Life on the road may be a dream for some, but not for the Garcia family.
Molly and Jaren Garcia and their three children chose freedom over their home in Joshua, Texas, and decided to embrace full-time RV living. The Garcias began their full-time RV living journey in 2019 after selling their three-bedroom, two-bathroom house and minimizing their belongings.
The family has since traveled to 25 states and is now in their fifth RV, a 44-foot motorhome, after starting with a Coachman Chaparral. Jaren Garcia, 30, said, “We’ve hacked the freedom code for us. Everyone has what freedom [means] for them, but I think that we were pretty happy with what we chose.”
Since the pandemic, domestic travel has been on the rise but primarily through camping and RV travel to avoid the crowds. Before going full-time RV living, Jaren worked in sales and often traveled for work.
The Garcias decided to make this life change as a family so that they could be together and take control of their schedules.
Molly, 29, explained, “We were trying to figure out how we were going to live our lives separately. Like, I was at home with the kids and then he was gone out of state. He would only come home for a few days out of the month and then it was for months at a time and I was like, ‘Well, I don’t really care for being at home by myself anymore. I’d rather be with you even if it’s in an RV.’”
And that started the experience of a lifetime for the Garcias with children Lillie, 13, Jaxton, 9, and Willow, 5.
Jaren is the designated driver and has moved from sales to work as an independent insurance adjuster. The family also has other businesses on the side, having recently flipped a 1950s house.
Happily, the children have adapted well to full-time RV living. “They love it. We asked them, we’re like, ‘Do you want to go live back in the house? Do you want to go to school?’ And they’re like, ‘No, no, we like this,’” Molly said.
There has also been a significant dip in family expenses. Before their full-time RV living experience, the Garcias spent around $3,000 per month. Including food, the family has cut down their current living costs to approximately $1,000 per month.
Molly shared, “When we first started, we stayed at an RV park for the entire month and it was $650 per month and then we paid electric and water, which was about $130, so we were close to $800 and then we would pay for our RV payment and then we didn’t have a truck payment then.”
Over the years, the Garcias have also customized each of their RVs to their needs. “You can buy a $5,000 RV or you can buy a $500,000 RV, it’s all dependent on the person,” Jaren said.
“It’s just like owning a home but you got to know, you could sell your home for a good amount and then buy your RV cash and then know, OK, my home is paid for. I’m good. So it’s all dependent on the person, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s cheaper because now your fuel costs have gone up, which will be a little more expensive.”
Most meals are cooked at home and the family consistently figures out what they want to do, and the possessions they need. Full-time RV living needs constant downsizing.
“When you get into the RV life, if you bring a lot of weight into your RV, it’ll weigh it down. You’ll spend more money on gas, you might break things in your RV because there’s so much weight in there. So, actually going through everything, and, like, really going through everything, it’s a process,” Molly said.
The freedom to move around allows the Garcias to prioritize creating memorable experiences for the family. Full-time RVC living has brought them to countless trips to national parks, museums, zoos, and libraries.
There is always the temptation to spend a little more, but the family tries to keep their costs reasonable and on budget.
According to Molly, “A lot of people can make it cheaper. You can boondock, you can still get a membership at Thousand Trails [which offers campgrounds and RV parks for members], and stay for two weeks or more for free because you’ve spent a certain amount a year. You can stay with a friend or family, so there are ways you can move around to figure out how to save money.”
Full-time RV living may not be for everyone, but it is certainly a lifestyle that people can try and see if it works for them.
Molly stated, “We don’t want to scare people away from this lifestyle because you could spend a lot of money, like way more than if you lived in a house. But the outcome of everything is you’re getting a lot more experiences and being able to travel and be on your own time.”
Right now, the Garcias are living the dream, and are convinced that others can do so, too. Jaren added, “We just want people to know that you can do it if you put your mind to it, like the biggest roadblock that you’re gonna hit is the one that you make, so you can overcome it.”
Enjoy the Garcia’s full-time RV living experience in the video below: