Should You Buy a New or Used RV?

should you buy a new or used rv

Just saw a used C-Class motor home go up for sale on a local Facebook yard-sale page and it was gone within 2 hours!  This was a 1988 (yes, as in 30 years ago) Fleetwood Tioga Arrow model that, from the pictures included, looked to be in very good condition for the age.  37,000 miles on the engine and the seller said everything runs fine. Exterior appeared as though this vehicle was garage kept and all the fixtures were original but surprisingly free of typical wear and tear – the owner disclosed a leak towards the front passenger side, but that is something that honestly all used RV shoppers should anticipate when purchasing an older trailer or coach.

The best part: the seller was only asking $1,000!  For the lucky buyer, as long as he could drive away with this old Fleetwood he was in a can’t-loose situation.  This would be the ultimate project RV for a father-son team, or just a super-cheap way for a family to get its feet wet with RV vacationing. The Facebook ad and the “SOLD” label tagged to it 2 hours later inspired us to review this old debate: whether to buy new or used when you’re in the market for an RV.

Now, understand that $1,000 drivable RVs are NOT the norm.  We did some scouring of craigslist and motor home trading sites looking for similar deals and this offer was definitely the rarity.  We actually found another 1988 Fleetwood Tioga Arrow for sale in similar good condition, but this one was $10,000, more like we expected.

So for you, is used the way to go?  On the one hand, today’s brand-new RVs are better appointed, more mechanically sound, definitely more fuel and energy efficient, and all around better designed than the RVs of even just 10 or 15 short years ago – but on the other hand, they can cost $100,000 or more and small fortune to own and operate compared to used RVs you can often times pickup for a song.

At the end of the day, you’re going to have to really think about how you expect to use this RV, how often you expect to use this motor home, the kind of budget you are bringing to the table, plus a host of other factors that will inevitably play a major role in the type of RV that you end up investing in.  Some considerations:

Purchasing a real fixer-upper

Finding a true fixer-upper in the RV community is not as challenging as a lot of people think it’s going to be, although be prepared to travel a distance if you want access to the best deals.

There are plenty of people with RVs that are 10, 20, 30 or more years old that require quite a bit of work to get up and running and to fully customize with all the creature comforts you are expecting today who are ready and willing to move them for only a few thousand dollars – even if they do move quickly.

vintage white and blue rv

Of course, you’ll have to factor in the amount of money that you need to spend on upgrades, on renovations and repairs, and regular maintenance. You also need to think about operating costs, as these vehicles will inevitably be a lot less fuel-efficient than today’s RVs.

This is the kind of RV perfect for those that don’t expect to get out in their RV all that often and really want something that’s more of a project than anything else.

Purchasing a relatively new but still pre-owned RV

If you have a slightly larger budget, finding an RV that has been built in the last 15 years or so is probably the way to go.

You’ll be able to find a vehicle with relatively low miles on it, relatively minor maintenance and repairs that need to be made, and most of the style and comforts you are hoping to find already installed and ready to rock and roll.

You’ll still have to shell out quite a bit of money for something like this – often around $30,000-$70,000 or more – but your operating costs will go down significantly and you won’t have to do a lot of work to get the vehicle suited to your liking and ready to go down the road.

This is ideally suited for people with a decent down-payment saved and want to take trips in their RV on a semi regular or routine basis.

Purchasing a brand-new RV

If you have the cash and/or credit to swing it, you really can’t go wrong with buying a brand-new RV – though for certain models you should expect to spend the same kind of money you might have spent on a small single-family home!

new class c motor home interior

Today’s modern RVs are essentially traveling homes on wheels, with literally EVERYTHING you could ever hope to get out one. These vehicles have luxury features like giant beds, showers, flatscreen TVs, gas cooking ranges, and so much more. They will set you back a hundred thousand dollars or more (and sometimes a lot more than that), but for a retired couple longing to permanently road trip, or someone that’s going to be living out of an RV on an almost full-time basis and this is definitely the way to go if you have the dough to pull it off.

