Life On The Road: Millennials Embrace The RV Lifestyle

The perks of having a mobile residence are more appealing now than ever before, especially with millennials looking for a place of their own.

The RV industry is enjoying an unprecedented eighth consecutive year of growth. Pictured above four diesel pusher Class A motorhomes at Hilltop RV Park in Fort Stockton, Texas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The RV industry is enjoying an unprecedented eighth consecutive year of growth. Pictured above four diesel pusher Class A motorhomes at Hilltop RV Park in Fort Stockton, Texas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But 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.

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:

What’s selling and for how much?

RVers identify with a lifestyle that is tied to a sense of freedom and the outdoors, and can be shared with family and friends. Pictured above friends camping at Lakeside RV Park in Livingston, Louisiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVers identify with a lifestyle that is tied to a sense of freedom and the outdoors, and can be shared with family and friends. Pictured above friends camping at Lakeside RV Park in Livingston, Louisiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) estimates that almost 10 million households own some type of RV. The 430,000 purchased in the U.S. last year (and the range of prices for new RVs) include:

282,000 travel trailers: From retro teardrop models that accommodate two people to sleek 35-footers, these are still the most popular rigs. Travel trailers range in price from $5,000-$70,000.

80,400 fifth-wheel trailers: Spacious “fivers,” which look like split-levels hitched to the beds of pickup trucks, tend to stay at a site while the truck explores. Fifth wheels range in price from $20,000-$100,000+.

Think about the size of your rig and mobility. Pictured above fifth wheel trailer at On-Ur-Wa RV Park ar Onawa, Iowa. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Think about the size of your rig and mobility. Pictured above fifth wheel trailer at On-Ur-Wa RV Park ar Onawa, Iowa. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

28,000 Class C motorhomes: With the characteristic sleeping compartment over the cab, this boxy option is reminiscent of a U-Haul—but more fun. Class C motorhomes range in price from $50,000-$100,000+.

22,700 Class A motorhomes: Typically built on a truck or highway bus chassis, these truly are homes on wheels. Class A motorhomes are available in gas-powered models and diesel pushers and range in price from $100,000-$1 million+.

4,100 Class B camper vans: The most nimble iteration of the RV, they are best suited for one or two people. Class B motorhomes range in price from $50,000-$140,000.

It doesn’t always have to be brick and mortar, 9-5 job. You can travel with a hot spot, Wi-Fi connection, a laptop, go wherever you want. Pictured above diesel pusher at Jackson Rancheria RV Resort in the California Gold Country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It doesn’t always have to be brick and mortar, 9-5 job. You can travel with a hot spot, Wi-Fi connection, a laptop, go wherever you want. Pictured above diesel pusher at Jackson Rancheria RV Resort in the California Gold Country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV Lingo

Basement: Storage areas accessible from outside your rig.

Black/gray/city water: Black refers to toilet water; gray, drainage from showers/sinks; and city, drinkable water.

Shore power: AC power provided by a campsite (or a friend’s garage, if you’re traveling and grabbing a free night in front of the house).

Boondocking/dry camping: Avoiding established campgrounds to be independent, without using hookups for electricity, water, or sewage. Popular with many snowbirds on BLM land in the Southwest.

After you’ve figured out the practical side, it’s time to do some soul searching on whether RV life is really what you want. Pictured above RV at Rincon Country West in Tucson, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

After you’ve figured out the practical side, it’s time to do some soul searching on whether RV life is really what you want. Pictured above RV at Rincon Country West in Tucson, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Puller or Pusher: Indicates whether the engine is up front or in the back, as in, “I just bought a 40-foot diesel pusher.”

Toad: The vehicle you tow behind your motorhome.

Toy hauler: A fifth-wheel or travel trailer with a garage at the back to accommodate motorcycles or ATVs. Some RVers use the space as a porch.

High-tech trends

Fuel costs can deter prospective owners, so manufacturers have incentive to innovate. Cleaner tech so far has been unable to crack the code for more horsepower to pull all that weight, but other developments are promising:

Solar power is catching on. Whether it’s panels on RV roofs or small arrays opened at campsites, they allow boondocking or dry camping without a generator. They also can recharge batteries.

Travel, learning about new cultures and meeting new people, having meaningful experiences — that’s what is important. Pictured above Class C motorhome rental and fifth wheel trailer at Sunshine Valley RV Resort west of Hope, British Columbia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Travel, learning about new cultures and meeting new people, having meaningful experiences — that’s what is important. Pictured above Class C motorhome rental and fifth wheel trailer at Sunshine Valley RV Resort west of Hope, British Columbia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The internet has connected RVers. Scores of websites and Facebook groups offer tips and recommendations on where to dump sewage tanks, which Walmarts and truck stops allow free overnight parking, and how to boost a Wi-Fi signal.

Worth Pondering…

If we agree that the bottom line of life is happiness, not success, then it makes perfect sense to say that it is the journey that counts, not reaching the destination.
—Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Leave a Reply