When we first bought our RV, even though it was older, we thought it was the coolest thing. That was until we hit the road and began staying in RV parks, usually surrounded by much larger, fancier rigs, oozing with style. During our evening campground strolls, we started to imagine ourselves in these rigs and took note of all the attributes that made them more desirable than ours. At times we even felt inferior and wanted more, assuming we’d be happier with something better. Truth is, our used Class C RV, is about as un-cool as it gets. It does not have slides, hydraulic doohickeys, hip retro styling, satellite TV, Corian counters, or full body paint with swoosh graphics. There are no RV groups or cult followings dedicated to generic Class C RVs that are past their prime. Nor are we approached with compliments or curiosity about our rig. Even though it is 24 feet long and nearly eleven feet high, it might as well be invisible. But what it does have, it excels at: It is paid for, and has proven to be tremendously practical.
I recall being told many years ago that no car is better than the one that is paid for. This can be applied to just about anything, as debt, at least in my mind, is like indentured servitude. RVs can be financed for 15 years, which is a long time and not enviable. Having our RV paid off, allows us to have this adventure and worry less about money. One of the principles to happiness is to spend money on experiences, not stuff. Learning to live simply has been one of the greatest benefits from this journey.
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.