With the continued interest in RV vacations and the RV lifestyle, many are wondering how affordable RV living truly is. The good news is, that RV living is much more affordable than most people believe.
But you don’t have to take our word for it; let’s take an in-depth look at all the areas where RV living can save you money over more expensive vacation or full-time living options.
Because social distancing is still on the agenda for most American travelers, it only makes sense to start our RV living affordability deep dive with RV vacations.
Right off the bat, this is perhaps the area where RV living is the clear winner when it comes to affordability, not to mention convenience and comfort.
Imagine that your vacation plans include a stay in a popular tourist destination during peak travel times or a popular convention location when a number of conventions and shows are booked for the same dates. In both of these common vacation scenarios, you could easily end up spending several hundred dollars per night for a hotel stay in a comfortable hotel property with full amenities. Even if you were willing to sacrifice a few (or several) creature comforts to stay at a hotel property with a cheaper rate, you would likely still be looking at a room rate of $100 or more per night.
Now consider the RV vacation alternative. Depending on your destination, and the type and size of the RV that you choose, you will have several options available to choose from when it comes to where to park your RV. Some options will clearly be more affordable than others, but nearly all of your RV parking choices will cost significantly less than the most economical hotel’s nightly rate.
For example, some locations have plenty of places where you can park your RV overnight at no cost to you, provided that your RV is self-contained and you abide by the rules of the area in which you are parked. Of course, free RV parking is very limited and may not be available in all locations, but this can be a solid option as long as you are able to forgo the perks provided by an RV park.
Thanks to the rise in popularity of RV living, there are now plenty of RV parks and RV campgrounds in most popular destinations that will allow you to rent an RV parking space for the night, which provides full electricity, water, and in some cases, sewer hookups for the duration of your stay. In addition to providing RV utility hookups, many RV parks and campgrounds also offer amenities that rival hotel properties, like an on-site swimming pool, laundry room, and free Wi-Fi service. Though the cost for overnight RV parking in an RV park or campground will vary from location to location, the average rate is generally significantly less expensive than the average nightly rate for a hotel stay.
Best of all, regardless of whether you opt for a free or low-cost RV parking option or a spot in an RV park or campground with all the bells and whistles, you are guaranteed that your living quarters will always be up to your standards. After all, you will be able to prepare meals in your own kitchen, relax in your own living room, take a hot shower in your own bathroom, and sleep in your very own bed no matter where you choose to park your RV.
The cost of air travel remains at an all-time high. However, the recent hike in fuel prices may have some wondering if RV travel still represents the most cost-effective means of traveling to your vacation destination. The answer to that question is still a resounding yes.
For starters, RV travel allows you to visit several different destinations during the course of your vacation without the need to pay additional airfare charges for the individual flights required to move between destinations. RV travel also allows you to eliminate the extra transportation costs associated with getting around your vacation destination.
Many motorized RV owners choose to tow a small personal vehicle behind their rig to avoid the need to maneuver the large RV in and out of parking lots and through residential streets or crowded tourist areas once they reach their vacation destination. For those who opt for a tow-behind travel trailer or fifth wheel RV, it is simply a matter of disconnecting their tow vehicle from their rig once they reach their destination and they are ready to go out and explore at their leisure.
Of course, fuel costs are a concern at the present time and are likely to remain elevated for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, there are several ways that you can reduce your fuel costs when traveling in an RV. For instance, you can travel light: the less weight that you are pulling, the greater the fuel economy that you will achieve. You can also plan your trip to avoid traveling at high rates of speed or up steep hills, both of which burn fuel at an accelerated rate.
Finally, if you have not yet purchased an RV, you can opt to purchase one of the newest ultralight models, like those from Rockwood RV or Cherokee RV. Both RV brands offer lightweight travel trailers and fifth-wheel trailers crafted from aluminum and fiberglass, which can greatly reduce the amount of fuel required to tow them.
For those who enjoy more minimalist travel and want to keep fuel costs as low as possible, the popularity of van-life vacations has led to the availability of plenty of small camper vans and van conversions that can make RV living even more affordable.
In the preceding sections, we discussed the affordability of RV living during vacation travel, but how affordable is the full-time RV lifestyle compared to more traditional living options? With home prices, mortgage rates, and the cost of rent rising at an alarming pace in every area of the nation, more and more people are starting to consider a full-time RV lifestyle as a more affordable housing option. There are several good reasons for this.
Today’s modern RV models offer all the same amenities and creature comforts of more traditional housing options at a fraction of the cost.
For example, both Forest River RV and Winnebago offer several luxury model RVs which feature private master bedroom suites complete with king-size beds, full-size wardrobes, and bathrooms equipped with traditional size fixtures. Today’s RVs even offer kitchens equipped with full-size appliances and center islands for added food prep space.
The next question that always arises is where to store all of your stuff. If you choose a full-time RV lifestyle, will you need to pay extra to rent a storage space for your sporting gear and tools? If storage space is a concern, you will find that there are many types of RV that were specifically designed with tool and equipment storage in mind. Toy Hauler RVs, like the Puma XLE model lineup, feature an enclosed rear garage space with a large drop-down door large enough to accommodate a small golf cart, ATVs, bicycles, dirt bikes, or motorcycles. In addition to vehicles, this rear garage space offers plenty of storage space for tools, equipment, and other bulky items.
Maintenance costs are an inescapable expense regardless of whether you live in a traditional home or an RV. Both require regular upkeep and repairs, and both are susceptible to unexpected catastrophic malfunction or equipment failure requiring an expensive emergency repair bill.
That being said, the RV extended warranty gives the RV a decided advantage over traditional housing when it comes to keeping the cost of maintenance and repairs affordable. Whether purchased through your RV dealership at the time of the RV sale or through a third-party RV warranty provider, like RVingSolutions, an RV extended warranty provides coverage for most RV maintenance and repairs and may even cover the cost of roadside tire repair service or having your RV towed to a repair facility.
When it comes to affordable RV living, the type, size, and weight of the RV that you choose will play a large role in determining the overall cost of RV living. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure you take the time to research the different RV options, and pay a visit to RV Wholesalers or your local RV dealership to take a tour of the various RV types to get an idea of how large an RV that you need, and which models work best for your RV lifestyle. The friendly and knowledgeable staff will be able to help you select the perfect RV for your RV lifestyle and your RV living budget. We will see you out on the road!