A reader named Molly had some questions for me about living in a travel trailer, so I thought I’d answer them here in a post!
Could you point me to where you found your travel trailer home?
We found our trailer at A-1 Mobile Homes. They sell regular sized single and double-wide trailers, but were also selling leftover FEMA trailers. Our FEMA trailer was made for Katrina victims to live in temporarily after the hurricane. But once they weren’t needed anymore places like A-1 bought them to re-sell.
We also looked at another place selling them. They were $1000 cheaper, but were in terrible shape. A-1 was fixing them up and making repairs, so we decided to spend the extra $1000 on a nicer one. The particular place we bought them, still has a bunch out back, but I don’t know if they’re still fixing them up before selling or not.
How did you find a safe and comfortable park for it?
As far as trailer parks go, we have been really pleased with ours, and we’ve been here almost 2 years. It’s not an RV park, but a trailer park, that also has lots for RVs. We were drawn to this park because, it was close to where we bought our trailer and it’s close to where Cameron goes to school 4 days a week. It is the nicest trailer park in our town. There are lots of big trees (a nice feature out here in West Texas), a big pool and even a laundry mat and hair salon right here at the trailer park!
When we first moved here our lot rent was $235 a month (water, sewer and garbage included, we just pay electric). Later they changed it to $265 and we thought about seeing if we could find a cheaper place, but after driving around a couple of other trailer parks, we realized just how nice ours is and decided to stay.
Is Storage really a problem?
As far as storage for the things we use daily, we haven’t had too much of a problem. Like I talk about in my other posts, it mostly boils down to not having too much stuff and making the most of the space you have. You can check out my other Small Space Living posts for more detail on that.
And of course this is for only 3 of us, and one of those is a 3 year old. 3 year old clothes don’t take up much space!
Do you have a full bathtub?
When we were looking at travel trailers, a bathtub was one of the things I really wanted. Gracia was just turning two, so I didn’t really want to have to start her on showers yet. Not all of them had tubs, but we chose one that did. It’s not full-sized, but big enough for Gracia. It’s about 2.5 feet long and 1.5 feet wide. On a similar note, a lot of the showers/tubs were short, so Cameron made sure to stand in the tub before we bought it, to make sure it was tall enough for him.
Finally, how does the water/electricity/gas hookup work? Do you have to fill and empty tanks often?
Our trailer is different from most travel trailers, in that we have an actual toilet, just like the ones in real houses, because the FEMA trailers were made as temporary housing for people, and not really for traveling the world in. This has been perfect for us in that we have a regular commode and full-sized fridge. Because we have a regular toilet we don’t have to empty any tanks…in fact we don’t even have one. Cameron just hooked up a sturdy pipe for the waste to go out. You can get the supplies for that at an RV center or just Home Depot.
The electric was easy to hook-up, according to Cameron…he’s the one that did it.
We have 2 gas tanks on the front of our trailer that we use for our water heater, stove/oven and heating. We take our tanks to an RV center that sells RVs, parts and does repairs. In the summer we can make a tank last for a whole month, but in the coldest part of winter a tank only lasted a few days. Currently a tank of propane costs $30 to refill, so in the winter it wasn’t cheap! Even though we have a small amount of space to heat, the walls are thin and not insulated well.
Part of the reason this has worked for us, is that we live in a warmer climate. Even with living in West Texas though, we’ve had our pipes freeze in winter. Turning a sink on and letting the water trickle all night really helped with that (and like I mentioned we don’t pay a water bill).
Tornadoes and Fires
Another question, a reader asked awhile ago was what we would do in case of a tornado. My husband has lots of relatives who live close, who I’m sure would let us stay with them for a while in an emergency…and if the house got demolished….well it’s just a trailer.
Last summer there were a lot of bad wild fires and one that was getting close to our trailer park. At first we thought about just moving the whole trailer (one nice thing about a trailer, in case of fire, you can move the whole house!), but we realized it would take to long, plus the roads were getting busy with people leaving. They had police standing by ready to evacuate if necessary, but it never got to that point thankfully. But we did start preparing by just grabbing a couple back packs of things. We also have a little fire-proof safe we were given when we got married. This is nice for keeping important papers and our millions of dollars in cash (just kidding…if only). So I guess the moral of the story is…it’s easier to move in case of emergency, but if it does burn down, it’s just stuff and of course it’s good to have insurance.
Other things these questions made me think of:
- You can feel movement really easily in our house. Especially if trying to take a nap, while another person is walking around.
- The smaller of a person you are, the easier it is to live in a trailer. For example, the top bunk had a sign saying no one over 250 lbs. should sleep up there, the shower height I mentioned before, etc…
- It’s a little hard for little kids and older people to get in and out of our house. It’s pretty high off the ground with just some fold-out stairs. We’re used to it and it doesn’t bother us, but if it bothers you, you could always get some sturdy wooden steps or a little porch.
I hope I made sense and answered throughly enough. If anyone has other questions for me, I’d love to answer them! Just leave your question in the comments or email me at purposelyfrugal(at)hotmail(dot)com.