I am an RV enthusiast with more than 50 years of experience owning, driving, traveling and living in recreational vehicles.
There are a number of reasons why owning a recreational vehicle may not be a good idea, and people should give them careful thought before making a decision about buying one.
Owning and traveling in a motor home or camper is a dream held dear by many, but for some it can turn into a nightmare. This is why all aspects of this type of vacationing should be taken into account before people become involved.
RV travel is not what it once was, so it is important to understand the way it is now and not be reminiscing about the way it once was.
1. All RVs Are Expensive to Own and Travel In
I have written numerous articles about how much money it takes to buy and maintain travel units.
- If you are not in a position to pay for let alone maintain a coach, you have no business purchasing one because the expenses never end.
- As a result, your coach will deteriorate quickly and lose its value. When this happens, you will lose a great deal of money.
There are many hidden costs, and there is no way to sidestep them. So, be aware before you buy that the asking price is only the beginning step onto a long road of unending spending.
2. RVing Is Not for Those in Poor Health
People with serious health conditions should never buy recreational vehicles because if they do, they are very likely to find themselves in difficult situations.
- Traveling in these vehicles can make health conditions worse and sometimes leave people in areas where only scant medical help is available. This can be life threatening.
- Road vibration, which is constant when you are driving, makes certain health conditions such as Arthritis and back problems more painful.
- People often find themselves far from medical facilities or near those that are substandard.
- Breakdowns can and do happen. When help is not available, doing repairs yourself is almost impossible.
Time and again I have watched people who really are too ill to be traveling insist on purchasing motor homes and campers. Many were literally risking their lives to do so.
The problem was that in many cases, they were also risking the lives of others, as well.
3. Owning a Coach Is Hard Work
What few people will tell you is that owning an RV requires a great deal of hard work.
You have to
- load and unload before and after trips,
- hook and unhook the coach at campsites,
- deal with maintenance and repair issues,
- keep the interior and exterior clean,
- perform regular household chores,
- drive extremely long distances under all types of weather and traffic conditions and
- do laundry regularly.
None of this is easy to do, can often be frustrating and can make some people wonder why they ever bought a coach when staying in hotels would be so much easier!
4. Injuries Happen Often
It is very easy to hurt yourself when you are traveling in an RV because you are in a different environment than what you are used to on a daily basis.
This makes it easier to fall, hit your head, slam doors on fingers and suffer from burns than when you are at home
Sometimes the injuries are small, but other times they can be life changers.
- One friend of mine fell out of the front door of her high motor home and landed on the hitch of her car. She never did totally recover from that accident.
- Another tripped while holding her grandchild, and to save the baby from injury, sacrificed herself. She landed on both elbows, and it took years for her to heal.
Accidents like these happen fairly often, so people need to be aware of the risks they take when they travel in recreational vehicles.
5. Driving Hazards Are Plentiful
When elderly people buy and travel in motor homes or trailers, they not only pose a danger to themselves, but also to other drivers due to issues such as impaired vision and hearing, slower response times and lowered perception.
There is also a problem on the opposite end of the spectrum. Sometimes young families allow their children to move freely in their motor homes because they feel they will be more comfortable than they would be if strapped in.
Doing this is dangerous and is also illegal.
Just as with driving a car, there are all types of people on today's roads, and they have different driving abilities. RVs don't stop as easily as cars, so reckless or selfish people who are behind the wheel can kill or injure themselves as well as you.
6. Buying RVs Carries Big Risks
I strongly suggest that you take the time to watch the attached video.
It was produced by a Michigan attorney who specializes in Lemon Laws and consumer rights.
The issue he brings up are absolutely shocking, and should make any potential buyer think twice before entering the RV lifestyle.
He talks in great detail about the fact that there are so few protections for new owners from manufacturers and sellers that if things go sideways, the consumer can lose huge amounts of money.
He also points out that things go wrong quite often!
Hopefully you will watch the video before you ever make a purchase!
7. Buying Mistakes Can Cost You a Small Fortune
It is very easy for people to make mistakes when they buy motor homes and campers.
Some are due to lack of research and effort but others are due to information a trusting individual could not possibly know.
Here are two examples:
1. After one of the big hurricanes swept through South Florida a number of years ago, buyers in the know understood that many vehicles from that area had been flooded, and this created a number of serious issues. If a buyer did not know this and purchased one of them because he thought it was a good deal, he most likely would have become the proud owner of a vehicle, for example, whose
- exterior panels separated from the frame or "bubbled",
- floor joists rotted and collapsed,
- engines had problems due to rust and
- structure was full of mold and mildew.
These types of problems are extremely expensive to fix, and in some cases cannot be successfully repaired.
2. A few years ago I met a man who had purchased a new motor home from a brand he thought he could trust. Unbeknownst to him, the manufacturer had installed a leveling system that was made for a much smaller coach. As a result, he had an accident. It cost him $5,000 to replace substandard leveling system with a good one. He was unable to use his warranty because the manufacturer of his coach had gone out of business!
