Wondering what are the pros and cons of owning a motorhome before you make a decision of either buying a used camper van, a new one or renting? Read on for all the tips and info about pros and cons of campervans.
Are you the kind of people that the “great outdoors” keeps calling for you?
It’s something many motor-home owners have heard and experienced, and it is possibly the one reason they purchased these vehicles – to be out there and have flexibility.
Motorhomes or appropriately called recreational vehicles (RV) are convenient vehicles that allow those who own them a chance to get away from the city and go on a little adventure. Its appeal is its ability to have many of the amenities of a portable home.
And you don’t have to just buy an RV to live in. There are many RV lovers who simply use it once a month or in the warmer months, for their vacations or long weekend breaks.
Still, with the type of advantages a motorhome can offer to the avid outdoor adventurists and campers, there are some drawbacks in owning such vehicle.
Things like fuel costs, insurance, constant (and expensive) maintenance and other limitations can easily take the fun out of owning, or even traveling and camping, in these vehicles.
We know that because we have owned and rented motorhomes several times and have ultimately decided on what is best for us! But every case is different.
So I am here today to show you a little about the pros and cons of RV rental or ownership. Read on for more info.
- Pros And Cons Of Owning A Motorhome
- The Pro of Owning a Motor-Home
- The Cons of owning a motorhome
- Should I buy a motorhome?
Pros And Cons Of Owning A Motorhome
The Pro of Owning a Motor-Home
1. Packing is a lot easier
This might not be something you think about but if you use your campervan for travel and are out and about very often, this can save you so much time!
When owning an RV pros and cons to consider can be related to time. If you own your vehicle then it will requires little packing over time.
With our own motorhome, we left pretty much everything inside it when we weren’t traveling.
Anything that we didn’t need immediately at home such personal items or food and household items that weren’t perishable, were kept in the camper van.
Think of games and toys, chairs, camping equipment and outdoor gear. We kept them in the exterior storage places just ready waiting for the trip to happen at any time.
Every-day items such toilet paper rolls, some clothes, blankets, pillows and cleaning products never left the RV and were kept in the interior cabinets.
Non-perishable food such as canned goods or sodas in cans can be kept in the motor-home during times of inactivity and through months!
Since today’s motorhome are built with space in mind (especially the larger models), there will be plenty of room to store almost anything.
If you are renting an RV then it will take a lot longer to get ready to departure, specially if your trip will be long.
You have to move everything out of your car, get used to the new space, fit everything in, remember to check if the camper already comes with a few tools so you don’t have it twice necessarily. Definitely something to consider on your RV pros and cons list.
2. You get to know your vehicle well
Every motorhome is kind of the same and totally different at the same time!
It takes time to learn the little quirky things that make each motorhome unique, specially when you rent a converted camper!
Learning how to operate your camper will be handy to make the most of your trip and be efficient with power consumption.
If you have your motor-home you will eventually get used to how it works, know if something seems out of the ordinary, be able to tell how long your supplies will last with confidence.
These are things that make a trip much more enjoyable (who wants to clean an overloaded toilet?), knowing what to expect and when you need to discharge or fill in tanks or hook-up at a campsite.
When you have your own vehicle you also get used to its dimension which will help avoid scratches on the vehicle and make the trip more relaxed.
3. You are free to adventure at any time
Hardly anything ignited our spirit of adventure as much as owning our own motorhome.
It was just so flexible to know we could hop on our RV and drive away to the next destination that came to our minds (within reason, lol!).
There were weekend when we had nothing planned but just realized the weather was going to be great and we decided to go for a long weekend break on a whim.
For us, a family with children, adventures normally require a lot more planning but when you know you will have a roof, a dry bed, and enough food to feed everyone, it is a lot easier to get spontaneous about the trips.
And definitely having a campervan made camping trips easier because it just added a new level of comfort and certainty that would have stopped us from just going camping in the car with a tent (specially because we live in a wet weather area).
So if you want to explore more a motorhome will be, literally and figuratively, the vehicle to achieve it!
