The thought of owning an RV is an appealing one! In fact, that’s probably why you’re here.
But, it can be a huge investment and life-changing experience, so it’s important to look at the pros and cons of owning an RV before buying one.
So, let’s look at what you should know before buying an RV, including the pros and, of course, all of the downsides, to find out if owning an RV is a good idea for you!
Important: These are general pros and cons referring to all types of RVs, including motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, etc. This list will apply to all RV types.
Pros of Owning an RV
Owning an RV is a great way to travel and see the country. But there’s even more to love about it!
Bring the Comforts of Home With You
Owning an RV allows you to bring the comforts of home with you. Many RVs feature separate bedrooms, bathrooms, full kitchens with dining areas, TV, etc.
The best part is that you can choose how comfortable you want the experience to be! If you’d rather rough it and be one with nature, then perhaps a simple pop-up camper with sleeping space and dinette is enough.
If you want the full comforts of home, then a Class A, Class C, or a fifth wheel will allow you to take pretty much everything a home has to offer with you on the road!
You’ll Camp and Travel More
While you don’t need an RV to go camping, it will make it easier to hop in and travel at a moment’s notice!
And when you’re invested in the RV lifestyle (financially and emotionally), you’re more likely to use it.
Not to mention that camping is actually good for your physical and mental well-being!
Be a Part of a Community
Owning an RV gives you the freedom to travel and explore. But, an often overlooked aspect of the RV lifestyle is the wonderful and helpful people you will meet.
Being a part of the RV community is like having family friends everywhere you go. And some of the best memories you will make will be with other RVers and the people you meet camping.
This is priceless…
Make Unforgettable Memories
Of course, you could just hop on a plane and stay in a hotel, but the memories you make cruising across the country, meeting fellow campers, stumbling upon destinations you never knew existed, exploring nature with your loved ones – they just can’t be beaten!
Make Extra Money by Renting Your RV
It’s no secret that buying an RV is not typically a great investment, at least financially. It’s just like buying an automobile – it will depreciate over time.
But you can offset that cost and even make money by renting out your RV to others.
By using peer-to-peer RV rental companies like RVshare, you can easily make extra money by listing your RV for rent. They even offer 24-hour support and full insurance coverage to make the rental process go as smoothly as possible!
RV travel makes it easy to work remotely – from anywhere!
If working remotely is an option for you, your office window views could be overlooking the ocean, mountains, or anywhere your travels take you!
Cons of Owning an RV
By now, I’m sure we’ve sold you on buying a new RV. But, before you run off to the dealership, it’s important to look at the other side of the coin.
So, what are the downsides of owning an RV?
Arguably the biggest downside to buying and owning an RV is the cost. The initial cost of the camper itself and the cost of ownership, which we’ll get into below.
And unless you pay cash for the RV, you’ll likely have to finance the vehicle, including putting down a sizeable down payment and monthly payments. Plus, factor in insurance fees, roadside assistance plans, wi-fi connection, etc., and those monthly expenses can add up.
Speaking of expenses, RVs will require maintenance. And RVs can be expensive to maintain.
If you have a motorized RV, you’ll need to perform regular maintenance like oil changes, brake replacements, tune-ups, etc. And like your home, you’ll have to maintain everything inside your RV, like the appliances, plumbing system, air conditioner, heating system, and so on (if you have them).
Even bare-bones campers that are towable will have some maintenance required to keep them in good condition.
Depending on where you live, you’ll likely have yearly registration fees.
For example, in Iowa, a class-A recreational vehicle that costs over $80,000 has a $400 per year registration fee.
On top of all the other fees with owning an RV, you’ll have to pay to park it at a campground. Depending on the amenities the RV park offers, the cost to stay overnight can range from $15 to $100+ per night.
One thing you need to ask yourself before buying a camper is where are you going to store it when not in use. If you can’t store it on your property, you will likely have to pay to store it in an RV storage facility.
This can range between $50 to $250 per month on average and depends on the type of storage you get (indoor, covered, or outdoor) and the size of storage space.
Gas mileage for any motorized RV is not great, with the average being between 6 to14 mpg. That will add up quickly, especially when gas prices are high and you plan to travel long distances.
Tip: Use a fuel calculator to estimate fuel costs before the trip. And use apps like Gas Buddy to find the cheapest gas near you.
As mentioned above, RVs are similar to automobiles in that they don’t hold their value and will depreciate over time. And, unless you put a sizeable down payment on it when you first purchase it, you’ll likely owe more on the RV than it’s worth the second you drive it off the lot.
Keeping Your RV Stocked
Keeping your RV stocked with toilet paper, cleaning chemicals, propane, etc., is yet another hidden cost to consider before buying an RV.
You’ll also need to decide if you want to buy extra home goods like kitchen utensils and cookware, bedding, etc., for your RV so you can leave them in there. This is an additional expense but will save you time from having to pack it every time you plan to travel.
Can Be Difficult to Drive or Tow
Depending on the type of RV or camper you get, they can be difficult to drive or tow. Especially for larger Class-A motorhomes and fifth-wheels.
While experience will definitely help here, the anxiety of driving in rush hour, through big cities, or up and down the mountains can be a real turn-off for some.
With that said, towing a small pop-up camper or driving a Class-B RV or campervan is fairly easy for even a novice to do.
Is Owning an RV a Good Idea?
Owning an RV is a good idea if the pros of RV ownership outweigh the cons. This will depend on the individual. Carefully consider the pros and cons above to decide whether buying an RV is right for you.
I highly recommend renting an RV before buying to see if the lifestyle is right for you. And if you only plan to use it once or twice a year, renting might be the best way to enjoy the RV lifestyle without some of the cons associated with ownership.