top of page

Updated: Jun 7, 2021

How to make money as a full-time RVer.

If you ask any full-time RVer, there are so many different ways you can make money from the road. This is a question we get all the time, "What do you do to make money to be able to travel full-time?" Unfortunately, we have not won the lottery yet. One of the ways that we make money is I (Patty) teach English as a second language with the company VIPKID.

When we decided that we wanted to sell everything and go full-time, we knew we needed more income. Shane is retired from the Air Force and gets retirement pay, but it is not enough pay to cover all of our expenses. I will be quitting my full-time position with the government because I am not able to travel with that job. I am also not old enough to retire, so I can't draw a retirement pay yet.

For the last couple of years I have looked around to trying to find jobs that I could apply to where I could work full-time from the RV. I had a friend several years ago who taught for VIPKID and she tried to get me to apply. At the time I brushed it off because I had a full-time job. One day I happened to be on a Facebook group and saw someone talking about teaching from their RV. I had no idea you could teach from your camper. I then reached out to my friend and asked her, how do I apply.

I have always loved working with kids. I started out with home day care, I ran youth events when I worked at a library, and I managed the pre-teen/teen center when we lived in Turkey. I knew once I started researching teaching with this company, this was exactly what I wanted to do.

VIPKID is a company based out of China. It is an online platform that enables English speaking teachers to teach English to kids in China. You are able to set our own schedule, you chose when you work and where you work. You can work from your home, from your RV, from your car, or from a hotel bathroom. FYI, I have taught from all these places. As long as you have a computer, laptop, or tablet, and a fast reliable internet connection you can teach anywhere. You will teach one on one with students and no lesson planning, VIPKID does it all for you. You log in and start teaching, it is that easy. You can between $14 - $22 an hour, depending on your experience. They pay you per class, so it would be $7 - $11 per class.


How to apply. All you need is a bachelor's degree, any bachelor's degree qualifies you to apply. You need to be legally able to work in the USA or Canada. You will need some experience working with kids, babysitting and being a parent qualifies. First you click on my link here to apply, and I will become your mentor. As a mentor you can contact me for any questions, and how to get through the process, I receive a small one time referral payment from the company. If that link doesn't work you can log into VIPKID and use my referral code PATRI0422.

Please Note: If you live and work in the state of California, as part of the Assembly Bill 5 of the California Labor Law was signed into effect in 2020, VIPKID no longer hires residents in CA.

The whole process is done online through their website, and it's user friendly. Once, you pass the initial application process you will need to do a short demo lesson and a mock class. This is also done online where you will have a current teacher watch and see how you would teach a class. Once you pass this process is complete you will receive a 6-month contract to sign. The whole process can take a up to a week or two. Tip: Most people do not pass their first time, so don't get frustrated if you don't pass the first or second time. You can take the mock class many times until you pass. It is also not mandatory that you teach a certain amount of classes. If you teach one or two classes and decide it is not for you, you just don't open any more classes. You are in charge of your teaching schedule and if you want to teach.

What you will need to teach. You will not need all of these to begin teaching. I will put a star by the ones that are mandatory.

1. *Laptop, computer, or tablet, nothing fancy. You can use one you already have as long as it will connect to the internet, and is able to download the VIPKID app.

2. Light source - this can be a small cheap round clip light from Amazon like the one pictured, or you can just use a lamp you already have at home.

3. *Backdrop - You can go cheap and purchase a shower curtain, fabric remnant, wrapping paper, felt. I purchased an inexpensive personalized backdrop from Vistaprint.. You can see mine above in the photos.

4. External camera - Most laptops have cameras on them, but they are not always great. A good external camera is really a gamechanger. If it is a good camera, you will not even need an external light. A good camera makes all the difference when teaching. It is so much better when the student can see you.

5. *Headphones - you don't need an expensive headset, but you do need one that has a microphone like the one I have linked. You can always pick up a pair at Walmart or Target as well.

6. *Props - Props can be 2d or 3d. It is best to get some of each. I have a lot that I just found

pictures of on google images, printed them out and laminated them. Then some 3D ones I found at Dollar Tree, Walmart, & Target dollar spot. I have some small foods, balls, flashcards, dolls, animals, & some misc. toys.

