The RV industry is booming right now, and there are more people than ever planning to buy RVs and hit the road.
If you’re one of them, then you’re probably elbow deep in information overload trying to learn everything you need to successfully pursue an RV lifestyle.
But things have changed. And there’s almost too much information out there.
It seems most RVs these days come preloaded with a blog or YouTube channel to start sharing with the world how to get your mail or how you dump your tanks.
And even with all this information at your fingertips, every RVing group and forum has the same continual questions pop up, with the debates over gas vs. diesel or if you need speciality RV toilet paper.
The demand for information is definitely out there.
Just in the past few months, three new online getting started RVing schools have been launched. All from credible awesome folks we’ve had the pleasure of building friendships with over the years.
They all offer something unique and have their own angle. All three have invited us to take a peak at their courses, and participate by providing their mobile internet content (which we’ll be working on over the coming months.)
So in this post, we wanted to give you some unbiased information comparing the three options so you can select which one (or ones) make most sense for you.
The Three Schools of Thought
Roadmap to Full-Time RVing
Started by Brandon and Kerensa of Drive Dive Devour, who have been on the road for nearly 5 years now – this course has been in beta testing since this summer. They started it by offering a free Facebook group called RVing to Freedom, and have been patiently answering hundreds of questions a week on RVing basics so they are intimately familiar with the needs of their audience.
Their course is focused on Full-Time RVing, and starts off with the lifestyle, desires, fears and emotional side of making the decision to RV – and then gets you into the details of budget, selecting an RV, daily life and then finally the ins & outs of RVing.
The entire class will be taught by Brandon and Kerensa, with some occasional guest experts.
- Length of Course: 8 weekly modules, ~ 2.5 hrs each
- Format: Mix of video, audio and written content
- Interactive Access: Weekly Q&A webinars, e-mail to instructors and private Facebook Group
- Structure: Designed to follow the weekly modules
- Access: Lifetime access to all content, now and as updated
- Sign Up: Only limited enrollment periods
- Cost: $297
Who we recommend this for: This class is likely best for those who are ready to make a commitment to the lifestyle of RVing and prefer a more structured learning environment. While you can self pace, you’ll get the most out of this course by making the time each week to go through the modules as they were designed.
Since this class is only offered once a quarter with a limited enrollment period, you are really in a classroom environment – and a big appeal of it will be connecting with your student peers. You’ll be able to interact with them, and your instructors, in the private Facebook group.
Structure Notes: The most interactive & structured option of the courses available, mixing up prepared content with weekly Q&As (hosted on Facebook) and easy access to your instructors as you work your way through the content. We also appreciate the market research the hosts invested in their course development, including a free beta trial run over the summer with a handful of students. Each session should have its own unique & updated flavor as the hosts continue to tweak the materials. Content is well duplicated so that you can choose your preferred learning style – video, audio or written.
Heads-Up: If you don’t have the time to commit to a course right now, we’d recommend holding off on signing up until you can carve out the time. You can add your name to their wait list for when the next session opens up (they plan to offer this course once every three months). While you’ll get lifetime access to the content, it’s really best to take advantage of the classroom environment. If you’re not a ‘Facebook Person’ you will miss out on the community aspect and live Q&A webinars. It’s also the priciest of the options.
Next Enrollment Period: Apr 16-20, 2018
To Learn More and get a sneak peak, sign up for their next free webinar:
5 Steps to Freedom Webinar
Places to learn more about the instructors:
Check out their FREE Live Facebook Shows: RV to Freedom Page
Join their free RV to Freedom Facebook Group
RV Success School
Started by Julie & Marc Bennet of RVLove earlier this year after 3 years on the road, this course is more focused on the lifestyle of RVing, not necessarily only for those considering full timing. They worked on a lot of the content over the past year or so before announcing the launch to their blog and YouTube fans, answering some of the most frequent questions they got and had when they were gearing up for the lifestyle.
Their program is broken up into 4 courses which can be purchased ala carte or bundled.
The first is ‘Hitting the Road the Right Way’ which starts out with some of the logistical questions that come up for those contemplating life on the road – from how to get your mail, mobile internet, and healthcare and then moves into topics like safety, budgeting, RV systems and more. They then offer a second course dedicated to just selecting an RV. Their packaged bundle also includes an in-depth interview series with other RVers, and there’s an option to add on webinars and personal sessions.
The entire class will be taught by Julie & Marc, with some occasional guest experts and interviews.
- Length of Course: Four courses at 3-4 hours of video content each, plus written content & workbooks. Past students report all content combined takes about 4-5 days to work through.
- Format: Short video overviews with written content & workbooks
- Interactive Access: Only with optional webinar or advising add-on (although Julie & Marc told us they welcome e-mailed questions.)
