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How This Family of 5 Affords Full Time RV Life


Ever wanted to talk to a real family living the RV life and just pick their brain about how they made the big decision to switch from traditional homeowners to nomadic lifestyle? We chatted with @travelinperries, a family of 5 (including 1 dog!) to dig in to their experience living the RV life full time. They share the scoop on what RV life if really like, how they made the switch, working from the road, budget tips and a breakdown of what it costs for them to live a comfortable life of adventure on the road!


Meet The Travelin Perries, Full Time RVing Family Since 2020

If you’re following the world of full-time RVing, you know there’s been a surge of young families who are embracing the RV lifestyle as an alternative to living the more traditional lifestyle narrative that we’ve all been sold. That’s where our journey began. After becoming homeowners, five years of marriage, and two kids, we found ourselves feeling stuck in a routine that made it feel as though we were spending our time making a living instead of making a life.

We wanted to challenge the status quo. We spent a year or two researching and planning before finally moving into our trailer full-time. You can find us on Instagram @travelinperries – a family of 4, plus one dog, on a journey to explore Canada from coast to coast to coast.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Wait. How does a young family afford to travel full-time?” Here’s the scoop:


Starting Point

Before you jump in and purchase your RV, check out a rental company through or purchase a starter camper like we did. If your not sure where to start, Go RVing Canada has an awesome RV matchmaker tool to help you find the best one for you according to your lifestyle. We spent two summers camping with a really cute 2002 Coleman pop-up tent camper. We bought it used for $1,100 on Kijiji and spent another $1,500 pretty much gutting it.

An honest recommendation is to establish a substantial savings before you even think about getting started. You’ll need it! Not everything always goes as planned, vehicles need unexpected maintenance, and you also want to have fun. Our advice – sell what you can and save the rest.

We made the choice to rent out our house in Ontario, donate the stuff we didn’t need, and put the rest in a storage unit. We sold our big-ticket items like the vehicles, the camper, and whatever else we could put a substantial value on.

It was by no means a fast transition; we definitely took our time weighing the pros and cons. When we finally made the leap, we had somewhat of a plan and a savings account to keep us in the green for as long as possible. This strategy worked well for us, and we were able to use our savings to meet unanticipated costs and remain flexible.


Our Rig

We call it Wildflower. A 2013 Salem by Forest River 31ft, double bunkhouse, tow trailer. We bought it used for $16,500 on the Facebook Marketplace at the beginning of summer 2020. We paid cash and haven’t done any major renovations to it. Simplicity is what we are striving for with this one.

The next step was to find a heavy-duty vehicle to tow it our belongings. We actually purchased the trailer first with no way of being able to bring it home! We had been looking at different trailers for ages and needed to jump on the opportunity fast. Luckily, the woman we purchased the trailer from allowed us to leave it on her property until we bought a vehicle.

After a few days of frantic searching and trying to decide if we were going to buy used or sink ourselves into payments, we came across another great Facebook Marketplace find. It was a 2016 Dodge Ram 2500 heavy-duty pick-up truck. A fantastic truck that we ended up paying $40,000 for. The truck had about   150,000km on the engine at that point.

We are extremely pleased with our purchases. The truck did a great job hauling us across five provinces and the trailer feels like home already.


Our Expenses and Budget Tips for Full Time RV Travel

Be aware of your expenses. We have recently started to track every single expense – down to those coffees we like to grab on the way to the grocery store.

Along with tracking exactly where our money is going, we make a goal to cut out an unnecessary expense each month. Writing down everything you spend your money on really helps to visualize and determine what can be let go of or where you can cut back.

Planning somewhat ahead of time, but not too ahead of time that you lose all spontaneity, is something else we have found helpful when managing our expenses. It is possible to make a conscious choice about your future while at the same time living in the now.

You can check out our latest monthly expense breakdown, here.

Our biggest expenses so far are food and diesel. It makes sense though – we like to eat and go places. However, there are some expenses that, at this point, we are unable to cut back on.

Internet is a big one. I shopped around and tried many different options in the process of finding the best connection. Right now, we are camping in a valley surrounded by mountains. We have absolutely no cell service. Our options were slim to none, short of me driving into town every day to find a connection and work from the truck – which I did have to do until we found Starlink. We paid $700 for the satellite dish, and it costs $144.48 every month for unlimited data usage. It is a fantastic option if you are stationary in a remote location. Unfortunately, you cannot travel with the dish. It requires a fixed address, and it cannot be fixed to all locations in Canada yet.

