Andy and Kristen live full time in their RV exploring the United States with their kids, Kieghan and Kinsler. Andy works a remote job in software while Kristen roadschools with the kids. They love taking pictures and writing about their adventures as they go.
My First Time Working Remotely from Our RV
Andy & Kristen Murphy
When my wife, two kids and I made the decision to live out of our RV full-time as a young family, we knew we’d have all sorts of new adventures. My job as a product manager for a software company based in Virginia allowed me to live as a digital nomad, so we could travel wherever the wind took us and I would work from our mobile home base. It’s been a huge blessing for our family–but it’s involved some trial and error.
In our first RV, a 32-foot Coachman Freelander Class C, my office setup was not ideal. Even with perfect connectivity, taking work calls with kids on board required bribery, multiple rounds of “the quiet game” and counting down the minutes until the call would end so my kids could go back to their regularly-scheduled play sessions.
Eventually, we upgraded to a 2019 Keystone Fuzion 424 Toy Hauler. Now I have a designated office space, among other improvements that have helped optimize our harmony. We turned the stock master bedroom into a bunk room for our two boys, and converted the garage space into the new master bedroom and my office space.
Having a door provides a sound-resistant barrier to the main space where we often have music playing, kids screaming or a TV on. Our increased footprint allows me to have quiet conference calls, more focus and a private space to work within our tiny living quarters.
In addition to partitioning, I’ve found that staying organized is crucial to a productive RV work life. All of the technology that comes with working remotely can make a lot of clutter and chaos. What works best for us is having a place for every little thing.
We store similar items into small buckets and baskets within our master bedroom, where we can keep them neatly tucked away. Embracing an attitude of “less is more,” I only keep necessities on my desk–laptop, keyboard and mouse. Also, creating a desk that I use specifically for my work has reduced the need to rearrange things constantly, like we did in our Class C.
I’ve even partitioned my time, creating specific blocks in my schedule that my family knows are just for working. The routine helps keep everyone on the same page, so there’s no confusion whether I’m available or not. And it means when work is done, my boys know my time is all theirs.
Working remotely has been a huge blessing for our family–but it’s involved some trial and error.
Here are my best tips for working remotely from your RV:
Have multiple ways to stay connected.
As your location changes, the best way to connect will also change. In most cases, we use an unlimited AT&T data line to stay connected, but if we don't have service, or the service is slow, we can use campground WiFi or create a hotspot from our Verizon phone plan. Always have a plan A, B and C for how you’ll stay connected.
Diversify your service.
Using multiple cell phone and internet providers can be expensive, but it can make a key difference in whether or not you’re connected in a new location. We’ve visited 34 states with our RV, and in each region, some carriers are stronger than others. Service can even come down to which side of the campground you park your rig. Having both AT&T and Verizon will get you coverage almost anywhere there is civilization.
Research your expected coverage.
When looking for places to stay, I cross reference a few apps that show coverage maps for our service providers. A carrier’s own map can be inaccurate; I recommend using an app based on real people’s feedback of service in any given area. This has helped us steer clear of dead zones, cutting off a stressful situation before it begins. And when we need to travel through unfamiliar territory, doing it over the weekend significantly reduces the stress of running into low or no connectivity along the way.
Expect a learning curve.
Everyone has opinions about how to stay connected on the road. Between all the blogs, YouTube channels, and companies addressing this issue, it may seem overwhelming when you’re first getting started.
Keep researching. You’ll quickly get an idea about the most common solutions and drawbacks and whether or not they’ll work for you. Ask lots of questions, and keep an eye out for ideas you may not have yet considered. Every day, living on the road gets a little bit easier, and there are always improvements being made to help us all stay connected while we live our dreams.