If you want to read about some that are even worse, read my article called "Motor Home Horror Stories". It will make you happy that you don't own an RV!
There Are Good Reasons for Not Owning an RV
This article points out the facts that people need to take great care before they decide to purchase a recreational vehicle.
They can be wonderful to own and travel in, but only under the appropriate circumstances.
Even then, individuals should be prepared for problems because they are more common than most people realize.
The laws, unfortunately, do not favor the consumer. This is without a doubt the number one reason why people may never want to buy an RV!
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
Question: Would you recommend renting an RV before making the decision to buy one?
Answer: Absolutely. Some people just don't like the RV lifestyle, so renting before buying at least gives them some idea as to how they would do with a unit.
Question: I bought a camper from Camping World; used it for one trip, and now I want to sell it. What is the best way to sell it without losing too much profit?
Answer: If you go to https://hubpages.com/@timetraveler2, you'll find an article that tells you how to sell your RV yourself to save money. You'll still lose a bundle, but it equals out when considering cosigning, etc. Selling that quickly will cause a big hit in depreciation; about 20%, but selling yourself is your best shot at cutting losses.
Question: How does a person fall out of a front door of an RV and land on a hitch?
Answer: If the car is not hooked up to the RV and is parked with its rear end facing the door, it would be easy for this to happen. Granted, it doesn't happen often, but I actually know someone who did this and was badly injured.
© 2015 Sondra Rochelle
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on October 24, 2019:
All good points. However, you cannot judge issues just based on a small sampling of owners. As someone who has lived in and traveled in RVS for more than 50 years, I can tell you that people DO get hurt...people of all ages...in many ways...some more serious than others. These days 60 is still fairly young for most people, but being in strange surroundings, difficult traffic conditions or even smaller living areas can lead to all sorts of issues. Do some searches about RV accidents to get a better idea of what can happen and you'll see what I mean. The longer you drive and the bigger the unit the better the chance is that you'll have problems. Happens every day!
As far as loading goes, it's a ton of work no matter the size of the RV and when you're on the road you find yourself cleaning daily because road travel creates a lot of dirt. You don't clean when you fly or drive your car!
Book of Job on October 23, 2019:
Also: you mentioned loading and unloading is a lot of work, and that these things are hard to clean. Even the big RV's are far easier to clean than a couple of rooms in my house, and loading an RV is easier than packing for a camping trip, or a trip via plane or car, because I can leave most of what I need in the camper, and folks with larger ones can as well.
Book of Job on October 23, 2019:
I think this is aimed at a pretty old audience (and I'm 60). Although I've used small RV's (tent trailer / Aliner) over the years, I have never been hurt in one and I don't worry about being far from medical facilities any more than I would be if I simply drove (and I spend most of my free time doing whitewater kayaking, often in remote areas). Getting injured or burned is nothing that has happened to me or to family members, and can happen when doing anything outdoors.
Yes, I wouldn't recommend this to someone in poor health. I wouldn't recommend a lot of activities to someone in poor health, especially if the person is vulnerable to something as minor as road vibration (I think most people are not).
Yes, they can be hard to drive if you decide to drive thousands of miles in a short period or live in one. They are still harder to drive than a car, and I wouldn't recommend a long one to anyone who doesn't have experience driving something big.
It does take something to get used to them, but I can hook mine up solo, using a backup camera; any couple can as well.
The biggest issue is that most RV's do need regular maintenance, and if you don't want to do it yourself (which is a nuisance in itself), you'll be taking it into get it fixed regularly. They are like owning a second home.
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on September 22, 2019:
RV living can be wonderful, but it's not for everybody. You have to be wiling to take the bad with the good, and to do that, you have to know what the bad is!
Alyssa from Ohio on September 21, 2019:
What a great, informative article! My husband and I always joke that RV stands for 'ruins vacations,' haha! But we've been flirting with the idea of selling everything when we retire and just living in either a RV or one of those tiny homes. Your article definitely gives me pause, and offers facts that need to be considered. Thank you!
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on August 23, 2019:
Allan Nicely on August 22, 2019:
This article is a guide for those who never grew up playing with an Rv nor have ever used one. If you have no experience Rving then I would agree with some of these conclusions. Rving is not for everyone and does have its own challenges like everything.
However experience is everything. I grew up Rving and lovey camper. One of the main ways I travel and enjoy sightseeing. The experiences are priceless but if you are new to the topic. Go slow and ask LOTS of questions. There are many ways a novice can ruin a good time. Remember Experience is everything.
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on July 15, 2019:
I would suggest an older Class A Diesel Pusher that is in good condition.
