Have you noticed how many Motorhomes, RV’s and Travel Trailers are on the road? I see them everywhere. Going on road trips with an RV or Travel Trailer is getting more and more popular. Looks like traveling across America is a big dream for a lot of people. And the best way to actually make this journey fun and adventurous is in an RV or Travel Trailer.
RV vs Travel Trailer – what is the best to buy?
If you are considering buying an RV, start of small. But how do you decide what is the best option for you? Especially if you are not sure about RVing and you want to try it out to see if this is actually something for you. The first question you should answer is:
Content of RV vs Travel Trailer – what is the best to buy?
- What is the maximum towing weight of your car?
- What kind of Travel Trailer can you buy?
- 10 Travel Trailers to look at
- Tiny and lightweight Travel Trailers
- Necessities to have
- RV’s/Vans to check out
- List of buying steps
- Pros and Cons of RV vs Travel Trailer – what is the best to buy?
What type of car/truck are you going to use?
Do you want to use your own SUV/Truck?
If you have an SUV/Truck you want to use for towing, check out the towing weight.
We are driving a Mercedes SUV and the towing weight is 5,000 lbs. We bought a Travel Trailer weighing 2,800 lbs (unloaded). With load we are at around 3,000 lbs which is the maximum weight to pull for our SUV.
Check your owners manual on the towing capacity to find out the right numbers for your truck/SUV. Do not consider using the maximum towing weight, because things add up. Think food, clothes, tools, gear…
A maximum load of 2/3 of the recommended weight (totally loaded), is safe to go.
You will add a lot of weight into the Camper and you want to stay away from the maximum towing capacity to make it not too hard on your vehicle.
Read more about what you can tow right here: 14 Travel Trailers you can tow with your SUV
Travel Trailer Options
What kind of Travel Trailer can you buy
Here are some great options if you are looking at a Travel Trailer with a maximum weight of about 3,000 to 4,000 lbs. All of the Travel Trailers are around 20 ft. long and big enough for 2 to 4 people.
You can definitely find used Travel Trailers in good condition for around $ 5 to $10,000. If you give yourself enough time, you will find some great options for around $ 5,000 or even cheaper.
Always use your imagination beyond the brown/beige look of the interior, which you can easily remodel to make it look nice. This is what I did to update our TT:
Travel Trailers you should check out
Here are 10 Travel Trailers you should consider looking at:
- Winnebago Micro Minnie TT
- Forest River Flagstaff Micro-Lite Travel Trailer.
- Dutchmen Aerolite Travel Trailer.
- Keystone Passport Elite Travel Trailer.
- Jayco Hummingbird Travel Trailer
- Coachmen Viking Ultra-Lite TT
- Bullet Crossfire Keystone TT
- Gulf Stream Ameri-Lite Super Lite TT
- Keystone Summerland Mini TT
Of course, there are so many more options you should look into, but you will notice pretty fast, it is getting overwhelming.
At the end it comes down to the floor plan, which works best for you and your family and this is what you should concentrate on.
We started with an 18 ft. FunFinder, 10 years old but in very good condition. I remodeled the inside and it looks so pretty now.
And this is actually what you should look for if you are shopping on a budget and you are not sure if RVing is the way to go for you. Try it out and buy a TT in good shape, reasonably priced. Don’t consider bargains with ‘small’ leaks. This can turn out bad and can cost you a lot of money fixing it up.
Tiny Travel Trailer examples
Do you want or need to go really small?
You don’t or can’t update your car? It can’t tow a lot of weight, but you just don’t feel like sleeping in a tent?
Here are a couple of options, weighing between 800 and 1,600 lbs. :
My favorite Travel Trailer:
Since I got interested in traveling around the country in a camper, it was always my dream to buy an Airstream. No matter how small, I love the look, the aesthetics of an Airstream Travel Trailer. Well, we decided to start small and on a budget and ended up buying a FunFinder. Not pretty at all, but very solid and reliable.
But look at this beauty:
I also love the white exterior. No matter the exterior finish, it is by far the cutest Camper out there. The Bambi is around 15 ft. long, weighs 3,500 lbs. and starts at $ 50,000 new. Unfortunately, also used Airstreams are still pretty pricey.
