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5 Dos and Don’ts of Working While RVing
The recent pandemic was no fun, but I can think of one good development: working while RVing is now easier than ever. If you’re also thinking about trying the lifestyle, don’t turn the key just yet. My five best tips for working while RVing from anywhere are critical reading before you give it a try.
The 5 Dos and Don’ts of Working While RVing
Many aspiring nomads enjoy browsing the social media profiles of full-time RVing influencers. It’s a fun way to daydream and do your research, but be warned: you may only be seeing the extremes of nomadic living. Most profiles tend to focus on the good days of this lifestyle. Some like to share a gritty story, but rarely do full-time RV influencers expose the whole truth about living and working on the road. If you’re planning to travel and earn money, my five reality checks about combining work and RV travel will put you on the best path forward.
Don’t Let Work Take Over Your RV Adventures
Work isn’t always a four-letter word. My husband, Jim Nelson, and I have spent the last 15 years working on the road and it pays for full-time RV travel and living expenses. We don’t work every single day, but as two self-employed people in a 27-foot fifth-wheel, the line between work and home life is razor thin — even more than when we had a sticks-and-bricks business in Northern California. We’ve discovered that separating work and play on the road is difficult at best. But when we prioritize fun at great destinations, our effort to clock out reminds us why we full-time RV in the first place. For instance, a trip to Dinosaur National Monument in Utah reminded us that walking away from work a little more than usual rewarded us with unforgettable experiences at park attractions, like Dinosaur’s gorgeous hiking trails.
Mobile Workspace. Office setup at Crowley Lake, California.
Have Multiple Ways to Get Online
New nomads working on the road quickly discover that relying on RV park and campground wifi is a fool’s game. Although many top-rated RV parks have installed wifi networks throughout their campsites, the sad truth is that rarely does the technology keep up with everyone’s needs — especially now that more of us are working online. So if your job or nomadic business depends on internet access, don’t leave home until you buy the best RV internet connectivity hardware and service plans you can afford. And always have service with at least two different providers. That way, when (not if) one service goes down, the other is your backup way to get online, so you can keep bringing home the bacon.
Don’t Expect Productivity on Travel Days
Choose your travel days wisely. Don’t try to meet deadlines or address customer needs when you break camp and move to a new location. Even if you’re only driving 200 miles in one day, anything can happen between departure and arrival. For instance, you might get an RV tire blowout. Or maybe your human or fur kid needs extra potty breaks that day. Even better, there might be an unexpected roadside attraction you want to explore. Travel days are a great time to kick back, soak up the scenery, and remind yourself why full-time RVing is so awesome. Leave room for spontaneous fun when your wheels roll, and put aside work commitments. You can make up for it later.
Jim explores a ravine in Dinosaur National Monument. Photo: Rene Agredano
Do Accept that There Will Be Interruptions to Your Workflow
I was inspired to share my five tips for working while RVing while recording a podcast from my campsite at a gorgeous RV park in Oregon. The location was perfect, and we loved that each campsite had a gorgeous lawn separating it from neighbors. But we soon discovered there was a price to pay for the privacy and pretty scenery. One day while on a Zoom call with clients, a swarm of loud John Deer lawnmowers circled our RV like a four-wheeled motorcycle gang. The ear-splitting engine ruckus forced us to reschedule our meeting. It was yet another reminder that when you try to work inside a thin-walled fiberglass box, chaos and noise from the outside world often conflict with your plans. Living this nomadic adventure requires us to expect the unexpected. Go with the flow on those haphazard days, or else you won’t be able to reap the benefits of working while RVing.
Don’t Travel Without an RV Roadside Assistance Plan
You might think I’m saying this because I want you to purchase Good Sam Roadside Assistance. Let’s be honest: I do. There are a million reasons why you should get it, but I’ll only give you two. First, working while RVing means you cannot afford extended downtime by the side of the road. Dealing with a roadside emergency can make you miss deadlines and cause unnecessary stress that impacts productivity. Having a good assistance plan gets you out of troublesome situations sooner and on the road faster. And here’s my second reason for encouraging you to get a proper RV roadside assistance plan: one roadside emergency can cost you thousands of dollars to cover the cost. Rather than scrambling to pay for an unexpected tow, just pay the single low annual fee for a plan and you’ve got one less thing to worry about.
There’s so much to know about working while RVing. You can do all the research you want, but the only real way to learn is to kick off your adventure sooner rather than later. If you can do your job or run your small business from anywhere, there’s no better time to live your RV road trip dream.