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Post Info TOPIC: Go full time with family?


RV-Dreams Community Member

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Go full time with family?


Really looking for someone to sway our decision (one way or the other) to go full time in a 5er. We are a family of 5, and I travel (200+ hotel nights a year). The kids are 11, 9 and 5. With the oldest and youngest needing to be home schooled due to Autism. Both are extremely functional, but have social quirks. We are looking at a F350 DRW and a 397TH Momentum (40+ ft). 

 

Here are the the major pros and cons of the situation:

1. I cover everything east of the Mississippi river and generally have to switch areas once a week. Occasionally twice a week. Would this be too much moving around to do in a 5th wheel?

2. I can't choose what area I'm going to, and would need to find an RV spot for the family within an hour of my work site. My work sites vary form super rural Humboldt, IA to Hartford, CT. How hard will it be to find new camp sites on short notice?

3. I can only plan my travels 50% of the time. The other 50% I am going to trouble shoot a problem for someone. The ability to pick up and go is important.

4. Roughly 5 times a year I am in a single location for 30-45 days. This is the big reason why we want to full time. No question here, just a major PRO.

5. Company will convert my current per diem rate to a straight payment to me at a rate of $135/day that I am working in any location. 

6. I dont really work the month of December and first week of January unless its an emergency.

7. If quick emergencies do come up and I don't see a way to take the family I can leave them at the site and still use hotels. Just lose the per diem money for those days.

 

Any help or advice would be awesome. Super excited to spend more time with family, but concerned it will create stress due to location changes too often.



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Carl


RV-Dreams Family Member

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You mentioned you can't choose what area you will be working in. Does that mean it is possible that one week you would be in Humboldt, IA and the next week in Hartford, CT? In my opinion making frequent long trips towing a 5th wheel is not appealing.

Finding a new campsite will vary with the season. In the summer months, especially around any holidays a lot of campgrounds are booked and that can be a problem. You might find one, but sometimes the campground might not be ideal for a family. Another challenge you might find is locating a campground that is "open". For example in New England and many Midwest states, the season is basically May - October (some as early as Labor Day weekend).

Something else to consider is healthcare for your family. Not all plans will cover you living in different states.

Your per diem looks like it would be a pretty sweet deal and if you are no longer going to maintain a home will go a long way in supporting your day to day expenses.

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"5. Company will convert my current per diem rate to a straight payment to me at a rate of $135/day that I am working in any location." Generally, per diem is not taxable. Will the "straight payment" be taxable?

"Roughly 5 times a year I am in a single location for 30-45 days." Does your children's GP or other childcare professional believe moving them around regularly is a good idea?


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Winnebago TT 2101DS & Tahoe LTZ, 300 watts WindyNation solar-parallel w/MPPT, 2 Trojan T-125s. TALL flag pole. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, USF&WS, NPS, TVA, state/county campgrounds. 14 year Army vet-11B40 then 11A - old MOS 1542 & 1560.



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The following comment has to do with your frequent location change (and nothing to do with traveling as a family). Beyond the good points above about challenges making last minute reservations during the summer months and holiday weekends, campgrounds not being open year-round in parts of the country, you also have to consider RV maintenance and unexpected repairs (whether you purchase a new or used RV). You would need to have contingency plans (for example, leave the RV and family and otherwise travel and stay near your work location) ---if your assignment was in an area where the campgrounds did not have availability, no campgrounds were open that time of year as well as if your RV needed repairs (e.g., you were delayed a day, week, etc.). Traveling in an RV is not the same as renting a hotel room, it has many positives (i.e., your things and particularly your family), but there can be more complications. As long as you know the potential complications and have contingency plans, the frequent traveling could work (as a practical matter; not a comment as it relates to your family).

A blog that you may find helpful is www.camperchronicles.com. Although they are a couple (versus a family), they are transparent about some of the surprises they experienced full-time RVing and working – some of the information they share might be applicable to you and your family.

Best of luck, regardless of your decision.

Lynn

On edit: Part of your contingency plans would likely need to be your spouse having the ability and comfort level to handle/oversee RV repairs, if relevant, and drive the RV to your next work location, juggling that and taking care of the children. That might or might not be easy for your spouse to handle on their own.



-- Edited by Lynn and Ed on Saturday 14th of April 2018 12:32:12 AM

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Welcome, Carl. You will get lots of opinions here, including mine, and you will have to decide which ideas are relevant to your situation and how you will handle them. Please remember that we're all trying to be helpful, not hurtful.

As has been mentioned above, campgrounds are not always available all year long, especially as you go farther north. Many places in Illinois, for example, are closed from November to April. During the open season many places are full, or nearly full, on the weekends, and holidays will see most campgrounds completely booked, and that booking was done several months in advance.

Your per diem will probably cover the fuel bill on a travel day, and since we've rarely paid more than $50/night, you should be okay financially. Many commercial parks offer weekly and monthly rates that can be very attractive, but if you leave early you may not get any refund.

If your wife is willing to learn to drive it, you might think about a Class A motorhome and towed. That would allow you to get to where you need to be and stay in a hotel for a night or two if necessary while she brings the MH at a slower pace. Example: we're nearly 400 miles from where my wife has a doctor's appointment. If we had to take our MH it would take us two days to get there, as we travel slower with the coach than with the car. Instead, she is going to take the car up while I stay here. She'll be gone two nights/three days, and will stay with our kids while there. When time permits, of course, you can tow the car behind the MH, thus saving on fuel.

Check out escapees.com and join their forum for information on health insurance. If yours is provided by your employer ask them about how your travels would impact the coverage. This may be a non-issue, or it could be a deal-breaker.

How will your children respond to the frequent location changes? Have they had the opportunity to go with you on some of your trips? If not, could you take them along for a month? You would be staying in hotels, rather than your own (mobile) home, but if they can't stand the car rides now they probably won't like the truck or MH rides, either. What are their thoughts?

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