Dean Spivey on July 13, 2019:
I am wanting to purchase a motor home. We will use it about once a quarter and a week or during the summer. Since i am rather tall the class c doesn't have as much leg room (usually ford bodies). The class a are nice but cost more. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on May 06, 2019:
l am aware that disabled people do RV, but depending on the disability I think doing so can be extremely problematic. There is a ton of lifting and bending involved, so it isn't easy even for the average person let alone one who is disabled. Thanks for posting this, though. For some, it will be a good eye opener!
Open Road Writer on May 06, 2019:
You have valid points on most of this. I write a blog about RVing with a Disability. There are many ways in which disabled people can still enjoy the RV Lifestyle.
Granted, extra precautions need to be made, but there are many on the road right now that enjoy their RV experience. They balance their doctor appointments around the traveling. Many nationwide pharmacies allow you to refill your prescriptions at other locations. House batteries and generators can handle the electronic medical equipment. There are now RVs out there (Winnebago and Newmar) that have wheelchair lifts built in.
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on May 03, 2019:
Sorry things didn't work out, but there is no question that all RVs require a good deal of maintenance and have consistent problems...even new ones!
Mountain mayor on May 02, 2019:
Had a motorhome for a year. Happiest day of my life was the day we sold it. Problems after problems every time we went somewhere with it and it was a new RV . Constant work and maintenance. This is no way to vacation
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on February 03, 2015:
PeggyW: Thanks. As you know, I love the RV life, but I felt it only fair to let people know that it is not for everybody. Thanks for commenting and tweeting!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 03, 2015:
This is an important article to read as are your others on this topic for anyone considering buying an RV. My parents owned several different types at different points in their lives. Will give this a tweet!
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on January 24, 2015:
fullofshoes: Sounds like you guys are on the right track. I do think doing a lot of research is very, very important, and your idea about "practicing" is an excellent choice. If more people would do what you have done and plan to do, many would avoid serious problems down the road. Best of luck...and if you have any private questions you want to ask, feel free to email me privately.
fullofshoes on January 24, 2015:
Great article, great advice.
We are contemplating future full-time RVing while we still have good health. We have been camping/RVing, both seasonally and on-the-road, for about 6 years. We did live 100% full time in our former 5th wheel for 5 months in 2011 and loved it. In the meantime, we bought a retirement home, sold the fiver and replaced it with a small towable. However, we're really tired of taking care of a house and we do dream about full-timing. We set up our upcoming summer to "practice" what it's like to live for longer periods on the road in our little coach (as opposed to living in a seasonal campground). If we like it, we'll move to the next stage. But not without lots more practice, thought, and analysis.
I'll be reading all your articles :) Thank you.
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on January 23, 2015:
jonnycomelately: Thanks so much for your kind words. You are absolutely on target in terms of how much physical labor can be required for RV travel. However, here in the states we have a number of clubs singles can join so that they do not have to travel alone. I recently wrote a hub about that very topic. You can find it on my profile page. It is true that many people don't leave their coaches for visits as they once did, but I am not shy. If I want to chat, I simply knock on the door. Once I do that, you'd be surprised how happy people are to visit and how helpful they can be. Technology will never replace US...never! Thanks for stopping by.
jonnycomelately on January 23, 2015:
This Hub is awesome, Time Traveler. Thank you. It applies equally here in Australia, although the figures might be slightly different, but not much.
Other factors which I have discovered over a few years owning a campervan (the slide-on type which goes on the back of my 1-tonne truck):
It takes me at least one hour to load onto the truck, a Colorado Cab/tray. It needs to be very accurately placed on the tray, strapped down properly, cables connected, reversing mirrors attached, all inside items secured and cupboard doors latched tightly. (Has anyone left a jar of sliced beetroot, with the cap not tight, in the fridge, and forgotten to fully latch the fridge door?!!!) So many small details need to be thought about and checked before driving off. And don't get distracted, you will be sorry if you do!
Also, for a single person, man or woman, traveling alone and stopping for the night in a caravan park, it's not easy to get good company. In these days of TV, YouTube videos, laptop Internet, Skype and all the comforts of a fixed-home lounge, many people just will not come out of their RVs and meet with strangers, especially if the stranger is single. There's a sort of wariness; "Why is he/she alone?" As if there's a threat to a couple's security as a couple..... So, if you imagine being greeted with open arms as a lone-traveler, be prepared for loneliness!
There ARE some beautiful people on the road, who will be great company and welcoming; and you might be a beautiful, carefree, innocent, lone traveler yourself, but we live in an age of detachment and isolation....
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on January 23, 2015:
Marcy Goodfleisch You are much the same as most people when it comes to owning an RV, but the realities can be harsh if you do not have exactly the right combination to make this work for you. Glad this helped you,
Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on January 23, 2015:
I need this article - I think I have the dream of living the RV life without balancing the realities of it - RVs require a lot of maintenance and responsible upkeep - I need to factor that in! Thanks for the great article, Time Traveler!