Traveling in a recreational vehicle is one of the more convenient ways to holiday with young children: you can pull over and change a diaper, make lunch, or take “time out” on a moment’s notice.
Go RVing Canada may tempt you further; it cites the average cost savings of a seven-day RV vacation from Vancouver to Banff National Park using a lightweight travel trailer at 41 percent cheaper than the same vacation with a car/hotel option, and around 54 percent cheaper than an air/hotel option, the Globe and Mail reports.
Obviously, you need to invest some capital upfront to purchase an RV.
To determine which type of unit is right for your family, there are a few things to consider, including your budget.
“It’s tough to do an apples-to-apples comparison, but normally a travel trailer is significantly less expensive than a motorhome, dependent of course upon age, size, condition, etc. With a motorhome, you have an engine and drivetrain, and because of that insurance is typically higher. It’s almost like having another vehicle,” says one Alberta RV retailer.
Check with the manufacturer for the towing capacity of your current vehicle. Some lightweight trailers can be pulled with mid-size vehicles, including the family car.
If this doesn’t meet your requirements, you’ll need a heavy-duty vehicle or pickup truck to safely pull a larger conventional trailer or fifth-wheel unit.
If you need to purchase a second vehicle, going the tow route may not be more cost-effective than a motorized RV.
If economy is your foremost concern, consider a pop-up trailer or hard-top tent trailer.
“The investment in a tent trailer is comparatively low, you’ve got plenty of sleep-ability, and they’re easy to tow with almost any vehicle, but it’s just a lot more work setting up and taking down. There are also typically no washrooms, so when the kids are younger it can be a bit of a pain if you’re not close to the public washrooms,” says another dealer.
Many of the differences between a motorhome and travel or fifth wheel trailer also come down to convenience.
An advantage with towing a trailer is that once you arrive and set up, you can use your vehicle for shopping or touring around.
In a motorhome, you have to pack up first, unless you want to tow a car.
However, with a trailer you don’t have immediate access to amenities when you’re traveling down the road. For pure convenience with small children, a motorhome is hard to beat.
There are pluses and minuses for each type of recreational vehicle.
Your choice will depend to a large extent on your budget, and which extras you want and can afford.
Before making a final decision estimate the length of time you’re likely to keep the RV, and whether its sleeping arrangements will accommodate a growing family.
Because you’re new to RV life, consider renting before committing to ownership.
You’ll discover the features you don’t like, and those you can’t live without. And, you may even decide that renting, without the worry of maintaining, insuring, and storing an RV, is the way you want to roll.
Remember Robin Williams and the movie, RV?
The RV lifestyle is like nothing else.
It’s leaving home, exploring America, and yet bringing your home along with you!
Stopping at a wayside picnic area, preparing lunch in your kitchen.
It’s sleeping in your own bed every night, yet waking up to a new vista each morning!
The sounds of a crackling campfire; of a mountain stream, of frogs, and crickets.
It’s families drawn closer; it’s retirees being rewarded for many years of labor.
—Loren Eyrich, Two-Lane Roads