It has been an interesting two weeks since I last put out an article. In that time though, I have heard from three different people who are looking to get into some sort of an RV — a travel trailer, a fifth wheel, and a Class A or C motorhome. And in the past year, three of my friends have either purchased their first RV or upgraded to a bigger model. I think that’s awesome.
Everyone who has approached me always starts out by asking what kind of RV I have. Here’s the thing: My RV suits my needs. Regardless of what I own or use, you have to always look for the RV that best suits your needs. When Missy and I bought our RV, we followed some simple rules to define our purchase.
First, we knew we needed a Class A or C because we planned on towing the boat. For us, a tow-behind was not going to work. So that narrowed our search selection. For those who don’t know their RV classes, Class A motorhomes are the bus types that are built on a custom chassis. Class C’s are also motorhomes but are built on a heavy-duty commercial truck chassis. Class B’s are van campers — not big enough for us.
Second, we didn’t want to invest a lot of money because we weren’t sure we would like it long-term. So we found a Class C with no slides, a full-size bed and all the stuff you need inside to be self-sufficient. It’s a 24-footer, and low enough that we can get into all of the boat ramps that we like to fish out of. Because we wanted to make sure we liked RVing, we opted for a very simple unit that didn’t take long to learn how to operate.
We don’t have kids living at home, nor do we plan to travel with any. So getting something that fit just me and Missy was much easier. If you want to take kids, grandkids or pets, that’s something that you have to account for. Now, we do open it up for folks to stay in when we have friends or family visiting. It works great for that.
Think about how much you are going to actually use your RV. We use ours every month because we make a point to get out and use it. That was something we grew into, though. I have many RVing friends here at work. Some have RVs and love them; others have owned RVs and sold them because they didn’t use them as much as they thought. When you go to purchase an RV, think about what you’re spending and try to align that with how much you will use it.
If you’re not 100 percent sure the RV life is for you, you may want to find a decent used RV. This will help you avoid investing a lot of money in something you may not keep long-term, and you won’t have a big depreciation hit if you decide to sell. I wanted to do that when we bought our RV, but for my wife, everything has to come with a warranty, and she prefers new. We ended up with both of those bases covered.
One other thing you may want to consider when purchasing an RV is where you are going to store it when it’s not being used. Homeowners’ associations can get a little funny about having an RV sitting on the side of the house. Even if you’re not in a homeowners’ association, you may not have the space to spare. Storage is a major consideration when you’re planning what type of RV to look for and how big a unit you should buy.
I can say one thing for sure: I never thought I would enjoy the RV lifestyle as much as I do. My wife and I were talking this past week about lining up a 10-day vacation sometime this year where we can load up the RV and head out — boat in tow, golf clubs stored underneath. We have always wanted to do that, and I think that this year is going to be the first where we travel some serious distance. I can’t wait.
If you’re on the fence about owning an RV, there are options out there to make it affordable and doable. If you are like me, it will be a decision that you never live to regret, and it will probably get you out doing and seeing more things that you ever imagined.
Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes lakes throughout Florida’s Heartland and enjoys RV travel around the Southeast with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.