The Making And Life Of A World Traveler: Well Almost–Chapter Sixteen–Motor-Home Travel

If you have opted to take the plunge and buy a motor home you have established yourself as a serious road traveler. Despite the type or size of your motor home, you still will have made a substantial investment so that you can travel on our highways and byways in comfort. While you may still opt to eat an occasional meal at restaurants when you travel, you are predominately going to be eating in your motor home. You will also no longer be spending any time sleeping in either a hotel or motel while you are traveling unless you break down and require repairs. While I know that the phrase recreational vehicle or RV can be applied to both travel trailers or motor homes, I have always associated the phrase with motor homes. So that is what I am going to do for the rest of this book. If you see me mention RV you will know that I am referring to a motor home.

Most people do not move directly into buying an RV. They start their travels with a tent or small trailer and graduate to the RV. Some people may even buy a couple of RVs in their lifetimes. Case in point, my parents. They ran the whole gamut of camping types from tents, tent trailers, travel trailers to a basic RV and up to a more luxurious RV. I want to make the stipulation that when you decide to buy an RV, you need one of two things either some level of youth or physical conditioning or a relative that meets these criteria or you have money. If you have money you can always hire a person to help you to set up and break down your camp site. I say this because even the most expensive RV requires work to set up when you reach your destination. That is why RV travel tends to be a family event. The more people present the easier it is to set everything up. Even with electric pull-outs and hydraulic levelers, you still have to crank out the awnings and hook up the hoses for water, and sewage disposal and electricity. Don’t get me wrong you are totally self sufficient in that you have a generator and holding tanks and water storage. If you are in a campsite with a full hook-up you might as well take advantage of all the resources, you are after all paying for them. Besides most parks have a curfew when you can’t run your generators. So either you run your lights off of auxiliary batteries or you use the park’s electricity.

Maintaining these RVs can be expensive, the more that you can do for yourself the cheaper it will be. Washing and waxing a 30-plus foot RV can cost well over a $100.00 each time. Trust me, if you don’t keep a nice coat of wax on your RV, it will fade and look dingy pretty quickly unless you have a protected place to store it. This also requires either more room on your property or a place close buy to rent. I have also come to the realization that when you rent a storage place for your large toy, you are less likely to use it. It helps to have that toy staring you in the face every time you either look outside or go outside. The monthly payments will also help give you a kick in the ass to take it out on the road. Of course, all the discussions I have had in the previous chapters about safety and maintenance also pertain to RVs.

Whether you have a travel trailer or a large RV you will have problem finding parking places when you go into the big cities. Now with a travel trailer, you can leave it behind in the campsite. With the RV, you don’t have that option because it is your source of transportation. This is where really serious people buy a car trailer or vehicle hauler to pull behind your RV. You may say that this seems like a great idea, well maybe. First of all, forget about backing this beast up now. This is especially true if you have a large RV. Don’t forget that you are getting close in size to a full semi now. So parking can definitely become an issue. You always have to look for pull through sites, lucky for you a lot of campsites have these types of sites. So now that you have your car, you can leave the RV at the campsite and do some exploring.

Let’s delve into the issues of increasing complexity. Now you have two vehicles that you have to maintain for the trip. You also have several different types of tires to deal with. A lot of RVs use different tires on their front axle than they do in the rear axle. Your trailer will also have different tires than your pull behind vehicle. It can be all very intimidating.

Roadside repair or towing of disabled RVs can be quite costly. Even changing tires on these RVs may require tools that most elderly RVers cannot handle due to their size and the strength that they require for their use. Luckily, you have a couple of options…AAA which offers travel insurance or even better yet you can get Good Sam’s travel insurance. They both offer free towing to an appropriate garage.

Now that you have all the logistics worked out, don’t forget that you have to pack your RV with food, clothes and other travel paraphernalia. To make outfitting your RV easier, most people usually have more than one set of dishes in their homes. So instead of selling that old unused set of dishes or those older pots and pans they use them in either the travel trailer or RV. If they are like my mother they just leave them in the RV at all times. That includes silverware and knives as well. You need to think of it as a second home. So pretty much everything you need for your house you will need for your RV. My mother also left all the bedding and pillows in her RV. You will need folding chairs and maybe even an outdoor rug to keep the dirt from getting inside. Some people even have small grills that they bring along so that they can grill steaks. You may ask why this is necessary, well, depending on the season you are travelling in you may be in areas where there are fire warnings and restrictions. In these areas all fires are prohibited.

Most people don’t take into account all of these added expenses when they buy these luxury items. It is like buying boat which doesn’t even come with an anchor or life jackets. When I bought my pontoon boat it cost almost $1,000.00 to get it ready for the water. RVs/trailers are no different.

Now you know why so many people fly and stay in hotels when they travel, it simply is a lot easier. While the actual trip may be a little cheaper ip front, in the long run it costs a lot more to travel with an RV. That is why you have to take it out several times a year to make it more cost effective. Taking your RV out once a year does not “cut the mustard”. Another option to just totally ruling out traveling with an RV is to rent one for a week. This can still be quite expensive and that is why people get a second or even third couple to come along to share the expenses. It is also a good way to test the waters to see if you truly like this kind of travel. When you buy an RV, you take that big hit right off the bat when you leave the sales lot. Not to mention that most RV payments are for 10 to 15 years. While I have never taken a trip in the ultra RVs that run over $100,000, I have traveled in fairly fancy ones and it is really nice to travel this way.

The type of people who like RVs are the type of people that don’t like sleeping in strange beds or using other people’s stuff. My mother hated and my sister still hates going to the bathroom in strange places. While my mother has since passed away, my sister will try and wait till she gets back home to use the little girl’s room. These are the types of people that buy RVs. My sister also currently owns one. Some people can’t put a price on this level of comfort. Remember one thing, RVs are not purchased as an investment they are purchased to use and enjoy. So get out there and explore our wonderous country.