If you’ve never considered traveling full-time before, then you probably haven’t considered the logistics of such things like mail and taxes.
One thing I’ve learned is that every local, state and federal government wants to claim their pound of flesh. It’s nearly impossible to do anything without a fixed address for the government, the banks and the insurance companies. They want a physical address and a post box is unacceptable.
When I decided to travel full-time this was a huge issue. I wouldn’t have been able to get a loan for my fifth wheel without a permanent address. The underwriters do not want to hear you say you’ll be traveling full-time. They want to know exactly where to track you down should you default on your loan. I suspect many full-timers use family addresses where they can get their mail and keep the banks and governments lulled into thinking your address is static. I wasn’t able to rely on family since mine is in Canada – out of country addresses are also unacceptable – and I didn’t want to burden my young adult children with all my paperwork when they were still figuring out their own.
Enter Escapees Club.
Escapees Club was founded in 1978 by the Peterson’s who were traveling full-time and wanted to resolve the issue of getting mail while on the road. At that time, they didn’t even have mobile phones for communication! Their mail forwarding services is the largest private forwarding service in the USA. Mail is delivered daily in a semi-trailer to their facility; they service a lot of RVers! I’m not sure why I can get mail at their facility and the address they give me is acceptable to the government, banks and insurers but I assume they have a smart legal team who has figured it all out for us. And for that, I am thankful.
I personally love their mail scan service when I’m on the road because it’s not always easy to find somewhere to have your mail delivered if you’re always on the move. You pay per page scanned but since I scan all my documentation anyway, this service saves me time and keeps me organized. When I stay in the same place for longer than a month I just have all my mail delivered to the location once every 30 days.
Over the years, Escapees Club has grown to include more than just mail services. Along with their RV communities, members have access to health benefits, roadside assistance, discounts and there is now an Xscapers community for those of us who are not yet retirement age and continue to work from the road. Both groups coordinate rallies for members which include training, rig weigh-ins and social events. I’ve not attended one yet but have an Xscapers Convergence booked for September in Michigan!
law: a person’s fixed, permanent, and principal home for legal purposes
I spent a week in the Escapees Park in Livingston Texas while I jumped through the hoops to domicile in Texas. Since I was considering it as my long-term permanent home I decided I needed to spend a lot of time looking around. The good thing about relocating my life to Livingston is that it’s a small town so there wasn’t a lot of drive time between the mechanic shop where I had my vehicle inspections to the multiple government buildings required to register my business, truck, and trailer, and transfer my license. Don’t be fooled though…. The wait was still as painfully long for licensing and I had to go back and forth multiple times to get all the documentation they required. Whatever you do, don’t use “apartment” or “unit number” on your documentation for your new address…. They’ll require you redo everything – take it from someone who knows. They are fully aware of the Escapees community and are used to members domiciling there.
Basic vehicle inspections are required in Polk County (not emisssions), but the Texas Department of Public Safety has been considerate enough to allow us nomads to defer our inspections until we are back in the state. We still have to pay the fee and submit the paperwork. We then have to hightail it to an inspection station once we enter Texas….no slowpoking it back! Once we cross into Texas we have 3 days to complete an inspection.
Considerations Before Establishing Residency
If Texas is not your preferred state, you are also able to establish residency in Florida or South Dakota through the Escapees Club. I considered Florida but would have had to change my insurance company since they would not insure my vehicle there. I’ve been with Nationwide almost two decades. In that time, they backed me up on a major vehicle related claim and another claim for hail damage to my home. My neighbors did not get the same coverage with other insurers; therefore, I am loyal to Nationwide.
My pitiful healthcare plan would also be more expensive in Florida. I just discovered that Escapees has healthcare plan options, so I’ll be checking those out next!
Texas residents do not pay state taxes either, which was the final benefit that helped me call Texas home!
I did not consider South Dakota because it wasn’t convenient to visit at the time, but I’ll be traveling between British Columbia, Michigan, and Ontario regularly, so it might have been the better choice. On the other hand, who doesn’t want an excuse to head south in the winter?
For more information on Escapees Club, visit their website at https://www.escapees.com/ or the Xscapers website at https://www.xscapers.com/ . You’ll find all kinds of helpful information there if you are considering traveling regularly.