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All I read about are problems! Is it even worth getting an RV?

This comment appeared recently in an RV blog I follow. The person posting their question about whether or not getting an RV was even worth it received hundreds of replies—the majority being fervently in favor of the RV lifestyle. The entire post stopped me in my tracks. I looked back on the last several articles I’d researched and written. To my surprise (and regret), many of the articles voiced negative aspects of RVing. Several stories offered advice to hopefully avoid costly and inconvenient mishaps. Not one focused on the joy I’ve found in living in our RV. So … I figured it’s time! It’s time to write a story of encouragement that positively promotes the RV life.

First, some observations

  • RVtravel.com along with other RV forums, blogs, and groups, exist to help folks who enjoy the lifestyle—or might be considering it. We offer information that hopefully will enable folks to learn how to care for their investment and address issues as they arise.
  • There are many “how to fix it” stories because folks seek out newsletters like ours to find this information. RVtravel.com is a good place to look for advice—not because breakdowns keep happening to everyone all the time, but because people want to address issues when they arise and want to prevent them if at all possible.
  • No matter what you own—a car, sticks-and-bricks home, cell phone, TV, whatever—there will be times that repairs are needed. An RV is no different. One reason for so many articles about “fixes” is that an RV has so many different components: electrical, plumbing, slide-outs, etc. Over time, we try to address each component and that means a lot of “fixes” or preventive maintenance stories.
  • Owning an RV means we can travel to many different places. That means the RV will experience a variety of climates, temperatures, and day-to-day weather challenges—not to mention less-than-desirable road conditions. Articles addressing these variables mean even more information about prevention and potential “fixes.”
  • Just like with other things, many RV troubles can be avoided if people know what to do. So, many articles and blog posts address maintenance and do-it-yourself measures that will save rig owners lots of cash and headaches, too! (After all, who listened when the salesman walked you through your 30-minute informational “tour”? Who remembers everything from that “Introduction to RVing” class? Not me!)

And now, some positive encouragement!

There are as many positive reasons to join the RV life as there are RV owners. Here are just a few:

Nancy M. says, “I love RVing! It’s the very best decision our family ever made! Traveling the country and still having my own bed and kitchen along is priceless!”

Bill S. reports, “I travel for work. Living in the RV is less expensive for me than living in hotel rooms. Besides, I know I’ll get a great night’s sleep in my own bed!”

Nicole S. says, “Just like in a sticks-and-bricks home, your RV requires maintenance and sometimes things happen. But unlike your stationary home, the view out my RV window changes as I travel. I love it!”

Brian T. thinks, “On weekends I can get away from the everyday grind. RVing helps me keep perspective throughout my work week. I enjoy the freedom RVing provides, too. There are endless places to go and things to see. And it’s great knowing that I can find reliable RV information when problems come up.”

Jan K. says, “At first, we didn’t even know what we didn’t know. Owning an RV is like anything new. There’s a learning curve at first, but fellow campers have been really great in stepping in to help us. I’m not sure why we didn’t take the plunge sooner. Guess we’ll have to make up for lost time!”

Chris R. offers, “If you’re not sure, rent an RV for a week or even a weekend. If you like it, maybe start out by buying a smaller, less expensive, or used RV. Older units often have the ‘bugs’ worked out and may be constructed better anyway. I bought a ‘previously loved’ RV two years ago and my family loves it. We’ve made some upgrades ourselves and love to travel in it.”

Travis H. thinks, “No one person has all of the mishaps that are addressed in the blogs or newsletters. Everyone has occasional things go wrong, but most often they are simple fixes you can do yourself. Anyway, the benefits far outweigh a few bumps in the road.”

Cindy W. suggests, “Have an independent inspection done on any RV you’re considering. That should give you peace of mind. Then get out there! Meet new people. See awesome scenery. Make memories that will have you smiling well into your most golden years!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

What advice and encouragement would you offer to someone who wonders about purchasing an RV? Let us know in the comments or on my forum.

##RVT1038

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Chris
7 months ago

Gail, I appreciate your reflecting on your past articles and how they may have been negative. That’s rare for someone to reflect like that. I do not consider you a negative person.. Reporting on a negative subject doesn’t make you negative. It’s all in how it’s presented. You do a nice job of that.