So if you are only looking to see if RVing is good for you, I wouldn’t invest in an Airstream.
When you are sure, RVing is the way to go, get yourself the Camper of your dreams. It just makes so much more sense to try it out first, because devaluation of most RV’s can be pretty painful.
Don’t forget about the most important must have
What is absolutely necessary to have in your Camper?
If you decide you are going to buy a Travel Trailer, you must add a brake controller otherwise the trailer brakes will not operate. Trucks often have one already installed, if not, don’t skip this step.
A brake controller proportions out your brake response. Without it, you cannot control how little or much your trailer brakes responds.
And here are more must-haves:
You are more interested in buying an RV or Van?
You like the thought of an RV better? Yes, it is so much easier backing up and also driving, no stress taking it off the hitch, just a fast and easy hook-up when you arrive at your campsite. This is definitely something to consider, especially if you travel on your own and you just don’t want to be bothered with lining the camper up onto the hitch and getting the heavy sway-bar on and off.
But, an RV is more expensive, needs more maintenance and more can go wrong with it. It is not very comfortable driving through bigger cities and to find parking spots. You might have to think about an additional small tow vehicle or a bike to get around.
Again, I would start small with an 20 – 25 ft. RV before you go really big, especially if you are thinking of driving into cities. You will still be able to fit into a regular parking spot and also get a spot at a National Park if you are below 30 ft. length.
Best RV options to look at
Here are some RV options to check out:
If you buy used, you will be looking at around $ 10,000 to $ 20,000. If you are lucky, you will be able to update the interior with just a couple of hundred Dollars to make it yours.
No matter what you decide on, these are the things you should look out for:
List of buying steps
Here is the list to check out what to look for when buying an RV or TT:
Don’t forget to budget the extras
Additional costs to budget
Storage: We were not allowed to store our TT at the house, which we found out after we bought it. Bummer. So we had to look into storage options. We found an outside storage area close to our house for $ 60 a month in South Carolina. In the meantime we moved to California and are lucky to pay for an outside storage $ 150 per month.
Maintenance: If you buy an RV, you have to have it checked through before you go on longer trips for your safety. Any repairs add to your budget of course.
Tires: Every 5 to 7 years you have to exchange your tires depending how much you drive. Depends on what kind of RV you drive, this can be up to around $ 200 per tire.
Insurance: You don’t necessarily need separate insurance for your TT (depending on which state you live in), you definitely need insurance for your RV.
Gas and Campground fees: This varies of course on the state you are camping and filling up your car or RV, but you also have to add these costs on to your budget. A campground can be as cheap as $ 25 for full hook up or as expensive as over $ 100 on the beach in California or Florida.
Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons of RV’s versus Travel Trailers:
- More expensive up front.
- Often more luxurious, more spacious.
- Easier to drive, backing up, setting up.
- More expensive to maintain, engine checks.
- More storage space.
Travel Trailers are:
- Often smaller
- Less expensive to buy and maintain.
- More difficult to backing up and parking, setting up.
- Less comfortable furniture
- More fuel-efficient.
- Use your own tow vehicle
Summary of RV or Travel Trailer
When it comes to making a decision what is the best choice for you, it will come down to the floor plan and the size of the RV. Do you have enough space to feel comfortable in, is it the right size for you to handle on the road, backing in to a site, hooking up, driving through a city?
It is always a good choice is to rent a couple of your favorites for a weekend, drive it, use it, and you will see what is good and what is bad.
Anyhow, don’t rush into a fast decision, spend some time checking around. You don’t want to waste a lot of money, or?
Have you made a decision?
RV vs Travel Trailer – what is the best to buy? Have you made a decision? Are you excited to start going on road trips, taking your family and enjoying the outdoors together, go fishing, swimming, hiking, relaxing?
We had the best times on our road trips when our son was still young and he had the freedom of exploring the outdoors, making fires, meeting kids and doing whatever he wanted to do. I miss these times.
Start making good memories,
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