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Old 06-26-2012, 12:39 AM   #1
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Needing any advice on how to get started being a fulltimer

Hi-I am feeling overwhelmed but at peace with the changes I am in the process of working towards in the next few months! I have been doing a lot of research and the more I do the more I realize that I have only barely scratched the surface. I will be a full-timer with my trailer being my only home. I am looking into either a travel trailer I can pull or a airstream. Between 27 to 30 feet long with 1 Slide. I am a single lady who will be traveling across the states, staying at each campsite between 1 to 3 months workamping part-time. I will be traveling with small dogs and 2 cats.

I could use any and all advice on what type of trailer to pull, campsites that are cheap(especially for one night at a time), how to travel with pets (keeping them cool in the summer when I am parked with no electricity), how to maintain on a tight budget, and dealing with disabilties, etc.

I look forward to hearing from everyone out there, especially full-timers.
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:29 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by sweetiepie View Post
Hi-I am feeling overwhelmed but at peace with the changes I am in the process of working towards in the next few months! I have been doing a lot of research and the more I do the more I realize that I have only barely scratched the surface. I will be a full-timer with my trailer being my only home. I am looking into either a travel trailer I can pull or a airstream. Between 27 to 30 feet long with 1 Slide. I am a single lady who will be traveling across the states, staying at each campsite between 1 to 3 months workamping part-time. I will be traveling with small dogs and 2 cats.

I could use any and all advice on what type of trailer to pull, campsites that are cheap(especially for one night at a time), how to travel with pets (keeping them cool in the summer when I am parked with no electricity), how to maintain on a tight budget, and dealing with disabilties, etc.

I look forward to hearing from everyone out there, especially full-timers.
Well now, first of all welcome to the forum!
I am not a full timer so I can not really answer your questions but as I read your post I find myself wondering about things like your towing experience, tow vehicle, personal ability to deal with maintenance etc. Are you looking at new trailers or do you want a vintage? What is your budget? All of this matters and the more info you give the members of the forum the better the advice will be.

The only other thing I might offer is that by insisting on a Slide you are limiting your selection to a very large used Airstream as I believe that only one model was equipped with a Slide and it was a 33 foot unit (?)... A great way to begin to learn about what is available is to look at the Classified section of this forum. Remember, NEVER purchase ANYTHING this large or this expensive without having first had it checked out by a knowledgable inspector!!!

Good luck and have fun!

Bruce
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:43 AM   #3
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Sounds like your doing what we are doing. I know you would need a gas generator to fill the gap if you cannot make it to a T park. Maybe the dogs would like the trip style, but the cats would probably freak out, you know how they like everything quiet. There ARE workkamping offers out there.
Anyway a lot of those things -- you are going to have to take them as they come. There are going to be times when you may just be flat out 'sitting' there with nothing! my room mate is on Dis-ab too. (hardly enough to survive on for a month)
But enough of that---welcome to the forums and you WILL find everything you need to know here. Hoover your mouse over the forums button above and find fulltiming Then click on that.
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:00 AM   #4
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This one doesn't have a slide, but is a 2005 model with a queen bed, like new, listed way below book...Would sell it for $32,000...ole-red 501-944-6817.
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:01 AM   #5
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I actually considered full-timing on a boat, until circumstances beyond my control forced a change of plans and I bought my Airstream Interstate instead. So, I while I had done some research into full-timing, my efforts came to nothing; an Interstate is good for extended trips, but not as a full-time home. Maybe you'll get more mileage out of my research than I did…

Two of the biggest hurdles to practical full-timing are (1) mail; and (2) the IRS. Mail is a problem because, in order to rent a private mailbox or a post office box, you must first have a full-time physical address. The post office occasionally checks up on this by sending a registered letter to the physical address you put on your application, and if it comes back as undeliverable because there wasn't a live person there to sign for it, they can prosecute you for fraud. I don't know how often they check, though. You might be able to rent the box before you move into your trailer, and keep the box afterward without filing a change of address with the box provider, but that really is fraud, so you'd be taking a risk.

