Important Livability Features to Look for in an RV

Updated on March 7, 2019
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I am an RV enthusiast with more than 50 years of experience owning, driving, traveling and living in recreational vehicles.

One of the most important things for RV buyers to consider is coach livability.

People who ignore the importance of overall convenience and comfort when making such purchases are often disappointed as time goes on because of design flaws that make using their coaches awkward and uncomfortable.

Buying an RV is a big commitment, so it's important to make sure that the coach you buy meets your needs.

I met a couple who sold a gorgeous and costly motorhome because the shower was too small for the wife. These people could have saved a ton of money if they had just taken the time to make sure that the amenities in their coach met their needs!

Since everybody has different needs, there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to recreational vehicles. Nonetheless, there are some things all buyers should take into consideration before signing on the dotted line.

Do your best when RV shopping to make sure that the unit you want to buy will be as comfortable as possible.
Do your best when RV shopping to make sure that the unit you want to buy will be as comfortable as possible. | Source

Avoid Buying a Defective RV

RVs are made up of a variety of systems, each of which needs to be in good working condition at the time of purchase.

Therefore, the first step to take when buying a travel unit is to inspect all of them because if even one is not functioning, travel and living comfort can be compromised.

The Best Way to Avoid Buying a Defective RV provides guidelines that can help you do your own inspections, but unless you are knowledgeable about travel units, you’d be wise to let a pro handle this job.

Even though a coach may be in great condition, if there is a design flaw that is going to make it uncomfortable or awkward to use, you need to recognize it before you plunk your money down to buy it.

Below are some things to consider.


Few people realize what important roles awnings play in their overall RV living comfort.

  1. On extremely hot days, they help to lower internal temperatures considerably.
  2. When it’s raining, they allow you to keep windows open so that you can enjoy the cool breezes.
  3. They also help to keep you dry on rainy days when entering or leaving a coach.
  4. Additionally, they provide external living areas that you can enjoy with family and friends.

Not all RVs come with awnings and not all come with complete sets. They are also costly to install, so it is best to make sure they are already on a coach when you buy it.

Slide Room Elevation

Newer recreational vehicles have mechanisms that allow slide rooms to sit on the same level as the rest of the floor, but older ones do not.

What this means is some units have a step that is easy to trip over. Travelers constantly have to be dodging it in order to avoid accidents and falls.

Slide Room Width and Placement

Some units have wide slide rooms or slides that face one another. These are fine when they are in the open position, but when closed, some of them barely leave enough room to walk, get to the bathroom, or even be able to prepare a meal during daytime travel.

These can become very uncomfortable problems for travelers, especially when they must park in areas that don’t allow enough room for them to open their slides.

For these reasons, when checking out an RV, always ask sellers to close the slide rooms.

Then test them to see if you can open the bathroom or refrigerator doors or easily access closets that are located on the back of the coach behind the bed.


Those who don’t travel much in RVs don’t realize how often they must be able to access their closets.

If they are located in hallways or walk-through bathrooms, there is no problem. However, many units are designed with the main wardrobe at the rear of the coach behind the bed.

These usually are elevated on a step, which means that for most men and some women, standing upright while using the closet is impossible.

Another problem is that the person who sleeps on the closet side of the bed has to remember to step down when leaving their bed. Especially for half-asleep people or those who are older, this step can lead to falls and serious injuries.

Finally, make sure there is plenty of closet space, especially for hanging clothes.


Even some of the most expensive recreational vehicles come with thin, cheap, and uncomfortable mattresses that make sleeping a miserable experience.

These, of course, are easily replaced, but it can cost upwards of hundreds of dollars to buy a comfortable mattress, so it’s best to purchase a coach that already has one!

A quality mattress makes a huge difference to RV travel comfort.
A quality mattress makes a huge difference to RV travel comfort. | Source

Lighted Mirrors

Very few RVs come with well-lighted mirrors. This may not seem important, but for people who need to see what they’re doing when plucking eyebrows or flossing teeth, a poorly lit mirror makes doing so awkward and uncomfortable.

You might be able to replace the mirrors, but why should you have to? A quality coach should come with this option!

Medicine Cabinets

One of the worst design flaws in RVs is a poorly placed medicine cabinet. This would be one that is directly above the sink that has a mirror on the front of it and opens directly towards the person using it.

A cabinet made like this is very awkward to use because you have to step back each time you need to take something out or put something in.

If you leave it open when brushing your teeth or shaving, you won’t be able to see what you’re doing!

A double-door cabinet is a much better choice for obvious reasons.

If a coach doesn’t have a two-door medicine cabinet, don’t buy it!

Bathroom Counter Space

It’s important to have room on a bathroom counter for items such as toothpaste, combs and razor blades. If you wear glasses or hearing aids, counter space becomes even more valuable.

RVs that don’t offer this option can make personal care awkward and difficult for travelers.

Set a few things on the counter to see if there will be enough room to suit your needs.

Ample counter and storage space in RV bathrooms are must haves for travelers.
Ample counter and storage space in RV bathrooms are must haves for travelers. | Source

Dining Area

Some manufacturers cut corners by installing extremely small dining tables that cannot be extended.

These look good, but when you try to use them, there’s barely enough room on them for your food! You can also forget inviting friends over for dinner, too!

Eating should be a comfortable experience, but an overly small dining table keeps you from having it!

Sit down in the dining area and think about the amount of space the table will have for the food you normally serve.


Showers that are too small present similar problems.

They should be high enough for taller people to easily fit in and wide enough to allow people to move around without bumping their arms, heads or legs.

One of the great pleasures of owning an RV is to be able to take a relaxing shower, but people can’t do this if there isn’t enough room!

To make sure yours will work, stand in it. Move around. Make sure it has plenty of room.

Computer Space

If you are someone who uses a computer often, you want to make sure that there is an area in your RV that will give you enough space to do so.

Many people use small laptops, but the problem with these is that data on the screens can be hard to see. Thus, if you use a standard sized laptop, you'll want to have room for it. This will be especially true if you carry a printer with you.

Some coaches have areas dedicated for this use, but others require you to improvise. The point here is that if you must do this, make sure that you can!

Seat Support

Every piece of furniture in a motor home, camper or travel trailer should have good lumbar support.

Without this, basic daily activities can cause back problems and make travel miserable.

Before buying, sit on chairs and sofas to see if they are comfortable or not.

Your RV Is Your Home

A recreational vehicle is more than just something to travel in. It’s your home away from home.

There are many things you can do to improve a travel unit, as the attached video shows, but it's so much better if you can buy a unit that already has the items you need for comfort enhancement.

You should want it to be livable, which means that it’s important that it provide you with as many comforts as possible.

Living with design flaws has caused many people to sell their coaches. However, if they had paid closer attention to livability issues when shopping, they might well have saved themselves thousands of dollars.

Doing this may take more time, but in the long run, you’ll be much happier and will enjoy your vacations much more.

If you own an RV, did you think about these things before you made your purchase?

See results

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Sondra Rochelle


    Submit a Comment
    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sondra Rochelle 

      10 months ago from USA

      Dora Weithers: Thanks. I try to be as helpful as possible with the info I provide

    • CaribTales profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      10 months ago from The Caribbean

      Your presentation makes RV life look appealing. Buyers would certainly appreciate this guide.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sondra Rochelle 

      10 months ago from USA

      G Maria: Thanks. There is a lot to consider when buying an RV, so the more info you have, the better off you are. Thanks for commenting.

    • gmmurgirl profile image

      Shan Moore 

      10 months ago from Philippines

      Hi. This is a very informative hub for people looking into buying an RV. Thank you very much.


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