Must-See Destinations When Traveling Down the East Coast

The East Coast doesn’t exactly have it’s own version of the PCH, but that doesn’t mean the interstates, highways, and backroads don’t lend themselves to an awesome journey for the recreational traveler!  A road trip down the “right side” of the United States has the potential to fill any itinerary imaginable, with more travel opportunities, roadside attractions, historical sites, and locations of interest then maybe anywhere else in America.

lighthouse portland ME

Lighthouses in Portland ME – simply amazing!

Want beaches? Check! Skiing? Check! Museums? Check again!  You’ll have the opportunity to visit historic destinations, quaint little towns and hamlets, incredible national parks, wartime monuments and memorials, amazing museums, all while feasting on some of the best food you’ll find anywhere in the country.

 

Regardless of whether or not you are just planning a day trip for the family, or if you want to really take your time hitting the best spots through this part of America, here are a handful of destinations to consider for your itinerary!

 

The White Mountains in Lincoln, New Hampshire

 

We mentioned skiing right? Whether on skis or hiking on foot, the White Mountains region in New Hampshire is absolutely stunning from a visual standpoint, filling you with the kind of incredible outdoor experiences you just aren’t going to find anywhere else in the US. Horseback riding excursions, camping, fishing, and more are all available here – and it’s a perfect place to spend a couple of days getting lost in nature in scenic New England.  Tip: try getting here in the fall for the foliage and all the events that cater to tourists during this season.

 

Portland, Maine

 

One of the larger cities in the very northernmost section of the East Coast, Portland, Maine has developed a reputation for having some of the most unique and exciting urban opportunities – incredible food, entertainment, and sports – while still maintaining a love and reverence of nature in a way that few other cities can match. Be sure to check out the Portland Head Lighthouse when you visit!

 

The Witch House in Salem, Massachusetts

 

Honestly – how long has this one been on your road trip bucket list? Salem, Massachusetts is home to the Salem Witch Trials, and when you visit the historic center of this little town you will be able to transport yourself back to the early 17th century when the trials were actually happening. The Witch House was originally the home of Jonathan Corwin, the judge who presided over these trials and sent 19 women to the gallows.  Beyond the house itself, the whole freaking town is worth reserving a day or two of your travel plans.

salem witch house

 

The Newport mansions in Newport, Rhode Island

 

Think of the many Newport mansions located in Newport, Rhode Island as the “Downton Abbey of the United States” and you won’t have any trouble whatsoever finding room for this tourist destination on your East Coast travel itinerary. The Preservation Society of Newport County puts on tours of these beautiful homes almost every day of the year, but Christmastime is really the best time to visit if you aren’t able to in the middle of the summer.

 

The Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC

 

While Washington, DC is home to so many different attractions and hotspots for those that love history, those that love culture, and those that love everything that the capital of the US has to offer, the Smithsonian National Zoo is a must visit experience that you won’t get anywhere else – on the East Coast or otherwise.

 

Charleston City Market in Charleston, South Carolina

Originally established in 1807, the Charleston City Market is one of the country’s oldest public markets and has been in continuous operation for more than 200 years. You’ll find all kinds of treats, all kinds of souvenirs come all kinds of gifts, and the kinds of purchases you won’t find anywhere else right here – a great spot to visit along the East Coast for sure!  If you visit in the summer be sure to book your family a couple of days at the shore.  South Carolina beaches are fantastic!

charleston city market

What to Do on Your Idaho Road Trip

 

Thinking of going somewhere off the beaten path for your next road trip? More and more people are looking for more unique destinations and taking in all that the US has to offer the sojourner; and social media has become a prime motivator for getting travelers interested in exploring beyond the well-trodden trails.