The IRS adds to the problem because they require you to maintain a domicile, i.e. an official permanent fixed address for tax purposes. Unfortunately, a post office box or private mailbox is not considered a domicile.

The whole domicile issue also affects your driver's license, vehicle and trailer license plates, passport (if you think you might cross the border in your travels) and other things a full-time traveler can't do without.

The solution is an organization such as Escapees, where by virtue of membership they will provide you with a domicile address (in Texas, a state that does not collect state income taxes), a private mailbox at that address, and a mail forwarding service to wherever you happen to be headed. Although I mention Escapees by name, that's only one example; there are others, including some in Florida that cater mostly to boaters but will also handle RVers.

With regard to the campsites issue, get thee hence to any National Park— even one without campsites— and apply for the Interagency Senior Pass (if you're 62 or older) or the Interagency Access Pass (if you're handicapped). These passes are good for discounts on the per-night fee at most Corps of Engineers campsites, National Parks, and a number of other places. Most states do not honor the passes at their State Parks, but Louisiana does. Being able to camp for ~$10 per night at places that honor the Interagency Passes is a pretty good deal.

With regard to trailer size, if you plan to move around frequently, only staying a night or two at any one place, I would suggest buying the smallest trailer you can comfortably live in. The more time you spend towing, rather than parked, the more important it is to have a trailer that doesn't wear you out just to pack it up, tow it, and set it up. Also, a smaller trailer means a lower fuel bill for your towing vehicle.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:15 AM   #6
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More about my quest for adventure and a new lifestyle

For several reasons when I start traveling across the States, I plan on being at one campsite for 1 month or more. (1) Cheaper campsite charges by the month than by the day (2) Better on me physically than traveling every day (3) At some of the campsites I will be workamping

Choosing between pull trailers or airstream. (1) I have heard that airstream is easier to travel and pull when it is windy,etc (2) I am on a limited budget on purchasing a used trailer so that will be a huge factor also on which type of trailer I buy (3) I want to start out with a smaller trailer between 25 to 30 feet until I get used to pulling a trailer and know more about what trailer will work the best for my lifestyle (4) As I continue to do research I look at smaller trailers, but it would need to be roomy enough for me and my musketeers.

From the research I have already done from several campsites- that if a traveler plans on staying more than a day or two at one site that they usually do not allow any trailers over 10 years old. If I found that there would be campsites nationwide that are not pricey to pay by the month and not have any issues about the trailer being older than 10 years old then I could broaden my search. Any suggestions on campsites that would be good and also need workers for a few weeks at a time? Thanks so much for any suggestions you have.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:28 AM   #7
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For several reasons when I start traveling across the States, I plan on being at one campsite for 1 month or more. (1) Cheaper campsite charges by the month than by the day (2) Better on me physically than traveling every day (3) At some of the campsites I will be workamping.
One thing that fits all of your requirements is to volunteer with the Army Corps of Engineers. They are always looking for camp hosts, cleanup workers, and the like, and will usually offer free camping in exchange, up to an entire camping season (whereas those who don't volunteer are limited to no more than 14 consecutive days). You may not make much money by volunteering, but you'll save a bundle on camping fees that way.

If you're interested, check this web page: Volunteer Opportunities

Quote:
From the research I have already done from several campsites- that if a traveler plans on staying more than a day or two at one site that they usually do not allow any trailers over 10 years old.
Great thing about timeless designs like Airstreams, who but another owner can tell, just by looking, how old one is?
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:56 AM   #8
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FYI, a trailer above 25' is not "small" no matter the brand. I'd consider the 27-28' length a pretty fair trailer once hitched to it's tow vehicle (which itself may be quite long. At 63' total length my truck & 34' trailer are at the state maximum RV length of 65') and once one goes longer than this it may become a problem of parking at some RV campgrounds (state & national) as the campsites are "short".

