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    RV living for travelers


    In increasing numbers, mobile healthcare professionals are joining the 30 million Americans who travel the nation's roads in recreational vehicles (RVs).

    Ask travelers who live in recreational vehicles why they prefer to take their homes on the road, and most talk about convenience, comfort, the benefits of home ownership, and a more stable environment for their pets. The biggest bonus, however, occurs on moving day. Unlike nurses, technologists, and therapists who select company-provided accommodations, "RVing" travelers don't have to pack and unpack whenever they change assignments.

    Aside from these reasons, there may be financial incentives for choosing a portable place to complement an on-the-move lifestyle. After speaking with recruiters, you may learn that the housing stipends offered by staffing agencies not only cover the costs of an RV mortgage, but also a truck payment and campground fees.

    Choosing an RV

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    Recreational vehicles can be as luxurious as a Manhattan penthouse or as low key and serviceable as a camper. They may be equipped with compact or standard-size appliances, convertible or full-scale furnishings, entertainment centers, and one or more slide-outs to expand the living area. With an array of sizes and prices, only your preferences and pocketbook need limit you.

    The location of a unit's motor sparks much debate among "RVers." There are two types of RVs: motor homes, which have engines, and towable trailers. A motor home is self-contained, affording full access to its living area while in motion. Conversely, a trailer's living space is not reduced by an engine and cockpit, and its towing vehicle can be unhitched for local use and repairs.

    Location, location, location

    Motorized RVs
    Traveling in your residence means you must find a suitable place to park it for each contract. Of course, not all facilities—especially those in large, urban areas—are situated close to RV parks, so it's a good idea to determine the commuting distance before accepting an assignment.

    Access to utility hookups can enhance or diminish the truly mobile existence. At a minimum, full-time RVers generally want electricity, water, and sewer ser-vices. Beyond that, they look for a variety of features, such as additional security options, laundry facilities, amenities for the physically challenged, a fenced-in dog corral, shaded areas, a clubhouse, a swimming pool, and a hot tub. Before making reservations, ask your recruiter for recommendations, and check ratings and features in publications such as Woodall's 2006 North American Campground Directory and 2006 Trailer Life RV Parks, Campgrounds & Services Directory.

    Connectivity on the road

    Cell phone connections are ubiquitous these days. How-ever, if you intend to travel in an RV, make sure your wireless carrier offers both digital and analog services. In rural areas, the latter could be your only alternative.

    RV Reality
    Like countless mobile providers, you probably use the Internet for paying bills, keeping in touch with friends and family, and searching for local sights and services. To fill this need, many campgrounds offer Internet connections via DSL, cable, Wi-Fi, or a dial-up modem. Moreover, most cell phone carriers provide Web access with PC-cards that plug into your computer.


    Judy Nugent
    Judy Nugent is a freelance writer based in New Haven, Connecticut.