Do You Need a Home Base when RVing Full-time?

If you RV full-time, do you really need a home base? I’ve been asked that question and I’ve also asked that question of myself. There are pros and cons, but the short answer is: A home base comes in pretty handy sometimes.

Keeping Your Sticks-and-Bricks House

Jim and I decided from the start that keeping our sticks-and-bricks house as a home base wasn’t an option for us. We didn’t want to worry about maintaining a house when we were traveling. We also didn’t want to worry about managing it as a rental property. We started RVing full-time so we could get away for those responsibilities.

Everyone has to make their own decision about whether or not to keep a house when they RV. Some people really don’t want to RV full-time. Others have a family attachment to a home. This decision is very personal but that doesn’t mean you don’t need a home base. We loved the community we lived in before starting our RVing adventure. There are many reasons why we continue to call Winnsboro, TX, home.

Our Home Base-Winnsboro, TX
Winnsboro, TX by Sandra St. John

Friends

Our home base is also home to many good friends. When you RV full-time, you may leave them physically behind, but they don’t stop being friends. We can talk on the phone, keep up on Facebook, text and email, but it’s not the same as having a conversation over a meal and a glass of wine. One of our good friends even made us some wonderful sourdough bread on this trip home. We also were able to attend a Wood County Beekeepers meeting, an organization we started several years ago. It was so much fun, mostly because of the good friends there.

And don’t forget the hugs! Hugs are the most important part of seeing someone in person. You’ll make new friends on the road, but there’s nothing like old friends. No one should live without them.

I shouldn’t forget family. For many people, their home base also means family, children and grandchildren. For many RVers, like Jim and I, family is spread out all over the country. Keeping in touch with them on our travels is a big benefit of RVing.

Seeing Family at Home Base
Jim and his Grandson, Ryder

Doctors and Dentists and…

If you’re getting up in age, like Jim and I are, seeing our doctors every six months is important. It’s either that or they won’t give us the good drugs! All kidding aside, keeping up with your health and medical appointments should be a priority. Don’t forget semi-annual dentist appointments, eye doctors, accountants, lawyers…. The list goes on and on.

If you have pets, your home base is where you’ll want to have annual checkups and get vaccinations for the road.  Don’t forget flea and tick medications.

Your Home Base for Residency Purposes

When you start RVing full-time you will need to decide about how to handle residency. It’s important for voting, tax returns, drivers and vehicle licenses, etc. There are many things to consider when establishing your residency. Too many to mention here. I’ll go into more detail in another post. But that being said, Jim and I started out in Texas, and we have maintained our residency in Texas. Texas requires that you have your car inspected annually. Why not get that done when you visit your home base? A lot can be done online but occasionally you have to handle business like updating a driver’s license in person. That’s when having a home base comes in handy.

Your Home Base is Familiar

Part of the fun of RVing full-time is all of the new and exciting places you wake up in.  We love that part of RVing, but when it comes to taking care of business, being in a town your familiar with is a plus. When we visit our home base, we take care of many errands that we put off when we travel. We have repairs and maintenance done to our RV and toad. On this visit we also bought a new truck. We’re comfortable with a car dealer we’re familiar with. We know we’ll back to our home base regularly so if we have any problems, we know where to go.

Projects

Whether it’s repairs or improvements, we always seem to have projects to do. We left our sticks-and-bricks behind so we wouldn’t have to do projects, but they seem to follow us everywhere we go. Of course, they aren’t as extensive as what we had with a house, but there are still projects. On this stay at our home base, Jim is installing a new TV antenna and I’ve decided to do some remodeling. (Why do they make all RV’s brown?!?)

Storage Units

There’s a lot of debate as to whether not to have a storage unit. There are some things that we just can’t part with when we take off in an RV. The downside of storage units is their expense. After several years you have to consider whether you’ve spent more on rent than your “stuff” is actually worth. The best of all worlds would be to mooch off of a child or friend with extra room in a barn, but we don’t all have that convenience.

For us, our storage unit also contains a lot of tools that we don’t like to carry with us. Jim parted with most of his tools, and we always carry essentials with us, but you can’t haul a whole workshop in your RV. For example, Jim just took apart the bathroom drain and cleaned it out. Ugh! Who wants to do that in an RV park and who carries those tools on board?

Part of my remodeling on this trip involved new curtains for our bunk. Luckily, I have a sewing machine in my storage unit and making them was a breeze. I don’t sew enough to warrant carrying a sewing machine with us in the RV but it sure is nice to have when we visit our home base.  Because we’re doing some remodeling on this trip to our home base, we’ve also needed saws, level, chalk tape, etc. You get the picture.

Owning a Home Base RV Site

A newer concept in RVing is buying a lot in an RV Park. These parks are usually very nice with lots of amenities. Some can also be quite expensive. A friend just told me that her favorite park in Colorado just sold a lot for over half a million dollars. Yikes! That’s not in our budget, but there are less expensive options. A beautiful example is The Landings on Kentucky Lake.

The Landings, Kentucky Lake
The Landings on Kentucky Lake

Owning a lot would assure you would always have a place to hunker down if you needed to. Most of these parks also allow customizations, so you can build out your site however you like. These RV Parks seem to be few and far between right now, but I expect to see more in the future. This would certainly be a good option for someone who only wanted a home base for part of the year. Perfect for snowbirds.

Friends

Yes, I’m back to friends. There isn’t anything more important in life than good friends—good friends with good hugs. We have so many electronic means of staying in touch, but nothing compares with seeing friends in person. Even without all of the other plusses of maintaining a home base, friends make it all worthwhile.

 

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