So, you have finally decided that the RV camping lifestyle is right for you and your family. Now you must decide which vehicle will best fill your needs. There are travel trailers, fifth wheel trailers, and of course, self-powered motorhomes. Determining the best fit for your family will require you to consider your budget, how you plan to camp, your party size and travel plans. Budget, both initial capital and ongoing expenses, is probably the first thing to be considered. After all, there is no point wasting time on something that is financially out of the question. So let’s look at how these would break down. The capital cost for each, from the least to most expensive, would be travel trailer, fifth wheel trailer and then motorhome. The yearly fixed overhead would be relatively minimal for either trailer choice.
However, the motor home would have some higher ongoing costs. Insurance, for one, would be substantially higher for a motorhome than that of any trailer. This is due to it being a motorized, self-powered vehicle for use on the highways. Maintenance would also be much higher than either trailer choice. Regular care and at least a yearly oil change would be a minimum requirement for a motorhome. However, either trailer choice would require a tow vehicle. If it were to be a travel trailer, a rear-wheel drive vehicle may be the minimum needed. The fifth wheel would need a capably rated pickup truck in order to tow it. If you do not own one now, then both capital and ongoing expenses are also applicable. So, if you own a Ford Focus, you will need to replace it or add an additional vehicle to your garage. Either way, it’s going to cost money. On the other hand, if you were to choose a motorhome, the Ford Focus can be towed behind for use while in camp.
Now we will look at the intended use. Trailers, and especially 5th wheel units, generally have more usable room when compared to motorhomes of the same length. This is due to a loss of living space in the motorhome measured from the front bumper to the front seats. Trailers also are capable of being located in one location indefinitely with little mechanical deterioration. The same can probably not be said about a motorhome as it fairs better with some regular use. Motorhomes can travel and camp comfortably in freezing weather, thus extending the season. Trailers generally do not venture out in the colder weather. This is due to its lack of ability to keep the onboard water from freezing and the need to heat the interior from scratch each travel day. Comfort and security are better when using the onboard rest room in a motorhome as no need to exit the unit is required. Of course there are many more considerations than I have space to mention. But, basically they all offer stationary self-contained living quarters. The motorhome adds another dynamic dimension, living quarters while in motion. The RV purchase process can be fun, and you are only starting. Enjoy.