How to Manage Life Details for Long-Term RVers

Mail, Taxes, Doctors and More
Abby Epperson's Heartland Pioneer parked at a campsite by a lake.

Embarking on a long-term RV journey is the adventure of a lifetime. Waking up to a new place on a regular basis, hiking in national parks, exploring urban landscapes and living life in a more authentic way is what’s kept our family on the road for almost five years now. But it’s also real life, and all real-life things happen every day. Like needing to collect mail, visit a doctor, file your taxes, and other things that new RVers might not have thought about yet.  And of course, long-term RVing isn’t without its own set of unique challenges.

So if you’re getting ready to launch, or you’re new to the road and wondering what to do about life’s little details, we have tips for how to handle them, wherever you are in the world.


    You may be living in a new location every week, but for many reasons, you need a permanent address. Your domicile is the address on your driver’s license, your insurance and loan documents and your taxes. Most long-term RVers chose to domicile in one of the seven states with no income tax. Texas, South Dakota and Florida are very popular because they make it easy to establish domicile, and are generally very accepting of long-term RVers. You’ll want to consider things like homeschool laws, license and plate renewal, vehicle inspections, and insurance rates when choosing where to set your permanent address.

    Your domicile choice is not a way to skirt taxes and laws. You cannot legally set up a domicile address in one state, and then live year-round in a single campground in another, for instance. If you intend to keep your home and rent it out for extra income, you will likely need to domicile in that state. Make sure to read up on all the applicable laws, and set up honest ties in your chosen state. For instance, having a primary care physician or an accountant in that state helps establish your domicile when you travel frequently.

  2. MAIL

    In order to establish domicile, you need an address. Some long-term RVers are lucky enough to have a friend or relative in their chosen state, but most use a mail forwarding service. Mail forwarding services give you a unique physical address to use as your own, and then scan your mail for you to view online. You can request important items to be forwarded to you wherever you are. Be sure not to use UPS or other mailbox stores. Insurance companies and banks will sometimes reject you, often years later, if they do a standard address review. Popular mail forwarding services are St. Brendan's Isle, America’s Mailbox and the Escapees organization.

    It’s useful to go paperless wherever possible. Have bank and credit card statements emailed to you, set up monthly recurring bill payments and then let what you have left dictate whether you need to pay for a mailing service or not. If you are only going to receive the odd piece of mail, it may not be worth it to pay a monthly or yearly fee––that would be when a relative or friend could come in handy. If you find after going paperless for your bills, you’ll still have a decent amount of mail, then having it sent to a mail service where it can be scanned for you to view will probably make more sense.

  1. TAXES

    If you work in multiple states, you are required to pay state income taxes to each of them individually for the time worked. Most people who work remotely over the phone or internet will be able to file taxes in their domicile state alone, but if you do physical jobs or render services in other states, you will likely be required to file tax paperwork (and make payments) in each of those states. It’s worth it to consult an accountant to understand all the issues surrounding your particular work situation, and to help make sure that your business is set up correctly for mobile work.


    Due to the pandemic, telehealth has made doctor visits more accessible than ever before. We now have more choices when it comes to staying connected to our healthcare providers while traveling long-term. But the question of insurance is a big one. Even the big insurance companies are established individually in each state, and often insurance plans can only be used for emergency care out of state––including Medicaid and Medicare. This is one reason many people chose a domicile state that is easy to return to. They can visit their doctors once or twice a year while getting driver's licenses and plates renewed.

    Luckily, telehealth solves many problems when it’s available. You set up an appointment with your doctor and visit them over a secure video platform. Many prescription drugs require physical doctor visits, so if you have a health condition that requires regular treatment, consult your doctor to set up a plan. Often for common ailments, it makes more sense for long-term RVers to head to a local drugstore minute clinic and pay out-of-pocket.


    There are numerous educational options when it comes to schooling from the road, but before you get started, make sure you know your state’s laws, which can vary drastically. Some require regular reporting and testing while others are completely hands-off. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a great resource for information.

    Once you know what you’re dealing with on the state level, you can begin planning on the family level. Online curriculums, physical curriculum books, unschooling and roadschooling are just a few of the many methods available to long-term RV families. Our family picks a little from every educational tree, but we lean more towards the roadschooling method. In other words, our travels are the cornerstone of our children’s educational experience. Each new location is an opportunity to discover history, science, culture and more. We are also big fans of the National Park Service’s many educational offerings and utilize them as part of our road school education whenever possible. No matter what route you take, let each kid’s own needs be your guide. You have the freedom to tailor the experience to what works best for them, so don’t be afraid to try different things and put together a plan that will work for both of you.

There are a lot of important boxes to check before logging that first mile as a long-term RVer, but with the proper planning, patience and resources you can successfully navigate these (often overwhelming) decisions. Just remember, this life isn’t designed to be a “one size fits all” experience. There are many options out there designed to meet your needs, the needs of your partner, your kids and even your pets. When in doubt, ask your fellow campers how they handle certain situations––the RV community is full of people who love to help out. Just take your journey one day at a time, and always remember that the end goal is a lifestyle that will leave you amazed, humbled and inspired.

Abby Epperson and her family travel in a Heartland Pioneer Travel Trailer.

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