How to figure out which type of RV is right for you
As with most things in life, RVs come in quite a few different varieties. They range from small campers to huge rigs that are almost mansions on wheels. In addition to size, there’s another important thing buyers need to think about when deciding whether they want to drive or tow. Here we discuss motorhomes versus travel trailers and the factors to consider before making a purchase.
The initial price of either a motorhome or travel trailer depends on what you’re looking for and perhaps how often you will use it. Some motorhomes can be as expensive as moderately-sized houses, while smaller models – particularly if they’re pre-owned – can be much cheaper.
However, in almost all cases, the trailer won’t cost you as much. Pop-ups, for example, may only run you a few thousand dollars. There are also the maintenance costs to think about. You don’t usually have to worry about a lot of maintenance with a trailer. On the other hand, a motorhome has all of the components of a vehicle, so the expenses related to things like oil changes and tune-ups can’t be discounted.
If you plan to travel with a group of more than a few people, roominess has to play a role in your decision making. Class A and C RVs can be quite spacious, allowing everyone to spread out. Class B rigs aren’t much bigger than vans, so they’re more suitable for two people.
The bigger travel trailers are also quite roomy, and often provide even more space than Class A and C rigs. But pop-ups, for example, can get cramped with more than a few bodies in there. A motorhome also lets you enjoy everything you’ve brought on your trip, while you’ll need to stop to grab something from the trailer. And of course, we can’t forget to mention the bathroom. If you intend to drive for long stretches, you won’t have to worry about stopping to use the facilities with a motorhome.
Speaking of driving, this is another extremely important part of RV ownership. If you’ve never driven a motorhome before, it may look pretty intimidating. However, a lot of people think that, once you get the hang of it, it’s not that much different than driving an SUV or large truck.
Driving with a trailer can be challenging though, especially if you will be traveling to places with narrow roads or sharp turns. Getting in and out of campgrounds with a trailer can prove to be difficult as well. It’s also important to remember that trailers require the right type of vehicle to tow them. While many different cars can pull a pop-up, bigger trailers require autos with a lot of horsepower, such as V8 pickup trucks.
When you get to your destination in a motorhome, setup might just consist of hooking up the utilities and stabilizing the unit. The same applies to a trailer, with one big added step: unhitching, which can be a lengthy process. And as for teardown, again, with a motorhome this is usually pretty quick, but it will take some time with a trailer.
One of the best parts of traveling is getting to explore different areas. While the campground may be your destination, you’re probably not going to want to stay there the entire time, especially if there are lots of things to see and do nearby.
A motorhome will be your only means of transportation (unless you plan to tow a car), so even if some attraction is just a few miles away, you’ll need to drive it there. A trailer gives you more freedom. You can unhitch your auto, and immediately take it wherever you want to go.
Because an RV is a big investment, you need to be sure your money is well spent. The best way to do this is to consider first renting before buying. When you rent both a motorhome and travel trailer, this will give you an excellent opportunity to feel both of them out and determine which one you’re more comfortable with and determine which best fits your needs. For more information about the RV lifestyle – along with travel discounts and monthly contests – think about becoming an RV Advisor member.