One of the biggest trends right now is the tiny home. Tiny houses have become most popular among the eco-conscious youth. Looking for ways to live simply and, in some cases, live off the grid, people are building houses as small as 80 square feet up to 1,000 square feet. While tiny homes are built with the same comforts of a larger home – heat, air conditioning, and functioning plumbing – they also come with the same hurdles – land, zoning, codes, and loans.
To combat these issues, people are turning to tiny houses on wheels, or mini mobile homes, and micro travel trailers. Both the mini mobile home and micro travel trailer offer you some of the luxuries of a home with the added ability to easily and often roam about. While tiny house prices generally start around $35,000, you can find a new mini mobile home for as low as $12,000. You can even save money by purchasing and renovating an old camper, trailer, or even a shipping container.
Once you’ve determined you don’t want to establish yourself in one place, your next step is to examine what amenities you require and desire to live a satisfying life. Both mini mobile homes and micro travel trailers can be a drivable residence or a residence you tow with a vehicle. If you choose to tow your residence, you’ll need to ensure your vehicle can tow it. You should then examine the trailer laws – each state is different in terms of vehicle height and weight as well as where passengers can ride, so be sure you’ve read through not only your current state, but those you plan to drive through and/or to.
Once you’ve learned the basics, you can start looking for the perfect dwelling for you. You’ll need to consider a few factors to help you with your search.
Factors to consider when choosing a mobile residence
- Climate – will you live in cold or warm climates?
- Square footage – how much space do you need?
- Amenities – what are the most important features for your lifestyle?
- Budget – will you buy new or used, or build/renovate?
Climate is a big consideration, as some micro travel trailer do not provide much insulation, nor are the windows energy efficient. In some units, the windows don’t close very tightly, causing drafts. While there are ways to insulate your micro travel trailer, you probably still shouldn’t consider this option if you want to live in the colder, northern climates, especially in winter. On the other hand, a mini mobile home will generally have better insulation plus many have heating units built in, similar to your car, SUV, or van. There are electric and propane furnaces and heaters you can buy for either the micro travel trailer or the mini mobile home. You can also get inexpensive window insulation kits that will help with drafts.
On the flip side, if you choose a warmer climate, you may find yourself looking for air conditioning. As with your house or tiny home, you can get full systems, window a/c units, or on the floor models for your micro travel trailer. As with your passenger vehicle, many mini mobile homes are already equipped with air conditioning.
Not everyone wants to feel cramped, and some spaces can be just too small. You may be comfortable spending the majority of your time outside. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t need to spread out with indoor luxuries, the teardrop trailer is one option for you. From 50 up to 150 square feet and the proper layout, you can fit up to a queen size mattress inside of it. This option is for those who prefer a camping lifestyle, as you can’t stand up inside of it and there isn’t much living space.
If you require more interior living space, and some head room, there are other options. For example, the Minnie Winnie, the Winnebago travel trailer, has 6’5” to 6’10” ceiling height and 8’ width. With mobile homes, you can tow an actual house behind your vehicle with all the space of a house. Your decision is based on your spatial dreams.
Aside from the space you require around you, you will also want to consider what amenities are important to you. Do you want a full kitchen, heat and air conditioning, attractive cabinetry, night shades? Knowing exactly what features are important to you and your lifestyle will make it easier to search for the best options for you.
Some micro travel trailer options have every residential amenity you can think of. Some can even sleep up to 5 people, like the Flagstaff Micro Lite Travel Trailers. Made by Forest River, you can find a model with almost every amenity found in a standard home – everything from 80” vaulted ceilings to undermount kitchen sinks. Some models even have heated mattresses, brand name appliances, built in entertainment centers, ducted furnaces, and air conditioning. Other optional equipment to consider are tankless on-demand water heater, twin bunk beds, and tv hookup.
Mini mobile homes offer the same residential amenities with more of the aesthetics of a home. Offering you floor plans closer to that of a residential home or apartment, mobile homes are a choice for those who want a different appearance to their space.
One last amenity you may require is a way to carry your motorcycle or quad. Adding an additional trailer to your vehicle’s load may not be the answer for you. In lieu of this, you could get a toy hauler. These are trailer or RVs with a large opening and ramp in the rear to load in a small vehicle or just for a wide open space to spread out even further.
If you’re looking at micro travel trailers and mini mobile homes, you are either budget conscious or you are looking for an eco-friendly way to live. For the budget conscious, both the micro travel trailer and mini mobile home are viable options. To build a home, even a tiny home, you generally need a loan from a bank, which is a daunting endeavor for most.
With even a small bank account, you can buy outright a micro travel trailer or mini mobile home. To purchase a new travel trailer, you need at least $9,000, whereas new mini mobile home prices start around $11,000. If you’re on an even stricter budget, you can buy a used model of either type and remodel it to your specifications. Used models can start as low as $3,000.
You can even find a shipping container for around $1,000 and turn it into your dream mobile home. A simple rectangle shape can transform into a lovely living space with a little hard work. If you are resourceful – recycling, upcycling, and bartering for the pieces of your renovation, you can build yourself a beautiful home for under $7,000, including the used exterior.
One major budgetary consideration is where you park your home. Neither the micro travel trailer and mini mobile home can park on just any street or in any park. If you have friends or family willing to let you park on their land or in their driveway, you are generally in the clear, as long as the neighbors don’t complain. If you want to travel around, you’ll need to find campgrounds or RV parks and will need to factor in those rentals, which are generally nightly or weekly. Nightly RV park rentals can range anywhere from $30-50, whereas campgrounds are only $5-10.
If you want a more permanent space for your home, you want to investigate mobile home parks. You’ll get a small plot of land for yourself and pay a rental rate between $250-400 a month, depending on where in the country you settle.
If you’re looking for some places to start comparing your options, you can look into Winnebagos and Flagstaff, or you can check out Berryland Campers. Berryland has options of all types of RV, mobile home, travel trailer, and toy hauler, even boats and campers in many price points. They even run sales on many of their products. Leisure Time RV Oklahoma is another one-stop shop for any of the styles you seek. They even offer financing and vehicle rental. One other option is Gauthier RV which also has used options for you.
Considering these factors will bring you closer to your dream lifestyle. Once you’ve made your purchase, keep it functioning and clean. Whether you buy an aluminum structured vehicle or fiberglass, there are products to keep you looking new and pristine. Whether you are roasting marshmallows outside your trailer door or driving your mobile home down the highway, always be sure it is safe.