They are made for long trips and it takes some skill to pack properly for a lengthy holiday, but once you hit the open road and experience the freedom that comes with having an RV, you’ll never go back to that other way of vacationing.
Remember, RVing isn’t always sunshine and roses. There are times when it is anything but fun. However, if you do it right, or happen to be a master at improvisation, you’ll find that time in an RV as well, just time in a moving box.
Here are some of the reasons why RVs are so much fun:
1 – They Make You Appreciate That You Have A Big Yard Or Driveway
Unless your long-term goal is to live out of your RV full-time, which is not as crazy as it sounds you are going to use that recreational vehicle for a short period. On average, the typical RV spends no more than 28 days a year on pavement – moving forward.
In other words, you’ll get about one month of intense, cramped and uncomfortable closeness a year out of that massive, gas-guzzling small building partially parked on your driveway.
The rest of the time it will be either in the way, creating massive amounts of shade or living peacefully under tarps stashed somewhere in the back-40 rusting away quietly until you decide to take it on another edition of your family vacation. Renting it out as a small house is an option.
2 – They Bring Families And Friends Closer Together
Say what you want about spending oodles of money on separate hotel rooms just to have some breathing room. If that is not the way you holiday, then the long term effects of traveling extreme distances cramped together inside a moving apartment may be your best bet.
Nothing makes you see family members and casual acquaintances differently than sharing the same RV for days and weeks. It is a great idea if you are traveling with someone you haven’t seen in a long time. It also happens to be a great way to get to know new members to your family in a setting where none of you can easier disappear to get away from each other.
Tolerance is the key and RVs were designed to teach many lessons in this very valuable human trait.
3 – They Teach You Things About Yourself You Didn’t Know
Driving hundreds of miles in uncharted territory with the smell of a backed up RV toilet takes some getting used to. So does having to listen to the endless whining from relatives who suffer from motion sickness from the moment you release the parking brake.
Then there’s the high cost of firewood or matches or hot dogs at the ‘convenience’ store located on the same property as the private RV Park you are going to spend a night in. You also learn how to budget your fuel costs, how important it is to have all your prescriptions up-to-date and why onboard GPS systems are useless when not updated with current software and global information.
Yes, RVing is an experience, and you will learn how to manage by the time your trip is over.
4 – They Give You A Place To Store A Ton Of Crap When Not In Use
Considering you will have about 48 weeks of the average year when your recreational vehicle will not be doing much in the way of recreating, you can still get some use out of it as it sits idle. One reason why some folks like to purchase the biggest possible RV that they can is for what they do with it when it is not on the road.
Remember, if you have the right one, it will come complete with sleeping quarters, a kitchen and bathroom. All of this space can be converted to storage. This comes in particularly handy if your garage, crawlspace, and attic are already piled up to maximum capacity.
The extra room in the RV gives you the means to stash away some important items and have them under the added security of lock and key.
5 – They Give You Something To Look Forward To During Retirement
Okay, even if your retirement plans do not include a massive mobile home on wheels, no one else needs to know this. So, even if you are 20+ years away from retirement, you can play the game and let everyone at work in on your RV plans.
What this does is it gives you something to focus on even if retirement is not in your immediate future. In other words, you can fake it. Sure, you may not have even started a family yet, but to those around you, you appear to have your act together because you have this amazing, grandiose retirement RV plan.
Displaying such vision in the workplace is going to bring you several hidden benefits including a promotion and raise at the very least. Playing this game will get you ahead faster than not.
6 – They Give You Something To Bring To Your Neighborhood Stats
This is a variation on the old ‘keep up with the Joneses’ rule. In actual fact, and we aren’t too sure where we read this, but apparently, one-in-ten households in the USA own an RV.
All you need to do in order to keep that number intact is to go for a quick cruise around the neighborhood. Chances are that there are no recreational vehicles anywhere on your block. So, in order to set the pace, your next move is to take out a mortgage and shop around at all the best RV places in your region.
Once you find the one worth slightly more than your home, you’ll know you found the right one. After all, being the first on your block to own an RV puts you in a completely different category. All you need now is an outdoor pool, and you’re golden.
