I see this question posted daily on various RV FB sites I follow. Whether you’re interested in full time RV life or weekend + vacations, the type of RV that fits your needs depends on many factors of which I’ll break down in this blog post.
- Single vs Family
- Flexibility & Finances
Types of RV’s
Before we discuss which RV is best for you, it’s important to understand the different types of RV’s.
- Class A: Motorhome, body style looks like a bus
- Class B: Also known as van conversions
- Class C: Thought of as a smaller version of Class A and built on a truck or van chassis. These look like more like trucks and have more versatility than a Class A.
- Fifth Wheel: Known to have the largest floor plans, these are towable with the front raised enabling it to be hitched in the bed of a truck. A Toy Hauler is a type of Fifth Wheel.
- Travel Trailer/Tow Behind: probably the most common for the weekend getaways, these are as described, “towed behind” a vehicle.
An RV can feel roomy or like a cave depending on its size and number of people living in it. Over the past 6 months we’ve seen many single people living full time class B’s and smaller tow behinds/ bumper pulls. On the opposite side of the spectrum, we’ve seen large families full timing it in 45′ Fifth wheels. As for Class A’s & C’s, the majority of people we see in those have been retired couples. The comments and suggestions I see on various social media sites seem to follow what we’ve seen and what makes the most sense.
We’re in a 45′ 5th wheel toy hauler and while it’s only 2 of us, we’re full time with 4 dogs. With the deck folded down (in nice weather), we have 4 separate areas to relax and not feel like we’re crawling over the top of each other. Currently, I’m typing this blog in the garage that we converted into an office, the dogs are relaxing on the deck and my husband’s in the living room, we all have our own space and it feels quite nice. I’ve heard from and have seen families turn the master into a kids room and the garage with deck into the master as well as the garage into a bunk room with desks. Fifth wheel toy haulers seem to offer the most configuration options as well as space. The con of such a large rig is you won’t fit in most of the national parks or some campgrounds. We don’t feel as though this has had a negative effect on us as we like to mostly HipCamp so we have a lot of space with full hook ups and peace and quiet and we can find them everywhere we’ve been interested in adventuring. Never heard of Hip Camp? Click here for the website and $10 off. It’s how we will be staying the month of December in Florida, with a fenced in acre, on the water.
Flexibility and Finances
Class A’s, B’s and C’s seem to require the most flexibility. RV’s have issues, whether it came with a 250k price tag or 30K, it will have issues. If the truck that’s pulling your tow behind or 5th wheel has an issue you can take it or have it towed to a shop and still have your RV to live in while it’s getting fixed. If your Class A, B or C has an issue you have to first find a place that will work on it as not all shops work on RV engines, then you need to find a place to live (hotel?) until it’s fixed, which could be months. This would be a disaster for us since we have dogs and I imagine a bad situation for large families or anyone on a tight budget. We could still experience a catastrophic failure of our 5th wheel putting us in such a situation but that’s far less likely than RV engine trouble. An advantage though of a Class A or C is you can tow a more fuel efficient car for site-seeing than the fuel guzzling truck you’d be towing your 5th wheel or tow behind with. We travel with E bikes for this reason.
In summary, a single person or couple with a lot of flexibility and financial freedom would be OK in a class A,B or C but large families or those with pets might want to lean more towards a 5th wheel or tow behind.
Is Full-time Rv’ing Expensive?
This has been the golden question as of late. With the price of homes skyrocketing, rentals hard to find and expensive and interest rates climbing, many wonder if full time RV’ing is a more affordable option. There’s no one answer to this question as it depends on may factors. The most expensive way to full time RV would be to live in Arizona or Florida in the winter and somewhere north in the summer. It’s supply and demand, RV parks in the south jack up their prices in the winter as do parks in the north in the summer. With that being said, RV parks (with a few exceptions) have been the most expensive way to camp, in our experiences. You can find a good seasonal rate in either of those places with a 3- 6 month commitment but they are typically booked a year in advance and many places give first dibbs to their current residents. In addition, you typically get charged for power on top of whatever rate you secure. If you have the ability to work remotely as well as commit to a work-camping job at a place with high speed internet, full timing could work out great for you. Or, if you’re retired, have a steady monthly income that leaves the ability to save $500 a month (after any bills-medical, fuel, WIFI, phones, insurance etc..) then full-timing could be an option. Why $500 month? RV repairs can be expensive, you might need to leave the area you’re in or cover a few months if you get ill or injured and can’t work.
My suggestion to anyone thinking about the full time RV life, save up enough money to put at least 25% down on your RV and have the ability to save $500 month. RV and vehicle maintenance can be expensive and repairs (to you and/or your rig!) can come at the worst times. You’ll want to be prepared if you can’t work or need a new furnace, upgraded plumbing or electrical, etc.
With a reasonable budget that allows you to save and the ability to work remotely, full time RV life could cost less than home ownership or renting. We’re full time mobile. Rob is retired military and we were able to sell our home, purchase our 5th wheel and truck and put money in savings. Even so, we’re on a very tight budge to make sure we can continue to save. RV parks are a treat, we mostly use HipCamps and state parks, and stay for at least 2 weeks at a time (mostly a month ) to get long term discounts. For more info on how we save, click here
If you are starting your RV journey and need to know the basic items to have with you, check out my organized RV lists, with product links. For each item, you’ll see 2 choices to compare.
If you plan to RV with pets, please check out my Dog Safety Tips.
Happy RV’ing and/or shopping!