If you’re thinking about taking a family vacation, camping in an RV could allow you to visit destinations across the country. It also might be less expensive than other options, but there are important caveats to consider.
Advantages of RV Camping
If your family has camped in tents in the past, an RV could be a huge step up in terms of comfort. You would have a private space, beds with mattresses, clean sheets and towels, your own bathroom, and a stove on which to cook a wide variety of meals.
Traveling in an RV means your vacation plans wouldn’t depend on the weather. Sleeping in a tent during a rainstorm can be a nightmare, but you wouldn’t need to worry about being wet and cold with an RV.
Learning to drive or tow an RV can be difficult if you aren’t used to handling a large vehicle. You’d need to make wider turns than you would with a car and be especially careful in windy conditions. If you towed an RV behind another vehicle, you’d need to hitch them together. You’d also need to be cognizant of the height of the RV and the heights of bridges to avoid accidents.
Many campgrounds across the country welcome RVs, but it might be hard to find a spot because of the popularity of RV camping, particularly in the summer. You’d likely have to make reservations months in advance if you wanted to go to a popular destination or camp on a holiday weekend.
Buying and Storing an RV vs. Renting
Purchasing an RV can be costly. Depending on the model you choose and its weight, you might find that your primary vehicle couldn’t handle a towable RV, and you might be forced to purchase two vehicles: an RV and a truck to pull it.
RVs also require a significant amount of maintenance. In addition to replacing tires, changing oil and performing other tasks, you’d need to winterize the RV to prevent damage during months of storage.
Depending on where you live, you might not be allowed to store an RV at your home and might have to pay to store it elsewhere. If you have a large yard, you might be able to store an RV there during the off-season.
Some companies rent RVs for vacations. You might be able to pick one up and return it to the same location or plan a one-way rental and drop it off at a different location. Keep in mind that anything you took with you would need to get back to your home one way or another.
Is RV Camping Right for You?
An RV offers much more comfort than a tent and can be less expensive than renting hotel rooms, but there are downsides. If you’d like to spend time exploring the country with your family, consider the pros and cons of traveling in an RV.