 

Folks aren’t just heading to tropical locales or the ubiquitous Disney trip any longer, but are instead enjoying some of the other hidden gems in America whether by RV or the trusty family minivan and it’s driving tourism to all-time highs. Idaho in particular is enjoying a tremendous amount of tourism recently, thanks to the picturesque nature of this beautiful state lending to so much Instagram and Facebook action by would-be photographers – you’ve may even have had a pic or two make its way into your news feed!

 

Tempting? If you’re thinking about pulling off a successful Idaho road trip, use this guide to pack the most into your itinerary!

 

Hells Canyon National Recreation Area

hells canyon

 

Not exactly a National Park (though it takes up a huge chunk of real estate in the state of Idaho), Hells Canyon is America’s deepest canyon – even deeper than the Grand Canyon!

 

Plunging a staggering 7993 feet to the valley floor below it at its deepest point, this Canyon cars its way around Idaho and Oregon border and is situated right next to the Seven Devils Mountain Range. Float trips down the river through the canyon are incredible, as our jet boat tours, and you are definitely going to want to make sure that you visit this destination on your Idaho road trip.

 

Lake Coeur d’Alene

Lake_Coeur_d'Alene

Covering more than 26 miles and with 135 miles of beaches, this Lake is an international resort destination and home to some of the most incredible natural landscape you’ll find anywhere in the US, let alone Idaho. Resorts are located throughout Lake Coeur d’Alene, giving you plenty of opportunity to rest, relax, and recover, and you’ll find more activities to enjoy here then you ever would have thought possible!

 

The Route of Hiawatha

Route of Hiawatha

A converted rail trail that cruises along the St. Joe River for more than 15 miles, the best way to experience this road trip destination is on bicycle. You’ll be able to cruise your bike over seven unique trestle bridges and through 10 different train tunnels, and the entirety of the trail is downhill so you don’t have to worry about burning out on your bike if it’s been a while. There are shuttle buses at the end of the trail that will bring you back to the top – and back to your car – making this a must see destination and road trip detour.

 

Craters of the Moon

craters of the moon idaho

Roughly the same size as the entire state of Rhode Island, you’d have to be at least a little bit crazy to visit Idaho and not see what the Craters of the Moon is all about. Spanning more than 750,000 acres, the entire terrain is covered in lava tubes, cinder cones, and fissures – and you’ll feel just like you are on the surface of the moon rather than smack dab in Idaho itself!

 

There is so much to see and so much to do in Idaho, and the above destinations represent only the tip of the iceberg of hotspots that you want to visit when you are road tripping through this incredible American state.

 

Tips for Road Tripping with a Baby

If you want to take your baby along on your next road trip, you sound like an adventurous and fun-loving parent! Exposing your baby to fun experiences early on will be a good way to ensure that your infant develops plenty of healthy curiosity about people, things and different places! It’s a good way to start raising a child who enjoys change, rather than being afraid of it. However, you’ll need to do a good bit of preparation and planning ahead in terms of ensuring that your baby gets the highest standard of care (including lots of love and attention) while you’re on the road.

baby in car seat

It may seem daunting but lots of parents are deciding to go road tripping with their babies in tow. The savviest ones do a lot of organizing and consider all contingencies before they strap their tots into car seats and then head for new or familiar highways and byways.

 

Today, we’d like to share three tips which will make road tripping with a baby so much easier!

 

Pack the Right Stuff

 

You already know that you need baby care basics, such as diapers, formula (if your baby is bottle-fed), powder and baby wipes. You know that your baby needs lots of clean clothes and a few soft and safe blankets. However, there are a few extras you’ll need to pack in your car. Experts recommend investing in window shades which help to protect your infant from sunlight. These shades may be attached to the interior of your auto. Draw the shades when you want to make it easier for your baby to sleep while you drive.

 

If you don’t own one already, you should know that investing in a bottle warmer will be a smart strategy. At home we have the go-to microwave for this task but that’s not going to help you on the road, or if you happen to check into a “rustic” hotel that does not include a microwave as one of its room amenities.  Look for a warmer that is battery-powered and even better one that works with rechargeable batteries. (Don’t forget to pack your battery charger.) You may charge up the bottle warmer at night when you’re off the road. Then, you’ll always be able to warm milk to the perfect temperature during rest breaks or with the help from your partner in the passenger seat while you’re driving.

