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How to Convert a Travel Trailer Into a Home

by Valerie Berta

Converting a travel trailer into your home is a good idea if you want to save money or make a living while traveling full time. Because travel trailers are smaller than a regular home they are less expensive to heat and cool and they offer many opportunities to live frugally. Yet small and frugal can translate into a lot more than savings if you know how to make the most out of your home on wheels.

Find a place to park your travel trailer that fits your needs and tastes. Whether you own land, rent it, stay at an RV park or go on the road, you need to make sure the spot you choose is legal and has all the utility connections -- power, fresh water and sewage -- you will need. You will need to think of laundry facilities as well if your trailer does not have any. Some RV parks have extras such as pools and community rooms, and most will include electricity, water and sewage costs in the rent.

Make sure the trailer is level and secure it with wheel chocks or any other stopping device.

Hook up fresh, gray and black water hoses to the appropriate utility sources, whether RV park utilities or hook-ups connected to city or county pipes on your land. It is a good idea to keep your holding tank valve closed until the tank is full, because this will prevent solid matter buildup in the tank.

Connect the main electrical cord from your travel trailer to city power, or outside power. You can also use solar panels on the roof of your trailer. Travel trailers use a lot less electricity than a regular home and installing solar panels is a good way to be self-sufficient and save even more.

Prepare for both hot and cold weather. Winterize your trailer in the fall and use the trailer's window and main awning in the summer. You can get better weather protection and save more by building an awning over your trailer if you are on your own land.

Keep it simple. Turn lack of space into economic opportunity by keeping only what you can store in your trailer.

Connect with other people who live in their RVs full-time for tips on how to thrive and make your home in a travel trailer. Sharing a small space with your family can be a challenge but it is one that many have successfully met. Putting your family pictures on the wall, as well as other personal touches, is a good way to start. If you plan to travel there are also many ways to work and make a living on the road.

Tip

  • An easy way to clean your waste water hose is to close the gray water tank valve a day or two before you plan to dump your holding tank, then release the gray water after dumping. The gray water flowing in the hose will wash away black water residues.

Items you will need

About the Author

Valérie Berta has been a writer and photojournalist since 1994. She has worked for "The Jacksonville Journal-Courier," "Riverside Press-Enterprise" and "Agence France-Presse." Berta earned master's degrees in both English and journalism.

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Photo Credits

  • Andy Reynolds/Lifesize/Getty Images