Thursday, June 1, 2023


RVers want to gift RV to son, but do the pros of ownership outweigh the cons?

Folks who gathered for the evening campfire this week had an interesting conversation. One couple, Roy and Ellie, plan to “gift” their RV to their son’s family. But is this a good idea? Here’s how that conversation went and what other RVers think.

Done RVing

Ellie began, “I know Roy doesn’t always agree with me,” she said. “But we’re in our 80s. I never thought we’d RV this long, and now I think it’s time to let our kids enjoy the ride.”

Ellie admitted that the physical demands of RVing were becoming “too much” for both she and Roy. “I think our son and his family would really have fun with our trailer. We might even sneak along on trips now and then, but I think it’s time to hand the rig over to someone younger.”

No gift

“Well,” Roy countered. “I’m not sure an RV is much of a gift nowadays. Ours is five years old. It’s bound to have issues soon. I don’t want to burden our boy with expenses. That wouldn’t be a gift, at all!”

Cons of RV ownership

Not wanting to get in the middle of Roy and Ellie’s personal discussion, folks around the campfire began to discuss reasons both for and against RV ownership as things stand today. First, the concerns or negatives to owning an RV now.

  • Fuel prices. Fluctuating fuel costs directly impact the cost of travel. Diesel prices still hover near the $4 per gallon mark and prices for gasoline aren’t too far behind. Who knows what the coming year may bring?
  • Campground availability. Finding available campsites, especially during peak travel times (like summer vacation and holiday weekends) can be a daunting challenge for RVers.
  • Maintenance and RV repair costs. Necessary maintenance and unexpected repair fees are ever-increasing. These costs could prove to be a financial burden for folks—especially for those who may not fully understand RV ownership.
  • Road safety. While some cities have enjoyed recent road surface upgrades, many of our state highways lag far behind and can be outright dangerous! Potholes, broken concrete, and other hazards are not as easily avoided when pulling a travel trailer (or with almost any RV) and can cause significant damage.
  • Weather conditions. Strong winds, drenching rain, and storms can make RVing extremely difficult.
  • Campground amenities/fees. Many families demand access to full hookups, strong WiFi signals, laundry facilities, showers, and activities at today’s campgrounds. If you are fortunate to find available sites at such campgrounds, the cost to stay may be prohibitive. Campgrounds spend thousands of dollars to install playgrounds, jump pads, climbing walls, zip lines, and other kid-enticing amenities. They will most certainly continue to pass their costs on to RVers.

Pros of RV ownership

Roy smiled. “If RVing is such a burden, why are you all here with your rigs?” he wanted to know. It didn’t take long for folks to list the many benefits of RVing today. Here’s what we said.

  • Travel flexibility. Owning an RV gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace. You can easily visit multiple destinations in one trip without the worry of booking flights, hotels, and rental cars. While RVing, it’s easier to be spontaneous.
  • Cost savings. After the initial cost, RVing can save money on lodging. Campsites may be charging more, but costs are generally still lower than, say, renting a Bed-and-Breakfast space or staying in a hotel. Food costs can be less when RVing, too. You can cook your own meals instead of eating out in restaurants. (Your RV’s refrigerator can store leftovers, too.) Laundry costs can be less if your rig is equipped with a washer and dryer.
  • Comfort and convenience. An RV gives you convenient access to a kitchen, bathroom, and a comfortable sleeping space that is uniquely your own. You can set up and make your RV function in the way that suits your family best. (And, really, isn’t an RV better than a hotel room?)
  • The great outdoors. RVing allows you to fully experience the wonders of nature—up close. You can camp in beautiful natural settings and enjoy many outdoor activities as a family. Getting out into nature can reduce stress and improve your mental health, as well.
  • Family bonding. Hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, and all of the other outside activities can help family members grow closer to one another. Cooking together, playing games, and other indoor activities can also provide quality time together now, and also precious memories for the future.
  • Enrich knowledge. You can use your RV to enrich your child(ren)’s education. Traveling across the country, students can see for themselves the varying landforms they’ve studied, be “transported” back in time when visiting important historical sites, see where famous authors lived and were inspired, and enjoy the wonders of nature close up.

