[This article is a guest article submitted to RV52.com.]
You’ve been living in your RV part time for a couple of years now, and you love the freedom RV life entails. From visiting the Grand Canyon with your family last March to that fun weekend you spent in Las Vegas with the girls, RV life symbolizes fun, adventure and being able go anywhere the open road can take you.
In fact, you love traveling in your RV so much, you want to start living in it full time. But before you take the plunge, there are some logistical issues and loose ends to tie up. After all, you’ll still be paying taxes and getting mail. In order to do this successfully, you’ll need to establish a home base. As you go through the process of choosing your home base, keep the following bits of advice in mind:
Make the Home Base Convenient
As RV Dreams notes, just about every new full-time RV’er will head out from the state where they have been living, and where they have established their residence. Chances are good you are already familiar with the tax laws for your state, as well as your insurance regulations and more. In order to keep things as easy and simple as possible, you might want to consider keeping your old stomping grounds as your home base. In other words, if you’ve lived the past two decades in Oregon, keep the Beaver State as your home base.
Consider State Income tax
If you're not particularly interested in keeping your home state as your home base, you can also choose a different state based on a variety of criteria. For example, some full-time RV’ers like to choose a state that currently has no state income tax, as this can result in some nice savings come tax time. Right now, six states do not have a state income tax, including the beautiful states of Florida, Nevada and Wyoming.
Remember Your Friends and Relatives
Sometimes choosing a home base isn’t about convenience or taxes. As Explore RV reminds us, full-time RV’ers might want to think about where they will probably be spending most of their time. For example, if the majority of your kids and grandkids reside in Idaho, and you see yourself settling in at an RV park for a good part of the year, then Idaho might be the best home base for you.
Look Up Vehicle Registration Costs
Although these fees tend not to be as high as personal income taxes, vehicle registration does definitely vary from state to state. Also, rules and regulations are different all over, so you should definitely do your homework and make sure your desired home base does not have vehicle registration policies that will be hard to adhere to. For example, some states require an annual safety inspection and/or an emissions test. If your home base is in California but you find yourself spending most of your time on the East Coast, driving cross country every year for these inspections may be a huge hassle.
Think About Mail Delivery
Even if you’re on the open road a lot of the time, you will still get mail—and those bills, magazines and annual Christmas letters from Aunt Marian will need a place to be delivered. As RV Info notes, a lot of RV clubs offer mail forwarding services. Or, if you are anticipating being in Florida for a good part of the winter, you can request that your mail be sent to the local post office. Just to be on the safe side—since you may be relying on other people to forward your credit card bills and other personal information, you should invest in an identity theft protection service from a company like LifeLock. The last thing a full-time RV’er wants to deal with is identity theft or credit card issues from 2,000 miles away.