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What is RVing worth these days?

With the current surge in fuel prices, higher campground fees and the cost of new RVs on the rise, many questioning if the RV lifestyle is right for them are asking online, “What does RVing cost?” or “Is RVing worth it?”

The real question they should be asking is, “What is RVing worth?”

Some reading this might be asking what is the difference?

There are two meanings to the word “worth”.

The first is: “If you say how much something is worth, you state its value in money. How much do you think the house is worth?”

The second is “used for saying that there is a good enough reason for doing something, because it is important, enjoyable, useful, etc., or [is] worth doing/having/seeing, etc.: The book is definitely worth reading.”

Now, we can see the first two questions deal with the monetary costs of RVing, while the third deals with value/usefulness, best defined as “intrinsic value”.

Intrinsic value is defined as “The real value of something within itself, which may not take into account its market value or face value.”

What is RVing worth? Let’s look at the tangible and intangible

Tangible – definition: “important and noticeable”

  • The ability to sleep in your own bed every night regardless of location
  • Having your own bathroom and toiletries with you wherever you go
  • A spare bedroom when friends and family come to visit or when you go to visit them
  • The ability to travel with your pets
  • It can be more affordable than other types of travel/vacation
  • Being able to camp at or very near the places and/or activities you want to enjoy. As real estate agents say, it’s all about “Location, location, location!”
  • More enjoyable/convenient than a hotel
  • The ability to cook your own meals when, where and how you like them
  • Avoiding unpacking every night
  • Connecting with nature
You won’t find a Hilton out here to spend time with friends and family

Intangible – definition: “not able to be touched or measured, and difficult to describe or explain.” Following are several benefits of RVing that I cannot measure in monetary terms:

  • Watching my grandchildren grow up camping in the same campground my now-adult children and wife enjoyed as children
  • Waking up to a brilliant sunrise in the middle of nowhere with no man-made objects or noises around me—just my RV and my spouse
  • Camping lakeside and teaching my grandchildren how to fish where I learned from my grandfather
  • Being dazzled by innumerable stars in the night sky far from city lights
  • Freedom and flexibility to spontaneously go when and where I want
  • Spending quality time around the campfire with loved ones
A camping tradition for three generations.

In closing, let’s review the three questions asked at the beginning of this article:

What does RVing cost? It is highly variable. Owning, operating, and maintaining a large Class A diesel pusher, traveling cross-country, and staying in luxury RV parks can cost plenty—probably more than most of us can afford. On the other end of the spectrum, owning a small folding trailer, towed behind the family SUV just out of town to a nearby free boondocking spot in the forest can cost less than a family trip to the ballpark for a weekend. Both can provide the tangible and intangible benefits listed above to the owner.

Is RVing worth it? From a strictly monetary standpoint, probably not. When you factor in fuel, cost of the RV, storage, insurance, campground fees, etc., it may not seem worth it to you. When you get right down to it, owning most any vehicle is  not a sound financial decision. Only the owner/user can determine if it is financially worth it or not.

Sunset over where the author learned to fish with his grandfather – Priceless!

What is RVing worth? For me—and I suspect many reading this, too—it is an integral part of my life physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is worth far more than can be measured in monetary terms. Yes, fuel costs are up right now, but costs can be mitigated and camping dollars stretched by camping closer to home, staying in one spot longer, camping in no-cost/low-cost places on public land, etc.

Rather than look at just the costs, I encourage people to ask themselves what is RVing worth to them? I believe that most, when they look at what RVing is worth to them in the tangible and intangible benefits, will quickly put the costs into perspective.

What is RVing worth? To me it is priceless.

What is RVing worth to you? Please share using the comment box below.

##RVT1047

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Virginia
2 months ago

I can think of many ways to accomplish the same memories and emotional responses (which is what an intangible really is) closer to home, without overcrowding, gas consumption, and spending my kids’ inheritance (which may require my living with them at some point!)

Opportunity is all around us…why is it we always want what is on the other side of that fence? Maybe we need to explore a little more in our own backyards. Support your local parks, waterways, neighborhoods, planetariums, and historic sites. Take day trips. Make memories, not debt.

The memories my parents made with us involved 3-generations of family on a Sunday drive, stopping at a roadside table for a picnic; taking our fishing poles to the local “fishing hole;” laying our blankets in the back yard to watch the stars (it’s not how many stars you see, but how many memories you are making).

The grass isn’t always greener in the next state or county; just fertilized differently.

Vanessa
2 months ago

My issue is with the cost of the tow vehicle…I need a new one so I can’t travel this summer with my rig. I’ll go visit my son in my car with my two dogs and spend the time at the local campground in his RV.