We’re not sure what Ellie and Roy will decide to do. Perhaps they can take more frequent trips with their son’s family to show them the positives and negatives of today’s RVing.

How long do you think you’ll RV? Let me know in the comments below.


The good, the bad, and the funny… Surprises are part of the RV lifestyle


Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


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Neal Davis
22 days ago

At this point (5/2023), age (66 years), and mobility (good), we are financially solvent enough and have interest enough to go until mobility, finances, and interest fall considerably. That probably translates into another 15 years, perhaps a year or two more. If I could predict those three with certainty, then I could give you a more precise answer. 🙂 😎
PS, No children. Might give it to friend or family if any show desire. Otherwise probably sell it and take a trip, or figure out how to use the proceeds.

Last edited 22 days ago by Neal Davis
23 days ago

we just got our Jayco JayFlight last year and have had it out a couple times. we are doing 4 trips a year in it with the kids usually around time off from school. i would venture to say we will go for another 10 to 12 years. that would bring the youngest to 16 or 17….about the age they lose interest. that would also make me and my wife in our early 70s and by that time who knows what shape we will be in. but we have 50 or so trips in us. that should suffice.

Calvin Wing
24 days ago

None of our kids want the RV. Our son and his family are backpackers and our daughter and her family are beach and resort only oriented.

24 days ago

Only give it to him IF he is going to use it, really wants it and can afford it. Insurance, license, storage (not left outside to weather apart), maintenance, let alone the cost of travel and camp grounds. It sounds good but can be one a nightmare. Hopefully he wouldn’t be taking over any payments on it.

Sally Harnish
24 days ago

All it does is put the “kids” in a bad position. I may have missed it in the article but are the “kids” campers or RVers? The folks should sell the MH, then give the cash to the “kids”. Use the KISS theory!

24 days ago

Ask the kids. I already asked my daughter and she said NO. We need to sell it just before we die. She does not need the taxes, licensing fees, insurance and all of that and then have to sell it. Unlike my classic car, the RV will not become a classic anything. Ask the kids well in advance. My joy would become her burden.

Dennis G.
24 days ago

Our family is on the receiving side of a RV gift. Well,… more like a trade. My mom could not take care of the RV anymore, and needed a whole house generator. At first we were going to sell the ’96 Flair, but got nothing but low-ball offers.
My mom kept the interior pristine, like, showroom clean. The exterior was handled by my step-dad. So, for us keeping the rig was a no brainer.

Split Shaft
24 days ago

I grew up in my family that went camping to the beaches, national and state parks. Then when I married I took my family camping to even further destinations. When my wife decided she wanted a motor home, it was an easy decision to give our travel trailer to our daughter’s family and now we camp together at lakes and beaches with our grand kids. So far, our daughter and her family have got 5-years of use. Soon they will have to replace or dispose of the old trailer. Their decision.

Joseph Phebus
24 days ago

Simple answer. “We are thinking we’re getting to a point where we’re unable to continue using and maintaining the RV. Would you like to have it, or should we just put it up for sale?”

Charlie Sullivan
24 days ago
Reply to  Joseph Phebus

That’s exactly what I plan to do when the time comes. Simple, direct, and to the point. If you’re giving it to a family member, they more than likely know the pros and cons of ownership.

Craig Maxson
24 days ago

We have been RV’ing now for about 15 years. We have progressed from a 27 foot 5th wheel to a 36 foot 5th wheel to a 31 foot Class C. We just sold the Class C and are picking up an 18 foot Boondock equipped teardrop that we can pull behind our Jeep. Our camping dreams have morphed over the years. We no longer desire the open road, but short middle of the week trips to local state parks and Harvest Host locations. Each stage has been an adventure. Each step of the way we weight the aggravation vs. enjoyment factor and adjust. I am looking forward to no motor, no slide out, a smaller footprint, and the additional flexibility that new technology provides. It will be interesting to sift through our stuff to fit in an itty bitty living space.

