How to Choose an RV

How to Choose an RV

With the many choices available in RVs, it can be hard to know which type and size is right for you.  Motorhome, travel trailer or 5th wheel?  Large or small?  Class A or class C motorhome?  Gas or diesel?  Here are some things to consider…..

Think about how you’re going to use the RV.  Short trips?  Weekends?  Longer trips?  Months at a time?  Are you nervous about towing?  What is a comfortable payment range?  How many people do you need to sleep?  How much storage do you need?  Will you be going to campgrounds with full hookups or camping in remote areas where you’ll need a generator?

People often underestimate what size RV will be right for them. They buy small and then, after using the RV, wish they had bought something larger. Before buying an RV, spend some time in it.  Sit in it and imagine yourselves stuck in it for a couple of days due to bad weather.

Travel trailer or motorhome?  You can buy a nice new travel trailer for between $14,000 and $28,000.  An entry level small new motorhome starts at about $55,000.

Travel Trailers

With a travel trailer, you have your tow vehicle to drive once the trailer is parked.  Many trailers can be towed with a medium sized SUV.  If you’re camping in remote areas, you’ll need a portable generator.  Trailers offer many choices of floorplans, so it’s easy to find one that’s perfect for your family.

5th Wheel Trailers

A 5th wheel trailer extends over the bed of a pickup truck.  It offers great exterior storage and is easy to tow.  Some offer installed generators and washers and dryers.  When considering a 5th wheel, find one that you like and know the weight before buying your truck.  You need a truck that can tow that weight.


An advantage of a motorhome is that people can move around while you are driving.  They can use the restroom or take a nap.  Having a motorhome doesn’t mean you won’t have a car to drive, as most motorhomes have a hitch on the back.  Most motorhomes  have a generator, so you can camp anywhere.

Motorhomes come as class A, class B and class C models.  Class A motorhomes are on a truck chassis, class B models are small and compact and class C models are on a van chassis with a cabover.  There are gasoline and diesel models.

Class A diesel motorhomes normally have air brakes and air ride suspension, making the handling and braking better than gas models.  Plus they have greater power.  Most new gas class A models are on a Ford chassis with a Ford V 10 engine, which is plenty of power.  And, they’re generally a lot less expensive. Think about how many miles you’re going to drive.  Many people put only 3,000 – 5,000 miles on a motorhome.  If you’re not going to drive it much, it may not be worth spending the amount of money a diesel model will cost.  The gas mileage and the diesel mileage are about the same due to the greater weight of the diesel class A motorhome.

In class A models, the front seats swivel around and become part of the living area.  Usually, there is more exterior storage on a class A than other types of motorhomes.  And the driver sits up high and has a large windshield offering great visibility.

Class B motorhomes are often small enough to fit in a regular parking space and are easy to drive around.  The diesel models can get about 17 MPG.  And, they are completely self contained, meaning they have everything you need to live in them.

Class C motorhomes are great for first time buyers.  The van front is lower down, has two doors and the mirrors are close in.  It feels more like driving a van than a bus.  Extra sleeping can be available with a bed over the cab.  Or instead, some have the option of a large TV with storage cabinets.  A new class C model usually costs less than a class A.

Trailers and motorhomes have the options of slide out rooms.  They add a lot to the RV’s livability once you are parked but they do add to the cost.


Interest rates are very low now, so it’s easy to find an RV with a payment that’s comfortable for you.  And, RV loans usually result in a tax deduction as a second home mortgage.

We hope this answers your questions and helps you find the perfect RV for your family.  It’s time to hit the road and start creating memories!

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