What's the Difference Between Living in an RV Full-Time & a House?

We're here in Montana for a bit to do some adventuring and show you the differences between living in an RV full-time and living in your house or apartment full-time.

Living in an RV full-time is a unique lifestyle. It comes with many rewards and some drawbacks. I hope we can show you what living in an RV instead of an apartment or house is like.

View from RV travels

1. You can pick your view

We just were in Florida, experiencing summer in the winter, and now we're experiencing winter in the spring. You not only get to choose your view, but you can choose your climate as opposed to a house or apartment. When you pick your location, you can also situate your windows where you want them to face. 

2. Your house or apartment doesn't move around like an RV

When you walk around, it shakes. I'll be putting my mascara on or some eyeliner, and I'm like, Tom, are you doing jumping jacks there? I'm like, I have a sharp object near my eye, and it seems like it's every time.

It's become a joke, but you learn to tiptoe or give a warning. Say, "Hey, I'm getting ready to put on my eye makeup, so if you cannot do jumping jacks, that'd be awesome." 

3. You don't have a disposal or dishwasher

You have to have something to catch any food scraps. We do a lot of plate scraping. You don't want those chunks going down into your gray tank. It's not a good thing. It can clog, and it can smell. 

With just the two of us, we don't use a lot. We quickly hand wash dishes, put them aside to dry, and sometimes reuse them before they dry. We have very minimal dishes, so it isn't a big issue for us to hand wash our dishes. 

4. You're in a very small space in your RV

RVs are small spaces, super small. Ours is a 40-foot fifth wheel, and you don't have a lot of privacy, especially if you have guests or family hanging around.

So if you plan to RV, do it with somebody you love. Some people do it with kids, and I don't know how they do it. When you put that many people in an RV, it is a tight space. 

5. Terrible WiFi

If you have to work on the Internet or access Facebook, WiFi is terrible at most RV places. If you want to stream movies, forget about it, it won't happen.

There are a few exceptions, but it will differ in an RV park compared to the fast cable modem in your house or apartment. If you want fast Internet, you better bring it yourself. 

6. You get outside more

A positive to not having the Internet sometimes is that it forces you to get out, enjoy nature, and find alternative things. I love that I don't feel I need to be on Facebook daily. 

7. Storms are more intense

As we discovered last night, you could feel the movement as thunder and hail storms came through. Most RVs are built relatively cheaply. The insulation in an RV is light, and you'll hear a lot.

There's no peace during a hailstorm or a thunderstorm; you almost can't talk to each other without yelling because of how loud the rain and hail are.

Even when it just rains, sometimes it's hard to hear each other if it's heavy rain. So if you're doing business out of an RV, you better hope it's nice weather when making those phone calls.

One of the reasons it's built so cheaply and light is that it's more lightweight for travel; they use cheap materials to keep it lightweight to have good gas mileage.

Exploring the outdoors

8. No yard work

A significant benefit to living in an RV full-time is no yard work. We have none of the leaf raking, leaf blowing, mowing, or landscaping. You don't have to spend time keeping up an outdoor area of your home. You can go out and enjoy the outdoors, where we'd rather be hiking than doing yard work. 

9. Thinking about the sewer

The sewer is something you don't typically consider in your apartment or house. In an RV, especially when living in it full time, you always think about the sewer and where you're dumping next.

It's probably one of the least fun aspects of full-time RVing, but you deal with the black tank. It's a little bit of a disadvantage to living in an RV, but overall full-time RV living has a lot of advantages.

10. No wood-burning or gas fireplace 

Another difference in an RV is you can't have a wood-burning fireplace. We have an electric fireplace, which feels like a gas fireplace.


You can set a campfire if you want a wood-burning experience, but some campgrounds and RV parks have a burning ban, so you can't have a wood fire outside. 

11. Your home living cost is flexible

The final difference between living in an RV full-time and living in your house or apartment is you can control your rent or mortgage payment when you typically sign a lease or buy a house, and your mortgage payment or rent payment will stay the same month after month. 

When you have an RV, there's much more flexibility. In Miami, we were paying $565 a month, including all electricity, water, and sewage. Here in this fantastic spot on the raging water, we pay $750 monthly.

We like to have hookups. There are also free places where you can boondock. So the point is, it can be from zero if you're living minimally and boondocking up to thousands of dollars a month. It's your choice. 

If you don't like your neighbors, you control your location. If you don't like the monthly expenses at a park, you can roll out and go to another one. You don't have that flexibility in an apartment or house.

Living in an RV full-time

Living in an RV full-time has a lot of positives. 

Living by the beach

For RVers, which location do you prefer, the mountains or the beach? Let us know in the comments below.

Join the conversation
2 of 10 comments
  • We lived in an older 35ft 5th wheel for a long time. My husband likes roots...I like to move!

  • Susan Rehnberg Susan Rehnberg on Jul 20, 2023

    We full time RV’d for 15 years as snowbirds, mostly boondocking in Quartzsite, Arizona. We loved it! When we wanted to settle down near the grandchildren, we kept the fifth wheel in the mountains, where we stayed in it on weekends during the summer, getting out of the summer heat in the city. We still miss full time RV Ing!