My wife and I started our RV adventures in 2016. I’ve never had the “show up and pick your site” availability that people have referenced. I’ve always had to plan ahead. The more popular the area, the more planning that’s required. Less popular places require less planning. I can only surmise that they have had RVs well before I started.

Things have changed. You have to plan ahead. It’s not going back to the “days back when.” Get over it! And then I’m reminded that people like to gripe. That will follow them regardless of the things they do.

I would like to see RVTravel limit these articles. I find them discouraging.

Chris

Tom Horn
7 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Discouraging But Real. Sugar coating gets people into trouble

Virginia
8 months ago

Try putting your summer cabin on wheels and hauling it over today’s potholed roads. I suspect you will notice a few problems that you didn’t notice when it was quietly sitting on a solid foundation. Such is the RV life.

Trish
8 months ago

It doesn’t matter what you live in, it requires maintenance of some kind. RVs were not really built to be lived in full time so yes things tend to need more maintenance more often. Yes, it’s completely inconvenient because unless you’re self sufficient with the maintenance you get to wait for months to get in now. Then it’s fifty fifty whether or not they fixed it right and yes it is expensive. None of this is good if it is your home because you have to figure out where you’re going to live while they have your home too.

This is reality of the lifestyle.

Luckily, we are very handy and self sufficient to handle most of the issues. Just something to consider when you’re thinking of doing the lifestyle.

That guy
8 months ago

On a side note- I’m reading reports that some people and couples are living out of rv in bigger numbers than ever. Why? Because it’s the only way they can come close to living a “middle class lifestyle” their words not mine. Sigh

By the way, who’s likely to post a comment on a site like this? An unhappy owner that stumbled here looking for an answer to their issue? Or is it the satisfied owner that already has an rv and not as much reason to even come to sites such as these?

That guy
8 months ago

You all understand that any rv is putting a house on wheels right? Go move your “solid” house across country and see how it would fare on these brutal roads.
Look, I work and live in elkhart county…. where most of these units are made. The criticism isn’t unfounded and I would be upset if I put down that kind of money and ended up with issues being commonplace. I do have some suggestions to ease the pain…
First of all, less will get you more. The likelihood of poor quality increases with every option you add to it. We get the same amount of time to build a loaded one as we do a bare box on wheels. How much time? Never enough.
Secondly, avoid newly offered options. If it’s the 1st year for a new model appliance, or new designed entertainment system, or whatever, you run the risk of being disappointed. Just like car makers you never want year 1 of a new generation. Also make sure the exterior is sealed and check regularly. Water damage kills rvs

Tom Horn
8 months ago
Reply to  That guy

Less Is Better without a doubt

Tina Wilis
8 months ago

RVing is a complete disaster right now. We used to be able to go to a nice campground about 1.5 hrs from our house for a quick get-away, without reservations far in advance (maybe 2 or 3 weeks out for a nice weekend). Now that same campground was booked through August — by mid-December. If you add in the problem that the weather is so unpredictable, it just makes no sense in the world to buy a new RV with any expectations of using it right now. I can much more easily, and for about the same price, book a nice hotel room the same weekend that I want to go. The only negative, and it is a big one, is that we can’t bring our cats to most hotel rooms. But I guess we will just need to learn to deal with that problem. Otherwise we will not be going anywhere anytime soon. And the thankfully used older RV we purchased maybe 8 years ago will continue sitting in our driveway. Thankfully we stopped ourselves from wasting money on a new one.

Richard Hughes
8 months ago

I find the articles on repairs are good information to know. I read them all and other than making me look like a know it all, when someone has a problem and I know a solution, the information gives me peace of mind. Oh, when I do give someone a solution for their problem, I always give credit to rvtravel.com and suggest they sign up for the newsletter.

Gail
8 months ago
Reply to  Richard Hughes

Thanks, Richard!

Jesse Crouse
8 months ago

Bring a BIG sense of humor and a good tool box. Both are essential to RVing.

