Choosing an RV that's right for you
"The initial mystery that attends any journey is: How did the traveler reach his starting point in the first place?" –LOUISE BOGAN
We just waved good-bye to our POD two hours ago and anxiously await the closing of our house two days from now. What remains in these interim moments are feelings of freedom, expectation, and exuberance. Why we would trade in our comfortable lifestyle and convenient surroundings for a "box on wheels" is a mystery to many, but the desire to explore the world outside our familiar suburbs has spanned a decade and grows stronger every day. Wanderlust. If you have ever felt a longing to escape the norm, you may be pondering how to embark on an adventure of your own.
Why an RV?
Whether you're considering an occasional weekend getaway or looking to become "full-timers" as we have, the flexibility of an RV can satisfy the travel needs of just about anyone. Of course, countless full-timers begin their adventures as weekend warriors and make the switch when they feel ready to leave their freestanding house behind. Then again, many people are simply looking for an inexpensive way to propel family vacations and day trips without having to plan destination details, make flight arrangements months in advance, and pay outrageous fees for hotel rooms.
With an RV, you can be on your way to a relaxing reprieve in as little time as it takes you to pack a cooler (or your RV's fully functional refrigerator) and load your essentials (khakis, fishing poles, SCUBA gear, or maybe a dusty stash of half-finished novels) into the unit. It's not necessary to know your destination, only the general direction in which you are headed.
One of the many benefits of being your own tour guide is the unsolicited opportunities which may present themselves at any moment. And I don't mean hitchhikers; I'm talking about unique roadside attractions, unexpected musical festivals, county fairs, or a rambling detour down a country lane. You may even find yourself a participant of a local RV rally during your journey. For more information on RV rallies, visit The Rally online
With an RV, the choices are yours to make and then remake along the way.
Types of RVs
You can enjoy a diverse selection when considering an RV that is right for you. The term recreational vehicle encompasses an array of units ranging from affordable pop-up campers to two or three hundred thousand dollar diesel pushers, not to mention dozens of options landing somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, such as travel trailers, 5th wheels, toy haulers, Class A and Class C motorhomes. For an extensive list of RV types and corresponding photos , click on Fabulous Travel and find the perfect RV that suits your needs.
Planning Before You Purchase
When planning to purchase an RV, it helps to move from the general to the more specific. That is, once you understand the broader options available, you can start narrowing your search based on your specific needs.
What are your goals
A major consideration when purchasing an RV is determining for what purposes you want to use it. Is it intended for weekend vacationing or full-time living? How many people will be sleeping in it? Do you want to drive the RV or tow it behind you? Do you need it to house your other recreational toys, such as an ATV or dune buggy? In order to realistically consider your priorities and open the door to the many possibilities available, you may want to sit down with your partner or family and make a specific list of why you would like an RV and what kinds of activities you'd enjoy participating in while traveling. A WWW.Trailerlife.com site like Trailer Life can keep you updated on the latest trends in RV design.
If you're just getting started
If you've just decided to get your feet wet, an inexpensive way to start RVing is by purchasing an easy to use, convenient pop-up trailer. Ranging from $5,000 - $10,000, pop-ups offer many great features that will make camping with the family lots of fun.
More frequent traveling
For RVers committed to occasional outings, you will likely consider a small, less costly travel trailer, which offers neat options to ingenuously maximize space, such as a rear bunkbed floorplan and a dinette table that folds down into a bed that sleeps two. A small class C motorhome allows you to drive your unit while being fully self-contained.
If you're ready to go all the way
For full-time living, you may want a homey 5th wheel or luxurious diesel pusher which boasts all the amenities of a full-scale house, often complete with a garden tub and fireplace. Full-timers definitely want to select units which offer at least two slide-outs; these are essentially walls which slide out of the RV three or four feet to expand your living area once you are parked.
The tow vehicle
Of course, towable RVs such as travel trailers and 5th wheels require you to also have a TV, or tow vehicle, which possesses the towing capability required by your chosen RV. For instance, if you select a 34 foot 5th wheel, you will need a pick-up truck that can tow anywhere from 11,000 to 16,000 pounds. Take all of this into consideration when purchasing a TV; in fact, many people in the industry suggest that you purchase the TV after you buy your RV so that you know how much power you are going to need.
Customize your RV
Whatever style you choose, don't worry if your RV doesn't come with every accessory you'd like. There are plenty of vendors who specialize in providing all different types of accessories and add-ons for every RV.
With such an array of choices, you may find choosing an RV quite a daunting task. I would recommend starting, as we did, by visiting local RV shows. These are events created by local RV dealers and can usually be found in mall parking lots or in nearby fairgrounds several times a year. Here, you will be able to meander around and enter all types of RVs, chat with salespeople about the options, ask as many questions as you like, and get a