4. You can live in a motorhome
Another use many motor-home owners have discovered is that it can become a home – for real!
If you own a motorhome it could be a temporary home for you while the permanent one is either being fumigated or renovated. This way, one doesn’t have to go too far or waste money on a hotel.
Like many people who have already considered the pros and cons of RV living, and the trend has increased in the past decade, you can live full time in your home on wheels. That saves a lot in living costs while exploring, specially true if you are not afraid to go off-grid and just use campgrounds when necessary.
Most modern models will have a refrigerator, stove, bathroom and shower, thus providing the basic facilities for you to live in and even a few comforts such as microwave and oven, built-in TVs, satellite hook-up, and DVD players to watch films or listen to your favorite audio-books.
Another advantage is that many models have central heating and cooling air-conditioning units attached to the cabin making you good and cozy in any weather!
The advantage of having a bathroom within the vehicle makes living in or traveling a lot easier. This takes away the need to stop for bathroom breaks during a long trip. The built in showers – with hot and cold water – means that you can stay hygienically clean on multi-day off road trips.
The refrigerator offers the traveler an opportunity to store frozen meals and cold drinks, among other things. And the presence of a stove or microwave means that you can prep meals and safe money on eating out while on route.
Also, most motor-homes have a small dining table and seats to enjoy that meal.
Obviously you can live in a camper with a lot less amenities found in the latest motor-home models too!
Many people live full time in smaller converted vans in a minimalist way. It just depends on what type of RVer you are.
With nowadays technology, you can live, work and stay connected from anywhere on the world inside your home on wheels.
This is particularly true for those who choose to camp at a full-hook-up campsite. These particular sites offer electric, water, and sewage hook-ups.
5. It is a lifestyle
Despite the trends going on around being an full-time RVer and how cool and free it looks, being a motorhome owner is a lifestyle.
People really get passionate about it and love talking to other campervan owners. It is a bit the same with motorbikers, they always recognize each other.
I know families who own motorhome and are always out in a adventure, at least once a month, making memories and enjoying time together. This is extraordinary quality bonding time and getting out of the same old routine that can make us grumpy and unpleasant to our loved ones.
You have little option but socialize with either your family because it is such a small space, but also with other campers around the area you are.
There is only so much you can do indoors even if you have state of the art technology in your RV. You will end up being out and about, enjoying the outdoors, taking in the fresh air and meeting new people. I don’t see disadvantages in any of it!
The Cons of owning a motorhome
1. RV cost of ownership
Although owning a motorhome has plenty of benefits, there are a few problems a motor-home owner has to face.
Obviously you need to have some money to be able to buy a motorhome.
Prices of motorhome and RV cost to own vary drastically depending on what size and model you get, whether you are buying an old motorhome or a new one, or whether it is a designed campervan or simply and old van or school bus that you are prepared to do up.
When you bought a motorhome, we could only spend so much. We had to get a second hand, 10 years old model, with not so many amenities.
The models that we could rent for a week for only a fraction of the money we spent buying one were so much more equiped, newer and better.
To purchase a new motorhome on the same model of this one we rented once would have costed us around 60k, which we didn’t have at all. So instead we rented and had a fabulous 10 days in total luxury and comfort.
When we bought our camper we had to be satisfied with a lot less, and it was fine too. We knew what to expect.
Even if you find the best motorhome for the money it is not only about the price of the motorhome. You have to add in the insurance an road taxes that come from having and operating any vehicle.
All in all it can be a fairly high start up cost of owning an RV and you may not have it. In this case it is best to rent a camper for a few adventure in the year.
2. The cost of maintaining a campervan
The thing with any vehicle is that it needs maintenance. So on top of the cost of owning a motorhome, factor the (recurring) maintenance costs.
If it sits for too long in the driveway, it will lose battery power and that will need to be replace costing you money. One must constantly check for battery power.
But also trips, for one thing, can be expensive.
Luckily, most motor-homes have a built-in gas powered generator that can recharge the batteries and run the electricity in the cab. The drawback, however, is that the generators are noisy, polluting, and also need gas, which you have to make available.
