Hit the road, Jack: What to look for in an RV
Feb 7, 2012, 6 a.m.
You have finally retired, or you are so close you can taste it, and a whole new experience in living is opening up before your very eyes. The decision is made; you are going to spend as much time as you possibly can traveling. For some, this means full-time RV living as you journey across the land. Others prefer to keep their home base, hitting the road as frequently as possible. This is definitely an exciting time. You have a vision, but are not sure where to start when it comes to buying an RV that perfectly matches your requirements.
It is difficult to make a wise decision without knowing all the options, and when it comes to RVs, there are options galore. For the ultimate in luxurious travel and camping, a Class A motor home is the favorite choice of those who decide to make RV living a full-time lifestyle. The advantages of having bathroom, sleeping and living quarters self contained within one drivable vehicle makes a motor home an ideal pick for those who will be doing extensive travel. The smaller Class B and C motor homes have less space but the same advantages. These homes do have a couple of disadvantages. If something needs to be repaired, your whole home has to go to the shop! Another disadvantage is having to drive such a large vehicle on short trips to the store or small explorations of the area.
If you already have a powerful truck, you might consider a towable RV. The cost is less, and the larger ones are more spacious than many of the motor homes. Even if you have to buy both the towing vehicle and the trailer, the whole outfit may be less expensive than a motor home. Towables tend to retain their value longer too. RV features in towables run the gamut from small pop-up campers to luxurious fifth-wheel trailers. Sleeping accommodations are another important consideration. Will the whole family be traveling with you, or will it just be a couple? If you do not need extensive sleeping quarters, focus your attention on trailers with a single bedroom and plenty of living space. If you will be on the road most of the time, pick a travel trailer with smaller slideouts. This reduces the weight of the trailer, making it more economical to pull yet retains the spaciousness that slideouts provide.
RV shopping is as exciting and complex as shopping for a new home, requiring the same amount of research and prioritizing of desired features. A great place to explore all the options available is at an RV show. You can tour each model, pick up literature and talk to the experts. While you are RV shopping, consider your outdoor lifestyle. Do you anticipate spending most of your time hiking, fishing and sitting around the campfire, or are you looking for a vehicle that provides every comfort of home, guaranteeing a relaxing, convenient home-away-from-home experience? Pick the RV features that best fit your vision of your traveling experience. As a last consideration, most RV enthusiasts agree it is always best to purchase the largest RV you can afford if you will be on the road full time.
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