In adulthood, especially after retirement, many people think about buying an RV. With an RV, you could drive all over the country, and possibly all over the world, camping and visiting new locations without ever losing the comfort of something you can call home. But these mobile behemoths aren’t the right investment for everyone—and you’ll need to consider the decision carefully before you move forward with it.
The Challenges of RV Ownership
It’s easy to become enamored with the idea of owning an RV, but there are a few challenges you might not have considered:
- Local ordinances and RV storage. First, different cities (and neighborhoods) have different rules for how RVs can be stored. For example, you may live in an area where RVs aren’t allowed to be parked on the street or in an open driveway; this would hypothetically force you to build a separate garage for the RV, or have it stored offsite. Still, even though many ordinances are strict, there are usually ways around them. If you want an RV bad enough, these shouldn’t stand in your way.
- Maneuverability. Many drivers are intimidated by the heft of an RV when driving one for the first time. Acceleration is slower, turning is more challenging, and you’ll have to deal with more blind spots than normal. If backing up is difficult for you in a normal car, it can be a nightmare in an RV. That said, RV driving isn’t quite as challenging as most people imagine, and with a bit of practice, anyone can get used to it.
- Maintenance. Taking care of an RV also requires some attention. Like any vehicle, you’ll need to regularly inspect it, ensuring its components are in good working order and taking proactive action on any burgeoning issues. You’ll also need to deal with the wastewater system and make sure its electrical connection remains in working order.
Why Do You Want an RV?
That said, the benefits of owning an RV are enormous for those who use them regularly. Most people are motivated by one or more of the following perks:
- Ultimate freedom. With an RV, you can camp just about anywhere. You aren’t restricted to hotels or campsites, and you can take the comfort of home with you wherever you go. Some people spend entire years traveling nomadically in their RV, so if you have that kind of time, it could be a perfect investment.
- Comfortable, private accommodations. Unlike camping in a tent, sleeping in an RV offers you both comfort and privacy. You’ll be completely blocked off from the rest of the world, giving you safety and peace of mind. You’ll also have access to the furniture of your choice, meaning you can get a good night’s rest no matter what.
- Budget friendliness. Buying an RV is a substantial initial investment, and one that not everyone can afford. After that, you’ll have to deal with extra RV-related costs, including hookups for power, water, and sewer services. But even so, RV travel is an inexpensive way to see the world; remember, you’ll be cutting out other travel costs, including the cost of hotels. If you’re trying to travel as often as possible while staying on a tight budget, an RV could be the right decision.
- Pet options. If you’re staying in an RV, you can take your pets with you on all your trips, without having to worry about hiring a pet sitter or finding a hotel with pet-specific accommodations. Just make sure you keep them safe during travel.
- Access to a new community. There’s a thriving community of RV enthusiasts who travel around the country, and you can be part of it. Once you own an RV, you’ll have an easy conversation starter—and a good opportunity to attend social engagements in and around your area.
Practically Unlimited Options
If you decide to buy an RV, you should also know you’ll have a wide variety of options available to you. You can purchase an RV that runs on diesel or gas. You can choose one with slide-out options. You can choose between Type A, Type B, and Type C motorhomes, or even consider a towable motorhome if you already have a truck. You can get a new one, with all the extra bells and whistles, or purchase one used to save a bit of money. No matter your budget or intentions, there’s likely a model for you.
Ultimately, owning an RV isn’t for everyone. For some people, they’re simply too unwieldy, too difficult to maintain, or won’t be used enough to justify the investment. But if you love the idea of traveling frequently, with more options and more flexibility in your accommodations, an RV may be the perfect choice for you.