The pandemic was the death knell for many trips abroad. I can personally speak to this—goodbye Italy, I hardly knew ye.
As a result, more and more people opted to vacation a little closer to home. As a result, in 2020, RV sales started to boom, and they show no sign of slowing down.
So, if you are watching those beautiful motorhomes gleaming in the sun fly by you on the highway, and itching to get behind the wheel yourself, well, here is a handy guide on buying your first recreational vehivle.
Know Your Budget
Before you dive into buying an RV, you will need to know how much you want to spend. In my estimation and recent research, RVs can cost anywhere from $5,000 (for a basic trailer) to several hundred thousand dollars.
Don’t worry. You may not have to pay for everything upfront. Most reputable RV retailers will have a financing system in place.
Used or New RV?
If possible, I recommend that you pick yourself up a new RV. When you get a new RV, you will be able to enjoy a warranty and the latest features. In addition, because the RV business is booming, many RV manufacturers are working hard to introduce even better RVs to the market.
Don’t get me wrong, and there isn’t anything wrong with buying used. You can save a decent chunk of cash buying used. However, I encourage you to carry out an RV inspection before you part with your cash and take that first trip. This way, you can ensure that whatever you are buying is in perfect working condition.
Types of RV – Which One Is Right for You?
While there are several different RV types, they can be split into two rather broad categories.
Trailers are RVs designed to be towed by your vehicle. There are plenty of different trailer RVs, including:
I am not going to go into the differences between them. However, you must know that the first four types will be the more recognizable RVs, i.e., accommodation on wheels. An expandable trailer will cover pop-up tents and the like, but they are lighter in weight but don’t offer the same sort of comfort.
Trailers are often the cheapest option on the market. They are ideal for people who want to bring their car along on their travels. With a travel trailer RV, you can leave your trailer wherever you wish and drive around in your vehicle. I have done this on a vacation before and its very convenient for excursions.
The downside is that many trailers have only a tiny space available. You will also need to think about the type of vehicle you are using to haul them. After all, vehicles will only be able to pull a certain amount of weight. It may not be an issue if you have an SUV, but if you have a small city car, you probably won’t be able to haul the trailer.
Motorhomes are the most recognizable of RVs. They can be broken down into three different types. Unlike travel trailers, there are a lot of differences between each motorhome class.
Class A Motorhomes
Class A motorhomes are the largest motorhomes that you can buy. It is not uncommon for these behemoths to cost well over $150,000. However, some of the largest can quickly sell for over $500,000.
A Class A motorhome is a house on wheels. They are exceedingly luxurious and boast all the creature comforts, including fully fitted kitchens, double beds, large bedrooms, showers, and maybe even a bath. They can easily fit an entire family. Some of the larger Class A motorhomes on the market may be able to fit a couple of families; they are just that large.
Class A motorhomes are ideal for those looking to spend their lives on the road. Many people sell their homes and just travel around the country in one of these. But, of course, the price can be prohibitive for many.
Class B Motorhomes
Class B motorhomes are among the smallest and cheapest of the motorhomes.
Class B motorhomes are essentially converted vans. They may not even look like an RV from the outside.
While Class B motorhomes are affordable, they are also small. This means that they may not have everything you need inside of them. For example, some Class B motorhomes may not have a full kitchen setup; rather than having an oven, they may opt for a microwave.
Class B motorhomes are for those that are on a budget. They are for those with just one or two people looking to head out on the road. But, again, avoid it if you are a family. There isn’t enough space inside of one.
Class C Motorhomes
Class C motorhomes are just smaller Class A motorhomes. Although not dreadfully small, some of these Class C motorhomes will easily be able to handle a small family.
Many Class C motorhomes boast the same features that you will find in the Class A, such as a cooking area, shower, toilet, etc. However, they will be much smaller, which means a tighter squeeze.
They are great for those who want the full RV experience, but they don’t want something as large (or expensive) as a Class A motorhome.
What You Need to Think Before Purchasing Your First RV
I want to wrap up by giving you a few ideas about what questions you should ask yourself when looking for an RV. These are fundamental questions, but they should guide you toward the perfect RV.
Can your vehicle tow the RV?
If you plan to purchase a trailer, you need to look at your vehicle’s specs. What sort of weight is your vehicle able to pull? This should provide you with a rough guideline of the sort of RV you will be able to tow.
However, bear in mind that most vehicles will be towing far below the stated tow weight. This is because you will also need to factor in the weight inside of your vehicle, among other things. But, again, it is just a guideline.
If your vehicle has a tow weight of 5,000 lbs., then you aren’t ever going to be able to pull a trailer weighing 10,000 lbs. or more
How much space do you need?
Your biggest concern will probably be the amount of space that you need. This will push you into the suitable class of motorhome.
As a solo traveler or a couple, you may be able to use a Class B motorhome. However, if you are a family, then Class A, or Class C is where it is at.
The same applies if you are buying a trailer. Consider the berth of the trailer (the number of people that it sleeps) before you buy.
What features are important to you?
If you are purchasing a Class B or Class C motorhome (as well as most trailers), you will need to consider the most important features to you. Unfortunately, you probably won’t get all of them inside the exact motorhome. There isn’t enough space.
For example, you may want to prioritize storage or sleeping over cooking. On the other hand, you may want to prioritize cooking over the bathroom.
Most RV manufacturers will tell you the exact layout of their vehicles. This way, you can know precisely how everything is set up and decide whether it will work for your needs.
There isn’t much that you need to know about buying your first RV. Finding an RV should be a breeze if you have a solid budget in mind and a rough idea of the motorhome or trailer class you want. Head to your local RV dealer and browse their stock. Don’t forget to consider financing options if something is out of your budget.