Is Owning an RV Worth It? Here’s the Answer

December 22, 2017Car Driving Tips
Hannah Michaelson

Hannah is a freelance relocation writer from NYC that has become an expert on packing and unpacking.

If you’re thinking about buying a recreational vehicle, your only question is probably this one: is owning an RV worth it? The idea of owning a house on wheels is appealing to many people because it allows them to travel around the country quickly and cheaply. Yet, having one is a huge investment and requires thorough maintenance. Take a look at our list of advantages and disadvantages of owning an RV and decide if purchasing one could be the right thing for you or not.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Owning an RV?

Since you’re here, you’ve probably watched many TV shows about cars or seen a lot of films starring your favorite vehicles — RVs — and now you’ve decided to buy one. Around 10 million US households do own recreational vehicles. People over 50 had been making the majority of RV owners for years now. Whether you’re close to retirement or just want to own an RV, be sure to take into account the following considerations about purchasing one. The “owning an RV pros and cons” list will start with the advantages.

You’ll Definitely Travel More

Owning an RV means traveling more. And we are not talking about hours spent in traffic congestion that leads to driving stress and road rage. With this vehicle, driving anxiety will be all about the past. If you choose to buy an RV, you’ll most likely travel long-distance, exploring your country and broadening your horizons. You’ll be able to experience different places and local cultures, try out new dishes, meet a lot of interesting people, and more. Such travel will significantly impact you as a person, and it may even bring your family closer together. No wonder that RVs are usually cited among the best vehicles for families.

Camping Will Most Likely Become a Lifestyle

You’ve probably experienced rental RV when you went on camping trips. If you decide to buy a recreational vehicle, you’ll see how diverse and versatile motorhome travels can be. You can opt for a luxurious RV park or choose to camp outside developed campgrounds. The choice will be all yours but remember that different camping types come with wildly different costs. For example, popular travel destinations will charge around $100 per night, while boondocking is often downright free. Take your camping gear, find the balance between the two, and start exploring your homeland in one after another stress-free road trip.

Wherever You Go, You Bring Your Home With You

Everywhere you go, you’ll always bring your home with you.Having an RV will surely make your move efficient when you decide to permanently change your place of residence. Sleeping in hotel rooms and eating at fancy restaurants can be enjoyable, but with an RV, you’ll feel much more comfortable. You’ll sleep in your own bed and eat the meals you prepared. We shouldn’t even mention that the bathroom will always be available, and you’ll have the privacy of your own home.

RV as accommodation is also more convenient for pets. You won’t have to leave your beloved furry friends at home because they will have the comfort of your camper. Just keep in mind that some campgrounds don’t allow pets. Also, in that case, you should look at some tips and tricks on how to remove dog hair from the car. RVs are prone to that problem as much as any other vehicle.

If You Decide to Travel in Your RV, You’ll Be Saving Money

Speaking generally, you’ll save money if you go on a vacation in your RV. As mentioned in our previous entry, you’ll be bringing your home with you. Thus, there won’t be a need for you to pay for the hotel and restaurants. It will save you a substantial amount of money, and you’ll be able to visit the most popular destinations for an affordable price.

Give USA Auto Transport an Ask for a Free Quote


You’ll Always Be Ready for a Last-Minute Camping

Whenever you’re up for a camping trip, you’ll be all set up and ready to go. The only thing you’ll have to pack will be food and your clothes. The rest will already be in your RV. Thus, the second best thing about owning a house on wheels is the spontaneity. You can always make last-minute decisions about going on a trip. You’ll also have the option of canceling the whole voyage if, for example, the weather is terrible. Either way, you win because the RV is yours, and you are entirely free to travel and stay wherever you want.

Parked RV during the trip
As an RV owner, you'll be able to navigate easily with your time and organize road trips whenever you want.

Why Buying an RV Is a Bad Idea?

Is owning an RV cost-effective? Unfortunately, recreational vehicles are a costly investment, particularly if you plan to acquire the one with all the comforts of home. Let’s see all the reasons that should make you think twice before purchasing one.

The Cost of Owning an RV — Class A Starts at $40,000

According to Camper Guide, the starting price for a new Class A recreational vehicle is around $40,000 and can go way up to $200,000 or even a million dollars. The most expensive is the EleMMent Palazzo model that comes in at $3 million. A smaller motorhome will be more affordable. For example, the prices for such vehicles can be anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000. Fifth wheels, travel trailers, and pop-up campers are even more economical. Their prices usually range from $10,000 to $15,000. We highly recommend you to join an RV membership club. The benefits of being a member include a reduction in RV accessories, gas, and camping fees. It’s like with anything, you can have an expensive car to drive or you can get a great off-road driving car.

RVs Need More Fuel Than a Regular Vehicle

RV is a real gas guzzler. If you’re planning to buy one, you’ll always have to keep enough money on the side to cover fuel. An RV requires more gas than your regular car, and you’ll often make stops to refuel. If you’re looking to reduce gas costs, consider either buying a smaller RV or the one that gets attached to the truck.

How Much Does It Cost to Maintain an RV?