7. Puppets - Puppets are not mandatory, but I find they help when you have really young kids, it helps to get them to open up a bit. I found mine on Amazon and on the VIPKID store website which you can also purchase on Amazon. (Just search VIPKID on Amazon and it comes up with a lot of items.

8. *Awards - Awards are mandatory to teach. You will see in the training they want you to award them with different prizes. I have printed those out as well, found some at Dollar

Tree, and they have some on Amazon as well, like this ice cream award.

9. Adjustable height portable laptop stand. This is not mandatory, you can always use books or boxes. But, this one is inexpensive and great because you can raise it up to stand

If you are interested in teaching for VIPKID feel free to email or DM me on Instagram with any questions you have. Our email is I will answer any questions and walk you through the entire process. Once you are ready to apply click on this link to be directed to sign up under my account. Also, use my referral code PATRI0422.

676 views5 comments

Updated: Jun 7, 2021

Let me preface by saying, this was one of the hardest things we ever had to do. We were a military family that moved every 2 - 3 years, and this was so much harder. Being married 24 years and a military family, we collected a lot of stuff. I mean look at this picture I posted, this was just one garage sale. We needed to get rid of a lot of stuff because we didn't want to have a huge storage unit with a huge monthly payment.

I would suggest you start downsizing a year out from your full-time date. However, we did not do that, we started downsizing 6 months from when we were supposed to move into the RV. Six months is still a lot of time, but if you can start sooner. This list can also be used to downsize into a smaller house, apartment, or just minimalizing your life. After we found a realtor the next step was to start going through everything. I suggest you divide this up into manageable timeframes. Because we both still worked full-time, I would set aside every Saturday that we were home to go through a closet, drawer, or room.

When we started discussing downsizing and I did research I was afraid it would be hard for me to get rid of certain items. I was shocked that I was not the one that had a hard time getting rid of items. Shane was the one that had a hard time parting with certain items. I was only sentimental about one item, and it was a Halloween dancing skeleton. Of all the items I owned, I never thought a skeleton would get me teary-eyed. We had it for so long and I just had a lot of memories with the boys and our friend's kids when they were little.

1. Organize

To make this an easier process organization is key. One thing I learned as a military spouse is how to set up different areas of your home when it is time to PCS (move from one base to another). Set up piles/areas somewhere in the house or set up rooms. We had a few empty rooms and set them up as waiting stations. We had one room that was for garage sale items and one that was for storage items. I used black trash bags for donated items, and trash items (which surprisingly was a lot). To do this correctly, you need to go through every single item in your home, either keep in RV, put in storage, donate, or trash. Don't forget, you can't keep too much in your RV, because of storage and weight issues.

One way to get your items ready for storage is to buy large storage bins with lids. We rented a large climate-controlled storage unit, but the items I kept are sentimental and can't be replaced, so I wanted to make sure they were safe. You can find these storage bins at just about any store, Walmart, Target, Amazon, Ikea, and The Container Store. Shane found some large ones on wheels that had handles. This made transporting them to storage and around the house so much easier.

2. Garage Sale

If you have a lot of stuff like we did, you need to have a garage sale. We actually had so much stuff, I had to schedule two garage sales. For a garage sale you need to be organized as well. First thing is put like items together as you are sorting them in rooms or piles. A great time saver is to purchase stickers that have prices already printed on them, and as you sort the items, go ahead and put a price on them. You could also set up an estate sale, this is where you would just leave everything in the house as is and people come through and literally buy stuff off of your walls. Lastly, you could pay someone to do all of this for you.

3. For Sale Pages & Apps

When I say sale pages, I mean social media sale pages. (no one posts in the newspaper any more). You can post on Facebook Marketplace, Facebook neighborhood pages, Craigslist, and Ebay, are just a few. There are so many sales pages now, I can't list them all. Be prepared to meet up with people at other places other then your home. We found this to be a much safer way to meet up for the smaller items. For larger items, make sure you have more than one person at your house to be safe. Some Apps that you can set up on your phone, Poshmark, Let Go, and Offer Up are just a few of many available to sell items right from your phone. Also, download pay apps on your phone to make payments easier, Some pay apps we used were PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle. There are many other pay apps out there, these were the three most people had on their phones.