Like any vehicle, things can just stop working and you will need to get it repaired or fix it yourself. Not only the motor and mechanics, but also the built in systems need maintenance.
Sometimes your refrigerator just stops working and if you deem it important for your enjoyment, you have to fix it or get it fixed, specially when you have an old 1970’s Winnebago.
Worst yet, if don’t maintain and add chemicals to the toilet, the trip can have a certain unwanted aroma to it.
Although this is not a sole problem for motor home owners you have to make sure the septic tanks are emptied often. While chemicals may take away the scent, it doesn’t remove the source. Motor home rentals may also require you to empty the tanks.
Since a motor-home is mobile, it needs precious fuel to run. Not only does it need gasoline, it needs propane for the refrigerator and stove. Filling up on these two fuels can be expensive; especially since motor-homes are notorious gas guzzlers.
This little things you don’t have to worry so much when you rent because the company will make sure you start your trip with everything filled up and the vehicle checked.
3. The cost of storage
You should not underestimate this cost. Storage can be another headache for sure.
Many cities have ordinance in which one cannot park a motorhome in front of a home or in your own driveway. Then again, in places that do allow it, the driveways may not be able to fit these vehicles as they are quite tall and wide.
Some cities don’t even let your drive through it with some motorhome depending on their Low Emission Zones.
So if you don’t travel full time and only enjoy your motorhome a few times a year, the alternative to storage can be expensive.
There are RV storage areas; however, there’s a monthly fee to keep the vehicles at one of these facilities, and they are often a few miles away from the owner’s residence.
4. There are limits of where you can go
If you think of owning a motorhome so you can go everywhere, stop for a second just here.
Even though a motorhome give you mobility, in terms of a trip, a motorhome owner is often limited to where he can go. That is the number one reason many people decide that owning a travel trailer is better, as you can set it up and have the car free.
Motorhome cannot go every where, and I don’t only mean physically like reaching places across oceans, but some places just simply don’t allow it.
Sometimes, cities have Low Emission Zones and you can’t drive through it with all types of motorhome. Also some campgrounds don’t allow these vehicles. In other cases, there are size limitations to each lot.
Some campgrounds vary in what they offer to motor-home-campers. Some will offer full-hookups while only have partial ones. There are many places that have no hook-ups.
So if you are going to a new area you have to think about your trip planning and make sure you can reach all places in your route.
5. Space can be an issue
While motor-homes are homes on wheels, it can be a cramped one.
The beds and mattress can be hard or small, the cabin may not have ample space to move and storage space is not quite the same as a home.
And as we have discussed, with the ongoing costs of owning a campervan, it may mean that you will want to take all of your vacation and breaks with your motorhome.
It is something to spend a week in a van and have fun with a new toy by renting a motorhome. it is another thing to feel stuck to have all your vacations that way because you have to make it worth it money-wise.
If you are living in a motorhome then space can be an even bigger issue as most of your belongings will be there. And if they are not you have to factor in the cost of storage once again.
If you are the type pf person that needs your space, then owning a motorhome may not be for you! You can still have fun on a rental one during an odd trip.
Should I buy a motorhome?
Owning a motorhome has its drawbacks. It also has its reward.
Obviously you are the one to decide if you get to buy a motorhome or not and enjoy a rental campervan vacation in a while.
We have owned and rented motorhomes and for us, who aren’t full time travelers at the moment, we just don’t use it enough to justify the costs of having one, so we decided to sell ours.
Motorhome owners must places great care into maintaining the vehicle and preparing well for each trip. The joys of camping in the vehicle can far out way its negative aspects.
When evaluating the pros and cons of motorhomes ownership, take these points to consider.
If you are buying a motorhome to live in, there are great advantages. But if you are handy with fixing problems, don’t have the time to explore and to utilize your camper to its max, then perhaps buying one is not for you is not for you.
Instead enjoy the flexibility of a rental if you really want to go out on a adventure.
But be careful, renting a campervan is the number one cause of motorhome addiction and will make you want to buy one! #askmehowIknowit