Which bring us to our next necessary expense, our cell phones. Our provider is Bell and we both have the iPhone 11. We have 30 gigs of data each and pay $267.73 a month for both devices. When we are away from the satellite internet, I hotspot the connect from my phone to my other devices when I need to work.

Propane and gas for the generator are also must haves for boondocking. We boondocked the entire way from Ontario to BC and spent about $6000 in 10 days. Now, don’t freak out, we didn’t spend all that money on fuel, but it was our biggest travel expense.

Our rig does not have a washing machine or dryer, so we spend a few hours a week at the local laundry mat and spend roughly $150 a month.

Then there’s insurance. We have insurance on the truck, the trailer, health insurance, and home insurance. We have everything but our health insurance bundled with Desjardins at a monthly cost of $343.06. We have extended health coverage through the Co-Operators which cost us $1200 for the year.

At the end of the day, your costs may differ significantly from ours and it’s important to be realistic about your own abilities and expectations.


Making Money while RV Travelling Full Time

Now, the question on everyone’s mind, how do we make money while we travel? It’s actually very simple.

At the moment, we find work camping gigs in exchange for free campsites, and I work online. Earning an income is in your hands, it can be anything you want it to be. Don’t forget that!

Before we even knew RVing full-time was a thing, I worked as a legal assistant and Charles worked for a construction company. We had established reliable careers and were content with our positions.

I didn’t consider what I was doing as an option for remote work, so I started researching how other people earned an income online. Eventually, I landed on teaching. While I was still working full-time at the law firm, well before we started RVing full-time, I started teaching English as a second language online. I wanted to have a solid income stream before we hit the road.

Now, I am teaching ESL with a company called PalFish and I contract virtual assistant services. Charles does the bulk of the work camping duties. Our current contract includes 20 hours of work per week in exchange for a site with full hook-ups (sewer, hydro, and water), and he contracts his labour services.


Full Time RV Travel with Kids

It’s not as hard as you may think it is. Kids don’t need a lot of stuff to make them happy. They just need love, positive guidance, and stability. They have a blast exploring new places, spending meaningful time together, and learning. Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows but, if I can push the analogy, the sunshine does last a little longer and you actually stop to notice the rainbow.

We have experienced virtual public school for the past year and have recently made the switch to homeschool for the foreseeable future. There are a lot of great resources out there for parents who are thinking about homeschooling. I recommend checking out, the Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents.

It was important for us to find a trailer with enough space for both the kids to feel comfortable and would allow them to bring their favourite things.  Our trailer has a double pop-out bunkhouse with a bunk bed on each side and a wardrobe and entertainment center in the middle. They each have a twin size bunk bed on the bottom and a smaller bed on top that acts as their play area. They have more room than we do!

The kids even enjoy doing work camping chores with us like gardening, weeding, watering plants, etc. It gives them a sense of responsibility and work ethic but it’s also just really cool being able to take my kids to work every day.

Obviously having kids increases the cost of living but we haven’t noticed a fluctuation in comparison to living on the road. We still spend easily over $1,000 a month on groceries.  We have found a few community programs to enroll them this summer while we are stationary in our RV. The cost of the activities (day camp, swimming lessons, etc.) are relatively the same. At this age they are growing out of clothes fast, but we packed enough of that stuff to last quite a while and haven’t noticed a spending curve there yet.

Essentially, kids cost money no matter what your lifestyle choice is.


Is Full Time RVing Worth It?

So far, we’d say yes! We are spending more quality time together as a family and exploring new places together.

It wasn’t until I started renovating that Coleman camper that I realized how cool it would be to create a life traveling, working, and spending more time together. It all started by creating a Pinterest board for my reno ideas and it ended with us living in an RV full-time.

Feel free to reach out to us on Instagram with any questions you may have about our lifestyle choices.

Happy travels!

Jesseca Perry

July 14, 2021


So, there you have it! Would you consider full-time RVing? Sign up to our newsletter to get more expert advice, the best tips on camping, travel, destinations, recipes, and more!








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