Choosing a Domicile for Full-Time Travel

Mar 09

Choosing a Domicile for Full-Time Travel

This post was originally published on February 28, 2014. Since then, we’ve moved to Texas and consider it our home state. We haven’t yet joined the Escapees club yet for mail forwarding. 

One of the issues of long term, full-time travel is handling an issue of domicile. You have to “live” somewhere, after all. Your domicile is where your vehicles are registered, where you vote, how your mail gets to you. It can be the same place you’re living now if you plan to travel part-time or have friends or family in the area. It’s really an individual decision on where your domicile will be once you begin full-time travel.

Since we’ll be staying in the United States for the most part while traveling in our RV, we’re looking at the most popular states that RVers choose as a domicile: South Dakota, Texas, and Florida.

There are pros and cons to each state. None of these three have a state income tax, but they all differ in how they handle vehicle registration, drivers’ licenses, and insurance. Especially with all the new changes in the health care laws, it’s important to be sure that health coverage will be available while traveling and not just within a certain geographic area or pool of doctors. There may also be issues if you’re retired (we’re not) and collecting a pension or retirement income. I know of a couple of people who can’t physically “move” from their state because they’re collecting retirement from that area’s school system. If they move out of state, they’ll lose their retirement money.

Changing Gears has an excellent article about changing state residency and the pros and cons for different states.

We’re planning to move to Texas and set up our domicile there. Escapees RV club is headquartered there, and they have a great guide – How to Become a Real Texan – about how to set up your domicile there. When we finish traveling, we plan to buy land somewhere in Texas and make it our permanent home.

I don’t know how others who travel full-time overseas handle your domicile issues, mail, etc. Can you post in the comments and let me know, and I can update the article as needed.



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