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One of the first decisions one has to make when deciding to buy a recreational vehicle is, What type do I want? Do I want a large motorhome? Do I want a small getaway RV? How about a 5th Wheel, or would I prefer a popup camper?
The reason we need to ask these questions is because they all provide for a very different experience. Some are drivable and big, while others require towing and have multiple axles. What type of person are you? Are the adventurous, gone every weekend type of person, or would you prefer luxury, even if for only a few times per year? Are you on a restrictive budget, or is cash not a problem? All these factors dictate where to start.
The simple fact of most recreational vehicles, whether motorhome, 5th wheels, or van conversion, is that, unless you are going to be on the road as a fulltimer, the RV will most likely just sit in the driveway or side-yard.
For those that are adventurous, and want to use their RV more than once per month, here's some ideas to keep in mind:
- Budget: Unless you have cash to buy outright, you'll probably have to take a loan. If your budget is less than $30k, then your monthly payment will be around $380 and below.
- RV Type: If you want a drivable Class A or Class C, then you'll also have to consider a towable vehicle, a TOAD (pla on the word towed), and all that implies (added costs of tow bar, etc.). If you want to pull a trailer or 5th wheel, then you will need to make sure you have a suitable truck to pull it. Also, with a 5th wheel, you'll need a gooseneck hitch, or fifth-wheel hitch bolted to the bed of your truck. Depending on where you intend to travel (mountains, deserts, or all), you'll need to consider your power requirements and pull capabilities. A 5th Wheel seems to be the most bang for the uck, without the consideration of how to pull it. They have a lot of room, and many amenities.
- Travel Personality: This is possibly one of the most overlooked aspects of RV travel - whether or not all involved are up for it? If someone in the group is not suited to travel, then you have two options, either to un-invite them, or to accommodate them. There is nothing worse than getting on the road, and after one hundered miles, you are traveling with Debby Downer or Captain Complainer. DO NOT let the adventurous one in your family make the decision to buy the RV. Know who you are traveling with, otherwise face the potential of having every trip ruined.
- Maintenance: Every RV requires maintenance on many different parts. Unless you are prepared to spend a few hundered dollars each time you visit an RV Technician, you should learn about the maintenance aspects yourself. Remember, too, each component in the RV has its own manufacturer, so you'll need to get and keep the manuals right from the start. One of the most widely searched phrases on the Internet for RV's is "manuals." Maintenance is simple and easy of you start at the very beginning to have a good schedule.
- Engine Type: Diesel or gas? Simple, really. If you plan on driving more than 100k miles in 5 years, think about a diesel. If less, think gas.
Okay, just a couple of obscure ideas about the type of RV you're looking for. Not an exhaustive list, but a helpful one. Now, get out there and travel!