COVID-era Travel: Pros and Cons of Owning an RV
Escaping to the open road and seeing the natural beauty of our country is more popular than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Owning your own recreational vehicle, whether it’s a luxury motorhome or a pop-up camper you pull behind your SUV, can make those travel plans safer and easier. Thinking of investing in an RV? Here are the pros and cons:
Your own space
Traveling with your own bathroom, cooking meals in your own kitchen and sleeping in your own bed can help you see new parts of the country with the comforts and safety of home. Additionally, an RV can help reduce the risk of exposure to others.
A chance to explore
Getting to explore outdoor locations in a new way, whether it’s across the country or a community park the next town over, can provide a much-needed break in your routine. This is especially important when coping with the added stresses of a pandemic.
Cost-effective, healthier meals
If you are cooking your own meals, you can save money on eating out, cater to special dietary needs and eat healthier.
If you are bringing your “home” with you, you can clean your living spaces to stricter standards and touch them up as often as you want.
With the turn of a wheel, you can change your travel destination on a whim and modify routes quickly to avoid bad weather, coronavirus outbreaks or crowded conditions.
Lots of options
There are RV choices for every price point, from basic campers to posh motorhomes with luxe amenities. Talk to your banker to find out what you can afford.
Know the real cost. Campsites can range from $50 to $150 a night, depending on the location and what amenities are offered. Some motorhomes get only 5 to 10 miles per gallon, so gas costs can be significant. RV insurance and maintenance also add to your annual expenses.
If you are buying something to tow, you need to equip your vehicle with a tow hitch and invest in back lights. Determine where you will park your RV at home. Will you have to rent storage space?
Parking an extra-large vehicle can be a hassle, especially at gas stations, grocery stores and tourist attractions. Do you have experience driving or towing a large vehicle? Make sure you feel comfortable behind the wheel.
With COVID-19 restrictions and closures varying from place to place, you'll have to do some advance research to make sure the campgrounds you are interested in are open and available.
If you decide to go full speed ahead with the RV lifestyle, you will open up a whole world of potential destinations. Besides places like majestic national parks and relaxed state parks, which offer scenery and outdoor activities, there are a variety of other types of campgrounds.
Some RV parks offer long-term site rentals so you can spend a month or two in your favorite locale, with resort style amenities like swimming pools, water parks, access to beaches, on-site convenience stores and cafes.
Or take the camper out for a spin at your local park and have a staycation closer to home.
If you invest in an RV, remember it's not just about the destination. It’s also about enjoying the journey.
Julie Landry Laviolette is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance, health and living well. Find her on Twitter at @JulieLavio.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.