4. Donate

Donate items to family members first. We our boys come in and pick out what they wanted, and I mailed some items to other family members. We donated all our blankets and pillows to the animal shelter. Everything else was donated to various charities in our home town. There are so many charities as well where you can donate. Salvation Army, homeless shelters, women's shelters, Habitat for Humanity, and many more. Google in your home town the best places to donate clothes, house items, outdoor items, etc.

5. Trash/Recycle

Last, if you don't even think it is worth donating, just throw it in the trash. Go online and find where to recycle as much as you can before just throwing it away in the trash. I took so many bags to the trash, I lost count. It was around 20 large 35 gallon trash bags. I was able to spread them out over weeks, so as not to overwhelm or be charged by our trash pick-up company. If you have large items that will not fit in the trash cans, you will need to have a bulk pick-up set up with your trash company, or you will need to find a drop-off trash place. Most of the drop-off places will charge. Our HOA had a monthly dump day that was free, so we were able to dump some of our larger items with them for free.

6. Storage Unit

Once you have sold, donated, and trashed all your extra items you will still have some items that you want to keep. The only items we decided to keep were the ones we bought while living overseas. These items would be very hard if not impossible to buy again. At first we went and rented a large storage unit, to later go back and downsize. However, we have not done that yet. It is on the list before we hit the road. We also decided to pay the extra and go with a climate controlled unit. Some of our items are priceless to us, so we thought it was worth it to pay the extra.

Last, we had to move everything we had left into the camper. This is where you might have to get creative. For us everything fit, but we did have to purchase some storage bins, hangers, baskets, and other organizational items. I wanted to make sure everything has it's place and it always goes back into that space. It just helps to keep everything clean and tidy when you live in a small space. This is also a great time to purge again. You will find the things you thought you will need, you actually don't end up needing after all.

1,229 views2 comments

Updated: Nov 21, 2021

Whether you are a full-time camper, weekend warrior, or friends with one, there are many great Christmas gift ideas. These could also be purchased any time of the year for birthdays and anniversaries. Shane and I have come up with our top 20 gift ideas of all price ranges. I added Amazon links to each item, just click on the name. Some of the links are to actual items that we have purchased and love. If we don't have that exact item, we have one very similar. These are items we have, use, and love.

Disclaimer: We are affiliated with some of these companies and receive some products/services from these links.


  1. USA scratch-off Map

For travelers that want to keep track of all the states they visit. Every time you visit a new state you scratch off that state to show beautiful colors or pictures. There are so many varieties to chose from, you can even get one that has all the National Parks and landmarks you visit. Price under $20 USD.

2. Garden Flag

There are so many garden flags that you could purchase as a gift. The one pictured is a personalized flag. You can get their name, where they are from, or just a cute camper quote. There are also flags for every holiday with campers on the flag as well. You can just purchase a flag or the flag with the holder. If you are crafty, you can make the flag holder for them out of PVC pipe. Price under $20 USD,

3. Electric blanket

This is great to have for any camper in the winter, or summer if you live with Shane. He loves it cold at all times, especially when he is sleeping. He bought me an electric blanket because I am always freezing. This is great for full-time RVers or anyone that camps in the winter. They can use it while they sleep to save on propane, or at night snuggled up on the sofa. Price under $60 USD.

4. Turkish Towels

These towels are a must for every camper, part-time or full-time. Turkish towels are made from 100% cotton and imported from Turkey. They dry super fast, and you can go at least a week without washing them and they never have that "musty" smell. The towels are small and compact, they don't take up a lot of space, which is crucial in a camper. There are many sizes, from washcloth size to large beach towels. You can use them after a shower, the pool, or even take them to the beach. We love ours and have had them for years. We originally purchased ours when we lived in Turkey. We found a new company recently that has amazing soft towels. They are a female run, fair trade company, that also gives back to their community. We have a 30% off discount code for you. GILL30, will give you a 30% off discount on all of their merchandise.

