This guide features how to choose an RV’s ins and outs. Not all RVs are built the same. Choosing an RV can be challenging for a number of reasons.
Things to consider: Location: Will your RV need to be able to get to frequent locations? If so, it may need to be relatively short in length.
Weather: Will you be living in an RV full-time or only seasonally? If you’re living in it year-round, then build quality might be more important than features.
When you picture yourself with that RV lifestyle, you may imagine traveling the country in a gaudy motorhome. That might be the case, but there are many other options available to you.
From humble Class B’s to big luxury Class A’s, there is an RV available for every variety of lifestyles.
As the saying goes, buying an RV can turn you into a “homer” because it is all about what you want and need in your RV experience.
First-time RVers often find themselves overwhelmed by the complexity of this decision before even considering what type of RV to buy.
In the past, many newbie RVers have been enticed to jump on the bandwagon with a shiny new purchase only to crash and burn with bad decisions down the road.
RVs or full-time living vehicles have become increasingly popular with retirees and young people who are sick of paying rent. But RVs can be quite expensive, so you should consider a few things before making a purchase.
Table of Contents
- How to Choose An RV to Live In
- Top 10 Factors To Consider When Shopping For An RV
- 4 Reasons Why You Should Buy An RV Instead Of A Travel Trailer
- Making the RV-Buying Decision: 5 Questions to Answer Before You Buy
How to Choose An RV to Live In
There are plenty of great reasons why you should live in a recreational vehicle. If you’re looking for that lifestyle, here are the things you need to know, and recommendations for how to choose an RV to live in.
Top 10 Factors To Consider When Shopping For An RV
When you’re buying a new or used RV, there are a lot of factors to consider before making your decision. We’ve put together this list of the top 5 things to look for when shopping for an RV.
1. Type of Motorhome
When shopping for an RV, the first thing to consider is what type of motorhome you want to purchase. There are many different types of RVs on the market today and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Here is a list of the different types of motorhomes:
Truck Camper: A truck camper is built on a pickup truck frame with a bed that has been modified to include living space. This type of RV is less expensive than other types and can be towed easily behind any pickup truck or SUV.
Fifth Wheel: A fifth wheel trailer is mounted on a frame that includes two axles on either side of the trailer and one in front, which allows them to be towed by pickup trucks with special equipment installed on them called “pintle hitches” or “dolly hitches.”
They are very stable when parked but can be difficult to maneuver while driving down the road due to their size and weight.
Travel Trailer: A travel trailer is also mounted on a frame. Travel trailers are smaller than fifth wheels or motorhomes and generally feature a pop-up-style roof. They’re great for trips where you plan to stay in one location for longer periods, but they’re not well suited for long-distance driving or camping in rugged terrain.
2. Size and Style
What size RV do you need? The answer depends on how many people will be traveling with you and their ages, as well as the amount of space each person needs. Larger RVs can accommodate more people and provide more storage space for belongings, but they also require more fuel to operate.
There are so many styles and sizes available on the market today that it can be overwhelming when trying to narrow down your search for the perfect RV.
Numerous factors go into finding one that meets your needs including whether you prefer a motorhome or Class C RV, what amenities are most important to you (i.e., kitchen appliances, outdoor space), and whether or not you plan on taking long trips often or only occasionally.
3. Floor Plan
The floor plan is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when shopping for an RV. It determines how much living space there will be inside your new home on wheels — or how many beds and bathrooms there will be.
If you have kids or pets who like to spread out, you may want a larger floor plan with multiple bunks or sleeping areas. If you’re just two people looking for a cozy getaway, then a smaller unit might work better for you.
4. Color Scheme
You might not think about it at first glance, but the color scheme of your new vehicle can make all the difference in enjoying your time away from home.
5. Budget and Fuel Efficiency
How much do you want to spend on an RV? This can vary greatly depending on how custom you’d like your rig to be. How far do you plan on driving each day? Will there be enough fuel stations along your route?
6. How Often Will You Use It?
If you’re planning on taking your RV out once a year, you probably won’t get the same value out of it as someone who plans on using it every weekend. The more you plan on using it, the more features and amenities you’ll need.
7. Where Will You Store It?
Where will you keep your RV when not in use? A small storage unit or garage can cost hundreds of dollars per month if not owned by the owner of the RV.
If you don’t have access to one, or if it’s too expensive for what you need, consider renting space at an RV park or campground nearby instead of buying an RV that requires lots of space for storage and maintenance.
8. How Much Do You Want To Spend?
The average price for a new travel trailer is around $30,000 – $40,000 but this can vary greatly depending on the size and features included with the model selected by the buyer.
Used RVs are often available for less than half this price and can be found through classified ads or online sites such as Craigslist or eBay Motors but may require some maintenance work before use due to their age and mileage.
9. What Kind of Warranty Comes With It?
The best way to get an idea of how well a company stands behind its products is to see what kind of warranty is offered. Are there any exclusions? Does it cover everything or just certain parts?
How long does the warranty last? Is there a deductible you have to pay if something breaks? These are all important questions to ask when shopping for an RV.
The length of the warranty varies from one manufacturer to another, but generally, the longer the warranty, the better. Look for a minimum of three years on major components like engines and transmissions.
Some manufacturers offer up to 5 years or even lifetime warranties on certain parts. Many companies also offer extended service contracts on both new and used RVs.
These contracts can provide coverage up to 100% of the original purchase price — which can be very valuable if you purchase an RV that has been well-maintained by its previous owners.
10. What Safety Features Does It Have?
An RV is basically a motorhome with some living space attached to it, so safety is another important consideration when choosing an RV.
