Have you been daydreaming of a more flexible way of living and working, or are you considering safer alternatives for your family’s health? Do you find yourself curious about what a mobile lifestyle could look like? These days, you’re not alone.
One of the outcomes of confronting a global pandemic has been the realization that for many, alternative ways of working and living are possible. For others, a remote lifestyle is even preferable to achieving a better work-life balance.
Read on to learn about how the RV landscape is shifting, the benefits of a nomadic lifestyle, and tips for taking full advantage of your RV as a multi-use workspace.
As of 2021, only 1.5% of all RV'ers lead a full-time RV lifestyle, but advancements in tools, shifts in remote work attitudes, and changing family goals across the country indicate that this number will soon be on the rise.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, less than 10% of the U.S. labor force worked entirely remotely, but over the course of the lockdown, nearly half of all workers made the switch to work from home. Looking ahead, projections estimate up to a quarter of our country’s workforce plans to remain fully remote in the long term with many more expecting to work remotely for a significant portion of their time.
These shifts not only create new possibilities for workers and families in the RV community, but they’re broadening the perception of full-time RVers beyond the traditional workamping and seasonal roles that have been a predominant income source for these individuals.
The demand for remote work in graphic design, marketing, writing, customer service, and other knowledge industries is at an all-time high. Globally, 16% of companies operate fully remotely as of 2021, while over 4.7 million people work from home at least half of their week in hybrid arrangements.
As of April 2021, over 60% of working parents want to work remotely full-time, and 32% prefer a hybrid work model. For many parents, the idea of working from the road is both appealing and possible when it previously hadn’t been an option.
With more parents choosing to work from the road, we’ve also seen a rise in remote schooling, or “roadschooling.” For some, what began as a temporary fix when districts opted for virtual learning has become a long-term arrangement with families enjoying the flexibility and benefits of fully remote schooling while hitting the road for adventure-learning, too.
The Many Perks of Living and Working from Your RV
1. Reduce your bills, and live debt free
If you’re looking to lower your monthly spending, there are a variety of ways that embracing the full-time RV lifestyle can help you cut back—but it takes consideration and planning to be successful.
Decluttering your life by selling off unnecessary possessions and a brick-and-mortar home, or completing the end of a lease, will reduce the number of bills you’re responsible for each month. Without a mortgage or rent payment and monthly utilities like gas and electric, you can begin your mobile lifestyle with only a few recurring bills.
Though you’ll often find yourself responsible for campsite fees, there are a variety of resources to help you find the best-priced spots that include water, electric, WiFi, and other amenities in the lot rental cost. For a frugal option, check out Boondockers Welcome, an Airbnb-style marketplace that connects RVers with private property hosts who welcome campers for free.
2. Travel the country while you earn your living
One of the most desirable perks to the fully remote RV life is the opportunity to travel more than you’d ever be able to with a traditional 9-5 career that only provides two weeks of paid vacation. Plus, with more flexibility in day-to-day remote schedules, workers have a higher quality of life and overall work-life balance, which results in higher productivity and job satisfaction.
Resources like the RVer Job Exchange and Escapees RV Club can help workers with a variety of skills find full-time, freelance, and seasonal employment opportunities to support themselves while living the adventurous life they’ve only dreamed of.
3. Travel the country in order to earn your living
Beyond merely gaining the ability to work and travel simultaneously, many Americans are finding ways to incorporate RVing and the nomadic lifestyle into their work directly. The expansion of the RV industry and lifestyle over the last several years has cultivated an ever-growing network of professional writers, bloggers, photographers, and content creators, all devoted to documenting the RV life and helping others get started.
4. Broaden your family’s worldview
Adding travel to homeschooling or virtual learning creates opportunities for students to live a life of limitless field trips. Road life allows children to make connections between what they’re reading about and what they’re seeing on visits to national parks, museums, and historical sites. It also offers a more flexible schedule and lets students move at a faster or slower pace fit for their individual needs.
5. Revel in gorgeous backdrops
You’ll always have the perfect Zoom background working from your RV, though from mountain tops to sweeping plains, the best part is closing your computer at the end of each day and living the reality that only the RV life can provide.
Tips for Embracing a Mobile Work & School Lifestyle
1. Solidify your career and school plans before you set out
There are a few common career paths for those setting out on a fully remote RV journey: finding a salaried remote job, transitioning your current job to remote, freelance or contract work, workamping opportunities, or starting your own business. Whichever option you choose, you’ll have an easier time if you have the logistics in motion before leaving your former lifestyle behind.
For your children, be sure to research the homeschooling laws for your state of residence, which can vary considerably. You’ll want to have the required paperwork, resources, and supplies to make the most of traveling while educating.
2. Invest in high-quality mobile WiFi
Though many RV campgrounds have WiFi and cell service, the reality is that it’s often spotty. For many digitally-based careers and virtual lessons, solid WiFi is an essential. Purchasing a mobile hotspot will help you avoid tech headaches and get your work or courses done with ease.
3. Outfit your RV with modular work and living spaces
RVs can have restricted spaces and it may be an adjustment adapting to living and working full-time in a smaller area. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to capitalize on the layout inside your now-mobile office and living space.
Upgrading your lights to high-efficiency LEDs will provide clear light for working and reading. Explore ITC’s selection of functional and decorative lighting, including our line of Radiance LED Overhead Lights to find your ideal lighting setup.
Maximize your living space and stay organized by providing a storage bin for each person to stow away work and school materials when not in use, which will create a comfortable workspace.
Keep an eye out for ITC’s new MOD Leg Table System, coming soon for consumers at itcshopnow.com. The leg offers a fresh and functional design, allowing you to mount your table in multiple positions. It can act as a dining table, desk, or workspace, seamlessly changing positions at any moment to fit your needs.
4. Join an online support community
As remote work and roadschooling increases in popularity, the community and resources continue to diversify. There’s a growing support network of families sharing their stories, lessons, and tips across blogs and social media, most of which have no plans to return to traditional schooling or in-person work any time soon.
Check out community pages on Facebook, like Roadschooling Families, which has over 9,000 members, and explore blogs, like Wanderschool and Nomads with a Purpose for suggestions and stories from real families living the roadschooling life.
5. Be flexibleChanging your lifestyle is exciting, but it will undoubtedly come with many challenges and surprises as you discover what works best for you and your family. Having loose plans will ensure you can fully enjoy the freedoms and benefits of living and working from the road.