Amid the pandemic, plenty of people are opting to start their life on the road. Living in an RV has its pros and cons that you need to take note of before you pack up your things and go. Living on the road does have its perks but also has its downsides. However, you can never replace the memory you can have with your family or someone special when you have different adventures on the road.
Research is the key when it comes to trying something new. You can’t just jump in an RV and hit the road. In this article, I will talk about the main advantages and challenges that you can have when owning an RV. I will also discuss the different RV alternatives that you can choose.
The Main Advantages of Owning an RV
There are plenty of advantages you can get from owning and living in an RV. Life is always an adventure when you are on the road. If you are an outdoorsy type of person and loves traveling, seeing different places, then owning an RV is the best thing that can happen to you.
Every Day is an Adventure!
As I’ve mentioned above, RV offers adventures that you can’t experience when flying in a plane or living in a hotel. Your RV will be your home away from home because you can move with all the things you need as well as bring your family along in the adventure. With an RV, you can enjoy what nature has to offer and can easily move from city to city or state to state.
If you are traveling via plane or regular car, the only choice that you have is to buy your food. When you have an RV, you can save money on food by cooking your own. There is no need to worry about you not liking the food because you made it on your own.
You also don’t need to worry about sleeping in a questionable bed that you would usually get in a hotel. Also, with the ongoing pandemic, it will be safer to sleep in a bed that you know clean and does not have the virus.
If you want to feel like you are staying in a luxury hotel on the road, buying a class A motorhome is a way to go. You can get the amenities you want that a typical home offers. It has a fantastic living area, a classy bathroom, and spacious bedrooms. Of course, RVs that are comfortable and big may come at a higher cost.
With an RV, you can spontaneously decide to live by the sea and enjoy other scenic views. It provides you the freedom and mobility you want and explores any place that you want to see. If you own an RV, you will get to see different places that you have never seen before, making your travel goals come true.
Packing and Unpacking Made Easier in an RV
Imagine traveling with the kids and how tedious it would be to pack. You need to drag large bags alone and may have the chance of facing overweight bags when flying. Also, when you are at the hotel unpacking, there’s a chance that you might have forgotten a few important things.
If you own an RV, you can forget about all those worries. You have everything and anything that you may need because your belongings are already in the RV. Packing up an RV may be difficult at first, especially when you have to get rid of your sentimental things.
Living in an RV may be hard at first, but it will get easier as time passes by.
RV Community: Meeting New People
One of the huge advantages of living in an RV is meeting new people. During your stay in campgrounds and parks, you can socialize and meet different people. Aside from socializing, you can learn a thing or two from their experiences. You will not only meet people but also develop long-term and meaningful friendships with them.
If you are staying in a hotel, Airbnb, or renting an apartment during your travel, it may be hard to talk to people. When you own RV and have people doing the same as you, you will get the feeling of safety. This is the beauty of having an RV as your home.
There are many RV communities that you can join where you can get different opinions, and overall social life enhances. Make sure to get involved in talks because people would also like to hear your experiences and opinions.
People usually stay in parks for days, weeks, and even months. It is most likely that you are to stay with similar people so the friendships can go beyond the park and campgrounds. If you are traveling with your kids, they can play with different kids they met in parks and campgrounds.
When it comes to the RV community, people have a bond for life. It’s not just friendships, but sometimes people find the love of their life in the community. Owning an RV will be the best way to be close to people who are doing the same things as you are.
Changing Your Lifestyl
When you own an RV, you probably do more than you are doing when you live in a home. Most of the people who are attracted to this lifestyle are wandering souls. You can do all the research you can, and it would still be hard to understand the level of comfort and flexibility that an RV has to offer. Experience is the key!
RV offers convenience and flexibility and draws people to live on the open road. It provides the comfort of having your own private home that you can take anywhere. You don’t have to worry about finding hotel rooms only to find out it’s untidy or unclean. You don’t even know when the sheets were last changed.
People tend to get passionate about living in an RV because it is a great way to make memories and enjoy time together as a family. If you are a lone traveler, it is also a great time to spend some time to yourself and discover the different adventures nature has to offer.
Living in an RV is Inexpensiv
Now, you may have read somewhere that RVs are expensive. Yes, they are at the beginning. However, the lifestyle that RV provides is inexpensive. You don’t have to worry about finding hotels and hustling over finding a reservation. Campground rates are much cheaper than parking fees.
As mentioned above, you can save a tremendous amount of money on your food by doing your grocery shopping and cooking. Unlike traveling in the car, you would have to spend money eating in restaurants and sleeping in hotels. If you choose to fly, another expense that you have to think about is the airfare.
If you own an RV, you can have a fun time traveling without having to burn a hole in your wallet.
Awesome Sight Seeing Places
As we can all agree, traveling is fun and takes the stress out of our daily lives. Owning an RV gives you a chance to see and enjoy different places, which is a benefit that you can’t get when you are traveling in a smaller and compact car. Traveling through national parks or mountainous roads is a possibility when you own an RV.