- Structure: Self paced
- Access: Lifetime access to all content, now and as updated
- Sign Up: Anytime
- Cost: $29 – 497 (flexible ala carte or bundled pricing)
Who we recommend this for: If you’re more of a self paced learner or prefer to take your time working your way through the content – you might appreciate this format better. This course has most of the basic topics put together in one place. If you want some interaction as well, you can sign up for the optional package that includes twice a month webinars (just be sure to time them to your availability).
Structure Notes: Covers a wide variety of topics appropriate for those contemplating full timing or extended RVing travels. While there’s a recommended flow, you can skip around the content for what you’re most interested in at this phase of your learning – ideal for those who are more self-paced learners, or don’t have the time to put aside for a more formal course. There’s also little duplication of content in their various formats – the videos are more overviews with the meat of the content in written text and workbooks that is meant to work together.
Heads-Up: While the instructors welcome e-mails – interactivity with them isn’t a marketed benefit until you reach the bundled webinar levels. For those who prefer more of a structured and led course with more interactivity and deadlines, the self paced nature of this setup might not work for you. There’s also not a community component to this course.
To Learn More or Sign Up: RV Success School
Places to learn more about the instructors:
Visit the RV Love Blog
RVer Online University by the Escapees RV Club
Their content is currently focused on RV safety and systems than the lifestyle itself, and they are adding on some elective classes too.
Their approach is different than the above courses. Instead of one instructor leading you through an overview of the topics, this is much more university style – with expert instructors going into much more depth on their topics. Such as Mac the Fire guy on RV Fire Safety, K. Susie Adams of Lorring & Associates on Domicile or Mark Nemeth on RV Systems.
The content of this course is a bit more ‘accredited’ and may even qualify you for a discount on your RV Insurance for completing.
- Length of Course: ~ 20 hours
- Format: Powerpoint with voice overs, some video
- Interactive Access: E-mailed questions to instructors, and forums with other classmates
- Structure: Self paced, but must follow course
- Access: Strict 90-days
- Sign Up: Anytime
- Cost: $79
Who we recommend this for: Honestly, even if you chose one or none of the courses above – with the focus on experts & safety – we highly recommend either the in person Boot Camps, or the online RVOU. RV safety (driving, fire, tires, etc.) should be required content for all RVers, and no where will you get access to this many experts in one place. However, given the 90 day course access – be sure to time your sign up so that you can put the time into the content needed.
Structure Notes: All content is prepare in advance in a slide show format that includes some video clips (some taken from the live Boot Camp presentations) – which may feel a bit early 2000s for their Xscapers audience. The course is also setup that you must complete each lesson in the order it is presented in order to move on. This is great for those following a course to get a certificate for an insurance discount – but for those who might have experience with some RV systems and just want to skip ahead, it can be cumbersome.
Heads-Up: We’re not fond of the strict 90-day course access – as this makes it difficult to refer back later, and might force one to feel rushed. As the content is presented by different instructors, learning and presentation style will vary between topics – some may appeal to you more than others.
To Learn More or Sign Up: RVers Online University
Do You Need a RV School?
Something both RV to Freedom and RV Success School claim is that the information out there is “confusing and contradicting” – thus their motivation is to fix the problem by offering these courses.
But there’s a reason there continues to be so much information out there – none of us RV the same exact way or have the same motives. There’s a lot of point of views and a lot of ways to approach the lifestyle, none of them more right or wrong.
We personally love the diversity of information out there and are active contributors to this overload of information ‘problem’.
What we’ve shared over the years is flavored by our personal experience, as is every blogger or vlogger’s content – and some of it may resonate with you, and some of it may not.
But there’s definitely a space and need for more structured content from folks who are making it their focus to provide. We know first hand from now having hosted the Mobile Internet Resource Center for nearly 4 years how much effort it takes to provide cohesive content in a learning environment.
Everyone learns different – some prefer more of a structure, and the very act of paying money for something makes it more of an investment you might put more energy into learning.
If that’s you, then these courses will be right up your alley and you’ll likely get a lot of value out of them. We recommend getting to know Kerensa & Brandon and Julie & Marc via their current public resources – and go with who’s style resonates most with you. They’re all awesome real life experienced RVers who create great content with accuracy and heart.
But if you’re more of a self learner and see the variety of content available out on the interwebs as being a feature not a problem, then a structured course offered from one point of view may not be your cup of tea.
There are plenty of free resources and low cost books (such as Alyssa Padgett’s just released ‘A Beginners Guide to Living an RV‘) out there that you can learn many of the same topics from.
Either way, there’s no way every topic you need to know will be covered comprehensively by a single source.
Each can easily consume hours to days of content (we know, we’ve tried to cover many of these topics in our free No Excuses: Go Nomadic series, and went way deep on mobile internet content), and a variety of experiences really goes a long way to rounding out the information.
Your learning does not end once you tick off all of the materials in these courses, the learning continues even years later down the road (we’re still learning!).
But these courses are well put together overviews that can help steer you down the right paths, give you access to experts willing to take your questions and a community with folks also gearing up to hit the road.