Does buying an RV make sense for you? There are lots of reasons to buy an RV, however, there are probably more as to why not to buy one.
To know if buying an RV makes sense to you, you will have to know what you want out of it. If you are buying it for an investment then it’s a terrible idea. But if you are buying one to be able to travel with your family more often then it could make sense for you.
In this article I will run through some of the pros and cons of buying an RV, so you can make up your mind if it’s right for you.
Things to Consider When Buying an RV
The Costs of Buying an RV
There’s no getting away from the fact that RVs are expensive, and the decision to buy one should not be taken lightly.
You can spend anything from $1,000 to $300,000 on an RV, and it’s easy to go over budget when you keep adding the features on.
It’s not just the price of an RV; the maintenance and upkeep are expensive too, not to mention costly repairs. There are lots of other hidden costs that you might not have considered.
You’ll have to factor in the cost of insurance, roadside cover, vehicle registration, maintenance and storage if you can not store it at home. There is also the cost of kitting out your RV with all the essential supplies, so you don’t have to bring things from home each time.
Not to mention campground fees, fuel, and unexpected repairs. Make sure that you have allocated for all of this within your budget so you don’t overextend yourself.
With that being said, there are some cost savings from having your own RV, the biggest one is the cost of vacations. The cost of flights, hotels, rental cars and eating out is expensive, especially for a family.
Owning your own RV means that you can travel anywhere in the US (or Canada or South America) for the price of fuel and campground fees. There are hundreds of State and National parks and private campgrounds across the US that all make fantastic holidays.
Not only are campgrounds cheaper, but you can often stay in a superior place to hotels for a fraction of the price.
Having a kitchen in your RV also offers some cost saving as you can prepare your meals in the RV or on a camping grill.
If you want to cut costs even more you can go boondocking with no hookups for free. These can be as a stop off on your way to a location or for an adventure off the beaten path.
Other Financial Considerations
If you are buying a travel trailer then you will also need a towing vehicle, if you already have a truck then you’ll need to know the towing capacity of it and buy a trailer that’s suitable.
Trailers can be a cheaper option and are easier to maintain as they don’t have an engine and as many complex parts as a motorhome.
Used RVs are cheaper than new ones, and usually offer a much better deal. Don’t overlook the used RVs in the sales lot, especially ones that could do with an update. A fresh coat of paint and it will look like a brand new RV.
Another reason to buy a used RV is that they depreciate fast, a lot faster than you would expect a car to depreciate. So buying a year old RV can save you thousands.
If you are buying an RV then please make sure that you do full due diligence on the purchase because any mistakes can cost you a lot of money.
Do a VIN number check to see the repair history and owner history. You will also want to thoroughly inspect the RV for signs of mold, check the frame is stable and the floor and walls are in good condition. Check the engine is in good working order, and all paperwork is in order.
The Type of RV
There are so many types of RVs that it’s difficult to know which one to choose, especially if you are new to RVing.
I have written an extensive article about the different types of RVs so if you are unsure then have a read and it will help you choose which one is best for you.
To summarize there are two main types: motorized and towable, motorized RVs are self powered with an engine, and towables are towed by another vehicle.
Motorized RVs are classed as class A, these are the largest and look like a bus, Class B, these are small van RVs, Class C, are in the middle and usually have a cab over the driver’s seat.
Towable RVs are even more varied and can range from huge fifth wheel trailers to tiny teardrop campers.
If you are unsure about which size motorhome is best for you or which type of RV to buy then rent a few different models out first for a vacation to help you decide.
Maintaining your RV
You’ll also want to consider the regular maintenance of the RV, unfortunately, because of the complexity of a motorhome the maintenance is more than a monthly oil change.
You’ll need to check all the appliances inside the RV along with the seals and seams for leaks, as well as the engine. There’s a lot more that can go wrong with an RV so you’ll need to check that everything is working regularly to avoid bigger problems.
Luckily Youtube is a great way to find “how to” videos for the easier maintenance tasks, so you can try to DIY even if you are a complete beginner.
Storing your RV
Unless you have a very spacious driveway or yard, you’ll have to find storage for your RV. Storage can be expensive so make sure that this is factored into your budget.
There are a few different storage options, like inside, outside, or covered. Depending on the age and condition of your RV you might have to get more expensive storage to help preserve your RV.
Make sure that you empty all your tanks and give your RV a good clean before putting it into storage, or you could get a nasty surprise when you go back in after a few weeks.
RVing is Hard Work
People often overlook how much work is involved in RVing, if you have poor health then it won’t make sense for you to buy an RV.
Sometimes it can be hard to know why you ever bought an RV especially as you have to do all the regular house work, empty the black and gray tanks, maintain the rig, drive, load and unload, fuel up including propane and carry heavy things like generators.
This work is hard for someone with poor health, not to mention that you are often far away from quick medical help.
It’s also really easy to hurt yourself when you’re RVing as you’re in unfamiliar surroundings all the time you can easily lose your footing or have an accident.
When Owning an RV Makes Sense
We’ve covered everything you have to consider before buying an RV, so when does owning an RV make sense?
There are a few good reasons to own an RV, you just need to work out if these outweigh the negatives for you.
Freedom and Adventure
One of the best things about owning an RV is the freedom it offers, you can just pack up and go whenever or wherever you want. And you’ll still have all your home comforts.
There are so many different places you can go from boondocking to full luxury campsites and everything in between. You can go wherever your budget allows or wherever your fancy takes you.
If you don’t like somewhere you can just pack up and go somewhere else, or if you really love somewhere you can stay for as long as you want.
Owning an RV when you have a family will offer you plenty of time for family bonding. Traveling in your RV every weekend and school holidays will give you lots of experiences and memories together which is priceless.
RVing with your kids will bring you closer together, not to mention will be awesome for your children.
You’ll quickly find out that RVers are a close knit community and are always there to give you a helping hand or join you for a chat around the campfire. Joining an RV club is a great idea to meet people and get discounts, a win-win situation.
It’s also great for your kids as there is a community feels to most campsites and they will quickly make new friends to play with.
There are also a lot of RVing communities online that are super friendly and will answer any questions you have.
I know that pets are part of the family too and it’s hard to leave them behind when you go on vacation. The good thing about owning an RV is that you can take your pets with you.
Your dogs will love adventuring in the outdoors and bounding around. You can also go RVing with your cat or any other pets you have – fish might be a bit tricky especially if there are bumps in the road.
Being in Nature
If you’re reading this then you are probably a nature lover, and owning an RV is a great way to escape into nature whenever you want.
Even being inside your RV feels like you’re in nature.
There are so many benefits to being in the great outdoors, it automatically lifts your mood and makes you feel at peace.
You can be living in the desert for one month, then a forest, then the mountains or the coast. The list is endless. You will be able to experience the amazing outdoors that America has to offer, there are some incredible national parks and landmarks that many Americans will never get to see.
Does Buying an RV Make Sense? – Final Thoughts
Buying an RV is a huge financial decision and if you are not going to be using it a lot it can end up being an expensive inconvenience.
If you think that the freedom, family bonding, and adventures that owning an RV outweigh the financial and maintenance costs of owning an RV then it makes sense for you.
If you think that owning an RV is an investment and will save you money then it probably doesn’t make sense to own an RV. You will be much better off renting.