So, you love hitting the open road and traveling? You’ve thought to yourself “maybe an RV would be good for when I travel?” When you buy an RV, you can make memories that last a lifetime. However, knowing the right RV to buy is tricky as every situation is different. Here’s a guide on some of the key factors in buying an RV and choosing which one is right for you.
How often do you travel and where?
Buying an RV is a huge investment. Most that want to buy an RV do so because they travel often. When thinking about whether or not to buy an RV, there are a couple of things you need to consider. The most important being:
- How often you travel
- How far you travel
This should be the starting point on the type of RV you need to buy, and your budget. If you travel long distances and travel often, it is in your best interest to buy a larger RV with all the bells and whistles. In addition, you don’t want to travel often with an RV that makes road tripping a hassle. You need to buy an RV that fits your lifestyle first and foremost. If you are going to be traveling a lot or making an RV your living space, you need the extra space and extra features. However, do you need a Class A Motorhome or a 5th Wheel Trailer? Space, price point, and extra features should all be weighed against your lifestyle. Ask yourself questions like:
- Do I need to go offroad with my RV?
- Do I need a separate shower and toilet or will a wet bath do?
- Do I plan on driving this RV through multiple cities?
- Can my car pull this RV?
- Do I want to bring my car along behind a motorhome? If so, what attachments do I need
- How many sleeping areas do I need?
- Do I need AC? (this can be relevant for pop-ups)
- How much am I willing to pay in gas every time I take an RV out?
If you don’t plan on making many trips with your RV, you may want to consider a more affordable option. You should think twice before buying the RV of your dreams, because it may not be the best investment for your money.
What type of RV will fit you?
There are several types of RVs and many factors you should consider when you want to buy an RV. Also, each type of RV is priced differently, and you’ll need to keep that in mind when it comes to making a purchase. Let’s break it down.
There are three types of motorhomes
- Class A Motorhomes
- Class B Motorhomes
- Class C Motorhomes
Motorhomes are exactly what they sound like. Homes on wheels. They are the traditional big body RVs that you drive yourself, and most people have a car attached to their RV. The nicest and largest are Class A. They usually have multiple sleeping points, a kitchen, full bathroom, and a dining table. Oftentimes, they will come with amenities such as a TV or fireplace. Some even have pop-outs. Next is Class B, which has a lot of the same things, albeit in a smaller package. They sometimes do have a bathroom, although not all do. Also, some “van RV’s” are classified as Class B as well. The third class is Class C, which looks like a U-Haul truck. These usually contain the barebones of the Class A RV, but can still be driven. Most people rent these motorhomes and drive them for a couple of weeks. Class C can be good for those who are new to RVs but have driven bigger cars such as a U-haul truck. Reserve America has a great piece that goes more in-depth about its size configuration.
Travel Trailer & 5th Wheel Trailer
Travel trailers are great for those who want to buy an RV and still explore a city. They are not motorized vehicles and must be towed by another vehicle (usually a truck). However, that does not mean you skimp on luxuries. Prices and amenities vary wildly with this subsection of RVs. You’ll need to choose first and foremost a price point that works for you and then choose an RV that can be towed by your vehicle. Not only can they be cheaper than motorhomes, but they also allow you to unhook from your trailer and do some offroading or discovery of a city. Travel trailers also differ widely in size. From teardrop designs to large sizes that have multiple pop-outs, you can find just about any size to fit your needs. If you’re new to trailers, it may be best to choose a smaller trailer as they can be easier to drive.
5th Wheel trailers are travel trailers, except they have a special attachment that allows them to be easily controlled by those driving. If you plan on doing some serious travel, this might be your best bet as they are easy to maneuver. You also don’t have to skimp on luxuries, and you still get to unhook from your trailer. If you have a motorhome, you have to tow your car behind you or bring no car at all. Consider this factor when you want to buy an RV.
Pop-ups are small RV’s that can fold down, and usually have a sleeping area, a cooking area, and a dining table. Units “pop-up” when in a lot and fold-out adding more space. When the trip is over they fold back down into a compact trailer. This is perfect for the novice, those on a budget, and those who only camp a couple of times a year. You won’t have much space for storage so you may need to buy things like a cooler, something to cook with, a port-a-potty, and other devices. Some do include a bath, but most do not as these units are extremely tiny. If you’re just starting out and don’t have a family, this may be your best bet. Some are also so small that they can be pulled by a car or minivan.
How much maintenance do you want?
While buying an RV can be a lot of fun, maintaining one is an entirely different matter. A general rule of thumb is that the bigger they are, the more that can break. It can be very expensive to buy an RV and to maintain one. Whether you’re buying gas or replacing a tire, you will need to account for the maintenance of your RV once you buy one. It’s not a matter of “if” it will break down or something goes wrong, it is a matter of “when”. You need to be prepared for that situation, and even more so if you are a novice about RV maintenance.
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