Everyone knows the three L’s in real estate: location, location, location. In choosing a motorhome, a different three L’s apply: lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle! The most common mistake in selecting a rig is not matching it with lifestyle, i.e. the highly mobile adventure seeker’s needs are completely different than a semi-permanent snowbird residence. Having spent nearly a decade in real estate and now living in a motorhome full-time, I am using this perspective to tackle the age old question in every new RV’ers mind: Which rig is right for me?
Less is more sometimes, and more can be limiting. The many cases, the larger the rig, greater the limitations and expense. Many of the National Parks and most scenic campgrounds were not designed to accommodate large rigs and do not accept them. In the west, it is frequent to find mountain passes with size limits. Some of the best nooks and crannies in cross-country road travel cannot be easily accessed by large rigs. Large rigs also have higher fuel and maintenance costs; tires to general service cost more. Smaller motorhomes can show up to most Jiffy Lube’s or service stations and get in and out quickly at comparable prices to a pick up truck. Large rigs, especially diesels, need a specialty shop generally by appointment, which can be a hassle. Smaller the rig the more easily it will handle two lane twisty roads and city streets, which is an advantage. Smaller rigs are less conspicuous for stealth camping* and to fit in a friend’s or relative’s driveway. More times than not, when we hear complaints about size it is because the person bought too big, not too small. Bigger may be better when stationary for long periods, large families, and stays at traditional RV parks and campgrounds.
Cool is fun, but not always practical. Be careful not to get overly romantic in a quest for something unique and different only to realize after purchase its everyday utility has little to be desired i.e., Airstreams are beautiful and romantic, but lack storage. Instead, think for example, can I take this to Yosemite, does it have a place for my gear, and where is the litter box going go?
Bells and whistles have wow factor, but can be overkill and just more stuff that can break. There is no need to get the fancy upgrades unless they will be used regularly i.e., outdoor kitchens and media centers are awesome, but in many cases a nice portable grill and an iPod will do just fine. If you are like me, I can imagine myself doing things frequently, but in all honesty, probably will only do twice or until the bugs eat me alive. Space is too limited in motorhomes for accessories not to be used.
Some motorhomes have great use of space, yet somehow there are many that seem to have been designed by people who have never stepped foot in one. The motorhome market is changing; they have garages, decks, and almost as many electrical moveable parts as a Transformer, yet smart interior design still lags in many. Recently, the RV industry has decided to use soft light color leather as their fabric of choice which is neither pet friendly nor conducive for an outdoor active lifestyle. It is best to do some research and ask questions online or in person about favored features.
Your lifestyle is exactly that, your lifestyle. Before buying a motorhome or an RV, think about who you are. Buy a motorhome that fits your life; don’t try to fit your life around it.
*Stealth camping – sleeping overnight in places where it is technically not allowed… parking lots, streets etc.