7 – They Are Also Available As Rentals In Case You Want To Go That Route
It wouldn’t be the first time we got stuck in traffic behind a fleet of rental RVs, so you know that they do exist. What makes this an attractive alternative to actually owning one is that at the end of your holiday you don’t have to find a place in your yard to hide this giant monster on wheels.
It also keeps you from grumbling each time you get a glimpse of your unit slowly rusting in your yard as you count the months before optimum RVing weather. The downside to renting an RV is that you lose the extra storage shed for your yard, but you will save thousands of dollars on fuel costs, so there is a trade-off.
Plus, if you really can’t stand being in the same moving room as some of your relatives, renting multiple RVs solves this particular problem.
8 – They Remind You That You Should Have Paid Attention In Shop Class
Sure, even the biggest RV has the smallest bathroom/shower known to mankind. Even with a decent sized kitchen area, the sink will be tiny. Then there’s all the electrical stuff and don’t forget that sooner or later the term ‘Sani dump’ is going to work its way into your vocabulary. Of course, there will be manuals, and if you have any kind of relationship with Google, you’ll be able to navigate your way through the maze of information that may actually help.
However, had you paid attention in school you wouldn’t be paying a mobile mechanic $150/hour for emergency clog removal. What we are trying to say here is that if you are not in the least a little bit handy outside of the bedroom, you might have to learn how to live without showering for days.
But There Are Also A Lot Of Good Things About RVs
Don’t take our word for it. The next time you see an RV pull up to someone’s house on your street, why not extend an invitation for snacks?
That way you can quiz them about how they enjoy the lifestyle that comes from having no forwarding address or property taxes to deal with.
The full-timers are the best ones to talk to about recreational vehicles. That’s because they are the ones who have truly been there and done that’ and will want to give you the sordid details of the experience.
There is no better way to determine whether or not RVing is for you than to get to know someone with one. If that doesn’t convince you either way, then your best option is to rent a unit for your next annual vacation. Just don’t forget your blood pressure medication.
Pros and Cons of ownership
- Travel flexibility: Owning an RV allows you to travel at your own pace, set your own schedule, and visit the destinations that interest you without the constraints of hotel reservations or strict itineraries.
- Comfort and convenience: RVs are equipped with many of the comforts of home, such as a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area, making traveling more enjoyable and convenient.
- Cost savings: While there are initial costs associated with purchasing and maintaining an RV, you can save money on accommodations, meals, and transportation expenses during your travels.
- Family and pet-friendly: RV travel is ideal for families, as it provides a comfortable space for everyone to relax and spend time together. Many RV parks are pet-friendly, allowing you to bring your furry friends along for the adventure.
- Social opportunities: RV parks and campgrounds are excellent places to meet fellow travelers and make new friends, fostering a sense of community among RV enthusiasts.
- Immersive outdoor experiences: Traveling in an RV allows you to stay close to nature and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and stargazing.
- Initial costs: Purchasing an RV can be expensive, particularly for larger, more luxurious models. Additional costs include insurance, registration, and taxes.
- Maintenance and operating costs: Regular maintenance, such as oil changes, tire replacements, and appliance repairs, can be costly. Additionally, fuel consumption and campground fees can add up over time.
- Limited access: Some roads, particularly in urban areas or national parks, may be inaccessible to larger RVs due to size or weight restrictions.
- Storage: When not in use, an RV requires storage space, which may not be available at your home, necessitating the rental of a storage facility.
- Driving and maneuverability: Driving an RV, particularly a large motorhome or a towable RV, can be challenging for some people, especially in tight spaces or on narrow roads.
- Environmental impact: RVs generally have a higher fuel consumption rate than smaller vehicles, contributing to a larger carbon footprint.
Q: Is living in an RV like being on a permanent vacation?
A: In some ways, yes! You get to see new places, meet new people, and have exciting adventures. However, unless your vacation usually involves regular maintenance, dealing with septic tanks, and sometimes having to park overnight in a Walmart parking lot, it’s not entirely the same. So don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure… and maybe some wet wipes.
Q: I heard that in an RV, I can literally live wherever I want. Is that true?
A: Well, not exactly. While you can certainly travel wherever you want, you can’t just park anywhere and call it home for the night. Many places have rules against overnight parking, and private property is off-limits unless you have permission. But hey, don’t let that stop you from dreaming about that beachfront property!
Q: Can I escape chores by living in an RV?
