So, you’ve caught the travel bug, the one that drives you to see what’s on the other side of the hill, to see people as they are.
Don’t worry. It’s not an illness. If it were, then there would be no America, at least not as you know it today.
The issue isn’t the bug; the problem is what you can do about it. For most, the investment of thousands of dollars to realize a dream is impossible.
You have responsibilities, family members to care for, a job to keep, and bills to pay. After saving what you can, there is little left over to satisfy the travel itch.
But, there is an answer, believe it or not. You can get a free RV.
Yes, that’s right—an RV at no initial cost to you.
Everyone’s situation is different. There are rules and regulations regarding RV ownership peculiar to each state, city, or even HMOs.
These are issues you must investigate before considering getting an RV, free or otherwise. First, you need to know whether you can park your RV on your property.
Cities often regulate the storage of an RV while not in use. For instance, some require you to construct a cement pad on which to park the vehicle, while others may allow you to park it anywhere on the street.
HMOs often have regulations regarding these vehicles, such as the length and width allowed and where to park them, and their appearance. If you cannot satisfy these regulations, your option is to store the RV in an RV storage unit.
There are many RV storage units throughout the country. You can find these facilities in your area simply by making an online query that will tell you how many storage spaces are available and the cost of renting them.
Another consideration is the licensing fee. Each state has a different licensing fee system, so you need to check out your state and see about this recurring cost. And do not forget insurance costs; contact your insurance company to ensure you can handle the extra financial burden.
If you’re one of those wonderful people with the skills to overhaul an entire RV, then you are one talented individual. These skills are of immense value when rebuilding an RV or analyzing whether an RV is worth the trouble to reconstruct.
There is a lot to refurbishing an older RV. For instance, knowledge on how to repair and maintain the power train is essential.
Most people must contact an expert to repair any damage on the outside of an RV. If you know how to repair rust spots, dents, leaks, broken windows, and bent doors, then you don’t need to consider the extra costs such repairs require.
Then, there is the interior. Can you rebuild cabinets, floors, walls, tables, and other items included in an RV? If you can, let the word out; many people are willing to pay you for your services.
Be aware of these skills; if you do not have them, then either find a friend that does and is willing to help you out or be ready to pay to have the work completed. Once you have these considerations in hand, it is time to start looking for a free RV.
There are two types of free RVs—temporary and permanent. The difference between the two is that “temporary” means you’ve got to give it back and is restrictive en route, while “permanent” is unfettered. It means full ownership so you can go anywhere you please.
Method #1: Relocation Driver
RV manufacturers and franchises constantly move inventory across the country. Sometimes these moves are only a few hundred miles; other times, they involve moving an RV across three states or more.
The market demands the movement of RVs from one location to another. When an RV of a particular type, make, and size is ordered and is unavailable, then managers reach to other franchises to obtain it for the customer.
Another factor is the delivery of new or refurbished RVs to franchises. Most manufacturers find it cheaper and more productive to hire a driver to move the RV to its new location than to truck them across the country.
At times, customers renting an RV will make a one-way trip, leaving the RV at another rental location. In that case, the owners usually wait to see if another customer will rent the vehicle again or hire a driver to return the RV to the initial site.
In any case, RV businesses lean hard on the general public to get an RV from one place to another. Most often, these businesses network drivers to move RVs.
To get into a network you must have a clean driving record, a driver’s license, and be 21 or older. The first step is to contact one of these networks:
When applying to be a relocation driver, your first few trips will involve a very stringent itinerary. However, you can still negotiate a brief stay here or there—perhaps at a national or state park you always wanted to visit.
Once you get a few trips under your belt, your opportunities improve to gain some perks like minor detours to state or national parks, weeklong stays at a preferred location, and compensation for fuel cost. No matter what, it is a trip you and your family can enjoy in a clean, refurbished or new RV.
When applying to become a relocation driver, make sure to mention your time frame, preferred routes, and how many are in your party.
There is only one negative to being a relocation driver. You are on your own to get home.
Consider negotiating a return trip before committing to relocating an RV. Some companies will compensate for all or part of your costs.
Method #2: High RV Maintenance Costs
Getting a free and permanent RV is a big step for anyone. If you remember reading about high RV maintenance costs, this is where they can work to your advantage.
Some RV owners no longer wish to hit the road and are reluctant to maintain insurance, licensing, maintenance, and storage costs. These add up and can be crippling to a family on a fixed income. Folks in this dire situation may be willing to hand over their RV if you agree to do the manual work necessary to take it off their hands.
Other RV owners willing to give up their RV are moving to a new location where regulations prohibit keeping an RV parked on the premises. To avoid the extra burden of storage costs, it is to their advantage to surrender the RV.
Method #3: Advertising
Letting your friends and family know that you’re on the lookout for a free RV. Some may laugh, but don’t let this discourage you.
Use your contacts on social media to be an extra set of eyes. Twitter and Facebook friends know no location boundaries, which expands your field of search.
Use Advertising to Your Advantage
There are several advertising opportunities available for you to pursue, itemizing your search for a free RV. Using the local newspaper, prominent city newspapers in your state, Nickle Ads, and others let you get the word out about your search.
The most effective modern mechanism is Craigslist. On Craigslist, you are not limited to advertising in your local area; you can expand your advertisement to include a nationwide search.
To search nationwide for a free RV, use these two links:
- site:craigslist.org/zip/ motorhome
- site:craigslist.org/zip/ rv
Either link brings up a catalog of free RVs from which you may be able to find the right one for you.
While you are at it, search the RV classifieds in your local newspapers. Today, you can reach these ads online when researching prominent newspapers.
Finally, get out the door and do some legwork of your own. Look about you; you may be able to spot an aging or ignored RV in your neighborhood.
Drive through your community. If you see an RV that has remained in one spot for an extended period—you will know them by the accumulated dust and debris on the windows and the roof—stop by and knock on the door to see if the owners would like to rid themselves of the unit.
Finding a gem that is ignored is part of the mission of any RV enthusiast who wishes to make an RV their own through sweat equity. You are not just refurbishing an RV for yourself; you are giving the RV a new lease on life, a new mission, a new family.
Method #4: Win an RV
One of the least likely ways to get a free RV is to win one in a contest. It does not happen often, but it does happen.
Some RV franchises sponsor contests for RVs for charitable organizations or as an advertising ploy. Check out your local RV outlets and see if, or when, they will be supporting such contests; mark them on your calendar, and enter them when the time comes.
Many RV manufacturers have contests for free RVs. Take the time to search for these contests, enter your name in the competition, and maybe, just maybe, you will get lucky.
There are many ways to obtain a free RV.
Whether that means serving as a relocator of RVs or finding RV owners no longer interested in keeping it, it doesn’t matter. Either way, you’re on the road.
Take advantage of these opportunities.