A Life on Wheels
RV experts share tips for living life on the open road.
It’s easy to understand the allure of the RV lifestyle — having the ability to just pick up and go, stop wherever you please, bask in the beauty of the great outdoors (while still enjoying the comforts of home) and explore the country at your own pace is the stuff of dreams.
Some RVers are lucky enough to turn those dreams into realities while documenting their travels and helping others find their own road to happiness along the way. Whether you’re considering purchasing an RV for the occasional adventure with the family or you’re ready to become a full-time resident of the road, their advice and insights will help you get where you want to go.
Mike and Jennifer Wendland, RV Lifestyle
Mike and Jennifer Wendland have logged more than 200,000 miles since they first made their RV dreams come true in 2012. They travel across North America in their 2019 Leisure Travel Vans Unity FX, boondocking in remote places like National Parks and wilderness areas and sharing their RV expertise on RVLifestyle.com, as well as their YouTube channel and highly rated podcast.
For Mike Wendland, the best part of the RV lifestyle is the “freedom to travel, see and experience wonderful things that we’d totally miss if we were living a traditional, stay-at-home life.”
They’ve written several guides covering just about every aspect of living the RV lifestyle, but they’re number-one bit of advice for first-time RV buyers is to get informed. “Do some research so you go in knowing roughly what models you need to really look at. Then, at the show, try it out. Don’t let anyone rush you. Stretch out on the bed. Move around the galley/kitchen area to see if it is comfortable to prepare meals. Walk around inside with your spouse/partner to make sure there’s enough space for you. Look at the storage, will it work for you and, if possible, ask for a test drive.”
The Wendlands spend over half of each year adventuring in their RV and advise those thinking about doing the same to just go for it. “What’s the worst thing that could happen? If, after you try it out and it doesn’t work, sell it. Move on. You’ll still have great experiences and be able to take it off your bucket list.”
Marc and Julie Bennet, RV Love
Marc and Julie Bennet sold their home in Colorado and started their life as full-time RVers in 2014. They speak candidly about the transition to full-time RV life (including the emotions that can come with letting go of a more traditional lifestyle) on their website, RV Love and in their video series. For them, one of the most important things to think about is your “why.” “Knowing your why, why you want to do it, helps you decide where to go, what to spend, what to buy. It becomes your rudder on your journey and helps you make the right decisions for you,” Julie said.
When it comes to choosing the right vehicle, the Bennetts tout the importance of floorplan, layout, and making sure the RV can carry what you need. “Pets, people, toys, clothes water — that all adds up. One of the most common mistakes we see new RVers make is not paying attention to the weight capacity,” Julie said. “We’ve met people who have to change their RV because it doesn’t fit their needs, and that’s an expensive and painful mistake to make. Don’t just fall in love with an RV, think about it logically and rationally.”
“Think about who’s going to be using it, how are you going to be using it, and how often are you going to be using it,” Marc said, “Otherwise it’ll severely impact your enjoyment.”
Like the Wendlands, the Bennetts are also big advocates of doing your research. They co-authored the bestselling book “Living the RV Life – Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road” and run online courses at RV Success School. They also frequently share their knowledge at RV shows and events. “If you’re shopping and learning, RV shows are a great way to explore,” Julie said, “If you’re ready to buy and have done your research, shows are great for that too, because you’ll know what a great deal is. We’re about helping people be educated buyers, and I think dealers like that too. Buyers need to take responsibility to get educated and not depend on dealers to educate them, there are so many options and models change all the time.”
“An RV show is a fantastic opportunity to compare a number of options,” said Marc.
Is the RV lifestyle calling you? Shop more than 1,000 models and hear from RV experts (including the Bennetts!) at the CaliforniaRV Show, October 4-13 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontanta, California.