The RV life is all about being on the road, tied to no single physical location. While you can call any camp or RV park you spend a night home, many states and regions still want to link you to a permanent address.
The quick answer is no. You can’t use just any RV park as a permanent address even if you stay there for a year. RV parks aren’t designed to be full-time residences; hence they can’t legally be accepted as permanent addresses.
You Need a State of Residency
Legally, every US, Canada, UK, Australia, and other countries need to link their citizens to a physical address. Think of it like how all ships need a port of convenience regardless of where they sail.
Some of the top things you can’t do without a permanent address include:
- Get a driver’s license
- Open a bank account
- Register your vehicle
- Get a passport
- Purchase any insurance
- File your taxes
These are a few examples, but they are pretty much must-haves for anyone living in modern society.
A workaround is choosing a state and place of residency. Since you won’t spend much time there, you can find the most convenient state for your lifestyle regardless of how remote and inconvenient it might be for your daily life.
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Laws differ from one state to another. Research has shown me that the most favorable states for RVers, and boondockers are:
- South Dakota
If you want to find a state closer to you, consider the following highlights.
- Which state will give you the best tax benefits (some states have low or no income/sales tax)
- What are the vehicle registration and inspection laws
- How does the state handle homeschooling
- What are the chances of getting jury duty
- How far from home do you plan to travel, and for how long
- What are the local insurance rates
- How often does state law need you back home? Do they have a minimum stay regulation?
While choosing a permanent address state is easy, you still have to remember that you’ll be questioned for being ‘away from home for so long or ‘so far away from home
For instance, police might ask you why you are so far away from Texas or what you are doing in town during a traffic stop.
Having a practical response ready to dish out makes you less suspicious. Responses should be simple and practical:
- I am on a quest to hike and climb Mount Rainer
- I am in town for the Comic-Con Convention
- I have a part-time gig here that will be over in three weeks. I didn’t see the need to change the address as I’ll be back home in under a month.
The story will be true if that’s what you are doing. It won’t be necessary if you are a true nomad since telling the truth about what you are currently doing in the state should suffice. After all, there’s no law limiting citizens from touring their country as they please.
How to Acquire the Physical Address after Choosing a State
Once you’ve figured out what state you want to call home, you can find a way to get that physical address. The two most viable ways are:
‘Staying’ With a Friend or Family Member
This is the simplest way out if your friend or family member stays in a favorable state. If you still have the nostalgia of your home state, you can technically keep ‘staying with your parents and never move out.
Just ensure that whomever you choose to stay with is trustworthy enough to forward critical mail promptly.
You don’t want to miss out on important communications that come through the mail, like jury summons or a court summon.
Always ensure that you visit them frequently and appreciate their help as much as possible. They are your legal lifeline, and they need to be treated well.
Signing Up with a Residency Service
If you don’t want to bother your friend and family or have no one living in your chosen state of residency, you could opt for a residency service.
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Residency services help give full-time RVers a legal permanent resident they can use in their dealings with the government and other institutions. They also provide mail forwarding services, so you will always be on top of your mail.
|Florida||St. Brandan’s Isle Good Sam Club American Home Base Escapees RV Club|
|Texas||Escapees RV Club Texas Home Base Earth Class Mail|
|South Dakota||My Dakota Address Amarica’s Mailbox Dakota Post Escapees RV Club|
How to Effectively Access Your Mail
If you are not at the physical address where the mail is, you have a couple of options. The first two are best reserved if it is a friend or family member you don’t mind seeing your mail.
- Call in and have someone open the letters and read them to you
- Have the person scan and email the mail content
- Set up mail forwarding so that full letters and even packages are sent over to a new address
How to Receive Packages on the Road
Most online shopping platforms deliver to varied addresses as long as you describe the location well. It doesn’t have to be a permanent address.
- It can be an RV park as long as it’s within the delivery service’s coverage.
- Your workplace or a friend’s workplace
- Campground – the management can accept the package for you if you made the right arrangements
- Shipping to a post office or a UPS store
Shipping straight to your RV park or camping ground is easier since there will be less bureaucracy and sorting than at the post office and UPS store. Just make sure it is a campground or RV park you know well.
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How to Receive Checks and Payment on the Road
Your first step should be convincing the client to shift to wire transfer, PayPal, Cashapp, Venmo, or any other direct bank transfer service.
If they can’t, have the check sent to a trustworthy address. I prefer sending any checks to my mom’s address, and she can deposit them into my account when she runs her errands.
You can use your brother, sister, father, close business associate, friend, or a personal assistant you trust but never a residency service.
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