Craig Maxson
24 days ago
Reply to  Craig Maxson

Oh, and no, none of these were handed down…

Thomas D
24 days ago

My older daughter wanted the rv. a C
My younger daughter wanted the pontoon.
Done. Both are happy

24 days ago

In our late 70’s, we’ll RV until it is not fun any more or we lose the physical capacity to do so. Then I expect we may try to sell the RV (Class B), since we know neither of our children will want it.
One recent RVing change for us it that we occasionally now mix campground stays with overnights in motels as we travel.

Bob P
24 days ago

The solution to this article is: Do the children even want the RV? My oldest son wouldn’t, he likes traveling in his Tahoe sleeping in the cargo area. Youngest son wouldn’t have time as he works two jobs paying off a bitter divorce. Daughter wouldn’t because she’s a wild child and wouldn’t want to be saddled to the responsibility. So the answer is simple, ask the children.

24 days ago
Reply to  Bob P

Exactly my first thought!

Depending on the value of the RV, there could also be significant financial considerations in the transfer… income/gift taxes, registration and licensing, in some states personal property taxes. Silly me…the headline made me think these hard costs would be the focus of the article…not a mundane list of things always discussed and already known.

Jim Johnson
24 days ago

Son wouldn’t want ours as it is not large enough for his family. Daughter wouldn’t want ours as son-in-law isn’t mechanically oriented and wouldn’t bother with scope of maintenance – to him it is too complex and not worth his time. That makes the answer easy – sell it when we are done with it.

captain gort
24 days ago
Reply to  Jim Johnson

Bingo! Same here! Several years ago, I gave my son-in-law my classic old Ford pickup. It was in good condition. He just let it deteriorate and sold it really cheap. Too bad, now the price of that old truck has gone to the moon!

24 days ago

One con for gifting an rv is cost of storage. Many people do not have the ability to store their rv next to their home. We pay $110 a month for an uncovered outside space to store our rv in a gated rv storage facility and that was a deal for our area.

captain gort
24 days ago
Reply to  Jerri

Same here. Can’t park it in our Del Webb neighborhood.

Bruce Mills
24 days ago

I think we will always want to RV. We recently purchased a new (1 year old) class A deisel pusher and plan on making it last 10 years. At that time we will be in our late 70’s and early 80’s. I’ll re-evaluate at that time but like many post I’ve read there is a time to say it’s over. I hope we at least make the 10 years.

24 days ago

Maybe the question of whom they would like to gift it to would be if they would like to take ownership. Have a conversation on the pros and cons so they can think it over and make that decision themselves. I would not want to be given something that I really didn’t want or not use or be put in a situation that I’d just sell it and upset the giver.

Val Catena
24 days ago

When my partner passed away 4 years ago, the 1st thing my son said was that I should sell my home in Alaska and move in with his family in Washington. Horrors! Well, maybe not quite that bad. R and I had been rving snowbirds for almost 20 years and had to give up on most of our travels due to his deteriorating health. My most prominent thought was that I can finally continue doing what we both enjoyed so much. I promised my son that when I’ve completed 7 years of solo travels, I’ll reexamine my lifestyle to see if it’s still as important to me. Just an arbitrary number but I think at that point (I’ll be in my 70s) I may be ready to travel with a little less time behind the wheel. Then again, I do love having my “stuff” with me and so much easier on my dog. I love the freedom to go when I’m ready. And in the past 4 years I’ve been able to visit family (moochdocking) more than in the previous 30 years! And I’ve reconnected with friends from the past 50 years! Living my best life!

Tom H.
24 days ago

We’ll be RVing until it’s not fun anymore. That’s the same thing I said about my career which lasted 35 years.
Our motto is “if it’s not fun why do it.”

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