Price $20 - $50 USD.

5. Countertop Icemaker

Let's face it, anytime you go camping you always need ice

I don't know how much money we spent over the years on bags of ice. You always need ice when you are camping, especially in the hot summer months. Just nothing better than a beer that has been chilled in an ice chest or a fresh-made margarita. You can find ice makers everywhere now, from Amazon to Walmart. Sometimes you can find them for less than $100. Most are priced around $100 - $150 and they have large pieces of ice. We had one for many years when we lived overseas because it is hard to find bags of ice in Europe. Ours died a few years ago so we decided to splurge on this ice maker that makes "Sonic" like ice. It is a little more expensive, but we think it is well worth the price. Price $100 - $550 USD.

6. Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Ok, this is something as a full-timer or even when we were part-time campers we use every single day.

When you are camping and people are walking in and out all day every day, the floors get dirty fast. Campgrounds have a lot of dirt, grass, leaves, mud, etc. These cordless vacuums are lifesavers, especially if you are OCD like me (Patty). You can just whip it out with the long attachment or the small one to clean up small messes. I use the small one every single day to clean little spots around the camper. If you don't want to spend a lot of money, you can just get a small cordless handheld vacuum. Price $30 - $160 USD.

7. Collapsible dishes

Any collapsible items are always great to have in a camper. There is not a lot of storage or cabinets in RVs. So anytime you can take up less space in your kitchen is a win. You can find all kinds of collapsible dishes on Amazon or Walmart reasonably priced. You can purchase bowls, cups, strainer, measuring cups, laundry baskets, dish drainer, and many more. Any of these items are always greatly appreciated for any camper. Price $8 - $25 USD.

8. Camping Chairs

When we first started camping 20 years ago all you could find were basic bag chairs for camping. There are hundreds of varieties that you can purchase now. I really like this one that I have linked because it folds down very small, which we all know is great for campers. This one is affordable and can even fit in a backpack. Anything that does not take up a lot of space is a great gift. You can find fold-up chairs, couches, rocking chairs, lounge chairs, chairs with coolers, chairs with tables, etc. Price $25 - $99 USD.

9. Kitchen appliances (Instapot or Air Fryer)

What did people do before Instant Pots? I mean I use mine every day, usually more than once a day. I use it to make rice, soups, stews, and french fries. I have the air fryer top to the Instant Pot, and make homemade french fries every day! Shane loves using it, he loves to find a recipe that can all be thrown in the pot, turned on, and walk away. There are also Air Fryers that are a great item to have as well. Just don't forget they need to be small, to fit in the small kitchens. Another great camping appliance is this cute locking crock-pot, we actually bought these for our parents last year and they love them.

Price $59 - $100 USD.

10. Camping Memberships/Passes

So many camping memberships and discount clubs, I can't list them all. I will name a few that we have or are going to buy in the future. The first one that most people know about is Thousand Trails. We will be purchasing a membership with them before we hit the road. Thousand Trails is a membership club, where you pay a yearly fee and can stay at all of their campgrounds for free, or very low cost. This is the most popular for full-time RVers. I could write an entire blog about them. Look them up if you don't know, they are a great gift. Passport America is a great discount club, we actually purchased the lifetime membership with them this year, they had a huge sale over the summer. This membership offers 50% off a night at participating parks. The yearly membership is a great gift, for only $44 a year. The next membership I will mention is Harvest Hosts. This is very popular among full-timers as well. This membership gets you free camping at wineries, breweries, farms, museums, etc. It is dry camping for the most part, but some have hook-ups for you. This is great exposure for the businesses, and it is customary for the camper to participate or purchase something at the site. And lastly, any State or National Park annual pass is a wonderful gift. Not only do you receive discounts on camping, but you get free admission into the parks. Price $44 - $500 USD.


  1. Tool kit

Toolkits are a must for any camper. Things in campers break on a regular basis, that is just the reality of camper living. This tool kit that Shane picked out is great for any issues you might have in the camper or your tow vehicle. DeWalt tools are well made and of great quality. Shane was a mechanic in the Air Force for 24 years, so he knows a great tool-kit. There are others cheaper and more expensive, any tool-kit is great for a camper/RVer. Price $25-$100 USD.

