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Buying a recreational vehicle is a big decision, one that’ll cost you at least a few thousand dollars. However, if you’ve been tent camping a dozen times and are ready for an upgrade, buying an RV might feel like the next best step.
Of course, there are plenty of perks that come with this option, from having a built-in kitchen and dining table to your very own bathroom. You can even decorate it just like you would a small apartment or tiny home. With everything you need right at your fingertips, there’s no telling how far you’ll go or what wonders you’ll see.
To the complete novice, buying and using an RV may sound like an idyllic, worry-free experience. Yet, there’s often more to it than meets the eye. In fact, some RVers spend more time taking care of their vehicle than they do camping out in it.
So is buying an RV even worth it? Well, there are a variety of factors to consider.
Emptying Your Waste Tanks
One of the biggest benefits of RVs is that they can serve as portable restrooms. If you’ve ever been stuck in the wilderness without a porta john, you know just how awesome this perk is.
However, you will eventually have to flush both your black and grey water tanks, which means coming face-to-face with everything you put down the drain — solid or liquid. More importantly, you’ll have to pack up camp, find a dump station and potentially pay a fee to empty them. The whole fiasco might be more trouble than it’s worth if you frequently boondock or camp without wastewater hookups.
Planning for Potable Water
Both retro and modern RVs also come with freshwater tanks that allow you to bring drinkable water wherever your travels take you. However, you might struggle to find potable water stations if you’re camping out in the desert or a similarly remote spot. Plus, the tank can only hold so much. If you’re camping with one or two other people, you could easily run out in a matter of days.
Finding a Power Source
As much as RVs cost, you think they’d come with their own supply of unlimited power. Yet, that’s simply not the case. Rather, you must find a way to juice up your vehicle and make sure all the outlets work. Whether you get a generator or invest in solar, the setup will cost you another few hundred dollars — if not more. Alternatively, you can stay in RV parks that offer shore power, but you’ll likely shell out just as much depending on where you go and how long you stay.
Keeping Up with Maintenance
RVs require frequent and ongoing maintenance, regardless of how often you use them. This is especially true of motorhomes and camper vans where the vehicle and trailer are one and the same. In addition to routine vehicle maintenance, you’ll also need to periodically reseal the windows, doors and roof. The wheels, slide-outs, air conditioner, fridge, water heater and other appliances will need attention, too.
Of course, all of these tasks cost money. However, if you don’t keep up with them, you could end up making costly repairs down the road.
Is Buying an RV Really Worth It?
If riding buying and maintaining an RV sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is! Whether you get a travel trailer, motor home or camper van, you’ll have to consider the above factors. Even so, an RV could be worth it if you’re willing to put in the effort and plan to use it often. Simply weigh the pros and cons, look at your budget and then decide. If adventure calls, you’ll find a way to answer.