Probably the biggest downside of owning an RV is the expensive maintenance. We have already established that an RV is basically a house (on wheels), and thus, you should treat it as such. This means that maintenance is crucial. Just like popular import cars or any other vehicles, RVs have to go through regular checks at the mechanic. Remember that they are also more challenging to maintain than traditional cars. Maybe it wouldn’t be too bad to learn a couple of tips on how to change a flat tire or how to clean seat belts. You would also want to learn more about how to clean a steering wheel, how to remove spray paint, and especially how to tell if a spark plug is bad, before the trouble finds you in the middle of road.

Parking an RV Might Be Easier Said Than Done

One of the biggest problems when owning an RV is finding a parking spot. If you want to be close to proper hookups for water and electricity, you’ll have to find an RV parking lot. You cannot park wherever because you may get into an uncomfortable situation of paying fines for not respecting laws and regulations of overnight camping. Walmart is a great choice for overnight parking, but depending on local laws and management, even they sometimes won’t let you park in their lot. Also, be sure to look up some tips on how to adjust the parking brake.

An RV Can Be Pretty Terrifying for Driving

If you’re still searching for tips on how to drive a car for beginners, you’ll probably find RVs even more challenging. In fact, even the most confident drivers can find it difficult. If you’re planning to purchase a motorhome, you’ll have to practice and gain special skills for larger vehicles. For instance, you’ll need to park using mirrors instead of relying on seeing the potential obstacles behind your shoulders. Also, remember that recreational vehicles cannot stop on a dime.

A man and woman spending time on the road
If you're thinking about purchasing an RV, you should spend a lot of time learning how to drive it.

An RV Mobility Has Both Advantages and Disadvantages

Yes, the mobility of your recreational vehicle can have both an advantage and a downside. On the one hand, it’s quite clear that you can move with your RV around the country and go to different cities. You can spend an entire summer in one place, or you can visit ten different places if you prefer it. On the other hand, you’ll not be able to drive your motorhome within large cities and their central areas like in Chicago, for example. Some places do not allow RVs, and you’ll have to find an alternative solution. As you can see, mobility is a two-edged sword.

An RV parked for the night
You should know that RVs cannot be easily handled in urban areas.

Leaving RVs During Winter Months

You’ll have to store your RV during winter months. Otherwise, leaving your motorhome exposed to the elements can have long term consequences. Damage can be accelerated by cold and moisture. Also, no RV can keep you warm enough in a location where there are multiple days of below-freezing temperatures. Therefore, if you choose to purchase an RV, be sure to find a perfect storage unit for it during the cold season. Remember that you’ll put a lot of money and effort into owning one. Thus, you should give your best to protect it.

YouTube video

Is Owning an RV Worth It? Ask These Questions When Buying One

Owning an RV is a huge decision, especially if you consider the amount of money you’ll need in order to start exploring the country on RV’s wheels. If you’re to become an RVer soon, use the following questions before signing a contract for purchasing one:

  • What fees aren’t included in the final price: The RV’s price tag probably won’t include all the expenses you’ll have to cover before you start driving it down the famous routes in the USA. For example, there will surely be a tax and dealership fee. Then, you’ll need to inform yourself about the registration fee. See what to expect in the state you’re living to avoid unpleasant surprises.
  • If you’re buying a pre-owned RV: Before you bought your first second-hand vehicle, you’ve probably gone through tricks and tips for buying a used car. You’ll have to do the same if you choose to buy a used motorhome. Be sure to check the vehicle’s maintenance history, such as documentation of major repairs or accidents the RV was involved in.
  • If you’re buying a new RV: You should check if the vehicle is under warranty. If something goes wrong, you’ll want to know your policy options. Additionally, it would be best if you looked over for the service coverage. RVs often come with maintenance packages and built-in services, which means that you can get discounts or free repairs.
  • Pre-purchase inspection: No matter where you buy your RV, you should make sure to get a thorough pre-purchase inspection of it from a mechanic you choose. Do this before you sign a contract. This step is crucial, especially if you’ll be buying your vehicle online from sites like eBay, Craigslist, or any other auction site.
person preparing a car for the move
A pre-purchase inspection is a must if you're looking to buy an RV.

Is an RV a Good Investment?

Even though there are good things about having an RV, as we can conclude, they are pretty expensive, not fuel-efficient, the maintenance is costly, and you cannot keep them in your driveway. So is an RV a good investment or not? The answer entirely depends on you. If you plan to retire or just dedicate your life to year-round travels around the country, owning an RV could be a great cost-effective idea. But if you’re not planning to switch to an RV lifestyle, your best choice would be renting.

The last advice would be to think twice about what you need an RV for. If you decide that motorhome is your future and you want to transport it to a specific destination, consider hiring a professional car shipping company. A trustworthy auto transport company can offer both open carrier transport and enclosed trailers. If you cannot decide which transportation option is better for you, be sure to search for car shipping advice from your chosen company. While professionals handle the transport of your RV, you can start making your road trip plans for 2021.

Get a Quote

    check mark
    Download as PDF

    Moving Checklist

    Get a Free Estimate 855.675.3451