Scott
7 months ago
Reply to  Jesse Crouse

common sense along with the humor. RV upkeep requires a good internet connection for youtube tutorials and thinking things through. Don’t be afraid to ask for ideas or help, there are plenty of people like the staff at RVTravel who can help

Diesel
8 months ago

I have been looking at Class C RV’s for over 2 years now. I am a member of these Groups on Facebook: Jayco, Entegra, Winnebago, Coachmen and Thor Quantum. I cannot believe all the problems that these poor people have to endure. Broken items, wires falling off their connector. Toilets that don’t flush properly. Water leaks inside their coach and water intrusion from bad window seals or seals not caulked properly. Electric Items not working due to improper installation. Items left under slide rooms that cause damage to their floor. Batteries installed incorrectly with faulty wiring……….I could go on and on. Over $100,000 for these coaches and they are not built correctly nor are they “looked at” properly upon leaving the manufacturing site. The RV manufacturers have to do a better job, but our love of camping says that we will accept anything they put out and then we have to fix many items that were installed wrong!

John
8 months ago
Reply to  Diesel

Just traded in my 2018 forest river TT after putting 20,000 miles on it. We only had a couple of minor issues the trailer and we fixed those ourselves.
Just purchased a new keystone Montana. Spent about 2 hrs going through it on the first round and another 5 hrs for the PDI. This is the second unit I have purchased through lazy days Rv.
I was apprehensive to purchase a new unit based on all the reviews lately. I went into this thinking the unit would not be to my satisfaction. That was not the case and Lazy days performed 90% of my PDI check list up front. I did give them a 30 item list of cosmetic items to take care of. They went above and beyond to make sure those items were taken care of in a reasonable amount of time (1 week).
All electrical, hydraulic and hydronic equipment worked the first time. We checked every items, even flooded the tanks.
Time will tell if we made a good purchase. Buy quality and expect to fix a few things.

Gail
8 months ago
Reply to  John

Have fun out there in your new rig, John!

Tom Horn
8 months ago
Reply to  John

How long have you worked for CrazyDays?

Tom Horn
8 months ago
Reply to  Diesel

Low quality is the biggest part of the culture. The workers get a big laugh out of it all.

claudio claudio
8 months ago

i say to all interested buyers ,NO dont do it … but i am telling you this because i want to keep my space and enjoy it ,as i have been for close to 30 years

Mike Waller
8 months ago

This is really kind of a double edged sword situation. First, a lot of people decide to get into RV’s and go buy one based on what they “see” and how “cute” it is. They generally have no idea of materials, construction process, etc which leads to cheap for the manufacturer and costly for the consumer. People thinking that that new $25K, 30′ RV is going to last them, and their 3 kids, the next 10 years are going to be sorely disappointed when the cabinets begin to fall off after the first 2000 miles. Unfortunately, there are builders who are known for cheap and poor quality units. On the other hand, you can spend a lot more for the same (size) unit, and still have some issues. What you generally end up with is a better warranty, better service, and less worry. As someone else said in a post, “even the million dollar rigs break, too”.

captain gort
8 months ago

Honestly- if you own an RV you had best be handy…or at least patient and not adverse to spending time and money at a repair shop. I’ve owned 3 new ones in 10 years and all required a lot of constant tinkering. But nothing major and we’ve been ALL OVER the USA with these. But every trip generates a significant list of “fix-its” or needed upgrades. But- heck, that’s my hobby now! RVing CERTAINLY has its downsides: front end cost, rapid value depreciation and physical deterioration, terrible mileage, crowded RV parks and campsites…often among cretin-like fools with zero class and/or manners, stress at gas stations and crowded areas, constant fix-its, stressful and/or restricted driving on certain roads…the list goes on and on. But- you DO get to eat your OWN food (but you have to prepare it and buy it), sleep in your OWN bed, among your OWN stuff.

Tom Horn
8 months ago
Reply to  captain gort

Hobby is the magic word. If a Newby can’t get that into their head stay far away from the lifestyle or it will Eat Them Alive.

captain gort
8 months ago

RVing will be fun…until it isn’t. And what would cause that? When RVing becomes an over-subscribed, over-priced, over-hyped, over-everything activity. And that’s happening right now. Examples are everywhere. For instance, I remember when CB radios were fun…then they got the full “media-mania” treatment (its the American way!) and ruined it. I personally hope the current RV craze falls on its face soon…before it becomes “not fun anymore”. I used to love boating. Now the slip rent is preposterous. I hope the rule of “reversion to the norm” happens and soon.

