Since the pandemic surge, 2021 has reached a record high of 11.2 million households owning an RV.
RVs have seen an enormous popularity growth as they can be used for weekend trips away with family and friends, a mobile office, or a chance to explore full time while still having the comforts of home. In addition, with so many families now working remotely and children studying remotely, more parents have decided to take their children to see the places in their history books firsthand.
No matter your reason, you want to choose the best RV type for your mission, but how do you decide? Is there a difference between camping trailers and travel trailers? What exactly is an RV, and what are the different types?
Read below to learn all about the different RVs and how you can make the best choice to start your adventure.
What Is an RV?
RVs, or recreational vehicles, refer to any motorhome or travel trailer that has living accommodations. If you are a new RVer, the decision on which one to buy can be overwhelming. Not to worry, this guide will help you figure out which RV is best to fit your needs.
The term “RV” can include all types of motorhomes and travel trailers from a pop-up camper up to a class A motorhome. Thus, RVs are called campers, travel trailers, camper trailers, and more. Although the term refers to all different types, people most often use “RV” when talking about motorized homes and “campers” when talking about anything that tows behind you.
Is There a Difference Between Camping Trailers and Travel Trailers?
You have probably heard “camping trailers” and “travel trailers” used interchangeably, which is acceptable. However, did you know there is a slight difference between the two?
Camping trailers excel at going over harsh terrains and provide during different types of weather. In addition, they take up less space than travel trailers, as efficiency is vital.
Travel trailers offer convenience over efficiency. Most require hookups to water, electricity, and sewer, plus they offer the comforts of home. However, they take up more space than a simple camping trailer because of the living space inside. So while you may use both terms interchangeably, there is a difference!
If you are interested in trailers that can hold up to the elements and rough terrain, make sure to check out these off road camping trailers.
Benefits of RVs
There many benefits to using an RV for travel instead of driving your car or flying. Listed below are some of the most stand-out benefits to owning an RV.
Comforts of Home
Traveling can be slightly uncomfortable when you have to sleep in a strange bed or be in a hotel you don’t enjoy. Instead, opt to take your home with you! You can enjoy the benefits of traveling and exploring new places, but be able to have the comforts of your house waiting for you after a long day of adventuring. You can even change your mattress in an RV for maximum comfort.
More Family Time
If more family time is your goal, then an RV is the ideal solution. The inside of RVs has family time in mind. The living and dining spaces are in the same area to have your family all together in the same room.
If you are traveling with a motorhome, such as an A-class or a C class, you can even enjoy family time while driving to your destination. Playing road trip games is much more comfortable in the comfort of your living room on wheels than in a crowded car.
We all know flying anywhere can be expensive, especially if you have a large family. It can be pretty challenging to get everyone ready and prepared to go through an airport if you have kids. Not to mention, you always end up forgetting something and have to purchase that item once you get to your destination.
Staying at RV parks can be significantly cheaper than hotels if you are used to booking hotel rooms at moderate to high-end hotels or if you are used to booking multiple rooms.
Another aspect where you could see huge savings is in the price of food while on vacation. If you are without an RV, you will most likely eat out for all of your meals. If you have an RV, your home kitchen is always with you.
An example of food costs while on a two-week vacation for a family of four:
- Meals without an RV: $1,750 ($125 a day)
- Meals with an RV: $400 ($200 a week for groceries)
Of course, this depends on how much you prefer to enjoy the local food, even with an RV. But if you are looking to save some money while on vacation, preparing your food in your kitchen is a great option.
Typically, you would book one hotel and venture out in town around that area when you are on vacation. With an RV, you can set up anywhere you’d like.
There are many options for RVers:
- RV parks/campgrounds
- Boondocking: camping in a remote area without any hookups
- Harvest Hosts: staying on at a winery or farm for a night for free
You have the option to move as many times as you would like on your vacation, which allows you to explore more areas. You also have the flexibility to customize your vacation for everyone’s interests. Change your plans on a whim and enjoy the adventure without being tethered to a schedule.
Get Back to Nature
Want to fall asleep listening to a flowing river or the sweet sound of crickets? An RV lets you connect with nature in a way that you can’t do staying in a hotel. Roasting marshmallows on a campfire while looking at the stars is a memory you and your family will enjoy long after your vacation has ended.
If you are looking to live in an RV full-time, you can experience the beauty of nature every day. Being outside offers many benefits, including improving your emotional well-being, provide healing properties, and could even help promote weight loss.
Being in nature reduces the feeling of stress and anxiety and promotes happy emotions. Nature can truly heal, and it is an excellent way to recharge and leave feeling refreshed.
