Purchasing a motor home or any other recreational vehicle is a major investment that requires careful thought and planning. Several types of RV in various sizes, prices and styles are available, and not all of them may be right for you.
The best known type is the recreational vehicle or RV, also called a Type A motor home. Spacious and expensive, they come in sizes up to 45 feet and may feature luxurious amenities, such as washers and dryers, hardwood floors, granite countertops, leather furniture, plasma TVs with satellite, custom stained glass and even garden tub/shower combinations. Prices range from $85,000 used to $400,000 new. Most get between five and eight mpg. Some newer larger models that sleep up to six get as little as five mpg.
Type B motor homes include van campers and travel trailers. Van campers range from 18 to 22 feet in length and sleep four comfortably. Fully contained van campers may have showers, toilets, kitchens, TVs, couches and beds. The beds are closer together, affording little privacy. Most only have enough head room to allow full standing in the center of the vehicle. Smaller than Type A motor homes, Type Bs also provide less storage. Van campers cost between $43,000 and $70,000.
Travel trailers are available in sizes from 16 feet to 38. They range in price from $6,000 for a used one to more than $45,000 for a new model. Generally, travel trailers offer a wide variety of amenities. Larger vehicles often sleep more and are more likely to offer a private bedroom area as well. A few newer model come with expandable sides which allows for more usable area.
Although driving with a trailer in tow takes some practice-particularly backing up, parking and negotiating heavy traffic-many owners love that they can park it, unhitch it and leave it behind to go touring around in their SUV once they reach their vacation destination.
Before purchasing any motor home, talk with people who own them and determine the type of vacations you and your family members are mostly to take. Will you spend a week in one location? If so, a travel trailer may be ideal for you. Are you more likely to overnight in different areas? Consider buying an RV. You may even opt not to purchase a motor home at all, especially if you’re concerned about owning a vehicle with a 100 gallon fuel tank that gets only five to eight mpg.