Look for models with electronic stability control (ESC), which helps prevent rollovers and loss-of-control accidents; automatic braking systems; advanced airbags; and tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS).
Safety should be your number one concern when buying an RV. You’re going to be traveling with your family and pets in this vehicle, so you need to make sure you’re getting a safe one that offers all the necessary protection features.
A good place to start is by looking at crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
4 Reasons Why You Should Buy An RV Instead Of A Travel Trailer
There are many reasons to buy an RV instead of a travel trailer. While there are some similarities between the two types of recreational vehicles, there are also clear differences that make one better than the other in certain situations. Here are 4 reasons why you should buy an RV instead of a travel trailer:
1. RVs Are More Flexible Than Travel Trailers
Travel trailers have limited storage space inside the vehicle so you can’t carry much food or supplies during your trip.
If you plan on spending time at your destination then this may not be an issue for you; however, if you want to go camping without staying in one place then this could pose a problem for you. The main benefit of RVs is that they have more storage space than travel trailers.
2. It Takes Less Time To Set Up Or Pull Down Than A Travel Trailer Does
One of the best things about owning an RV is that it takes less time to set up or pull down than it does with a travel trailer. This includes everything from arranging sleeping arrangements to setting up tables and chairs – everything gets done faster with an RV.
3. Consider The Comfort Of An RV
RVs come with all kinds of amenities, including kitchens, bathrooms, and sleeping areas. You’ll have everything you need for a long trip without having to worry about packing extra items or finding places along the way where you can get those necessities (such as food).
4. They’re More Convenient
If you want to travel with friends or family and don’t want to worry about booking hotel rooms or cooking meals in a kitchenette, then an RV is the way to go.
In addition, most RVs are equipped with beds so kids can sleep comfortably at night, which means that you don’t have to worry about them getting worked up from being too tired during your drive.
Making the RV-Buying Decision: 5 Questions to Answer Before You Buy
Buying a recreational vehicle is a big decision. You can’t just go out and buy an RV like you would a car. There are many things to consider before you make the plunge into the world of RV travel.
If you’re thinking about buying an RV, but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, here are some questions to ask yourself and considerations to keep in mind when making your purchase:
1. What Type Of RV Do I Want?
What to consider before buying an RV. The first step in selecting an RV is determining what type of camper best suits your needs and lifestyle. There are several types of campers, from motorhomes (also known as Class C vehicles) to fifth-wheel trailers or pop-up campers.
Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so make sure that you choose the one that best fits your lifestyle and budget.
2. What Sort Of Amenities Does My RV Need?
RVs come with all sorts of modern conveniences that allow for comfortable living away from home, including refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, and televisions.
However, these features can add considerably to the cost of an RV so think carefully about what features are really necessary for your needs before making any purchases.
3. How Much Do I Have Budgeted To Spend On An RV?
The price of an RV varies greatly depending on its size, features, and condition. If you don’t have much money saved up for your purchase or are looking for a deal on an older model that won’t cost as much as one with fewer miles on its odometer, then buying from a private seller may make sense for you.
4. What size RV should I buy?
It’s tempting to go all out when buying an RV — after all, this will be your vacation home for years to come — but it’s better to start small and upgrade later if needed rather than overspend on something too big for your needs now.
In particular, if you’re looking at a Class A RV like a motorhome or a bus with full kitchen and bathroom facilities, remember that these vehicles can get very expensive very quickly: most cost upwards of $100k new (and much more if you want high-end features).
4. Do I Have The Time To Shop For An RV?
If you have limited time to look for an RV and want to buy one right away, then you should consider purchasing from an RV dealer who sells pre-owned vehicles or offers financing options.
On the other hand, if you have plenty of free time and don’t mind doing some legwork on your own, then buying from a private seller may be more appealing.
Which RV is easiest to drive?
A fifth wheel is easier to drive than a travel trailer. The reason is that a fifth wheel has no front axle and no steering wheels, so it’s not as heavy and doesn’t require as much maneuvering as a travel trailer.
What is easier to pull the 5th wheel or the travel trailer?
The answer depends on how much weight you’re pulling, but generally speaking, the bigger your RV and the heavier your load, the more likely you’ll want to use a fifth wheel instead of a travel trailer.
What is the most popular RV length?
The most popular RV length is 40 feet or less, according to Good Sam’s Club. This includes Class C and Class A motorhomes, travel trailers, and fifth wheels.
What size RV do most campgrounds take?
Most campgrounds take any size RV, but some won’t take anything longer than a 35-footer. If you want the flexibility to stay at more places and don’t mind paying extra fees, consider buying a 45-footer or bigger so you can park in locations that typically only allow 35-footers.
The RV lifestyle is fantastic. No matter what age you are, it’s a great way to travel across the country or even internationally. If you’re new to full-time RV living though, there’s a lot to learn.
If you venture into this lifestyle with the hopes of going full-timing as soon as possible, your choice of RV and how it’s set up will be crucial to your enjoyment and how successfully you can live out of it.
In the end, choosing an RV boils down to some key considerations. What are your travel plans? How many people are you traveling with? What is your budget? Will you be doing any off-roading or driving on steep slopes?
These, and many other questions, will help you find an RV that fits not only your needs but also your lifestyle.
Researching RVs is challenging. There is a lot of information online and lots of opinions from people who know more than you do.
I found that it was important to narrow down your choices to make the decision easier. The best way to get started is by doing your research.
There are many websites like ours that offer reviews and comparisons but in the end, a lot of it comes down to personal preference so be sure to visit some dealers and even test drive some units before making your final decision.