Now that we have covered some benefits of traveling in an RV let’s talk about the different types to pick what best suits your needs.
Different Types of Towable RVs
There are many different classifications of RVs and different layouts within each type. Many configurations mean there is truly something for everyone, no matter what your needs are.
Since travel trailers come in many different sizes and variations, you don’t even need a truck to tow one. You could get the smallest camper and pull it with your car! However, if you want more living space, there are tons of different sizes and price points to accommodate that.
Let’s take a look at the different types of RVs.
These campers are small and lightweight. They are perfect for tent campers or small families who would like a few more comforts than your average tent can provide. The benefits of these campers are that even small cars can pull them.
As the name suggests, it has soft sides that can pop up once you arrive at the campsite. The sections that extend outward are usually a canvas or waterproof material.
While these often do not include a shower or bathroom, they provide more safety and comfort than regular tents. This compact camper will also fit into any campground, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding a place to stay.
Teardrop campers are small in size, just like the pop-up trailers, but have a hard shell all the way around. They usually include a small bathroom, kitchen, couch, and bed. They are compact, lightweight, and most vehicles can pull them.
The best part about travel trailers is that they come in a vast range of lengths and offer many different floorplans to fit different needs. For example, some layouts provide office space, some may have two bathrooms while others have one, and some offer entire bunkrooms to accommodate more children.
It is essential to pay attention to the towing capacity for your truck, as some travel trailers are heavier than others. You will want to make sure your truck can pull more than the trailer’s dry weight, so you have extra wiggle room once you load down the trailer with your belongings.
The massive benefit of travel trailers is that they have full kitchens, living space and dining space, and at least one bedroom. Once you set up your travel trailer, you can lock it and leave it to explore the town in your truck.
Toy haulers are available as travel trailers or fifth wheels. There is room to store motorcycles, golf carts, four-wheelers, or anything else you’d like in the back of the trailer. They open in the back to make a ramp so that you can pull your “toys” into it for travel days.
Fifth wheels are one of the largest types of RVs, and they have the most significant living space. These are ideal for large families or people who RV full-time. They connect to inside the bed of your truck to give you more control while towing the large travel trailer.
Some models of fifth wheels have outdoor kitchens, outdoor TVs, and some even have patios that fold out from the side!
Different Types of Motorhomes
Motorhomes are RVs with their engine, which means they are drivable, and you do not tow them with another vehicle. Even these can be very small or incredibly large and pricey, depending on your needs and personal preference.
Motorhomes are the ultimate in “glamping” and indeed are home on wheels. However, each class of motorhome offers different advantages for different needs, which we will cover below.
Class C Motorhomes
Class C motorhomes are built on a truck chassis and drive like a regular large truck. The benefit to having a motorhome is you still have access to the bathroom, kitchen, and all living spaces while going.
Like the travel trailers, class C motorhomes also come in a variety of sizes and inside layouts. They typically come with a generator to make boondocking or dry camping easier when traveling. This way, you aren’t restricted to mostly RV parks.
Another advantage to this type of motorhome is you can tow a small car or boat behind you. They are also much easier to set up at a campsite than the towable RVs.
Class B Motorhomes
Class B motorhomes are built on a van chassis and include a small kitchen, a bed, and a bathroom. Since the pandemic in 2020, “van life” has rapidly grown in popularity. With so many people working remotely and travel options being unsafe or shut down, they took to buying camper vans or customizing their vans.
Storage is more limited in this type of RV, but the huge advantage is that you can park just about anywhere. Unlike any other motorhome or travel trailer, a class B can park right where the adventure is.
Class A Motorhomes
The most recognizable feature of the class A motorhomes is the massive picture windshield. They are incredibly spacious and offer more storage than the class C motorhomes.
Class A motorhomes are available in gas or as diesel pushers. In a diesel class A, the engine is in the back, making it a much quieter ride than the gas models. However, they both ride incredibly smoothly and offer big windows to take in all the nature around you.
Choose the Right RV Based on Your Mission
When deciding which RV works best for you, it is helpful to determine why you are interested in an RV and what you would like it to do.
For example, is it just one or two people who love to be exactly where the adventure is? A class B or camping trailers may be perfect for you.
Or do you have a large family and prefer to leap into full-time travel, and you also already have a truck? A travel trailer or fifth wheeler may be for you.
Take into account which amentities you and your family members need in an RV for a comfortable vacation. There is no wrong choice when choosing an RV. Decide what is most important to you, narrow it down to a particular type of RV, and then look at all the different layouts to figure out the best one to fit your needs.
If you enjoyed this article, please browse our online magazine for more healthy lifestyle tips!