 

You should also bring enough toys to keep your baby amused. A very young baby won’t need as many toys as an older one. Think about your baby’s stage of development and buy accordingly.

Also, we think that buying a rear view “baby mirror” which allows you to keep an eye on your infant when you’re driving when no one else is in the car is smart. If you’re traveling with another adult, this won’t really be necessary.

 

Buy Medical Travel Insurance

 

It’s vital to buy more-than-adequate travel medical insurance. If you’re going out of state or too another country, you need to know that you and your baby can get proper medical care if either of you need it. Better safe than sorry!

 

Get Enough Sleep, Water and Food

 

The last tip is to take care of yourself while you travel. You need to be alert, positive and energized. This means getting enough sleep, water and food.

 

Now that you know some useful tips for road tripping with a baby, you’ll be able to prepare effectively and ensure that everyone has a great time while you’re seeing the country.

Which Costs More: Hotels or RV Traveling?

There was a time in America when almost every American of retirement age dreamed about buying a cheap RV and traveling across the country, never having to worry about all of the expense and taxes involved with property ownership combined with the promise of being able to see this great country that so many of us have yet to fully explore.

 

And while that dream may have slipped from the mainstream a bit, there is still a vibrant subculture throughout America that is determined to get behind the wheels of a relatively inexpensive RV and just taking road trip after road trip clear across the nation.

 

At the same time, more people are figuring out that hotels can be an inexpensive alternative to RV travel when it comes time to hit the road. There’s almost always been this age-old battle between those that feel that over the long-term investing in an RV is cheaper than the hotel rooms, and vice versa – with fans of hotel convenience saying the RV R.O.I. is just to far out to appreciate. If you find yourself mulling over this debate in your mind hopefully we are able to shine some light on the subject for you in this quick guide.

 

Thinking about staying in hotels?

 

If you’re thinking about traveling around the United States in your car, staying in hotels, and eating out, there are some not-so-obvious expenses you’re going to want to consider.

 

For starters, let’s assume that you are driving a vehicle that has been purchased for $20,000 with about 20,000 miles on it already. You have to look at annual maintenance costs of about $900 over 15 years, a fuel consumption on average of about 30 miles per gallon, and total operating costs that are going to come in at just about $.33 per mile.

 

Then you have to consider the average hotel room rate of about $121 per day and then factor in spending about $60 a day at restaurants and you’re looking at a daily expenditure of about $181 when you decide to stay in hotels and eat at restaurants on your road trip.

 

What about traveling by RV?

 

If you are purchasing a used RV for about $80,000 with 20,000 miles on it already and maintenance costs of about $1700 over a decade and a half, you’re looking at spending about $.78 per mile. RVs will get you a lot lower level of fuel economy, so you’re probably looking at about 15 miles per gallon – which bumps operating costs up to about $.96 per mile.

 

On the flipside, however, the average campground rate is about $25 per day and most people can get away with spending $30 a day on groceries for meals you’ll prepare inside your RV. This gets you to a daily expenditure of about $55 when you decide to buy your own small RV.

 

As you can see here, if you’re going to be spending extended amounts of time on the road you probably aren’t going to want to do so staying in hotels nonstop. This is definitely the more expensive way to travel, even if purchasing the RV upfront is going to cost about four times as much as it would to purchase a $20,000 used car.

 

Many readers are interested in lengthy periods of travel and hitting many destinations on the way.  If that sounds like you then you’re probably more inclined to go the RV route.  However, if you’re still figuring out if road-tripping or spending vacations (or even retirement) on the road is going to be your thing, then going the hotel route is a much smarter way to try out the lifestyle before plunking down the cash for a major vehicle purchase!