How to find your perfect RV
The summer travel season is upon us, and for many, this year’s dream vacation will not involve hotels or bed-and-breakfast inns. Instead, people are looking to recreational vehicles as the perfect way to hit the road for much-needed rest and relaxation. Whether you work a full-time job or you’re retired, if you want to purchase an RV, there is likely something available to fit your budget.
How much does an RV cost?
It’s a bit like asking, “How large is a three-bedroom house and what’s the price?” There are so many variables, it is impossible to say.
“Recreational vehicle” is a very broad term that encompasses everything from pop-up campers, truck and van conversions, travel-trailers and fifth-wheels to very large motorhomes. According to RVUSA.com, you can spend anywhere from a few thousand dollars for new pop-up campers to well north of six figures for high-end motorhomes.
Before you jump into a new RV, Camper Report notes that some recreational vehicles lose as much as 21 percent of their value the moment they leave the dealership. However, the news isn’t all bad and shouldn’t preclude you from considering a new product. If you plan to own the RV for an extended time, the decline in value isn’t nearly as dramatic in succeeding years.
A used RV may be perfect for you
There is a robust market in America for used RVs, much the same as those for cars, pickup trucks and SUVs. If you have a certain budget in mind for your RV, you can often obtain a good bit more in size and amenities in a previously owned vehicle, but be sure you’re not falling in love with a lemon.
Just as with traditional vehicle markets, there are inspection and certification programs that will give you confidence that the RV you are considering is in good operating condition. If the vehicle you want to purchase isn’t certified, it is worth the expense to have a mechanic you trust give it a thorough inspection and test drive before you sign on the dotted line.
The AARP also offers excellent advice for people interested in looking for used RVs.
Other expenses to expect
Be prepared that RVs are going to cost you more in fuel, and in the case of motorhomes, a LOT more. Big motorhomes can cost hundreds to fill up and some average less than 10 miles per gallon. Smaller models may be a little easier on gas consumption than their 40-foot behemoth cousins, but “fuel efficient” is still a relative term.
Added fuel costs are a concern, even if you don’t purchase a motorized RV. Trailers, fifth-wheels, and pop-up campers change aerodynamics of vehicles and add varying amounts of towing weight which combine to reduce fuel mileage.
In addition, there are a host of other expenses that may be unique to RVs or higher than you would expect to pay for personal vehicles. These include, but are not limited to:
- Driver training courses
- Taxes and fees
- Ongoing maintenance
- Storage (either through modifications to your property or use of a third-party facility)
- Campground fees, including space rental and utility hook ups
Apparently there are plenty of people in all generations happy to assume the added responsibilities and costs of ownership. The Atlantic reports that growing enthusiasm for RVs has generated seven consecutive years of sales growth and boosted the market to more than $50 billion annually.
If you’re interested in purchasing a recreational vehicle, LightStream has helped many people acquire the perfect RV and they may be able to help you.