A: Afraid not, my friend! In fact, RV living might include some chores you’re not used to, like maintaining the RV’s systems and dumping your waste tanks. But look on the bright side: you’ll never have to mow a lawn again!
Q: Do I need to worry about my RV getting lonely if I leave it alone for too long?
A: Well, RVs might not get lonely, but they do need some TLC. Long periods of inactivity can cause mechanical issues, and tires can even develop flat spots if the RV isn’t moved for a long time. Think of it as your RV’s way of saying, “Miss you, buddy!”
Q: Can I use my RV to time travel?
A: While it would be super cool to take your RV back to see the dinosaurs or forward to meet future civilizations, right now, RVs are strictly ground and time-bound vehicles. But hey, driving an RV can sometimes feel like stepping back in time – especially when you find yourself in a charming small town or serene nature spot.
Q: Can I trade my RV for a mansion if I get tired of it?
A: Well, unless your RV is made of gold or you’ve found a very generous mansion owner, it’s unlikely. But hey, who needs a mansion when you have a home that can change views whenever you want? Beachfront today, mountain vista tomorrow – that’s the RV life!
Q: Will I have to sell my firstborn to afford gas for my RV?
A: Fear not! While it’s true that RVs aren’t the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the road, there are ways to mitigate those costs. Planning efficient routes, maintaining a consistent speed, and keeping your RV in good shape can all help improve gas mileage. And remember, you’re saving on hotel costs, so it balances out… right?
Q: If I live in an RV, can I escape my in-laws?
A: Possibly, but remember, they might just see it as an opportunity for a family road trip! On a more serious note, living in an RV does afford you the opportunity to move around and control who’s knocking at your door. But remember, family is important too, so don’t stay away too long!
Q: Can I join the circus if I live in an RV?
A: You know, it just might increase your chances! But unless you’re an expert juggler or have a secret clown talent, you might want to keep your day job. Still, with the freedom of RV living, who’s to say you can’t follow your dreams, however quirky they may be?
Q: Will living in an RV make me more attractive?
A: Well, that depends! If someone is impressed by a spirit of adventure, self-reliance, and a good sense of direction (GPS, anyone?), then absolutely! Plus, there’s nothing like a campfire glow to really bring out your features.
Q: Do I need to worry about pirates on the high roads?
A: Fortunately, highway piracy isn’t a common issue for RVers. However, always take precautions to keep your RV secure. After all, your treasure chest is on board!
Q: Will I get better at cooking if I live in an RV?
A: If you can manage to cook a four-course meal in an RV kitchen, you can probably cook anywhere! The smaller kitchen might inspire you to be more creative and efficient with your meals. Who knows, maybe you’ll become the next big thing in the foodie world – a gourmet RV chef!
Q: Will I become a map expert if I live in an RV?
A: There’s a good chance you’ll become more familiar with reading maps and planning routes, that’s for sure. But if you’re expecting to turn into an Indiana Jones type character with an encyclopedic knowledge of hidden routes and secret passages… well, your GPS might have a few objections.
Q: Does living in an RV mean I can have a new neighbor every day?
A: Absolutely! If you’re the type who loves meeting new people, then RV life could be your ticket to a constantly changing neighborhood. Just remember, good fences (or should we say, good awnings?) make good neighbors.
Q: If I drop a sandwich on the RV floor, does the 5-second rule still apply?
A: Well, cleanliness rules should probably be a bit stricter in the compact living space of an RV, especially if you’ve recently trekked in some outdoorsy muck! But hey, we’re not here to judge – just maybe give it a good rinse first?
Q: Can I park my RV in the middle of a city?
A: Unless you’ve got an amazing knack for parallel parking and an incredibly generous parking inspector, city RV parking could be a little tricky. The good news is, many cities have dedicated RV parks and public transport to get you into the hustle and bustle without bringing your whole house along.
Q: Will I become a weather expert living in an RV?
A: There’s a good chance! You’ll quickly learn the importance of checking the weather for safe travel conditions and finding the perfect, storm-free window for setting up and packing down. Before you know it, you might be predicting rainfall down to the minute!
Q: How much does an RV cost? A: How much have you got? Just kidding! The cost of an RV can range from the price of a used compact car for a small, used travel trailer, all the way up to the cost of a luxurious mansion for a new, top-of-the-line motorhome. What? You didn’t need that beachfront property anyway.