You can enjoy the incredible views across the United States. When it comes to the RV, windshields are bigger, which gives you better views while traveling. If you are on the way to a particular destination, you can camp in the vicinity and get a chance to see places in a better way.
RV parks and campgrounds are all over the place, and it’s not hard finding places to stay. Also, installing different RV apps will make life easier for you to find the perfect place for sightseeing and relaxation.
Bring Your Pets Along the Adventures
If you have pets that you need to leave behind in your home every time you go on a vacation, no need to leave your pet behind anymore with an RV. You don’t have to go through the trouble of looking for dog sitters or find a good pet hotel to leave them. If you own an RV, you can take your pets anywhere you go.
Your pets can get their own space and enjoy exploring the world together. The area is bigger than a regular car which means they have more space to play and call their home. They will have a comfortable stay during your travels.
In campgrounds and parks, they can do their own thing and have the time of their life. However, you have to check ahead to see if they allow pets because not all campgrounds do. Lastly, RVs are much more accommodating than taking your pets on an airplane.
The Main Challenges of Owning an RV
Now, owning an RV is not all rainbows and butterflies. There are some disadvantages to owning one, and I will talk about that in the following section.
Rigs Can Be Expensive
As I’ve said before, rigs can be expensive, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, prices have gone through the roof. RV, fifth wheels, and other motorhomes are great vehicles to own, but they come at a high cost. Before the pandemic, the price can range from $75,000 to $50,000 on a class A motorhome. On the other hand, Class C comes at a price range of $50,000 to $120,000.
Now, towable trailers or fifth wheels are cheaper than the type of rigs mentioned above. The fifth wheel is more costly as compared to a travel trailer. Fifth wheels come at a price range between $40,000 to $1000,000, and travel trailer price ranges between $20,000 to $45,000.
Of course, the prices would depend on the brand and the RV type you want to purchase. It also depends on the size and model as well as whether it is new or not. Another factor that would affect the price is the type of amenities that are available inside the RV.
If you plan to buy a new RV and use it about once or twice in six months, it may not be ideal. When planning to live full-time in an RV, new ones offer overall decent RV prices. You can opt to buy used RVs and other motorhomes, but you would have to consider the price of the conversion.
Maintaining an RV Can Be Costly
RVs need maintenance just like any other vehicle. This is another factor that you have to worry about on top of buying the rig itself. Things can stop working, and you need to get it fixed or repair it yourself. This applies to not only the motor and mechanics but also built-in systems.
Refrigerators and other appliances can break down at one time or another. You have to be prepared and have money readily available for any emergencies like this.
If you plan to rest your adventure, you can’t leave your RV on the driveway for too long because it can lose battery power. Replacing batteries can be costly, and you must learn to check for battery power constantly. Also, most RVs have a built-in gas-powered generator to charge batteries, and gas for these generators is another recurring cost you have to think about.
Another maintenance you have to do is emptying septic tanks, and sometimes you have to pay for these types of amenities. Maintenance for your roof, floor, and awnings is also needed since they can be damaged if not sufficiently protected.
You also need to think of the winter season pause. You need to find a good storage space that has excellent coverage. It can get hard to hit the road during the winter season, so you have to rent a suitable garage or space to store your RV. This will only apply if you don’t plan to live in an RV full time.
Not only do you have to worry about gas for generators, but you also have to worry about the gas for your rig and propane for different appliances. Filling up two fuels can be expensive, especially when RVs are notorious gas guzzlers.
If major repairs are needed, repair dealers can cost between $100 to $200 per hour. The cost would still depend on where you bring your rig. Aside from season maintenance, you would have to take care of the plumbing system and electrical systems. Making the proper repairs and replacements from time to time is needed when you have to live full time in an RV.
There are more moving parts for travel trailers or fifth wheels, which means higher maintenance costs, especially when you have slide-outs or other parts that fold. Maintenance should always be done in a timely manner.
Just like your home, with continuous use, things will get worn out in your RV. This means you would need to keep up with the need for periodic maintenance and replacements.
Quickly Loses Its Value
RV’s depreciation is high, which is the main problem of RV ownership. The moment you get them on the road, the price will start to decline. Let’s say you buy your RV today; tomorrow, the value would not be the same. First-year, the value will decrease by about 15 to 20 percent, and in about five years, it will be reduced to 50 percent or more.
Of course, it will still depend on your RVs condition. An average class A model would lose value close to 45% in about five to seven years which is also the same case with other types of RVs. Now, with the high depreciation, it can be hard to sell your RV when you need it.
You wouldn’t be happy if the class C RV you bought at $75,000 three years ago will now cost about $15,000 to sell. However, this is the reality of owning an RV because new models come out every year. Most of the newer models are equipped with enhanced things that come in the market, and the value of the older ones reduces.