I would not consider the 10-yr thing with any seriousness. This is about keeping the riff-raff out of parks. An A/S that is in excellent appearance (any age) is welcomed wherever it goes . . so a budget for removing failed clearcoat and having that re-applied is needed.

The discussion above in re legal residence is the best place to start (to become a fulltimer). The Escapees forum, discussions on RV.net and in other places will be a help.

As to the vehicles, yes, choose the trailer first and the tow vehicle second for purposes of best performance.

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Old 06-26-2012, 09:19 AM   #9
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We just returned from a 10 day trip. Staying in National Forest campgrounds. We have a 26' Argosy. Our TV is 23'. When making reservations at the campgrounds we were careful to pick site that were long enough for the trailer.
Upon arrival at 2 of the campgrounds, I found the sites to be long enough, but getting the trailer into them could be a challenge for an inexperienced driver. In one case there was not enough room at the site to park the TV parallel to the trailer. It required parking the TV 90 degrees to the trailer, across the tongue.
I would suggest you seek out a trailer that is no larger than 26' but has a floor plan that will fit your needs. The number of spaces long enough for the larger trailers is limited and access to these spaces is not always ideal for a bumper pull type trailer such as an A$.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:47 PM   #10
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Sweetiepie:

The Escapees organization was formed by fulltimers to support fulltimers. There is a lot of information related to fulltiming on the SKP forum http://www.rvnetwork.com/. I hope this helps you in your research.
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Old 07-01-2012, 08:32 AM   #11
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Sweetiepie:

The Escapees organization was formed by fulltimers to support fulltimers. There is a lot of information related to fulltiming on the SKP forum http://www.rvnetwork.com/. I hope this helps you in your research.
I clicked this link for rvnetwork and went to it...signed in and all that. then bookmarked it into my fastdial. But now when I click on it, it won't go there. Are you guy/gals having this problem too? -or is it just me.
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:58 PM   #12
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We've looked into the mail and domicile questions in preparation for our eventual journey as full-timers. There are quite a few places that can set this up, with Texas, South Dakota, and Florida being some of the most popular. We've just about decided that we're going to join Escapees and use their address as our domicile and use their mail forwarding service. Although there are some people who question it, their system has been litigated in Texas and found to be legal.

I'm not sure that the IRS actually wants a physical address - they just want our money. The Post Office wants a physical address, yes, but that's mainly to satisfy Homeland Security. The Urbana, MO, post office cannot deliver mail to our house because we don't have a mail box. ALL of our mail goes to the PO Box. UPS, Fedex, and DHL all are able to deliver to our house because they come to the front door and knock.

I won't get into the slide/no slide argument because you will need to make your own decisions there. A slide adds floor space at the expense of weight, possible leaks, and higher maintenance. Go look at Airstreams and see if you really want one. They are only in the biggest coaches (30-34').

You will need a truck or large SUV to tow. For now, use the gross weight of the trailer and 12% of that as the tongue weight. The dealer can help you look up the VIN of the truck and tell you what it can handle. DOUBLECHECK HIS FIGURES!!!

Good luck!
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:27 PM   #13
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I'm not sure I understand your circumstances, but if you're collecting disability checks I'm pretty sure that workamping would disqualify you from receiving disability payments. Most states won't pay disability if you can work.
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:30 AM   #14
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I am in love with vintage airstreams!

I have now narrowed my search to vintage airstreams. I will be looking for 25 to 30 foot trailers. I have already decided against any slides, especially since I want a smaller vintage trailer. I would be interested in one that needed refurbishing, but because of time and this being my first trailer to purchase I will wait until I am ready to buy my next vintage home. I have only been looking in Texas to buy one so I don't have to travel to far to purchase one.

I still plan on being at most of the campsites for 1 or more months before traveling on to my next adventure spot. I will work at some campsites part-time as needed.

I am going to look more into some of the groups like Escapee and Snowbirds.

Thanks so much for the suggestions I have recieved.
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