Oliver Travel Trailers

Travel Trailer or Motorhome? How Cost-Effective is Each Option?

Recreational Vehicle Or Travel Trailer
November 21, 2014

Travel Trailer vs Motorhome

If you are considering new travel trailers for sale, you may wonder about RVs. Regarding cost-effectiveness, the travel trailer edges out the RV reasonably quickly.

Initial Cost

Generally, RVs cost much more than a travel trailer. It’s easy to see why. Even the top-rated travel trailers don’t add the cost of an engine to the package. Top-rated travel trailers are generally equal in comfort and still cost tens of thousands less than RVs.

Travel Fuel Economy

An RV tends to drink fuel fast. It has a large body and requires a large energy output to keep it going. Fuel economy hovers around 10 miles per gallon. Pulling a trailer is considered more economical. It relies on the truck or SUV for its gas mileage, which means getting an average of 20 miles per gallon. Even if it’s just 15 mpg, that’s a vast improvement at today’s prices.

Park-and-Drive Fuel Economy

Gas mileage continues to play a role at the campsite. Once the travel trailer is parked, the truck or SUV can be disconnected. The personal vehicle will get markedly better mileage than the RV. The parked RV must be disconnected from all hook-ups, and when driven on even the shortest errand, it will continue to get dismal fuel economy. Another option, of course, is pulling a car behind the RV. However, this adds weight to the RV and decreases travel fuel economy. Some RV drivers may opt to rent a car, but this adds even more costs.

travel trailer vs motorhome

Maintenance and Repairs

If an RV engine breaks down while the owner travels, this can be a significant problem. The owner must locate a mechanic who is capable of repairing RV engines. This may mean towing the vehicle long distances and paying handsomely for the privilege. Then, the owner may have to pay for a hotel and car rental. On the other hand, it is far easier to find a general mechanic for a regular SUV or truck. If towing, this means a much shorter tow with a much more reasonable fee. Furthermore, the travel trailer owner still has accommodations for the night while waiting for the vehicle to be repaired.

Crash Considerations

In the event of a crash, either the RV engine or the cabin will likely be destroyed. At that point, it’s a total loss. On the other hand, the travel trailer might escape destruction, and only the truck or SUV needs repair or replacement.

Long Term Considerations

RVs can lose their value very quickly. That’s usually due to factors that don’t affect a travel trailer, such as engine wear-and-tear, mileage, and changing safety standards for cabins. For these reasons, new travel trailers for sale seem like a better investment than RVs. In addition, RVs are more vulnerable during periods of inactivity. Sitting in the driveway during a long winter can lead to engine problems, a problem that travel trailers will never have.


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