While hitting the open road and exploring the country in an RV is a romantic notion, RV ownership doesn’t come without some significant challenges and unexpected costs. If you aren’t up for taking these on, owning an RV might not be right for you. For many of us, traveling in your car and staying in comfortable hotels is an easier and overall better option. In case you’re still on the fence, here are 10 reasons to never own an RV.
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1. Vehicle Cost
There’s no two ways about it…RVs are expensive. Chances are, it will be one of the biggest purchases of your life. While you can find affordable pop-up trailers and ultra-compact travel trailers, anything beyond that will cost enough to make most sane people think twice. Well-appointed fifth wheels and travel trailers have MSRPs that start at $40,000 and if you want a Class A or Class C motorhome, you can add tens of thousands of dollars more. That is a massive financial commitment.
2. Interest Rates
Unless you’re buying your RV outright, you’ll be financing a portion of your purchase and need to consider the costs of borrowing. If you borrow $30,000 to buy an RV at a 5% interest rate over five years (which is generous), you’re going to be paying nearly $4,000 in interest alone over the life of the loan. How many nights in a nice hotel can you get just for the interest you’d be paying?
Few things are more irritating than traffic when you’re trying to get to your vacation destination. Well traffic can feel a whole lot worse when you’re towing or driving a massive RV. The incessant stop and go isn’t ideal for your motorhome or tow vehicle. And don’t expect to weave in and out of traffic to get a spot in the fast lane – nobody wants an RV cutting in front of them.
There’s just no way to avoid a lot of little things – and probably a few big things – from breaking down and needing repair in an RV. These things take time and money to fix and you’ll likely have to do some of this fixing during your vacation when you should be just enjoying yourself. And we haven’t even mentioned the possibility of the RV completely breaking down and ruining your trip and emptying your bank account.
5. Down Time
Unless you’re retired and are on the road a lot of the year, your RV will be sitting idle the vast majority of the time. Of course, you still need to make your monthly loan payments and insurance payments while the RV is doing nothing but taking up space and depreciating.
Speaking of down time – have you thought about where your RV will sit when you’re not using it? A lot of people just don’t have the space to keep an RV in their driveway all year, which means you’ll need to find a place to store it. You can cheap out and find a place to park it outside, but then your expensive purchase will be susceptible to damage by the sun, rain, snow, and any other kind of extreme weather Mother Nature might throw at it. Ideally, you’ll be able to find some heated indoor storage…hopefully one doesn’t have a rodent problem, as small critters like to chew up insulation and wires in RVs.
7. Fuelling Up
No matter if you’re towing a trailer or fifth wheel with your truck or driving a motorhome, you’ll be burning a lot of gas when you’re on the road. Be prepared for a lot of expensive fuel stops during a big cross-country drive along the Trans Canada Highway. To put this in perspective: some Class A motorhomes can have tanks with capacities of up to 560 litres, and cost as much as $700 per fill.
8. Crowded Campgrounds
One of the big selling points of RV ownership is getting away from the city for some quiet time. But if you’re taking the kids to a campground during summer vacation, you can expect some big crowds and lots of noise. Hopefully you were smart enough to book a good spot ahead of time so you don’t get stuck next to the public bathrooms and far from the beach.
9. Bad Weather
Despite your best laid plans, sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate. Yes, the RV provides a roof over your head, but if you’ve got lots of rain in the forecast, your RV will feel awfully cramped and crowded if you are stuck inside all day. If you’re staying at a hotel, at least the kids can go off to the indoor pool to splash around for a couple of hours. Plus, there will likely be a restaurant nearby – maybe even at the hotel itself.
After even a few days on the road, your RV is going to get dirty and require regular cleanups. But once the trip is done, a major cleaning job must be done. This means washing the floors, cleaning the bathrooms, and making sure no crumbs of food are accessible to dissuade rodents from wanting to move in. And when all that is done, you need to make a trip to every RV owners least favourite destination – the dump station. Not exactly a great highlight to end your vacation.
These are just a handful of the reasons that RV ownership might not be for you. RV manufacturers will sell you on how easy it is to see the country in an RV, but nobody brings up the expense, stress and hassle. When you consider all of these factors, dropping the idea of an RV and simply booking a hotel for your next vacation starts to make a lot more sense, and will get you what you need out of your vacation: rest and relaxation, with someone else to take care of the heavy lifting.