Are RVs the Home of the Future?

The newest living trend across America is hitting the road, literally.

As they try to make more out of less, RV living has become a prime choice for many young professionals. Coupling all the amenities you’re typically used to: electricity, running water, Wi-Fi, full bathrooms and kitchens—it’s the obvious choice for many.

RV ownership is at an all-time high, with more than 9 million households owning an RV. Pictured above fifth-wheel trailers at Waltons Lakefront RV Resort in Osoyoos, British Columbia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV ownership is at an all-time high, with more than 9 million households owning an RV. Pictured above fifth-wheel trailers at Waltons Lakefront RV Resort in Osoyoos, British Columbia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To cut expenses—think, five-figures for a used RV versus six-figures for a home—and live less tethered to one city, young people are increasingly drawn to the “house on wheels” concept. The chance to take road trips without paying for hotel rooms and restaurant meals doesn’t hurt either.

The buying trend was always that 40-60 year olds, the Baby Boomers. But now, everything’s getting younger.

For those looking to save on rent while living a fully functional and active lifestyle, an RV is a perfect choice.

Some millennials are ditching the notion of the white picket fence altogether and opting instead for a home that will travel. Pictured abobe are diesel pusher Class A motorhomes at The MotorCoach Resort in Chandler, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Some millennials are ditching the notion of the white picket fence altogether and opting instead for a home that will travel. Pictured abobe are diesel pusher Class A motorhomes at The MotorCoach Resort in Chandler, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Somewhat of a tiny house movement, one of the trends you’re seeing is a minimalist lifestyle. Not everyone wants a brick-and-mortar house, back yard, 30-year mortgage, tied down to that. So this RV lifestyle gives you versatility.

The perks of having a mobile residence are more appealing now than ever, especially with millennials (defined as Americans born 1980-1996, now ages 18-34) starting their lives and looking for a place of their own.

RV ownership is at an all-time high, with more than 9 million households owning an RV as of April 2017, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

Is the nomadic life right for you? Pictured above Airstream travel trailer boondocking near Lake Pleasant, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Is the nomadic life right for you? Pictured above Airstream travel trailer boondocking near Lake Pleasant, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But, it isn’t just the millennials. With RV ownership up 16 percent since 2001, buyers between the ages of 35 to 54 make up the largest share of owners, reports the RVIA.

Why would millennials prefer to live in an RV over a traditional house? Aside from the financial break because of the lower cost of living, RVs provide an opportunity to experience adventure. The movement to bypass or delay a traditional home purchase makes sense as millennials, unlike previous generations, prefer experiences over things. They’re renting scooters and touring Vietnam, rocking out at music festivals, or hiking Machu Picchu.

You’re buying a house that’s going on the road. It’s affordable, insurance is reasonable, so it’s that trend that we’re seeing that’s ultimately bringing a lot of people to the RV industry. Pictured above motorhome and fifth wheel trailer at Mount Vernon RV Park in Mount Vernon, Washington. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You’re buying a house that’s going on the road. It’s affordable, insurance is reasonable, so it’s that trend that we’re seeing that’s ultimately bringing a lot of people to the RV industry. Pictured above motorhome and fifth wheel trailer at Mount Vernon RV Park in Mount Vernon, Washington. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In fact, in a 2014 Eventbrite poll, 78 percent of millennials said they would rather spend money on a desirable experience or event rather than buying something desirable and 55 percent of millennials say they’re spending more on events than ever before, with no signs of slowing.

Making the decision to embrace the RV lifestyle still takes some thought. If you are considering dumping the brick-and-mortar house for four wheels, consider the following:

Rent before you own: If you aren’t 100 percent sure RV life is for you, rent one for a period of time to see if you like it. Typical rent prices can range from $50 for an older travel trailer to $450 per night for a newer Class A diesel motorhome. This will also help you determine which amenities are most important to you and how much your budget can manage comfortably.

Many millennials, began working remotely so they could travel as much as possible. Pictured above are trailers at Hilltop RV Park in Fort Stockton, Texas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many millennials, began working remotely so they could travel as much as possible. Pictured above are trailers at Hilltop RV Park in Fort Stockton, Texas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Decide whether to buy new or pre-owned: While a pre-owned RV will be significantly less expensive, consider some of the same factors you might ponder if you were to purchase a new or pre-owned car. Before purchasing a pre-owned RV, consider depreciation, condition and age of the tires, if the vehicle is under warranty, and if you can spot any unknown damage.

Have a parking spot: Unless you live in a suburban or rural area that allows you to park your RV in your driveway you’ll have to consider where to keep it when you aren’t traveling. RV parking spots can run anywhere from $50 up to $450 a month depending on the size of your RV and needs.

Factor in extra costs: Maintenance, fuel, insurance, license, and the sales tax on your initial purchase can all add up. Fuel is surprisingly expensive since many RVs only get six to eight miles to the gallon.

Consider pets: You can take your pets with you, but they will no longer have a yard in which to run; most campgrounds require that animals be penned or on a leash. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consider pets: You can take your pets with you, but they will no longer have a yard in which to run; most campgrounds require that animals be penned or on a leash. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consider pets: You can take your pets with you, but they will no longer have a yard in which to run; most campgrounds require that animals be penned or on a leash.

For those who find the journey to be more exhilarating than the destination, RV ownership may be ideal. Just do your homework and have a budget to ensure you can not only afford to purchase an RV but maintain it for years to come.

Worth Pondering…

Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.

—Pat Conroy

Leave a Reply