Check out this list of 10 things you need to know about RVs before you run out to purchase one.
10. They are Expensive
It should come as no surprise that RVs are expensive. In November 2020, a new Class A motorhome started around $40,000 to $200,000. Adding accessories can push up to $1 million or more!
But, it isn’t just the price tag that makes these motorhomes so expensive. It’s the fuel costs, maintenance and repair costs, and campground accommodation fees, too.
TIP: You’ll come out better if you opt for a travel trailer, pop-up camper or fifth wheel instead. They start around $10,000 to $15,000 and top out around $50,000. But, if you have your heart set on taking a trip in an RV, just rent one instead.
9. There are Several Types of RVs
Once you start doing some research, you’ll see that there are several types of RVs to choose from. There are the Class A motorhomes, which are the largest and most expensive of the RVs.
Class As reach up to 45 feet in length, plus they offer a ton of features, including full-sized kitchens, top-end appliances, multiple slide-outs, and sleeping space for 8 or more passengers.
Then, there are the Class B motorhomes, which are also referred to as sleeper vans or camper vans. They are on the smaller end of RVs and come in a range of price points, making many of them relatively affordable.
Next are the Class C motorhomes. They offer many of the same amenities and conveniences as the Class A motorhome without the hefty price tag. As a result, they are often less luxurious and smaller in size than Class A motorhomes.
Lastly, fifth wheels and travel trailers are RVs that can be towed behind your vehicle– preferably a full-sized truck or SUV, since travel trailers are heavy.
Fifth wheels and travel trailers are more affordable than the other types of motorhomes mentioned here, yet they are surprisingly quite spacious. For example, some fifth-wheel trailers with multiple slide-outs offer as much as 500 square feet of living space.
8. Storing an RV Can Be a Challenge
If you think you can store your RV in your driveway, you’ll want to think again. That’s because depending on where you live, you might not be allowed to keep a large vehicle on your property, especially if you have a homeowners’ association that frowns on such things.
Fortunately, you can rent storage space for your motorhome. Just how much you have to pay depends on several things, including the specific storage location, if it’s indoors or outdoors, if it’s temperature-controlled, etc. — you get the picture. Anyway, you could end up paying as little as $50 per month or as much as $450 per month.
7. You’ll Need to Keep it Covered When It’s Not in Use
Covering your RV while it’s in storage is essential — unless, of course, you’re keeping it in an indoor, temperature-controlled storage facility. If not, your RV will be vulnerable to damage from dust and debris, water, and ultraviolet radiation. That being said, it would be wise to invest in a high-quality waterproof RV cover.
But, before you head out to your local camping store to pick one up, there are some pre-storage preparations you’ll need to make as well. The first thing to do is give your RV a thorough cleaning inside and out to prevent any unpleasant odors, mold, insect infestations and the like.
Next, you’ll need to check for any signs of water damage and examine your rig’s seams and seals. Apply a seal conditioner and protectant if necessary. Lastly, make sure the rig is well-ventilated to prevent humidity from building up in the cabin, which can cause mold and damage to sensitive mechanical equipment.
6. You’ll Need To Think About Sewage
It can be very convenient to have a vehicle that comes equipped with a bathroom. But, it’s not like the bathroom in your home where, with just a jiggle of the handle, you can flush all your sewage problems away. Instead, RVs have a black water tank that can hold up to a week’s worth of sewage and toilet paper for two people.
Once it’s full, you will need to find a designated dump station where you can empty the tank. And, depending on how long you’re going to be in your RV, you might have to stop at a dump station quite frequently.
You will also need to take good care of your tank, making sure to flush it regularly, use special toilet paper that dissolves easily, and use chemicals that speed the breakdown of waste.
5. You’ll Need to Find a Go-To Mechanic
Your RV can and will break down just like any other vehicle. That being said, do yourself a favor and set a regular preventative maintenance schedule to get ahead of any age-related issues that may occur.
This will include finding a trustworthy, go-to mechanic. Just make sure to do your research beforehand, so you don’t get stuck paying out a bunch of money to a not-so-reputable RV repair service — especially since upkeep is already expensive to begin with.
According to an article published by Cheapism, Mobile Home Parts Store surveyed several RV experts and found they spent around $1,400 a year on RV upkeep.
4. They Aren’t Made for City Driving
RVs are heavier than passenger vehicles and, as a result, require greater braking distances. Therefore, you must allow more time for the vehicle to slow or come to a complete stop. This obviously is next to impossible when driving in the city, where traffic lights and traffic accidents are plentiful.
If you do decide to take your RV into the big city, Motorhome USA recommends leaving it in a mall parking lot and using public transportation instead. Or, you could consider visiting RV-friendly cities like Las Vegas and Orlando.
3. You’ll Need to Prepare for Severe Weather
When planning your next family trip in the RV, you’ll need to make sure you plan for severe weather. This is especially true if you’re planning a trip during the summer months, which is when you’re most likely to encounter thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes and such.
That being said, RVshare.com recommends following these tips for a safe trip:
- Stay informed: Use your smartphone or internet connection to keep an eye on the weather.
- Bring your grills, chairs, etc., inside.
- Pack an emergency bag containing important items such as medication, bottled water, nonperishable goods, etc.
- Find the nearest storm shelter and have a plan in place to get there.
- Know the evacuation routes.
- Know what to do if a tornado is nearby.
2. RVs are Not for People in Poor Health
Did you know that traveling in an RV can actually worsen certain health conditions? Yep, it’s true. For example, the bumpy ride can exacerbate your back problems and arthritis symptoms.
Not only that, but it’s entirely possible for you to break down in an area where medical facilities are scarce– or perhaps even substandard.
That being the case, do yourself and everyone else on the highway a favor and resist the temptation to purchase a motorhome. Doing so will lessen the risk to your life and the lives of others.
1. Injuries are Common
Believe it or not, it’s very easy to hurt yourself when traveling in an RV– but perhaps not for a reason, you think. We’re not talking about injuries related to traffic accidents, but rather injuries due to being in a different environment than what you’re typically accustomed to.
For example, a friend of Sondra Rochelle’s– RV enthusiast and writer for AxleAddict.com– fell out of the front door of her motorhome and landed on the hitch of her car.
Unfortunately, she never fully recovered from her fall. In another incident, a grandmother fell on both her elbows. And, while she did heal, it took years for it to happen.