Pros & Cons on Motor Home Ownership

by Jordan Meyers, Demand Media
    Motor homes provide convenience for cross-country travel.

    Motor homes provide convenience for cross-country travel.

    A motor home can provide a place to live all year or accommodations on wheels for fun vacations and family visits. However, motor home ownership does have some cons in addition to the pros. Careful consideration of the pros and cons may prevent you from making a decision you'll regret.

    Mobility

    The ease of long-distance travel can be a major pro of motor home ownership. With a motor home, you don't have to worry about how to get there or where to stay once you reach your destination. The motor home covers both the transportation and your accommodations. As a con, you might need another mode of transportation once you reach your destination. Driving a large motor home around a crowded city and finding places to park can prove difficult. You might need to tow a smaller vehicle, take bikes along or use public transportation. If you live in your motor home year-round, you'll have the advantage of taking off for trips without packing -- your belongings are right there with you.

    Travel Savings

    Travel can be expensive. Not only do you have to pay train, bus or plane fare, but you also have to pay for a hotel or motel once you arrive. On top of that is the cost of eating your meals out or ordering room service. As a pro of motor home ownership, you can save the money you'd normally pay for hotel rooms plus the premium for eating out, since groceries for meals you prepare in your RV kitchen cost less than dining out. In addition, you can count your motor home as an investment. If you decide to sell it, you'll recoup at least some of the money you put into it. The initial expense of purchasing a motor home can be a con, however. These vehicles can be quite expensive and travel savings might not make up for the cost. According to RVBasics.com, average prices for a motor home range from $50,000 for a Class C motor home to about $120,000 for a Class A. Class C motor homes typically are smaller and have a separately constructed and attached cab while Class A homes, which are bigger, do not. Considering a $50,000 cost and average hotel room fees of $150 a night, you could break even in a little over 10 years of ownership if you traveled 30 days out of every year. If you consider the average cost of eating out at $50 for 30 days per year and domestic plane fare of $400 per person four times a year, you might break even in closer to five years -- less if you have more than two travelers. Once you've reached the break-even point, you can save significantly on travel for the duration of ownership.

    Continuing Expenses

    Depending on where you plan to travel and the cost of gas, fuel expenses can be a con of motor home ownership. When gas costs are high and you have a long distance to travel, you might find yourself paying more than you would to take a plane, train or bus to your destination. Likewise, motor homes often burn more gas per mile of travel than cars do. According to "Motorhomes: The Complete Guide," motor homes get an average of 5 to 15 miles per gallon of fuel. You will also have costs associated with keeping the motor home in good condition and repair expenses when something goes wrong. However, If you live in your motor home rather than just using it for getaways, you could experience the pro of saving a bundle. Often, monthly rent at RV parks proves reasonable when compared with renting a home or paying a mortgage. For example, you can find some parks that rent a space for as little as $500 or $600 a month.

    Destination

    As a pro, you can likely find plenty of free places to park your motor home overnight if you choose a rural or wilderness destination. You might consider the size of your motor home a con if you choose a city destination. In such cases, you will likely need to find a campground or RV park, and some cities have limited options. When you do find a place to park for the night, you might face overcrowding and high fees. Prices vary depending on the site, amenities and demand, but they often range from $10 to $50 a night, according to "Motorhomes: The Complete Guide." As another pro, some cities might allow you to park a smaller motor home on a city street overnight.

    References

    About the Author

    Jordan Meyers has been a freelance writer, specializing in health, education, business and parenting topics for more than a decade and a copy editor since 2008. Meyers has written Web and print copy for hundreds of businesses, including many Fortune 500 companies. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Maryland and is studying for a bachelor's degree in psychology.

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