Q: Do I have to buy new, or can I buy used? A: Buying a used RV can be a great way to save some cash and bypass the initial depreciation hit. It’s like adopting a mature pet instead of a new puppy – it might come with a few quirks and scratches, but it’s house-trained and won’t chew your shoes.
Q: Can I finance an RV? A: Yes, many dealerships and financial institutions offer RV loans. It’s just like buying a house, but on wheels and without the annoying neighbors. Unless you count the wandering raccoons.
Q: What are the other costs I should be aware of? A: Aside from the initial purchase price, don’t forget to factor in costs such as fuel, insurance, maintenance, and campsite fees. If you think of RV ownership as a glamorous camping trip, these are your posh s’mores and artisanal firewood.
Q: How much does it cost to fuel an RV? A: Fueling an RV is similar to feeding a pet dinosaur – it can really eat up your budget if you’re not careful. Gas mileage for RVs can vary widely depending on the size and type of your RV, and, of course, gas prices at the time. However, with every mile comes a new adventure, so isn’t it worth every drop?
Q: Are there insurance costs for an RV? A: Absolutely, your RV isn’t a rogue rebel, it needs insurance coverage too. The cost can depend on a range of factors, such as the RV’s value, how you use it (full-time living versus occasional trips), and your driving history. Basically, it’s like your RV’s healthcare plan, and like all health care plans, it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
Q: How often do I need to replace things in my RV? A: Well, your RV isn’t exactly a magical land of never-ending appliances and fixtures. Things like batteries, tires, and other parts will eventually need to be replaced. This can be a periodic expense, similar to replacing your toddler’s outgrown shoes, only with less crying (hopefully).
Q: What about the cost of utilities in an RV? A: If you’re thinking of moving from a house to an RV, you’ll likely find your utility costs decrease. But remember, while you might not have a monthly electricity bill in the traditional sense, you’ll have to pay for things like propane for heating and cooking, water at some dump stations, and fees for campgrounds with electrical hookups. It’s like paying for your house utilities, but with a more scenic view.
Q: Is it expensive to winterize an RV? A: Winterizing your RV is a bit like buying a good winter coat: it might cost you upfront, but it saves you from a world of cold-related problems (and costs) later on. The cost isn’t usually huge, but it does add to your annual RV budget.
Q: Does the type of RV affect the cost? A: Absolutely! The costs can vary as much as the RVs themselves. Smaller travel trailers or pop-up campers will generally be less expensive to purchase, maintain, and tow, but they also provide fewer amenities. On the other hand, larger class A motorhomes offer plenty of comfort but at a higher cost. It’s like choosing between a backpack and a suitcase for a trip – each has its perks and prices.
Q: What about tolls and parking fees? A: Sometimes, life on the open road includes tolls and parking fees. Your RV, majestic as it is, won’t get any special exemptions. Remember to factor these costs into your travel budget, especially if you’re planning a long-distance trek. Think of it as your RV’s ticket to the VIP parking club.
Q: Are there any ways to travel in an RV without breaking the bank? A: Sure, there are ways to keep your RV travel affordable. Planning shorter trips, staying at lower-cost campsites, or boondocking (camping without hookups) can help save some money. It’s like gourmet dining on a fast-food budget. Just make sure your RV is prepared for whatever savings tactics you choose!
Q: How much does it cost to maintain an RV? A: Maintenance costs can vary widely depending on the age, type, and condition of your RV. It’s like asking how much it costs to maintain a pet. Goldfish? Cheap. Elephant? Not so much.
Q: Is there any way to offset the costs of owning an RV? A: Absolutely! Some folks rent out their RV when they’re not using it, a bit like turning your RV into an Airbnb on wheels. You might have to deal with renters’ weird pillow preferences, though.
Q: Do I need to pay for storage? A: If you have a large driveway or a very understanding neighbor, maybe not. Otherwise, you’ll likely need to budget for storage when you’re not using the RV. It’s like paying rent for your RV’s vacation home.
Remember, an RV is more than just a vehicle – it’s a lifestyle. So, consider the costs carefully, but don’t forget to factor in the priceless memories of freedom, adventure, and that one time a squirrel tried to hitch a ride to Florida.