, and laptop – all while
running my coffee maker. Which by the way, is a true story… I am so thankful to
have this AIMTOM because we’ve lost power several times this year and it always
seems to happen in the early hours of the morning when I won’t be able to make
my coffee to start the day.
With all of that being said, here are my top 5 types of people I think would love to receive an AIMTOM from Santa this Christmas!
Sure most of our readers are RVers, but I didn’t want to just say this gift was awesome for those who travel via RV because listen, there are plenty of other adventurers out there who would an AIMTOM. I’m talking tent campers, RVers who love campgrounds, RVers who hate campgrounds (here’s looking at you Boondockers – hats off to you as always!), hikers, boaters, and explorers of any kind. While I’m featuring the largest of the AIMTOM portable power stations because it’s the right one for me, they make plenty of smaller options to stay even more lightweight for things like hiking days. And, maybe you don’t need this much power to tent camp because you only need to keep your cell phone charged, that’s cool too!
Southerners in Hurricane Zones
This is a nod to all my Jacksonville folk and everyone else in a hurricane zone. Get this gift for your Dad or your husband! He’ll totally feel all-powerful having this, but when the hurricanes come and knock out your power for a bit, you’ll be able to charge your cell phone and iPad. It’s a gift for him, it’s a gift to yourself – no one will ever know the difference.
Remote workers – seriously, this is a must-have. Obviously, we love to travel, but having the AIMTOM has completely let me have more freedom with traveling. I’ve always said I can work from anywhere I have cell phone service, but truthfully, that was always limited to however long my laptop battery would last. Now, I never have to worry about heading back home when my laptop starts to blinking low battery warnings because I always have my AIMTOM.
Tailgating has come a long way. It isn’t just about the grill anymore people! Listen, you have to have power now for things like crockpots and griddles to cook, speakers for music, TVs to watch the games that come on before your game. You need all the power or your tailgate is going to be a total dud. No offense, but no one likes a lame tailgate.
If you have a climate activist in your life, this is definitely the gift for them. Have I mentioned there’s a solar option you can add on to this? Yep, you can recharge this with the AIMTOM solar panels that actually fold up for easy travel. You can generate your own power from the blessing of the sun and be the most green, eco-friendly gift giver around.
That’s a diverse crew, isn’t it?
Here’s the thing. If you’re a living, breathing, human who
uses electricity like a modern civilized human, you’ll like the AIMTOM. It’s
never convenient when the electricity goes out. Your phone always seems to be
at 5% battery life when you lose power, right? Or, you aren’t able to finish
blow drying your hair to get to work because the transformer down the street
blew and your whole neighborhood lost power. All of these things can be
remedied with a portable power station.
So what are you waiting for? Go and get you and everyone you
know and love one for Christmas because our discount code is only good THIS
WEEK THROUGH THANKSGIVING! Enter RAPTOR540 at checkout to receive 20% off here
at this Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YHDH319.
Remember, this code is only valid this week until November 28, 2019 at 11:59pm
(PST). So, go go go!
One of our most frequently
asked questions about being on the road full-time in an RV is how do we plan
our budget and how different is it from when we lived in a stick ‘n bricks
I recently did a video for Campers Inn RV to get you started on this topic, but I’ve included even more details about each item I discuss in the video (and more) below.
To start, when we decided to
hit the road, we had 3 cars, one for each of us. We sold the two vehicles that
we didn’t need, one of which was completely paid off and the other which was
not. So we immediately went down to just the truck payment there. We do have a monthly
payment for our RV as well, but we essentially replaced the mortgage payment on
the house after we sold it with an RV payment that was about 1/3 the cost of
our monthly mortgage payment.
When looking at budgets, you
need to decide if you’ll be paying for RV sites or if you’ll be boondocking.
This is a huge part of your monthly budget and a big thing to consider when deciding
to go full-time.
RV site fees are different
that a house because we don’t have to pay electric and water. If you stay at
long-term rates (monthly, seasonal, etc.), you do typically have to pay
electric so keep that in mind when looking at options. The campgrounds will
meter your electric and you pay for what you use. Obviously with boondocking,
your fees are much different. Campground fees go away, but depending on how you
get electricity, you have different costs associated with things like running a
generator. I’m not an expert on boondocking since we arent’ boondockers;
however, it is significantly less expensive if you’re able to take advantage of
that lifestyle. Our jobs require constant connectivity to electricity,
internet, and cell phone service so boondocking would be really difficult for us.
