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Retiring in an RV – Always an Interesting Option

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Monterey RV for retirement

We are always on the lookout for interesting retirements. So when a mutual friend told us about Betty Fitterman (, we got pretty excited. Betty and her husband shucked off their expensive home and 3 of their 4 cars, and bought a 4 year old luxury RV. It’s the kind you see rolling down the Interstates wishing you were on board, making a sandwich or taking a nap. Really nice.

Best of all Betty agreed to write an exclusive series for Topretirements about what is like to live 365 days a year in your luxury RV, on the road and without a mortgage or grass to cut. As a former top ad agency creative, it’s no wonder Betty is such an interesting writer. Check out all 5 articles in the series in our Tips and Picks section, starting with “Living the Mobile Lifestyle in Retirement.

Posted by Admin on October 6th, 2008


  1. Betty, I wrote you directly already because I had trouble at first, writing you through Google. I am really looking forward to your future stories!
    Joe & Myrta

    by Joe Rivera — December 3, 2008

  2. Thanks Joe, Anyone who wants to talk firsthand is welcome to write me at

    by Betty Fitterman — December 3, 2008

  3. Editor’s note: We noticed that a great discussion broke out on one of our “Best States for Retirement” Blog posts, but which didnt really fit the topic. So we have decided to move all of those posts over here, where the discussion can continue uninterrupted. Later today we will delete the orginal posts (and keep these copies) to avoid confusion. Also, don’t forget Betty Fitterman’s 6 Part series on the “Turtle Lifestyle”, which provides an amazing amount of information and entertainment!

    Bev: I am about to hit the road with my 2 yo Golden Retriever and 16 year old cat.
    Am looking for what I understand is called a Class B Motor Home (Basically an SUV with Motor Home amenities–Bathroom, kitchen, pull out bed) The only one I have seen is a $100K+ Mercedes–Would prefer–A. American–B–We could stay in hotels for 3 years for tha. Any ideas? All suggestions appreciated.

    Bonnie: Bev, You can find gently used RV’s now at great prices. The Class B you are looking at are more expensive because of their small, compact size, but a used one will be half that price and they are not all Mercedes engines. They are more labor intensive to build. Look at a small Class C about 27 feet. I think with pets, the Class B will get mighty small for you quickly. We have been full time in a Class A 35 foot Motor Home for 11 years. Legal residents of Texas with no state income tax nor property taxes. Home is where we park it.

    Sandy: Hi Bonnie,
    I bet you wintered in Destin!!!! I recognized your 11 years on the road and the Class A35footer!!!!!!!!!!! You can really drive that rig. Hope all is well – it is nice downstate Florida

    Mallory: Bev- I can recommend two websites to educate yourself about RV selection 1 RV education 101 and RV lifestyle ezine; I would strongly advise renting a unit initially before you purchase, Mal Harling

    Editor’s Note: Thanks for the tips. Don’t miss the 6 part series that Betty Fitterman wrote for Topretirements on the Mobile Lifestyle. Fascinating, and great tips too (See under Adventurous Lifestyles section):

    Margaret: Good Sam Club offers buyers guides and classified ads for RVs. You can join their mail forwarding service and have a permanent Florida address which has no income tax. They can also take care of all your vehicle registration services. Their vehicle insurance has special coverage for full-time rv’ers.

    Cindy: Someone mentioned websites for choosing an RV. We are interested in a 18-21 foot trailer. Thanks!

    If you are going to spend any length of time in a trailer then an 18 to 21 foot trailer is going to be too small. My parents started off with an 18 footer but finally comfortable when they got a 32 ft trailer. I have a 25 ft 5th wheel and it is too small. I wish I had a 32 or 35 ft 5th wheel. Maybe try renting a trailer for a vacation.

    by Topretirements Editor — February 3, 2014

  4. I’ve been researching this issue. The trade off, as I see it, is do you want to go over 25 or 26 feet on your RV, which then becomes too big to use as a vehicle to get around in after you arrive at a destination, (which then necessitates towing a small car), or stay under a certain size and drive the RV as your vehicle. Then, while a trailer would solve the extra vehicle issue, but I haven’t seen any articles that encourage pulling a trailer unless your vehicle has been upgraded with sway bars etc and it’s sill more dangerous towing a trailer than having a motor home, unless you go to a 5th wheel.

    by Dan — February 3, 2014

  5. This is a great topic, but really on the ‘high end’ of the rv lifestyle. Check out for a blog from a full timer living in a 16′ casita trailer. Or for a blog from a full timer living in a teardrop! There are many people who are choosing to go small…and cheap! Lots of data out there about dry camping and boon docking for full timers. Some do this just as a preferred lifestyle, others do it out of economic necessity. The people driving luxury busses are getting fewer and fewer in number, especially with the high cost of gas. Think green and go small! And hey, don’t forget travel trailers as an option, which means you have a separate tow vehicle..,and something you can drive, while your trailer is parked. I just purchased a park model mobile home in a mobile home/rv park in Tucson area, looked at several parks here before buying. Many many more travel trailers than motorhomes. My next steps are…renting out my house in NY, settling into my park model, then starting my search for either a teardrop or small travel trailer to live in during Tucson summers. I am all about downsizing!

    by Ginger — February 4, 2014

  6. Ginger, you are living my dream. I am selling my home in Colorad (too big) and going to Mesa or Apache Junction for a park model and then getting a small RV to travel during the hot months. I am from Connecticut, moved to Colorado and now getting older and ready to get “rid” of all the unnecessary “stuff”. Want to live the good/easy life and just enjoy. Let us know how it goes!

    by svenska — February 5, 2014

  7. Ginger, I hope once you’re in AZ and on the road you’ll remember to post. I’m following your comments with great interest. I’m 70 and have a yen to travel, be in warmer weather during the winter, as well as to cut our living expenses dramatically or we’ll be in trouble as my husband and I age.

    by Jane Alynn — February 5, 2014

  8. I do intend to keep posting. I suspect that there will be more and more seniors looking for alternative, cheaper lifestyles. I am very excited that I found my park model. It is a 2007 laurel creek. It is in god shape but I have work I want to do. My first step is clearing my house in NY by dumping a lot of my stuff. Hope to be out of here by march. Then my cross country drive to Tucson. Then I’ll spend a couple of months working on my park model. And I’ll be saving, and watching the Internet, for a teardrop or something similar. So, lots to do!

