Buying a recreational vehicle (RV) is not unlike buying a car — comfort, cost and handling are all key factors to consider. Start researching your options with our RV guide to choose the best vehicle for you.
You and your family will spend days in your RV, so it needs to be comfortable. How many adults and children will be traveling and sleeping in your RV? Just because the manufacturer says its vehicle sleeps seven does not mean that six-foot Uncle Harry will be comfortable squeezed into a corner cubbyhole. Getting a good night's sleep is just one part of living and traveling in an RV. You'll also be cooking, eating, dressing and hanging out in the vehicle for days at a time — will everyone happily fit? The best rule of thumb is to divide the manufacturer's recommended capacity number in half.
What gear will you bring on your trip? Sports equipment and toys all take up precious storage and living space. Bring a tape measure to the RV dealer to calculate the available free space and make sure you will be able to store all your stuff.
Unfortunately, the most comfortable RVs — those with plush living rooms, multiple TVs and a king-size bed — are also the most expensive. Once you've narrowed down your RV choices in terms of your comfort level, you'll need to factor in the RV's costs.
Your budget should include not only the rental or purchase price, but also the RV's operating expenses. RV fuel efficiency ranges only 6 to 11 miles per gallon. Other RV costs include electricity and propane, kitchen and bathroom supplies and bedding. Some rental plans offer a package deal with kitchen equipment or bedding.
Campsites across the United States and Canada range from primitive sites for $3 to $10 with no hookups; comfortable sites for $10 to $30 with water and electricity hookups; and deluxe sites for $15 to $50 with full hookups (water, electricity and sewage). And you'll want yourself and your vehicle and its contents safe — contact your car insurance agent about coverage for your RV.