Road Trip: Is an RV Right for You?

Holiday time is right around the corner for many of us, and a good deal of travelers will be heading out by vehicle. In fact, the American Automobile Association predicts more people on the road this summer than in 2013 due to steady fuel prices and an improved economy. Many people will take to the roads by a personal or rented automobile while others may take the plunge and rent an RV for an extended trip. And then there are those who could decide to purchase a recreational vehicle for this and future trips. Are you one of them?

RVs can be a boon for the frequent traveler, because they save on accommodations and dining as everything is right behind the steering wheel. However, they can be quite the investment. A new RV with all the trimmings can cost upwards of $100,000, and that doesn’t include the costs of fuel or payment to plug the vehicle into a charging station at the campsite. For those who’re retired and wish to live the rest of their lives on the road this may not be an issue. It may be a different story for an individual or a young family starting out. To help you make the right decisions, here are a few things to consider before adding this item to your budget.

How much are you going to travel?

This is where the conversation ends or moves to the next stage. You may an RV opens up a whole new world of cross-country travel, but are you thinking realistically? How much vacation time do you have in order to take the RV on the road? Are you trying to start a family or about to have your first child? Do you have the money available to maintain the vehicle if you need upgrades or maintenance performed? These are the most important questions to answer before moving ahead. Oh, and of course you need to ask yourself if you can afford it, because you want to pay as much up front as possible to avoid an exorbitant monthly deduction from your bank account.

What type of RV do you need?

Need is different than want. You may want the RV that sleeps six and features a hot tub and marble countertops. What you need and can afford may be van-like RV that sleeps up to four. Again, it comes down to what you can afford and not what you can make payments on. The monthly fees for an 18 foot RV are going to be more for you four-door sedan.

Can you afford the extras?

Maintaining a recreational vehicle isn’t cheap. Fuel ends up being the most expensive cost as the big tanks use up a good deal of fuel in a few hundred miles. Make a cross-country trip and gas can take several hundred dollars out of your vacation budget. In addition to that, you have to figure in maintenance costs for oil changes, brakes, etc., updates to the interior and general decoration to make the RV your home. These all needed to be added to your initial cost estimate.

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