If you are planning to live on an RV full time, this may not be an issue that you have to worry about. Depreciating prices are the main reason why people buy used RVs rather than new ones. However, it would be best if you made sure to properly check used RVs before purchasing them.
Big Vehicle Can Cause Limited Maneuverability
RVs are big and can be intimidating for new RVers, which can be tough. Backing up, making sharp turns, or U-turns can be challenging, especially when you have a fifth wheel and travel trailers. You always need to be cautious because the length that is needed with these types of RVs is much larger, where an average travel trailer tends to be around 15 to 22 feet in length.
Motorhomes like class A or C usually are bigger than 25 feet. Another thing that you need to consider is the weight since it will be on the heavier side. The usual weight of an RV is more than 15,000 pounds. Handling this type of vehicle is completely different and nothing compared to a car or a small truck. Good control is needed.
Finding Campgrounds Can Be Tough
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Good campgrounds and parks can be hard to find. Most times, popular campgrounds are already booked, especially during the pandemic where headcounts are limited. Most of the time, popular regions will have bookings for months, and it could be a pain to get through the reservations.
Finding public parking can be challenging for RVs because of their size, which is why campgrounds are your best bet. Overnight parking can’t be done just anywhere, so you need to find a proper place where RV parking is allowed. Bigger stores like Walmart and Cabelas allow overnight parking.
Dumping RV Grey and Black Tanks Can Be Challenging
Remember that your RV is your home away from home, so you need to dump the grey and black tanks yourself. Grey tanks will hold your wastewater that is usually from the shower and sink. Black tanks, on the other hand, hold the output from the toilet.
Dumping these tanks may not be ideal for new RVers or people who don’t like these types of jobs. It takes some time to get used to. At most times, this is one of the main reasons people get turned off to RV living.
Sensors on these tanks may also malfunction at times and need to be replaced or repaired. Good life in an RV would also mean keeping up with the hard work.
Space May Not Be Ideal
Space is also something that you need to think about. RVs will not offer the same space that you have in a home. Beds and mattresses can be hard or small, and the cabin may not have enough space to move. You will also have less storage space and will not be the same as the ones you have at home.
Getting rid of belongings can be tough, especially when you have to let go of belongings vital to you. No matter what class or type of motorhome you choose, space will still be smaller than a stationary home. Now, living in an RV as a couple or a family with a child or two makes sense.
If you have more than two children, space can be difficult, but it can be done. You will always be left with little to move around. If you want the space, class A is massive and provides better space than other types of RVs but not as big as a home.
However, just like everything, the more time you spend in the RV, you will get used to space. Always make sure to maintain regular cleaning and maintenance.
Alternatives to RV Living: Is There Better?
Aside from RVs, you also have other motorhomes to choose from. If you feel like an RV is not the best fit for you, here are some examples of alternative homes for your life on the road.
Mountable campers are the ones that go on top of your truck. Some are designed to fit other types of vehicles, but most of them are hitched off of your truck and lay over the top of your truck bed. These are not difficult to haul and can provide plenty of space to store your belongings.
It can give you enough space to sleep, which is excellent. Mountable campers are affordable and a great RV alternative that will fit into your budget. This is the best option that will appeal to you, and make use of this method easily as long as you own a truck.
The downside to a mountable camper is mounting on the truck can be a pain. It will not give as much space as a normal RV would, and you must limit the number of people traveling with you. With the mountable camper, you can only fit two people comfortably inside. This is not an ideal solution for people who want to travel with their families.
Tent campers can provide the same amenities as an RV. They are great for people who love camping adventures and for those who love to take long road trips. You can pull the tent campers behind your vehicle, and you will have a nice place to sleep at night.
These tent campers are similar to the interior of an RV and feel like an actual tent. It usually comes with amenities that will make life easier on the road. You can have a place to cook, expand when you park and extend so that you have room to yourself.
You don’t need to pay an unreasonable amount of money to be able to have a nice place to sleep at night. Perfect for camping as well as general RV alternatives, and it is not tough to haul. However, you do need a truck or an SUV to bring this along.
There are downsides when it comes to tent campers, though. It is not comparable to the low-tier RV and cannot match the conveniences that RV offers. If you want to save money, this is the best choice for you. You can still have fun while experiencing the great outdoors.
Van Life Conversions
Van conversions are the most popular alternative to an RV. You can save money while still giving you the space that you need. Van conversions are spacious and will provide enough room to bring your belongings. You can take a long trip in a van, and it can be convenient as an actual RV.
With the van conversion, you can add a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen, which can also be great for families living on the road. Though van conversions can come close to replicating the RV experience, they cannot match an RV. It will give you comfortable sleeping quarters while living on the road, but space will be limited in comparison.
Owning an RV comes with advantages and disadvantages. With proper and thorough research, it can help you decide whether you want to live in an RV full time or take it out once in a while for a fun adventure on the road. Owning an RV will be your home away from home without worrying about the hassle of packing, hotel reservations, and airplane tickets. I hope this article has helped you decide whether an RV is the proper rig for you!