For many people, working on the road while RVing full time is truly living the dream. You can visit exotic and exciting locations, avoid cold weather and have the freedom of moving from place to place. Still, this dream is only possible if you can bring in a full-time income. And while it’s becoming easier and easier to work remotely, it can be hard to balance life on the road and working at the same time. Luckily, access to the internet can be found almost everywhere in the world, even some remote, off the beaten path locations. As well, phone service is abundant, and more remote jobs are available in almost every job category and industry. There are some things to keep in mind to make it go smoothly.
Working from your RV offers several unique challenges over working from a fixed location. Limited space and inconsistent communications services are some of the issues that will have to be worked out. Finding effective solutions to these issues can be very rewarding and can allow you to extend your travel time, or even pave the way to full-time RV living. Here are some tips for working in an RV that will help you work more efficiently.
Have a dedicated workspace
Sitting down, buckling up, and focusing on work can be extremely hard on the road. It’s very easy to get distracted. Having a dedicated workspace where you can work in peace will help a ton. Not only will you think of it as your office, but it will help prevent you from getting distracted by everything going on around you.
In many cases working from an RV means working online to at least some degree. Whether that means connecting to a remote server or application or simply corresponding by email, a reliable connection to the internet can be essential. Getting that reliable internet connection in an RV can be difficult at times. There are generally four options to obtaining internet connectivity in your RV: RV park Wi-Fi, cellphone hotspot, dedicated cellular hotspot, and two-way satellite. Some RV parks also have wired internet excess available at the pedestal, but that is typically only a viable option for long term stays. Choosing from the other options will depend largely on budget, needs, and travel style. It is also beneficial to have more than one option available if your job depends on internet access. That allows for a fallback option should your primary internet source fail.
Most internet connectivity solutions will require some sort of wireless connection, be it Wi-Fi or cellular. When stationary and working, the location of the RV to the connection point can have a significant effect on your internet connection. To ensure the best connection, a Wi-Fi or cell phone booster should be installed. Wi-Fi boosters will boost any available park Wi-Fi signals, providing a faster and more stable connection. Cell phone boosters do the same for cell signals. This will provide a better connection for your phone or any mobile hotspots you are using in the RV.
Wired accessories like printers, scanners, etc. will clutter your workspace and limit the area you can work within. Wireless devices can be placed anywhere within range of each other and still function properly. This will greatly increase your options in setting up your workspace.
To extend the range of your wireless devices, a Wi-Fi booster can be a great asset. These boosters also act as network hubs that will allow you to create a local area network (LAN) within the RV. This can be very useful if you have multiple computers and devices working within the area.
Multifunction devices save weight and space.
Scanning, printing, and copying can still be an essential part of everyday work in an RV. Multifunction devices can handle all those needs in one compact, lightweight unit. Unless you need color the best options will be laser-based multifunction units. While these may be slightly more expensive up-front then their ink-jet cousins, the cost per page to operate them is generally significantly lower. They also produce more consistent, longer-lasting output in less time than ink-jet units. The HP M29W is a good choice, weighing in at just under 12 pounds and measuring only 14.2 x 10.4 x 7.8 inches. The soon to be released HP M28W is even smaller. The wireless operation these devices offer coupled with their small footprint means they can be placed in a small shelf or table out of the way, freeing up space for other activities.
If possible, plan your work ahead. Even though Wi-Fi and phone service can be found almost everywhere, there’s still a chance that you will hit an area with no signal. The local attractions may be too good to pass up too. Take advantage of the downtime and get as much work as possible done in advance. Not only will it help prevent stress, but it’ll also allow you to enjoy your vacation. If you find yourself becoming extremely stressed about finding public Wi-Fi, consider investing in reliable internet of your own.
Getting work done while you’re hopping from destination to destination can seem almost impossible. You’ll always be driving or wanting to see the sights. If you slow down and stay in one spot for a longer period of time, you cut back on planning, set up, and break downtime. The time that you save can be spent working and taking in the great outdoors. Staying in one spot will also allow you to find the internet and service that you need just in case the next destination does not have it.
Create a schedule
Working remotely requires a lot of self-motivation and self-control. Procrastination is very common since there is so much to do and see. It can be really easy to want to slack off and do things that seem a lot more fun. If you create a work schedule, you’ll know when to start and when to stop. This way you’ll know you got as much work done as possible and you’ve earned your playtime.
If you are working for a traditional employer its best to set up a checking account which that employer can direct deposit your paychecks into. If you plan to be on the road for an extended period of time it may be advantageous to set up that account at a larger national bank like Chase, or Bank of America. The national banks will have branches in cities across the country that will give access to your money without additional fees. If you do not have an account at a bank with a local branch to your location, you can get cash without paying additional fees by getting cashback from larger retailers like Walmart when you go through their checkouts.
If you freelance, blog, or have a business with direct sales then an account at a payment processor like Paypal can be a huge asset. Using that account, you can receive payments from freelance sites like Upwork, sales sites like Etsy and eBay and blog monetizing sites like Google and Amazon. They can also provide virtual and physical terminals for credit card processing for direct and online sales.
It may be easy to get caught up in work but don’t forget that traveling all over the world in an RV is an experience that many will never be able to experience themselves. You’re there to create memories and have fun. It’s all about finding the balance that works for you and making it a part of your schedule and your RV lifestyle.
Working while traveling on an RV is not for everyone. It requires a lot of motivation, self-control, and dedication. It may take a while for you to find your rhythm and get down your routine but if you’re serious about seeing the world in your RV and working remotely, following these few tips will help ensure that you get there and help you live out your dream.
Shelley Rupert works for Outdoorsy, an RV marketplace for consumers and pros. She has been camping for almost 20 years and is always looking to find the next hike, off the beaten path. While she used to enjoy tenting in the wilderness, she prefers to camp in an RV now—whether it is a Class C or a teardrop trailer—to enjoy a little comfort after a long day outdoors and the ease of travel it provides. Her goal is to hike in all of the national parks in North America.