RV Travel Pros and Cons

Senior couple and RV
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Many couples, those with children, and those who are retired, swear that traveling in a recreational vehicle is the only way to take a trip.

Other couples swear that being trapped in a RV together for several weeks, along with all the cooking and cleaning that such a trip requires, is a sure way to end a marriage.

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Traveling by recreational vehicle, fifth wheel/truck, or camper trailer/tow vehicle can be more expensive depending on the price of the rig, along with increased camping fees and gasoline costs.

Read More: Travelers Save When They Go RVing, Study Reveals

What's at Stake?

The outcome of a family vacation or full time retirement on the road depends greatly on whether or not expectations of all are being met.

If you have unrealistic expectations about traveling in a recreational vehicle, or don't share the work load, your trip can turn into a disaster.

Pros

  • Pretty places to stay. On a recent trip to Santa Barbara, we noticed some really nice State parks on the beach that have sites available for RVs. Hanging your hat in lovely locations throughout the country is very tempting.
  • Save money on overnight accommodations. Although campsite prices have risen in the past couple years, they are still much less expensive than a hotel room.
  • No unpacking and packing and lugging suitcases around. Once you have your clothes and necessities put away and organized, you are set.
  • No searching for a bathroom. When you've got to go, you've got to go! With an RV, there's no crossing legs and yearning for a gas station or fast food place to magically appear.
  • Food costs are less. Although I'm still against having to do a lot of cooking and cleaning while on a vacation, there's no denying that you can save money by having cereal and fruit or a Danish for breakfast and sandwiches or soup for lunch in your RV.
  • Pets are happier. Not only does you pet have more room to stretch out while you are on the road, you won't have to pay additional pet fees at hotels.
  • More time to explore an area. Sometimes you visit a town or city or National Park and wish you could spend more time discovering the area and seeing more of the sights there. With a RV, you can stay a few extra days without the extended time destroying your budget.

Cons

  • Gas expense can be hefty. Look for a RV that gets decent gas mileage.
  • Lack of privacy. Generally, camping facilities can be crowded and noisy.
  • Cooking and cleaning while on vacation. There is an implied expectation to save money by using the kitchen in a RV to save money on a trip.
  • Stress. It can result from unrealistic expectations, vehicle malfunction, working more than relaxing, and spending more money than planned.
  • Camping spaces may be more expensive and less inviting than you planned. Although many RVers save money by staying in Wal-Mart or Cracker Barrel parking lots, this isn't the same as camping in an isolated area by a running stream with deer to watch out your window.
  • Need space to store it. Some communities are becoming more restrictive about allowing folks to park RVs in driveways.
  • Expense. RVs can be expensive to purchase and to maintain.
  • Sleep comfort. Most RV beds don't compare to those in a nice hotel when it comes to comfort and size.

Where It Stands

If the two of you decide to travel together in a RV, make sure you are communicating your thoughts, feelings, wants, needs, and expectations before, during, and after the trip!