Myth Busters on the Affordability of RVing

Myth Busters on the Affordability of RVing

Many people long for the freedom, the spontaneity, and the easy lifestyle RVers enjoy. But, most non-RVers insist, they could never afford an RV vacation. They’re wrong because RVing is a really affordable alternative.

With luxury motorhomes costing six figures and gas prices soaring, how could RVing be affordable for the average family? Let’s dispel some myths about RVing and see if an RV vacation makes sense for you.

Myth #1: Buying/renting a motorhome costs a fortune

There’s no question that luxury coaches and big fifth wheels can drain the wallet. Custom rigs, especially new, can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.

The Truth: Most of us aren’t rock stars and don’t really need a 40-foot custom coach. A 24-30-foot motorhome can easily sleep four-to-six and smaller motorhomes, fifth-wheels, and trailers are quite affordable, especially if you buy a used unit.

An alternative to buying a motorhome, fifth-wheel, or trailer is renting one. An average 25-foot class C motorhome (the type with a bed over the cab) rents for $1000-1200/week with unlimited miles. They come fully equipped with kitchen utensils, plates, glasses, cups, cooking pots, towels and bedding. There are no costs for maintenance, insurance, or registration. Just bring your clothing and away you go.

Myth #2: It’s cheaper to stay in a hotel

The Truth: The cost of a room in a motel, hotel, or resort has risen sharply in recent years. According to the 2014 Hotel Price Index from Hotels.com, the average price for a hotel room in Canada is $148-170/night. That’s for one hotel room! If you have a large family and need more than one room, costs add up fast.

In contrast, renting an RV space costs much less–$3-10 for primitive space with no utilities; $10-40 for water and electric sites; $15-60 for full hookups. (Note that you can usually camp in a water and electric site and use the facility’s dump site for free.)

There are also ways to cut the costs of an RV site. You can sign up for one of the RV discount clubs like Good Sam and get 10-15% off the cost of a site at participating RV parks. Or join membership camping networks to save on campground fees, such as Holiday Trails Resorts.

Myth #3: It costs too much to fuel an RV.

It’s true that gas prices are high, but it costs money to put gas in your car too and airfare costs have risen. In British Columbia, gas prices range from $1.20 – $1.55 per liter ($4.80- $6.00 per gallon). A great way to determine your gas expenses for your RV trip is to use the Camping and RVing BC’s gas buddy on the Google map in the trips section.

The Truth: There are ways to cut RV fuel costs:

  • Look for discounts. Fuel up at a truck stop where prices tend to be more competitive or use a discount gas card.
  • Drive smaller motorhome. The larger the rig, the more gas it consumes. A big 40-foot bus style (class A) consumes 18- 29 litres/100km (8-13 mpg). A smaller class C can expect to get 16-23 litres/100km (10-15 mpg); a van style class B gets a thrifty 11-13 litres/100km (18-20 mpg) or better. The same goes for a trailer or fifth-wheel-the smaller, the less gas or diesel consumed.
  • Pack less. The heavier your motorhome, the more fuel it costs to haul it. If you don’tneed it, don’t bring it.
  • Maintain it. Like a car, maintaining your motorhome or vehicle used to tow your RV, includes the right tire pressure, resulting in less fuel consumption.
  • Slow down. Driving 80-90 km (55 mph) is optimum for saving gas. If you lead foot it, you’ll guzzle more gas.

Myth #4: An RV will limit where you can go

It’s true that you don’t want to take a big 40-foot rig down some narrow, twisty road.

The Reality: RVs offer flexibility and freedom to go almost anywhere. Today’s RVs are well-built, easy to drive, and can climb into steep mountains and even cross hot deserts. In fact, traveling in a RV can make your vacation more flexible and spontaneous and even safer. For instance, say you decide at the last minute you want to explore or stay longer at a destination you can! In British Columbia you have a variety of campgrounds at your fingertips to choose from: private campgrounds and RV parks, National Parks, Provincial Parks, or Recreation Sites.

Also, if something happens to your vehicle, you’ve got all the comforts of home. Remember that motorhomes come equipped with refrigerators, heaters, bathrooms, lights, fresh water, and comfy beds. Once when our motorhome broke down outside a national park in Montana, we were towed to the repair shop (after hours) and simply stayed in the parking lot, snug and comfortable until morning when the mechanics quickly got us back on the road. If we’d been in a car, we’d have had to find a motel/hotel and transportation to and from it.

Myth #5: Cooking in an RV is difficult

The Truth: Most RV’s come with modern kitchens equipped with refrigerators, freezers, stoves, ovens, and all the pots, pans, and utensils you need. Some even have BBQ’s. Traveling in an RV allows you to take advantage of local products and shop at farmer’s markets, pick up fresh fish from the dock, and even buy local cheeses or a quart of delicious artisan ice cream.

Eating in your motorhome instead of dining in restaurants all the time can be a major money saver. According to calculations by Numbeo.com, the average cost of a mid-priced meal for two in Canada is $60. If you’ve got a family, the dining bills can add up quickly. For a great deal less, you can buy a lot of groceries that you can make into easy and delicious meals in your RV.

So, if you’re looking for a vacation that’s fun, flexible, spontaneous, easy-going-and affordable-next time, try a RV vacation.

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