The Recreational Vehicle
A recreational vehicle – also known as an RV – is a class of vehicle used for taking your lodging with you when you travel. Motorhomes, campers, and fifth-wheels all fall under the general umbrella of RV. But there are some distinct differences:
- Motorhome – As the name implies, a motorhome is an integrated vehicle and camper in a single unit. This RV is very convenient, in that you have access to the entire unit while you drive.
- Camper – Unlike a motorhome, a camper is a specialty trailer that is towed behind a vehicle. One benefit of a separate camper is you can detach it at your camping spot, and then use your vehicle for local excursions.
- Fifth Wheel – This is a special type of camper that is usually quite large. It cannot be towed with a regular trailer hitch, but rather attaches to a larger pickup truck via a special mount in the truck’s bed.
Benefits Of Traveling With An RV
Hotels are great if you need to spend a night on the road, or staying at a single location for several days during a trip. But on longer trips through a number of locations, staying in hotels is less than ideal.
The first issue is the cost – hotel stays can be expensive. Sure, you can grab a room at a dive motel in a small town for a fairly low price. But the closer you get to bigger cities and tourist destinations the higher the prices go. A vacation can really get expensive if you have to spend a couple hundred dollars per night just to sleep.
Traveling in an RV solves that problem, as you bring your own bed with you. Those beds can be very comfortable as well, if you get a good RV mattress. Campgrounds are much cheaper than hotels, and you can also spend the night at a rest area or even WalMart parking lot if you have to. Over a long trip that savings really adds up. It becomes even more cost beneficial if you travel often, as RVs last a long time if they are taken care of. An easy way to keep a recreational vehicle in top shape is making use of an RV cover.
Eating out for every meal during a trip can also add significant expenses to your travel plans. Unless you want to make PBJ sandwiches in your car you will have to either spend money on fast food or spend more at finer restaurants. In an RV you are bringing a kitchen with you, so you can cook for yourself at a reasonable price. You can even use most kitchen appliances like portable induction cooktops as they can be powered by RV solar kits, RV generators, and RV batteries. Larger appliances like RV dehumidifiers, RV washer Dryer Combos, standing air conditioner, a or space heater would only work at a place with an electrical hookup, but most RV’s have model-specific air conditioners built in. Similarly, most RVs have bathrooms, but if they don’t you can bring a composting toilet. Travelers with special dietary needs also find RV travel much more convenient.
Pack It In
Space is always a concern when making a road trip. Getting all your vacation gear into your vehicle is often a challenge, and that challenge gets harder as your unpack and repack along the trip.
Traveling with a recreational vehicle means you have a lot of extra space for your gear. RV lovers rarely have to sit with a suitcase in their lap to fit everything they need. In fact, you can even bring along many luxuries such as a tv, if you have the proper RV antenna.
Try Before You Buy
One of the downsides of recreational vehicles is the expense. Buying a new one requires a significant investment of capital, and the larger the RV and the more features it has the bigger the price tag. Unless one is independently wealthy, buying an RV requires a substantial investment.
As noted above, traveling with an RV can save you a lot of money compared with staying in hotels and eating every meal at a restaurant. However, it will take quite a bit of travel for the savings to offset the cost of an RV. Thankfully, there is a way to vacation with an RV without emptying your bank account.
Many companies rent motorhomes and campers, so you can reap the benefits of RV travel without incurring the costs of buying one. Not only is this a great way to save money, but it also allows you to try RV models of different sizes, configurations, and with different feature sets. To see how much this costs, be sure to check out our article “How much does it cost to rent an RV?” This will help you narrow down exactly the right RV for your travel needs before you purchase.