Roger Eide
2 months ago

My experience with RV’s for over 40 years is that as an investment…they suck. But I have found massive value in all of the positives you mention in the article. Additionally, the cost of all other forms of travel have and are increasing dramatically at the same time as RV travel increases. In total I still find RV travel is the only way to travel for me.

Steve
2 months ago

Although my wife and I RV’d with our parents when we were teenagers, we never had an RV when our sons were growing up. We bought our first RV when my wife was a year from retirement. She was the one who suggested getting an RV for her “retirement trip”. She wanted to spend more time in remote parts of western Canada and Alaska than we had on previous trips. That first travel trailer became a fifth wheel and now a motorhome, a seemingly common progression among the oldest Boomers. Now RVing has become so much a part of our lives that we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary at a NM state park campground surrounded by camping relatives!

Ivor
2 months ago

It’s true, one cannot value the RVing experience in purely Dollars and Cents, there’s way too much more to the lifestyle, regardless of whether you’re part-time or full-time.
We have been on the road for 5 years now since retiring, traveling across the country from top to bottom and side to side twice.
We Workamp as volunteers to cut our costs and love the life this gives us -in all our travels we have stayed at hundreds of Federal, State and commercial campgrounds.
We set out with a budget of $30 per night, yes, some campgrounds have been way over that, but when we’ve averaged out of the last 5 years, it has worked out to only $25.05!
We are living in a 35ft Class A Diesel pusher, and have also found that repairs, maintenance and fuel have averaged out to a mere $500.00 per month – well under what our sticks and bricks used to cost!
So, yes the freedom and adventure ARE priceless!

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago

Every year (lately anyway) we make multiple trips from Reno to Houston and back for medical stuff. Fuel makes this trip costlier this year, but we still do it because we have our ‘house’ with us. Our bed, our bathroom, our shower, and our food cooked the way we like it. We have a fave RV park in Houston close to where we have to go. While we’ve never looked into the cost of flying and staying in a hotel, and eating out, we still think taking our house with us beats the ‘other way’. Plus, I REFUSE to fly anymore – period. We have our now regular ‘drop-in with no reservations’ stopping points along the way. We do about 300 miles a day on this 2,000 mile run. I no longer have my truck driver stamina so this is beginning to get a bit tedious. Sigh.

Ray D.
2 months ago

Read this article and agree whole heartedly, if a weekend camping trip to one of our many favorite campgrounds cost 20% more than last season so be it. I looked at gas stats from last year here in the state of WI and compared them to this year, up .84 cents.Food costs up 15% and still climbing. When we weekend we pick our favorite campgrounds within 1.5 to 2 hours from home base, if we can’t get into that one try another, we will get into someplace. Now is it worth the expense? You bet it is!!!, after being homebound for 4.5 months we’re chomping at the bit, the TT is out of storage, took it to Fermin at Wills RV where it has been serviced for over 4 years for its preseason inspection and it’s good to go. Now if only the weather would warm up a bit (31 degrees as of 10 am).So to sum it up, Home is where you park it,enjoy the new season, Ray and Joy.

Neal Davis
2 months ago

We certainly enjoy RVing and think it is worthwhile in light of the costs of doing it. We think this so much so that we have ordered another one (trading in our current one and paying the difference) that will have the aspects of the current one that we want to keep while adding things the current one lacks. Two recent events reminded us that sometimes a car trip is superior to an RV trip and sometimes it falls far short.
#1- Drove car to football game (usually tailgate in RV) and spent 3 hours getting out of parking lot after game instead of walking to RV (20 minutes) and watching remaining games (2 hours 40 minutes).
#2-Drive to Outer Banks of North Carolina took 2 days and $400 for fuel (ditto the return). Could have gotten there by car in 1 day and $50 of fuel. Was so windy there that retracted slides twice in 5 days. Rental houses have no slides and cost slightly more per day as the campground.

Bill Richardson
2 months ago

Unquestionably the best way to travel for all the reasons you mentioned. If I never have to get into an airplane again, I’ll be fine with that. Aside from traveling from one place to another, getting out into nature is a great way to unwind and recalibrate. Now in our 70’s and approaching our 50th wedding anniversary, we gave up tent camping in about our second year of marriage. Been RVing ever since. Arkansas is littered with lakeside Corps of Engineer campsites, Forest service creekside campsites and 25 to 30 state parks with RV sites. We’ve spent a lot of money RVing over the years but it has definitely been worth it. There are a lot worse “vices” to have.

Mike Cowen
2 months ago

I agree with you 100%. Our RV experiences are priceless! My wife and I have been RVing for over 60 years and are still doing it. I am 81 years old and am driving a 45′ Class A and towing a Honda CRV all over the US.

John Olson
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Cowen

Nice to hear Mike… At 68 years old this year I hope I can say the same as well thirteen years from now. My wife & I drive a 31′ Class C and towing a Jeep Cherokee and we love it.

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