    One suggestion to others … Look off the beaten path or your park model. The larger parks with all the amenities are more expensive. Units ost more and monthly rent costs more. Try to find those smaller parks. The park I found is in Marana, 10 miles outside Tucson. It has pool, spa, clubhouse, etc. but cheaper and less rules than big arks in town. And very nice and helpful owners. And my park model was a steal.

    by Ginger — February 6, 2014

  9. Ginger, congratulations! How many square feet is your park model? When you say “a steal” it would be helpful to know how much you paid. If you feel uncomfortable disclosing that, I’d understand. But if you feel OK about it I’d love to know what we’re facing. Thanks.

    by Jane Alyn — February 7, 2014

  10. I know the feeling, Ginger. last year I moved out of a house in MI on 5 acres after building it 25 years ago — divorce induced. Now the lease on my rental is up AND I’m trying to avoid spending so much on rent (paying 1600/mo here), so seriously considering a used RV. Keep us informed on your progress.

    by Dan — February 7, 2014

  11. Ginger, Good luck to you and as I said before you are living my dream. I am planning to go down to Arizona in March and look around. I think I want to go to the Phoenix area, even though I have read that Tuscon is supposed to be cooler in the summer. In your checking around were most of them pet friendly, I have 2 big dogs, I call them my teddy bears, and were there any parks that allowed fencing, maybe in the back yard. Would love to hear about your experience in you hunting for the right place?

    by svenska — February 7, 2014

  12. Forgot another questions, were there any park models with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths?
    Or are they all 1 bedroom and 1 bath?

    by svenska — February 7, 2014

  13. Svenska…my park model was armed way down. I was very lucky. In a year or more of searching I didn’t see antsy other deals this good. If you google 2007 laurel creek you will see that most units for sake are 25k or more. I got mine for $10,500. This s why I flew down to see it..,,how could that be? But…it was true. And a nice unit that had on,y ever been used for part-time rentals. The park I am in has no pet restrictions; most of them do. Most parks have a pet section, and often have weight limits and breed restrictions. Unless you are really stuck on Phoenix, you might want to consider my park! And yes, in my park you can put up fencing and I suspect you can in other parks, although there is not always much space.
    I found out yesterday that my aching knee is due to a torn meniscus, and I will be having knee surgery feb.24th, which will cause some delay. However, my park owner gave me 3 free months rent and that doesn’t start until I get back there, however long that takes. How nice is that? So…now just to get my house rented!

    by Ginger — February 8, 2014

  14. I hate auto correct. My park model was marked way down….not armed.

    There is such a thing as a 2 bedroom park model, but you rarely ever see them. And they are very tight. If you want two bedrooms your choices are to go with a regular mobile home, or to look for a used park model with an Arizona room. I saw a very nice unit in Tucson that had an Arizona room with a Murphy bed. For 16k. Or you can buy a new park model and add an Arizona room.

    by Ginger — February 8, 2014

  15. Jane, my park model…like all park models unless in Florida is just under 400 sq ft. You can get smaller park models, but the units you will see in all the park model communities rang from about 386 -399 sq feet. That does not include anything that has been added on like decks or Arizona rooms. See my post above for what I paid.

    by Ginger — February 8, 2014

  16. Ginger, thanks for all the information. Good luck, and rapid healing with that knee.

    by Jane Alynn — February 8, 2014

  17. Ginger I hope your surgery goes well and you will not need a long recovery. Yes, that was a very nice gesture of your park manager. She really is working with you, which is a good feeling. Can you tell me what park you are going to? I will go in and check on your model. In the research I have done, only on the computer, the newwer the model the better built it is. I am thinking of Phoenix only because I have been there a few times and know a little about that area. My first time to Arizona, many years ago, was to Tuscon and I thought it was beautiful with the mountains all around it. We really appreciate all the info you have forwarded and I wish you speedy recovery and soon on your way to Arizona and good luck in renting your home.

    by svenska — February 9, 2014

  18. Svenska…they don’t have any more park models available in my park, they may have empty spaces you could place a park model in. I’m in If you call, speak to Daniel ad give him my name. I mentioned my park because of your dogs…they do allow bug dogs. Most parks don’t. They might have mobile homes for sale, I don’t know. But no park models. Good luck.

    by Ginger — February 9, 2014

  19. Thank you Ginger for being so good about sharing your information. I did go into
    the website and it said they are bringing in more park models and I did ask for additional information. Looking at the park site, it looks like a really big park with a lot of spaces. I will let you know what info I get. Thanks again.

    by svenska — February 9, 2014

  20. Ginger, I am glad you will continue on this blog for awhile…you have some good info and done a nice job researching. You have worked hard on that research to get a retirement that works for you. I especially appreciate the dog info. I want to be able to fence at least enough area for a jump or two to keep my dog in shape.

    PS Good luck with your knee surgery…I just had trouble with my “good knee” and they assumed it might be a meniscus tear, but with so much arthritis they really couldn’t tell…so it will be a replacement for me…hopefully after I get settled in a new place.

    by Elaine — February 10, 2014

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