3 Reasons Why Buying an RV Isn’t For Everyone

Are you on the fence about buying an RV? That can be a good thing. Purchasing a recreational vehicle is a serious investment, so you should consider the potential downsides before making your purchase. Plus, we have experienced RV owners and travelers sharing their buying advice. 

Potential reasons to not buy an RV 

First of all, we aren’t saying RVs are bad. Recreational vehicles, motorhomes, campers, and more provide a wonderful way to travel across the country. But they aren’t for everyone, so if you’re on the fence, this information could help you make a final decision. 

As Sonda Rochelle from Axles Addict shares, even under the appropriate circumstances, people should be prepared because problems can be more common than most people realize. You don’t want to end up as part of an RV horror story. 

1. RVs could be more expensive than expected   

RVs can cost between $10,000 to $300,000 depending on different styles and features. A moderately equipped camper that’s pulled behind a truck may only cost $20,000, and a fifth-wheel could be around $40,000. Also, you need a truck or SUV with enough power to pull it. Motorhome prices usually start around $100,000, according to the Camper Report.

Depending on how you finance your RV, it could generate a high-interest rate. According to RV Guide, if you borrow $30,000 to purchase an RV with a 5 percent interest rate over five years, then you’ll have nearly $4,000 in interest costs over the lifespan of the loan.  

A pickup tows a fifth-wheel RV trailer around a bend in the road.
Truck towing 5th wheel RV cruises to a recreation area | Universal Images Group via Getty Images

After you buy your RV, you have to pay to maintain the coach. Otherwise, it may quickly deteriorate and lose its value. The average cost of maintenance for RVs on a monthly basis due to upkeep and repairs is about $117 per month

Rosanna T. Mitchell, the creator of A Pragmatic Lens shared, “We love having our camper, and it has been a life-saver this year with all the pandemic woes. That being said, there are two main things that potential buyers should know about.

  1. RV ownership is not carefree. You are basically responsible for the maintenance of another tiny house. This is not only in relation to regular maintenance and damage repair, but also you will need to study and become acquainted with the ins-and-outs of your rig and be ready to troubleshoot on the spot. It is a learning curve, for sure.
  1. It may not be as cost effective as expected. Most people would imagine that owning an RV will save money because airfare would not be an issue. Yet, even when camping in free sites, after adding up the purchasing costs, insurance, gas mileage, RV maintenance, repairs, and storage, it may actually result in a fairly expensive way to travel. 

All in all, we don’t actually see RV travel as particularly convenient or cheap. There are far more convenient ways to explore, such as staying in furnished state park cabins, for example. 

So why do we do it? Well, it is all about the experience and the memories we make in our tiny home on wheels.”

2. RV travel is dangerous 

Truck drivers have to become officially trained and certified before they get behind the wheel of a semi. However, RV drivers can get in and just go. But driving or hauling a recreational vehicle is dangerous. 

The extra weight and longer length of trailers can require a longer stopping time. You could face blind spots that block smaller vehicles from your vision. Driving is also exhausting, and driving tired is the equivalent of driving drunk. 

You might have to park your RV in a crowded campground with children and other obstacles to avoid. Plus, you may face inclement weather and traffic jams.

While we’re covering dangerous situations, it’s a good time to mention that allowing your children to freely move about your RV while in motion is illegal. 

Accidents may also occur while the RV is parked. People can trip out of the high entry points, items may shift during transit and fall when opening storage cabinets, RVs can catch fire, and more. 

3. RVs can be labor intensive 

Your work isn’t done when you buy a recreational vehicle. You have to maintain it and plan out your trips. You can’t just wing vacations and park anywhere. Plan a route ahead of time and secure parking spots.  This way, you won’t be stuck searching for a place to pull over and sleep safely. 

Packing up your RV and preparing for trips can be a lot of work. Will you need snow gear? Do you need food? Does your dog need its crate? Do you have enough bedding to keep people warm?

Are you prepared with a first aid kit? Some campgrounds are in remote areas that may not have instant access to what you need. On that note, they may be far away from medical facilities as well. 

A motorhome RV camper parked on a road in front of a mountain
A large RV camper parked off the Bow Valley Parkway in Canda | George Rose/Getty Images

Keep Mice Out of Your RV With These Simple Tricks

Plus, the cleanup. Recreational vehicles make it easy to track in mud. Plus, it’s easy to spill food and drinks. You may need to sweep and wipe down counters daily.

Remember that rodents may want to make their home in your RV, so set up deterrents. You may want to wash all the bedding at home and figure out how to get rid of musty smells after camping. 

Also, you need to dump your family’s poop at the end of the trip. So, that might not smell pretty or go exactly as planned. It’s not like a hotel, where everything is taken care of for you. But if you can handle the hard work and potential risks, then your RV will be very rewarding.