2. Water bottle

Water bottles are pretty self-explanatory. Everyone could use a water bottle. But, a lot of campers/RVers are outside often hiking, biking, kayaking, etc. So they will always need some time of water bottle. The insulated ones like the Hydroflask or Yeti are great. But, there are also water bottles that can filter your water, which is great for hikers. Price $15 - $25 USD.

3. Telescoping ladder

Shane said this is one of his favorite items I have purchased for him. Ours is different than this photo, here is the link to the one I bought Shane. It folds down very small and fits perfectly in the storage under our camper. We have used this ladder inside the camper and also outside to hang lights, wash the camper, and so much more. A great tool to have in any camper or home. Price $120-$150 USD.

4. Yeti Cooler

Just about every company has their version of the Yeti bag. But, to us we are just Yeti people, it is totally worth the cost. This small bag is perfect for campers and anyone outdoorsy. We use it when we go out kayaking and paddleboarding, fits perfectly in the kayak and on top of the paddle board. It is large enough to fit several drinks and a picnic lunch for a long day on the water. Price $199 - $250 USD.

5. Patio Mat/Rug

This is a rug that anyone can use, even if you are not a camper. These "plastic" outdoor rugs are great for any outdoor space. The dirt falls through the small holes, and it is easy to clean off with a broom or water hose. You can purchase a lot of different styles and colors on Amazon, or you can find them in the camping section at every Walmart. Price $49-$100 USD.

6. RV Snap Pads

If you know anything about campers, you know they can be shaky and unstable at times. These RV Snap Pads will help with stability. They are recycled rubber "shoes" for your landing jacks. They snap on easily and stay on permanently, saving you time when you set up camp. You will not longer need to put down wooden or plastic blocks on the ground. RV Snap Pads make the pads to fit almost all 5th wheels, travel trailers, RVs, and now AirStreams. Just go on their website and fill out the quiz, and this will determine which pads work for your rig. Price $175-$299 USD.

7. Walkie Talkies

I know everyone has heard the saying "I am sorry for the things I said when backing up the trailer." It is very stressful to back in a 42ft 5th wheel into a tiny camping spot. Some couples use their cell phones to talk to each other when helping back the camper. But, we found sometimes campgrounds, especially state/National Parks, do not have great cell service. This is why we purchased walkie-talkies to help talk to each other when backing up. This is also great for campers with kids as a great way to keep in contact when your older kids are out on bikes, playing, or out for a walk. Price $20 - $60 USD.

8. Blackstone

When camping, especially in the summer when it's hot, it is much easier to cook your meals outside. This little Blackstone griddle is great for cooking any type of meal. You can cook pancakes, bacon, and egg for breakfast, fajitas, quesadillas, or grill cheese for lunch, steak, chicken, and veggies for dinner. In the summer this is our most used appliance, especially with the hot Texas summers. You can get this griddle in several sizes, covers, and stands on Amazon and Walmart. Price $89 USD.

9. Propane Fire Pit

Everyone loves to sit around a campfire while out camping, whether you are in a camper or a tent, campfires are a must. There are downfalls to having a "real" fire, the smoke is all in your face and makes you smell. If you have a propane fire pit, there is no smoke or smell. It is very easy to start and set up, just connect it to a propane bottle and turn it on. There is no smoke smell that gets on your clothes and in your hair, like the campfire. The propane fire pit can also be used if there is a burn ban in your area. Price $120 - $199 USD.

10. Hammock

The last gift idea on Shane's list is an outdoor portable hammock. Although Shane has never even used our hammock, he sees me use it almost every single day. During the Summer, Spring, and Fall, you can find me snuggled up in my hammock with a great book or magazine. We have two hammocks at our campsite at all times for Shane and me. Although Shane doesn't use his, we have plenty of kids that stop by and they love to lay and play in our hammocks. The ones that come with carrying bags are great to take on a hike, when you need to rest all you need is two trees to hang it, and you have a perfect place to rest. A great gift idea not only for campers but for all kids. Price $20 - $30 USD.

434 views3 comments
bottom of page