Something to keep in mind when you’re budgeting for campground is travel
memberships. We’re members of quite a few RV club because they offer discounted
site rates. See if any of them are right for you. Depending on how often you
plan to move around, some of the clubs may work better for you and some may not
work at all. Evaluate the costs vs the savings and you’ll be surprised how much
you can save with RV clubs for shorter term stays. Keep in mind, these discounts
don’t apply for monthly or long-term rates since those are usually already so
One high dollar item for us is gas for the truck. Diesel is expensive and our truck sucks up a lot of gas, especially on travel days. With a heavy fifth wheel like ours, we get down to about 5-7 miles per gallon while we’re towing. On a normal day when we arent’ towing, we still only get about 15 miles per gallon. To put this in perspective, when we winter in Gila Bend, Arizona, the grocery store is about 45 miles away so roundtrip costs in gas just to get groceries is about $20. When planning our travels, I use RV Trip Wizard to help me estimate the total cost of gas for each leg of our trip. It tells me not only how far it will be from campground to campground but how much it will cost in gas for each leg of the trip and the trip as a whole. I’ve plugged in our average miles per gallon while we’re towing and it takes that into account and estimates our total gas costs for us. This has been a huge help when we’re deciding whether certain adventures are worth it or not. If we go out of our way for a few days, we know exactly how much it will cost in gas so we can evaluate the value of the trip.
Our grocery shopping is a bit
different from when we lived in a sticks ‘n bricks house as well. We don’t eat
out nearly as much as we did when we lived in a home. We cook a lot more and I
think that is mostly attributed to the healthier lifestyle we’re living – and I’ve
been learning to cook and LOVE it. Certain towns we’re in don’t have many
options for eating out which makes it easier to cook and eat in – I mentioned
our winter location of Gila Bend and there’s a couple restaurants and a couple
of gas stations that make up the town and that’s about it. We like the
restaurants, but we eat at them maybe twice a month. This makes our grocery
bill significantly higher – especially with the healthier, fresher foods we buy
– but it also means our eating out bill is way lower as well. We end up on the
positive side of this cost even with the healthier, more expensive grocery
One major thing to be aware of when budgeting is RV insurance. This is one of the most important things when you’re living full-time in an RV. Even if it is more expensive, you need to make sure your insurance covers full-time RVing. If it doesn’t, then your insurance company likely won’t cover your belongings inside the RV if something happens. If you haven’t looked into whether or not your RV insurance covers full-time RVing, stop everything you’re doing and call your insurance company. If you want more information on various types of RV insurance, be sure to check out this guide by Consumer Advocate. They analyze several different types of RV insurance companies and do some of the hard research for you.
One thing we didn’t have when
we lived in a house was a storage unit. We’ve down-sized it several times since
we left, but when we first hit the road, we didn’t know how permanent this
would be for us. We sold most of our furniture when we left, but there were
some more expensive things that we didn’t want to part with in the beginning.
Once we realized we were in this for the long-haul, we decided to purge our
things again and moved to a smaller unit. Then we purged again and now we’re in
the smallest unit they offer with just some family heirloom type items like the
bookcase my Papa built for me and mom’s piano she played growing up. Beyond
that, all that’s left is our photo albums and sentimental items that we just
can’t part with. Storage units range in cost quite a bit and we likely pay more
for this than we should be since it’s in a higher income area, but it’s too
difficult to move to a different location at this point so we’ve come to terms
with the monthly cost of this one.
RV Maintenance is something
else to take into account when setting your budget. Any mishaps you may run
into along the way will be unexpected – your house is on wheels, something will
always go wrong when you least expect it. Our convection oven went out 2 days
after its warranty ended and we’re still working on trying to get a new one.
We’re hopeful, we’ll be able to get it covered under warranty still, but
there’s no guarantee even when things are still covered. I recommend opening a
separate savings account of money that you just don’t touch and it’s there for
when something goes wrong with your RV – whether you use that to pay for a
couple of nights in a hotel while you’re getting repairs or you have a tire
blow out and you need to replace them – having that money set aside will be a
huge relief when these mishaps happen.
My final recommendation is to splurge on AAA for your tow vehicle. Whether you’re towing a trailer or fifth wheel or you’re towing a vehicle behind an A or C class, always have AAA for when you’re out and about. I recommend the upgraded plan (AAA PREMIER) rather than the basic because often times in this lifestyle you might be driving your tow vehicle and be nowhere near your RV or an auto repair shop when something happens to your vehicle. The upgraded Premier plan is the highest level, but the only level of AAA that also provides some coverage for your RV as well. The upgraded plan covers towing at a further distance than the Basic and Plus plans which really helped us out while we were in the Florida Keys. In the 2 years we’ve been on the road, we’ve had to replace tires on the RV, replace tires on the truck, replace a truck battery, and have our truck jumped. This lifestyle puts a lot of strain and pressure on your vehicle so just be prepared
And last but certainly not least, the tool I use for budgeting is the free version of Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar budget tool. It is online and has an app for your phone as well. It’s super easy to use and best of all it’s free. They do have a paid version if you’re interested in syncing your bank accounts to the app, but I don’t use that.
If you have any questions
about budgeting for the full-time RV lifestyle, just let me know! Happy to
answer any questions you may have!