Living with Intent: How a Young Family Chose Their RV
Finding the RV that is right for you can be overwhelming and intimidating! There are so many options, options for your options, options on top of options. ALL. THE. OPTIONS.
A few months ago, we made the decision to sell everything and move our family into an RV to travel the country together, have amazing adventures, and have a blast documenting our journey and all things RV on social media and YouTube. Nic and I (Jess), and our two boys, Brady and Bailey, are still adjusting to our tiny new lifestyle, but we are loving it!
The Search Begins
When we first began our search, we were so very uninformed about RVs. Like most, I assume, our research began on the Google and the YouTube. Since we are fancy, we air played our laptops to our AppleTV, all millennial style, and got to watching and searching and floorplan drooling.
Our main concerns were floorplan, style, and space. Here we were in a 2,800 sq. ft home preparing to switch to a new lifestyle in about 300 sq. ft. Like any good HGTV fans, we began with our "must-haves" list: washer and dryer, full-size refrigerator, fireplace, bunkhouse, king-size bed, separate second bathroom, large living space -- only the necessities, right? HA! Needless to say, we were not very realistic our first time around.
Budget parameters secured, must-have list made, internet search complete, floorplan favorites picked ... it was time to tour some models in person! We went to a few dealerships in our area and toured fifth wheels, as well as Class A, B, and C options. Believe me, our complete first-run "must-haves" list was available and ready for purchase, and was beautiful, and shiny, and spacious, and way, WAY out of our price range! We needed to establish a set of realistic parameters.
Our original purpose for switching to the RV lifestyle was to live a life of intent, moving more towards experiences and relationships over belongings. So, we had a good laugh, a quick reality check, and we refocused our efforts.
We wanted something safe, dependable, and sturdy. Our children came first in all of this, especially with the amount of change we were throwing at them. (P.S. They are champs and the coolest, most wonderful kids around, and I'm not even biased for a second). We needed to make sure they had a dedicated sleep space and separate living space. Also important were the engine/vehicle condition. The length of the vehicle couldn't be too long, for campground reservation purposes. (Also, because we were a little concerned about driving as first-time RVers and the total length after towing our vehicle). And we had to check the ceiling height as well because Nic is 6'5" -- a modern day giant.
Narrowing Down the Options
Since Class Bs and Cs just couldn't contain Nic's stature, and because toddlers, we decided a Class A was the best idea for our family. Bathroom breaks, snacks, boredom, brother-ness ... it would take us a week to travel 100 miles with all the stopping we would have to do traveling in a fifth wheel or travel trailer situation. Perhaps I'm being a little dramatic here, but nonetheless, we decided on a Class A over an oh-so-tempting and much-more-spacious fifth wheel, and I'm glad we did.
From the automatic leveling system, to the hookup and live or unhook and drive aspect of a Class A, it is the perfect set-up for our family! We also decided on a gas model over a diesel, even though we reeeeeeally wanted a diesel. It just wasn't in the budget, and that's ok!
We also centered in on Winnebago because we know and trust the brand name and we love their aesthetic altogether. We decided new was the way we wanted to go with financing, the dealership warranty, a fresh engine, new tanks, and the reassurance that we would be safe and secure driving our little family miles away from our loved ones and home base. So, we began searching for models that had bunkhouses with a length between 30-32 feet.
We came across the Winnebago Intent 31P and instantly fell in love! The comfort, the size, the ease of the one slide, the safety of the RV, plus the newbie-friendly interface of the technology, tank, and water systems are exactly what our family needed.
It checked all of the boxes: bunkhouse, ceiling height tall enough for Nic to stand straight up with some room to spare, was right at 32 feet long, and had a Ford engine (we had read favorable reviews about the Ford engines, and that they could be serviced at all Ford dealerships, increasing our peace of mind should anything happen out on the road). Plus, it had a beautiful exterior! (Watch this video for a tour of our home).
We also couldn't overlook the fact that the word "intent" had been a huge descriptor in our journey and there it was inscribed right on the side of the motorhome -- the very name of the model! I mean, come on!
A Few Closing Thoughts
We heard great advice about choosing the right RV. One of the most important things to remember is that there will not be a perfect RV. Get what best suits your needs within your budget, and GO START LIVING!!! Oh, and if you can't afford diesel, like us, don't let it hold you back and keep you from getting out there and taking on some incredible adventures- gas engines can do it, too!
We began without a clue, no prior knowledge of RV life, no idea what we should be asking or even researching, and wildly unrealistic expectations (we were sooo cute...)! But, we found copious amounts of information online about RV life and we are finding the RV community to be infinitely helpful and willing to educate newbies like us. We are loving it!
So, if you are thinking of taking the leap, but you aren't sure you are ready, or are overwhelmed by the information mountain in front of you, just know that there is a community ready to welcome you in and help you adjust and learn. Find the RV that works for you and your budget and get out here already!