Tom Horn
8 months ago
Reply to  captain gort

Don’t forget OVER TECHNOLOGIED. Talk about getting Eaten Alive. Who would buy a new car and there not be a Tech within your state that could work on it properly?

Bob M
8 months ago

I like camping with my travel trailer, but don’t like the trouble or expense of taking my travel trailer to the dealer for warrenty repair or pay $130. hr to have a dealer to repair. Don’t like having to do repairs my self because of poor quality manufacturing. I have not had my Chevy Silverado back to the dealer for any repairs in the 2 1/2 years I owned it. My less than two year old travel trailer has been back to the dealer twice to fix a bunch of things. When I brought it home I noticed the top slide gasket pulled out the top. Bought my 1st travel trailer used. Two years old. The outdoor two burner stovetop fell off the mounting screws. The ceiling panel started falling down. Bedroom cabinet bottom formica was falling down. Found a screw breaking thru the outside fiberglass. Had a night mare trying to get my gas electric fridge troubleshooted and repaired. Should be able to buy an RV and have no trouble for years. Read some of the RV forums before deciding to buy one.

Richard
8 months ago

If it sounds terrible, don’t do it. Skydiving sounds terrible to me, I don’t do it.
All the articles and stories of “Challenges” are to make you better prepared for what the RV Life might throw at you. Just like what your parents(should have) told you about life in general. Although I see more and more people appearing to NOT have been raised, at all.
Go forth, being prepared, and enjoy.

SDW
8 months ago

I forgot to mention that you better have a lot of money to spend because RVing is not cheaper than staying at home. It doesn’t matter how much an RV cost. Million dollar motorhomes break down just as much as a cheap one. Anytime you drive down our roads today that millions of 18 wheelers have pounded things start to come apart and break down.

john
8 months ago

My spouse and I purchased a travel trailer and we visited 48 states in 9 years. We thoroughly enjoyed the travel, but it takes planning, both the route and the food. We planned our route, what we were going to do when we got to an area etc.. To think you can just pack and go is a mistake and in time it is a pain.
To own a travel trailer is a lot of work: driving, rv parks, items that need repair etc. You have to enjoy tinkering with things on the trailer, cooking meals. (in 9 years travel we ate out about 15 times) Even when we hiked we prepared food to take with us. My food was healthier and fresher and cheaper.
Also, RV’s and travel trailers are expensive to own and quality is lacking in many units. One thing to remember is you can not purchase a travel trailer for $20-30,000 and expect it to last years. The cost of repair at dealer’s is very expensive and remember that each dealer is independent and the warranties are not the same as an automobile.
Plan, Plan

SDW
8 months ago

Right now, RVing is not a good thing to be doing. The covid problem has created a nightmare in the RV industry. They’re throwing RVs together with cheap made parts of low quality and charging 30% more for them because of the demand. On top of that people who were sent home to work got bored and decided to get an RV and travel because, as long as they had wifi they could work from anywhere. Which has caused campgrounds to fill up and everyone is having to make reservations. I RV’d for 13 years and now haven’t been out in 2 years thanks to this. I never made reservations before and now I have to. On top of that everywhere you turn to take a picture of the scenery you can’t get one without an RV in your pic. Plus because of the demand the price of campgrounds have doubled and tripled. Now if you don’t mind being parked in a crowded campground with a bunch of screaming kids running around, then go ahead. But you could park next to a public school and get the same effect. 🙂

Tom Horn
8 months ago
Reply to  SDW

Generator, Solar, plenty of water storage and Lots of batteries will take care of the overcrowding, I Guarantee

CLeeNick
8 months ago

Like any other review-type articles or comments, the published negatives are always going to outweigh the published positives. It’s just human nature that when people are angry or upset, they want to tell their story. The hundreds of hours in between annoyances and outright disasters, quietly spent enjoying the RV lifestyle, is rarely, if ever, heard about, as that’s the norm and would be considered boring to most people. Our family has had enough good time in RV’s to overwhelmingly outweigh any negatives.

Mike
8 months ago

To own an RV, one needs to be a “tinkerer” otherwise it will break you. Financially, physically and mentally. Just sayin.